CLICK HERE to read Mosiah 7.
We are now about a hundred and twenty years before the time of Christ, and now it’s been three years since Mosiah inherited the kingdom.
Though they are being a peaceful people, they tease Mosiah about the group “who went up to dwell in the land of Lehi-Nephi” because no one has heard from them since (verse 1). So Mosiah approves a group of guys to go check it out (verse 2), and the leader of the group is Ammon (verse 3).
Since this group doesn’t know where the missing people are, they “wandered many days in the wilderness” (verse 4). After forty days, they pitched their tents near a hill to send out small groups to search the area.
The number forty always signifies a spiritual rebirth, like a new spiritual chapter in the story being told or in the lives being described. It represents a sufficient amount of time to complete a work, and always is a signal something new is about to happen or some work is completed or some new beginning is unfolding. “Forty days” means pay attention! Something exciting is about to happen!
Ammon, the leader of the group, took three of his brethren (very Presidency-like, you see?) and “they went down into the land of Nephi” (verse 6).
They found the King of the land of Nephi, and were surrounded by his guards. They were bound up and put in prison (verse 7). After they had “been in prison two days, they were again brought before the king… commanded that they should answer the questions which he should ask them” (verse 8).
The King tells them his name is Limhi, the son of Noah, who left Zarahemla (where Mosiah reigns and this search party lives) to inherit the land of Nephi (verse 9). Being king, he wants to know “whereby ye were so bold as to come near the walls of the city” when even the king himself was outside the gate with his guards (verse 10). He tells Ammon that this is the only reason Ammon and his buddies are still alive, because king Limhi wants to know the answer (verse 11).
Ammon showed great respect, bowing before the king, and then answered:
“I am very thankful before God this day that I am yet alive, and am permitted to speak; and I will endeavor to speak with boldness;” (verse 12). Ammon goes to tell king Limhi that they are from Zarahemla, and that they came in here in search of Limhi’s people (verse 13).
Limhi is “exceedingly glad, and said: Now, I know of a surety that my brethren who were in the land of Zarahemla are yet alive. And now, I will rejoice; and on the morrow I will cause that my people shall rejoice also” (verse 14).
All this time, just as Mosiah’s people wondered what ever happened to Limhi’s people, so Limhi’s people have been wondering if Mosiah’s people were okay! This is a joyous reunion.
But not all the news is good.
Limhi explains that his people “are in bondage to the Lamanites, and are taxed with a tax which is grievous to be borne” (verse 15). He pleads for help, saying they would rather be indebted to King Mosiah than to be in bondage under the Lamanites.
Then king Limhi invites the rest of Ammon’s search party to come and “eat, and drink, and rest themselves from the labors of their journey; for they had suffered many things; they had suffered hunger, thirst, and fatigue” (verse 16).
The next day, king Limhi keeps his promise to proclaim to the people what has happened, inviting them to gather themselves to the temple so that he can speak to them all (verse 17).
When the people gathered, King Limhi spoke to them, saying, “O ye, my people, lift up your heads and be comforted; for behold, the time is at hand, or is not far distant, when we shall no longer be in subjection to our enemies, notwithstanding our many strugglings, which have been in vain…” (verse 18).
He reminds them it won’t be easy, and “there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made”.
But they are not alone! “… lift up your heads and rejoice, and put your trust in God, in that God who was the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob…” (verse 19). King Limhi is calling upon the people to remember their covenants! He wants them to remember that God is a covenant God, and that God will do what He has promised. He also reminds them God has the power to deliver them: “and also, that God who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, and caused that they should walk through the Red Sea on dry ground, and fed them with manna that they might not perish in the wilderness; and many more things did he do for them” (verse 19).
God will keep His promises! God is able to deliver them!
No wonder he told the people to be comforted, and to rejoice!
He reminds them that this same covenant God who has the power to keep His promises and deliver His people is also the same God which they worship.
“… that same God has brought our fathers (Lehi!) out of the land of Jerusalem, and has kept and preserved his people even until now” (verse 20).
This is a covenant God keep His promises.
But as a covenant people, we must also keep our promises.
And when we do not, we are delivered into bondage because we have removed ourselves from the deliverance He is trying to accomplish. This is what Limhi reminds his people when he says, “and behold, it is because of our iniquities and abominations that he has brought us into bondage” (verse 20).
In this way, king Limhi reviews the history of the people, and how they went into bondage because of being deceived and entering into bad treaties (like unhealthy friendships) (verse 21). Because of these bad moves, the people found themselves in financial and political and physical bondage (verse 22), and it is “grievous to be bourne” (verse 22).
“And is not this, our affliction, great? Now behold, how great reason we have to mourn” (verse 23).
This is part of repentance, to review what went wrong and how it affected you and those around you. Collectively, King Limhi and his people are repenting and turning back to the Lord after being a covenant people that did not behave like a covenant people, even when it cost the lives of those they loved (verse 24).
“For if this people had not fallen into transgression, the Lord would not have suffered that this great evil should come upon them. But behold, they would not hearken unto his words; but there arose contentions among them…” (verse 25). These contentions became so bad that not only did they refuse to listen to the Prophet (which the Lord always sends to help people out of bondage), but they even killed him when he tried to prophesy of Christ (verse 26).
King Limhi reminds them of what the Prophet had tried to teach them:
“… that Christ was the God, the Father of all things, and that he should take upon him the image of man, and it should be the image after which man was created in the beginning… in other words, that man was created after the image of God, and that God should come down among the children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood, and go forth upon the face of the earth” (verse 27).
Except instead of heeding these words, or listening to and obeying the Prophet, the people killed him, “which brought down the wrath of God upon them” (verse 28).
“Therefore, who wondereth that they are in bondage, and that they are smitten with sore afflictions?” (verse 28).
This is the accepting-consequences part of repentance. It is justice being demanded.
“For behold, the Lord hath said: I will not succor my people in the day of their transgression; but I will hedge up their ways that they prosper not; and their doings shall be as a stumbling block before them” (verse 29).
This is the dishing out of our own consequences.
Anytime we feel like we are banging our head on the wall, can’t make progress, think other people are crazy-drama and not helping, or feel confused or irritated or frustrated or stuck or embittered or angry, that is the clue. That’s when it is time to stop blaming other people and accept our own responsibility for the consequences we chose. We must turn to the Lord, and repent, and work it out.
We get what we give.
If we are bitter and angry, we are going to receive hurt feelings and un-appreciation.
If we are hateful and mean, we are going to receive drama and isolation.
If we make bad choices, we are going to get those consequences.
“If my people shall sow filthiness, they shall reap the chaff… and the effect thereon is poison” (verse 30).
“If my people shall sow filthiness, they shall reap… immediate destruction” (verse 31).
Every single choice we make, every single interaction we have, every thing we think, say, or do is either CREATING or DESTROYING. There is no in between. It’s a process or a continuum of each, but it is either one or the other.
If you are not nourishing and nurturing those you love then you are destroying those relationships.
If we are not doing what He says, if we are not living as He lived, if we are not loving unconditionally, if we are not living worthy of the conditions for promised blessings, then we are leaving Him instead of drawing closer. We are missing out.
Those are the consequences: “and ye are smitten and afflicted” (verse 32).
But there is hope and joy in CREATING instead of destroying. There is hope and joy and peace in choosing the Savior, and demonstrating that choice in every little thing we do in each moment of the day.
“But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind… if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage” (verse 33).