Alma 58: We Did Take Courage With our Small Force

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Helaman’s next project was to rescue their city of Manti, but they needed a new strategy (verse 1), especially since the Lamanite army was so much bigger (verse 2).  Helaman’s army not only had fewer soldiers, but some of them had to stay to maintain the other cities they had reclaimed, and they all needed provisions (verse 3).  So Helaman requested help from Zarahemla (verse 4), but this also gave the Lamanites time to get reinforcements and new provisions and make new strategies (verses 5-6).

After two months of waiting and planning (verse 7), Helaman’s Nephite army received their provisions and reinforcements (verses 8).  But they were grieved and afraid because they did not receive as much as was expected (verse 9), so they prayed to God for strength and to be delivered from their enemies (verse 10).  The Lord assured them that He would deliver them, and He did strengthen their faith and hope in their deliverance in Him (verse 11).

And we did take courage with our small force which we had received, and were fixed with a determination to conquer our enemies, and to maintain our lands, and our possessions, and our wives, and our children, and the cause of our liberty (verse 12).

It is so often true that we must take courage with the few resources we have, take comfort in the blessings that those few resources are, and have faith that those resources will be sufficient for our needs.  We must ACT with fixed determination, and with boldness, to create, develop, and maintain our families, our homes, our children, and our liberty.  We must be brave, and we must take courage, having faith that He will provide what we need and that He has prepared us for this challenge.

And so the Nephites went against the Lamanites (verse 13), with the Lamanites sending spies to figure out their strengths and numbers (verse 14).   When the Lamanites saw how few the Nephites were, they thought the battle against the Nephites would be easy (verse 15).

This is often what Satan does to us, or thinks of us.  He sends spies to see what our strong points out, and to discover our weaknesses.  He wants to make us afraid by comparing ourselves to others, or thinking we are not “enough” in some way for the battle, so that we surrender before we have ever fought, or give up before we have ever tried.  He thinks he is winning because our numbers are few, not understanding the battle has already been won.

Helaman made a quick plan for his army, sending two separate groups out into the wilderness to hide away from the rest of the Nephite army (verse 16).  One group hid on the right, and one group hid on the left (verse 17).   The rest of the Nephites stayed out in the open, waiting to be attacked, and when the Lamanites came, they retreated into the wilderness (verse 18), leading them away from Manti.  The Lamanites followed them into the wilderness (verse 19), and then the other hidden groups cut off the Lamanites from Manti (verse 20).

Once the Lamanite army was cut off from Manti, the smaller groups that had hidden reclaimed the city for the Nephites (verses 21, 23), all because the Lamanites let themselves be led away (verse 22).  When the Lamanites realized they were chasing the Nephites into Nephite land toward Zarahemla, they became afraid and tried to retreat back the way they had come (verse 24).

Retreating, the Lamanites stopped for the night to rest, because they still did not realize that they had lost the city of Manti (verse 25).  However, while they slept, Helaman led his army around them back to Manti, to join the groups that had hidden and retaken the city (verses 26-27).  In this way, Helaman’s army was able to reclaim Manti without shedding any blood at all (verse 28).

So when the Lamanites woke up the next day, and headed back to Manti, they were “astonished exceedingly and struck with great fear” to discover the Nephites had taken the city (Verse 29).  They ran away, taking women and children with them (verse 30).

This is how the Nephites conquered the Lamanites, retaking their cities back from them, with all the people safe except for those who had been taken prisoners (verse 31).

But this is why Helaman was writing to Moroni, for it was too much to maintain and defend against the Lamanites (verse 32).   They knew the victory was given to them by God (verse 33), but they were confused as to why the government did not send the backup they had promised; they did not want to complain, but did not know why more reinforcements had not come as promised (verse 34).  So all this writing to Moroni was really to find out the reason why no help had come, and if Moroni himself had needed the help as well – but otherwise, the people feared there were problems in the government, or “some faction”, and that this was why help had not been sent (verse 36).

But, behold, it mattereth not – we trust God will deliver us, notwithstanding the weakness of our armies, yea, and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies (verse 37).

They believed this so well and so strongly that not one of the young stripling warriors was killed (verse 39), though many received wounds; “nevertheless, they stand fast in that liberty wherewith God has made them free; and they are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day; yea, they do observe to keep his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments continually; and their faith is strong in the prophecies concerning that which is to come” (verse 40).

This is the letter Helaman, the son of Alma, Jr., sends to Moroni (verse 41).

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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