CLICK HERE to read Mosiah 24.
In the last chapter, Amulon had just been made king of the bad guys (the runaway priests of King Noah). Amulon gains the favor of the king of the Lamanites, so he lets Amulon appoint teachers over people (verse 1) in their lands (verse 2).
Laman was the king of the Lamanites, and he was named after his “father” (either his actual father, or the “father” of the Lamanites – likely both) (verse 3).
So Amulon’s teachers began to teach them the language of Nephi (verse 4).
The Lamanites were friendly with each other, but they “knew not God; neither did the brethren of Amulon teach them anything concerning the Lord their God, neither the law of Moses; nor did they teach them the words of Abinadi” (verse 5).
But he did teach them how to read and write, and how to keep their records (verse 6). Because of this, they began to get rich through trade, and become a “cunning and wise people, as to the wisdom of the world, yea, a very cunning people, delighting in all manner of wickedness and plunder” (verse 7).
Now that the people were hitting the big time in worldly ways, Amulon began to get bossy with Alma, “and began to persecute him, and cause that his children should persecute their children” (verse 8).
Amulon did this because he knew that Alma had heard the teaching of Abinadi the prophet, and that Alma believed what he had been taught (verse 9). Amulon gave them so much to do, adding to their tasks to such extreme, “that so great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God” (verse 10).
This made Amulon even more mad, and so he told them they had to stop crying out to God, and if they were caught praying then they had to be put to death (verse 11).
So Alma and his people were obedient to the law of the land by not crying out loud to pray, but they did not stop praying. They “did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts” (verse 12).
Not only did he know their heart-prayers, but He answered them!
“Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage” (verse 13).
He also promises to “ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage” (verse 14).
This is a promise He always gives us, if we will only turn to Him for help.
But that promise has a purpose, making the promise into a covenant: “and this will I do that ye may stand as a witness for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions” (verse 14).
So again, the Lord promises to help us, but it requires our response to Him – which is the same as it always has been.
Even our premortal covenant was set up that way: He promised to atone for us, and we promised to testify of that atonement.
This is the pattern: He will do for us that which we cannot do without Him, but we must then testify that He has kept His promise.
He will help us, but we must testify that He did help us.
He has atoned for us, and now we must testify of that atonement.
He has kept His promise; now we must keep ours.
He does keep His promises:
“And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord” (verse 15).
They also kept their promise, just as He kept His!
This obedience led to even more blessings:
“And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage” (verse 16). He promised that He would lead Alma in leading the people out of bondage (verse 17).
The people were again obedient to His instruction, and they spent the night gathering their animals and supplies together (verse 18). “… the Lord caused a deep sleep to come upon the Lamanites…” (verse 19), and Alma and the people were able to escape (verse 20).
They traveled all day to get away, and then pitched their tents in a valley they named after Alma (verse 20). There “they poured out their thanks to God because he had been merciful unto them, and eased their burdens, and had delivered them out of bondage; for they were in bondage, and none could deliver them except it were the Lord their God. And they gave thanks to God, yea, all their men and all their women and all their children that could speak lifted their voices in the praises of their God” (verses 21-22).
This humble submission in giving the Lord credit for delivering them out of bondage brought them the blessings of even more instruction and warnings. The Lord warned the people to keep moving because the Lamanites were awake and in pursuit” (verse 23).
Again, the people were obedient, departing out of the valley and continuing their journey into the wilderness (verse 24). They traveled for twelve more days, finally arriving in Zarahemla where King Mosiah “did also receive them with joy” (verse 25).