I was in New Jersey last week, so I forgot to write when I got home Saturday night! So here we go.
In this chapter the Nephites recover from a crippling war with the Amlicites. It's really sad that many women and children were also killed, and their homes were destroyed. The book of Alma really is a book full of war. But it also has some of my favorite doctrinal chapters of the Book of Mormon. I wonder why that is?
Apparently the Amlicites had voluntarily marked themselves like the Lamanites. Alma briefly recounts how the Lamanites were marked by the Lord for their disobedience by having darker skin to set them apart from the Nephites, and so the Nephites would know not to mingle with them. Alma points out how the Amlicites chose to mark themselves, saying:
18 Now the Amlicites knew not that they were fulfilling the words of God when they began to mark themselves in their foreheads; nevertheless they had come out in open rebellion against God; therefore it was expedient that the curse should fall upon them.
He then says that just as they brought upon themselves their own curse, we bring upon ourselves our own curse and condemnation by rebelling against God. That makes sense, but it is still sobering. I think we often spend a lot of time reacting to things. But when we do that, we think of ourselves as victims of circumstance and we tend to blame other people for what is going on to us, kind of like how the Lamanites blames the Nephites for everything wrong that happened to them. Pretty soon we are choosing the wrong path because we assume that that will bring more happiness. So instead of just reacting to things, we should try to act. I'm not sure exactly what I mean by that, but it's something I want to ponder on more.
He ends the chapter describing how in one year alone, tens of thousands of people died. I like the final verses:
26 And in one year were thousands and tens of thousands of souls sent to the eternal world, that they might reap their rewards according to their works, whether they were good or whether they were bad, to reap eternal happiness or eternal misery, according to the spirit which they listed to obey, whether it be a good spirit or a bad one.
27 For every man receiveth wages of him whom he listeth to obey, and this according to the words of the spirit of prophecy; therefore let it be according to the truth.
I really want to make sure that I am choosing to obey the Lord, and not choosing to follow Satan either voluntarily or by not actively following the Lord. I think we can all find things in our lives that we aren't doing that we know we should. I am going to make a commitment to you all that I will try actively to do better at this. My goal is to hold Family Home Evening every Monday.