Monday, November 16, 2015

Alma 50

(October 25, 2015)
                I was struck reading this chapter by Mormon’s commentary that those who were faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord were delivered at all times.  In contrast to that blanket statement, we have the evidences of the Ammonites (slaughtered, at least in part, by the Lamanites).  We have the evidence of the women and children burned only a few chapters earlier.  Heck, we have the example of Mormon himself, who would ultimately be killed even though he was faithful in keeping the commandments of God.

                There are two thoughts that I have from this.  The first is that this is another perfect example of the dangers of proof-texting the scriptures (picking a phrase or sentence out of context and using that to prove or disprove a proposition).  I absolutely believe the scriptures are the word of God, but that doesn’t mean that I cannot find a verse somewhere to support just about any proposition that I might want to support.  This is the essence of wresting the scriptures – focusing in on what we want the scriptures to say rather than learning from the scriptures what is true.

                The other thought was in my current situation.  Yes, I haven’t been slaughtered the way the Ammonites were, and I am still alive and kicking.  But it is clear that, from at least a certain point of view, I was not delivered from my enemies.  Lies, hatred, and deception brought about no small amount of pain into my life, and while I believed that deliverance was just around the corner, it never materialized.

                But reading Mormon’s comment in context, and understanding that he could not be saying what it appears on the face of things he is saying, I can come to understand what is actually going on.  What Mormon is promising is not temporal deliverance (though spoken of in a temporal context).  Instead he is speaking of true deliverance, and of that I can truly testify.

                Even as I have not been delivered from the temporal consequences of those who seek to destroy me (and there is, of course, carryover into the spiritual dimension with this), I have found that the Lord has always been there to carry me each and every time I have needed it.  The Lord is quick to answer a prayer where I ask Him for confirmation of His love for me.  He is quick to give me whatever support I need – so quick that, on the rare times I do not get the support that I am requesting I have learned to trust that it is because He has confidence that I have the strength that I need to overcome the challenges that I am facing.

                So yes, those who are faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord are delivered in all times.  For what can you call it when you are struck down by the sword, praising God in that moment and going on to receive Exaltation if you don’t call it deliverance?  And what can you call it when everything you love is taken away from you out of the hatred of others and you find you life richer, fully, and more blessed with happiness than before if you don’t call it deliverance?

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