Enos – Wrestling with God

Enos is Jacob’s son. He’s taken possession of the plates and record-keeping and tells of the wrestle which he had before God, before he received a remission of his sins. His wrestle consisted of these facets:

  1. he was alone, having gone to hunt beasts in the forest
  2. he pondered the words of eternal life that his father had spoken of
  3. his soul hungered
  4. he knelt before his Maker
  5. he cried in mighty prayer and supplication for his own soul
  6. he was faithfully determined, crying “all the day long” & “when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens” (4)

Each person’s wrestle before God might not look quite the same as Enos’s. Our relationships with God are all unique and we hear Him and communicate with Him in different ways, according to our strengths and weaknesses. But Enos’s recorded wrestle can give us ideas to use if our prayers don’t seem to be reaching beyond our bedroom ceilings.

Alone Time

Our spirits need time alone to ponder and communicate with our God…and to Hear Him, as our prophet has asked us to learn to do.

This time of social quarantining and staying at home might give some people plenty of opportunity for alone time. For others with families, alone time might be less now with everyone climbing up the walls at home, wishing to return to normal life.

Whatever your circumstances, use your creativity to find times to be alone and ponder. Maybe a locked bathroom will be the best you can do, with young children knocking and reaching their hands under the door and calling “Mommy.” But do what you can do. Maybe you’ll have to get up earlier than everyone else, or stay up later to find your solitude. But find it. Enos shows what marvelous results can come from finding time alone with God, to ponder His words and our status before Him.

Hungering

We all know what it feels like to hunger after food. Who hasn’t experienced a growling stomach and a mind obsessed with the next meal?

Our spirits get hungry too. Are we feeding them? And do we let them feast, or do we keep our spirit on a half-starvation diet, where it is shriveling up inside and aching for revelation, direction, comfort, healing?

It’s difficult to ignore physical hunger pains, but it’s easier to ignore or be unaware of spiritual hunger pains. When we become casual in our relationship with God, it becomes easier to forget about our shrinking spirit.

Only when we start to feed it again do we realize all we have missed. The happiness. The fulfillment we were searching for. The uplifting thoughts, warm tingling feelings, and the still small voice of the Spirit whispering in our hearts.

The act of Kneeling

Enos was out hunting, but he stopped following after his physical pursuits and knelt down in that forest and offered up a prayer.

Do we stop what we are doing in our life to physically manifest to God that we acknowledge Him as the Giver of all Good Things?

I know I have been guilty of staying in bed to say a prayer, because I was too cold or too uncomfortable to get out of my warm covers. At times, my knees really do pain me if my prayer goes too long. So, I’m not saying that a prayer isn’t good unless it’s on your knees. If you’ve had knee surgery, heaven forbid you get on your knees. But…for the times when I can get on my knees and choose not to, I wonder what I’m showing God about my heart.

The act of kneeling can be a physical sign of our heart’s desires.

Are we willing to put ourselves out—or down—to show our reverence for God? It doesn’t have to be the knees, especially for those whose knees are weakened physically. But we can show our humility before God in some way. How will you show yours?

What physical act can we do to show God our love and reverence for Him?

Mighty Prayer – faithful determination

There is a difference between saying a prayer and praying mightily.

I have said many prayers, quick, without much thought, and then have gotten into bed and not thought another thing about the words I just sent up to my ceiling.

Enos demonstrated what mighty prayer looks like. He didn’t just say a prayer and end it to continue hunting. He cried all day and all night and raised his voice high that it reached the heavens.

Do I raise my voice high, that it reaches heaven?

This seems symbolic, like there is an inner commitment or determination to receiving truth on Enos’s part that most people never work to obtain.

How can I reach this point—where I am willing to stay on my knees (literally or figuratively) all day and night if necessary to Hear God’s voice?

Receiving answers

Because of what Enos willingly did to seek answers from God, he received an answer. A voice came to him saying:

Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.

Enos 1:5

The next verse shows a key component to repentance, one we need to always remember. Enos has been forgiven by God, and he says he “knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.” (6)

He had complete faith and trust in God. He didn’t doubt or wonder if he maybe needed to do more to be cleansed. He takes God at His word—that he is forgiven—and thinks of his sins no more. Once God forgives us, we need to know, like Enos, that God cannot lie. That allows Christ’s Atonement to sweep away our guilt and all negativity associated with our past sins.

Seeking More

It would have been perfectly good for Enos to be satisfied at this point and end his communion with God. He had received forgiveness. But Enos seeks MORE.

Maybe he knew this is what he wanted before he began praying. Or maybe the desire for more came after receiving a remission of his sins. Whatever the case, Enos didn’t thank God and end. He asked for and faithfully expected to receive more.

Enos asks God how this cleansing process works. The answer is given:

Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.”

Enos 1:8

Understanding how the Atonement works made him want the same for his family and brethren, the Nephites. He pours out his whole soul for their benefit, wanting them to feel the joy he is experiencing.

God doesn’t just give Enos more, because he asks for it. Enos has been forgiven and is in a perfect state right now. But God still allows him to struggle in the spirit a little more.

To receive more, we must struggle more. This is the process of growth.

After receiving confirmation that God will be with the Nephites as long as they choose Him, Enos’s faith “began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings for my brethren, the Lamanites.” (11)

He keeps wrestling with God to receive even MORE. Now his heart has turned to the enemy. The Lamanites. He thinks long-term, asking the Lord to bring about salvation to the Lamanites in the future when they are ready.

For at the present our strugglings were vain in restoring them to the true faith.”

Enos 1:14

This shows the power of never giving up on people, even those who want nothing to do with Christ, and who even hate us. Everyone can change. That is what Jesus Christ’s atonement made possible.

Who are we to judge another’s heart?

Only God can do that, because only He truly sees inside hearts. He has given us the call to love our fellowmen as ourselves. And love always holds out hope of change.

Enos cries unto God to preserve the sacred record that has been handed down among the Nephites, praying that at some point it might help his enemies (16). Enos demonstrates three Godlike attributes talked about in the scriptures—Faith, Hope, and Charity. He had faith in repentance to cleanse his own soul. He had hope that his brothers, the Nephites, would also be blessed. And he had charity to love his enemy and want them to have the truth as well.

Rest unto our Souls

God promises Enos that He will bring the record unto the Lamanites “in his own due time.” (16) I love Enos’s response.

And I, Enos, knew it would be according to the covenant which he had made; wherefore my soul did rest.” (17)

When I think of the powerful and beautiful covenants I’ve made with God at baptism and in the temple, my soul finds rest as well. God has promised great, magnificent, and glorious blessings to those who keep their covenants with Him.

Making covenants with God brings rest to our souls. That is a lifeline in this turbulent world.

Acting in Faith

After Enos had this marvelous experience with God, he “went about among the people of Nephi, prophesying of things to come, and testifying of the things which I had heard and seen.” (19)

Faith in Jesus Christ leads to action. Enos could’ve hoarded those warm fuzzy feelings from that experience in the woods, but that is not what God wants us to do with the light He gives us. He wants us to share with others.

Enos compares the Nephites and Lamanites at this point in history. The Lamanites’ “hatred was fixed, and they were led by their evil nature that they became wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness…And they were continually seeking to destroy us.” (20)

Satan and his armies are still doing that today…continually seeking to destroy those who follow Christ.

The Nephites, in contrast, “did till the land, and raise all manner of grain, and of fruit, and flocks of herds, and flocks of all manner of cattle of every kind, and goats, and wild goats, and also many horses.” (21) They also sought to bring the truth back to the Lamanites, but their efforts were vain at this time.

Enos lives out his days acting in his faith in Christ.

And I saw that I must soon go down to my grave, having been wrought upon by the power of God that I must preach and prophesy unto this people, and declare the word according to the truth which is in Christ. And I have declared it is in all my days, and have rejoiced in it above that of the world.

And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen.

Enos 1:26-27
  • How can we better keep our covenants with God and act in faith each day?
  • Will we wrestle with God in faith to gain forgiveness, and then have hope and charity for everyone around us—friends and foes alike?  
  • Following Enos’s example in this book can help us seek MORE in mighty prayer.

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