One of the first things Mosiah does as king is to go check on the people who left years ago to find Lehi-Nephi. We can check on the people in our sphere of influence as well, to see if they are faring well physically, spiritually and mentally. When we get outside ourselves to care about others, we retain a remission of our sins, according to Jeffrey R. Holland.
“Are we not all beggars? Don’t we all cry out for help and hope and answers to prayers? Don’t we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and troubles we have caused? Don’t we all implore that grace will compensate for our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case? Little wonder that King Benjamin says we OBTAIN a remission of our sins by pleading to God, who compassionately responds, but we RETAIN a remission of our sins by compassionately responding to the poor who plead to us.”
In this chapter, Ammon, a Mulekite by birth, goes with 16 other men to find and check on those people who had left them years ago. This wasn’t an easy feat. They wandered 40 days in the wilderness, seeking for the lost ones, but not finding them. Finally, Ammon takes three men and goes down to the land of Nephi to talk to the king there. They’re surrounded by guards and thrown in prison.
After two days, they are brought to the king. Limhi asks why they dared come so close to his city. He actually asks why they “were so bold…” (10)
Many leave Christ’s Church and are lost, like Limhi’s people from the main body of saints. Christ wants us to find them and be spiritually bold to invite them to return to His fold. We can’t sit back and hope others find their way back to Christ’s redeeming power. We must do as Ammon and his brethren—go and find those who have wandered away and be bold enough to approach them.
Ammon bows and says, “O king, I am very thankful before God this day that I am alive, and am permitted to speak, and I will endeavor to speak with boldness; (12) For I am assured that if ye had known me ye would not have suffered that I should have worn these bands. For I am Ammon, and am a descendent of Zarahemla, and have come up out of the land of Zarahemla to inquire concerning our brethren whom Zeniff brought up out of that land.” (13)
He isn’t apologetic about his mission. He points out their commonalities and builds upon that, which we can emulate with others in our lives.
Friendship takes boldness and vulnerability.
Limhi is the son of wicked king Noah (son of Zeniff, who left Zarahemla three generations ago to inhabit this new land). He rejoices at Ammon’s words. He hasn’t had any contact with the ‘church’ since he left and is grateful they are still alive. He confesses that his people are in bondage to the Lamanites.
Many people who leave the church become mired down in bondage to the world. When someone reaches out to minister to them, they have the opportunity to be free again. Reaching out to others can bring hope, like it did to King Limhi.
Limhi calls his people to the temple and tells them to “lift up your heads and rejoice, and put your trust in God…” (19)
He reminds them of all the miraculous works of God in saving their ancestors and admits that “it is because of our iniquities and abominations that he has brought us into bondage.” (20)
They are now in a bondage situation where they must give half of all their increase to their Lamanite captors. When we fall into sin and ignore the prophet, we give part of ourselves to Satan. And he doesn’t give things back. Satan binds and ultimately seeks to destroy us. That’s his goal.
If we give our whole selves to God, He transforms us into saints and blesses us to prosper. God gives back to us way more than we give to Him. Satan is a harsh, cruel taskmaster and dictator. God is a loving Father who is trying to build us into perfect men and women, like He is.
Limhi admits that his people killed a prophet of the Lord (Abinadi) and many more gross sins in the past. They deserve their bondage. But he hopes they have been humbled enough to hope again. He tells them that God will not succor His people in the “day of their transgression; but I will hedge up their ways that they prosper not; and their doings shall be as a stumbling block before them.” (29)
Kind of sounds like what’s happening now across the world. Is God giving us a wake up call, to repent and awake unto Him? To put our faith and trust in Him, not man?
King Limhi tells his people they earned what has happened to them, yet he holds out hope of deliverance if they repent. God doesn’t hold grudges when we ignore or rebel against Him. He is always waiting in the wings with open arms.
But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye will do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.”Mosiah 7:33
Any bondage we get into, God can deliver us from it as soon as we turn to Him in repentance and are willing to do His will, not our own. But He requires our whole heart and soul, not just part of it. All our trust, not just some. We must serve Him and make Him our first priority and love. When we do so, He gives us everything He has in return.