Two years go by before Abinadi returns in disguise. This tells me that the priests of Noah had actively sought to kill him. How scary to have to return to a people you know hate you. Abinadi had deep faith in Jesus Christ. He heeded the call, even though it made no sense and was physically dangerous.
Am I willing and ready to do hard things for the Lord?
He comes in disguise, but he doesn’t hide. When he positions himself to speak to a large group of people, he announces his name boldly and once again tells them that God will visit them in anger if they don’t repent.
He prophesies that “this generation, because of their iniquities, shall be brought into bondage, and shall be smitten on the cheek; yea, and shall be driven by men, and shall be slain.” And as if that isn’t bad enough, they’re carcasses will be eaten by wild dogs and beasts. Yuck. And the “life of king Noah shall be valued even as a garment in a hot furnace; for he shall know that I am the Lord.” (3) Many other horrible things are prophesied, “And all this will I do because of their iniquities and abominations.” (7)
You would think the people would listen. Open their ears to hear. But iniquity is enticing…and LOUD! It’s easy and gratifying to the ego, which is hard to push aside if one’s not humble.
The people “were angry with him; and they took him and carried him bound before the king,” (9) and renounce him, saying that they and the king have nothing to repent of or be condemned before God and judged of this man. They assert that they are “guiltless” (14) and accuse Abinadi of lying. They brag about their strength, thinking they are unconquerable.
They deliver Abinadi to the king to “do with him as seemeth thee good,” as if they knew the meaning of that word! (16)
Noah casts Abinadi into prison and meets with his priests. They want to question the prophet and trick him with their lawyer ways. But Abinadi “answered them boldly, and withstood all their questions, yea, to their astonishment; for he did withstand them in all their questions, and did confound them in all their words.” (19)
Righteous boldness which can confound the wicked only comes through the Holy Ghost.
Am I living worthy of the Spirit’s constant companionship?
The priests use the scriptures to try to trip him up, quoting Isaiah and asking what it means, hoping to find a reason to accuse him. I love Abinadi’s response.
Are you priests, and pretend to teach this people, and to understand the spirit of prophesying, and yet desire to know of me what these things mean?”Mosiah 12:25
What I learn from this is to seek personal revelation from God. Don’t wait for others to explain something to you. If you are sincere in your study of God’s words, ask Him for answers, guidance, or peace…and He will liberally give unto you.
Abinadi goes onto say: “If ye understand these things ye have not taught them.” (26) and “Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise.”(27)
How do I apply my heart to understanding so I can be wise?
Humility is key to spiritual understanding. Someone who is proud in their heart, thinking they know it all or that there is no more to learn will not gain further enlightenment and understanding. We must be willing to look deep within ourselves to discern the evil within, so we know what to repent of. This isn’t a punishment, but a blessing, to cleanse and prepare us for God’s light and wisdom.
The Power of One
Alma is in the audience. He’s one of the wicked priests. While the other priests harden their hearts, his is softening with godly sorrow.
He DOES believe and knows Abinadi is speaking truth.
He is trembling before God, because he realizes he has sinned against Him in supporting a wicked leader and giving into selfish pleasures.
I imagine his conscience pricking him as he realizes, Yes! I am sinning. I have turned away from God. I haven’t taught what was correct. I’m not living how God wants me to.
This kind of realization—viewing Christ’s death, so to say, to a point where we internalize that WE made Him suffer because of what we’ve done, thought, or chosen—is godly sorrow. And it can be painful. But that is the only type of sorrow strong enough to turn us away from our sins and make us look to God, knowing we are in desperate straits…understanding that we are nothing compared to Him and helpless to work out our own salvation without our Savior.
Abinadi asks if salvation comes through the law of Moses. They answer yes. Abinadi probably is shaking his head that they are the religious leaders and still don’t understand. He explains:
I know if ye keep the commandments of God ye shall be saved; yea, if ye keep the commandments which the Lord delivered unto Moses in the mount of Sinai…”Mosiah 12:33
But salvation comes through Christ, not through a law. The Law of Moses prepared them to look to Christ, their Savior. He goes on to quote some of the commandments, like having no other god before God and no graven images. He asks:
Have ye done all this? I say unto you, Nay, ye have not. And have ye taught this people that they should do all these things? I say unto you, Nay, ye have not.”Mosiah 12:33
They have been warned and condemned. Out of all of Abinadi’s audience, only one man is really hearing and heeding the call of a prophet.
But Abinadi doesn’t know that.
To him, his mission must have seemed a waste. He was mocked and sent to the fire. He saw no results of his obedience. But he’d planted seeds that would save a whole nation in the future and teach the people of our day truths and call us to repentance. His words would give us hope that no matter how wicked we may become, God can change and transform us from sinners into saints.
- Do I trust God, even when nothing seems to happen when I obey Him?
- Do I trust Him enough to keep doing His will anyway?
- Do I hear and heed God’s call to me?