Now Amlici enters the picture. He is after the order of Nehor (priestcraft) and he is“a very cunning man, yea, a wise man as to the wisdom of the world…” (1). Through his cunning and deceit, he’s drawn away many followers and they have become very powerful, “and they began to endeavor to establish Amlici to be a king over the people.” (2)
This alarmed the rest of the people. They know “he, being a wicked man, would deprive them of their rights and privileges of the church; for it was his intent to destroy the church of God.” (4)
Amlici is defeated in a vote and isn’t happy. He rebels against the laws of the land and his followers anoint him to be their king anyway. He immediately commands them to “take up arms against their brethren; and this he did that he might subject them to him.” (10)
True villain, right? These people become known as the Amlicites.
The Nephites “were aware of the intent of the Amlicites, and therefore they did prepare to meet them…” (12)
Awareness is vital in fighting the enemy. If we choose to be ignorant in our own naïve, peaceful world, we will be overrun by evil eventually. We don’t need to roll in the mud of evil, but we must know where the mud is and how to avoid it.
There are casualties in this war against the Amlicites, even though the Nephites have prepared themselves.
Nevertheless the Lord did strengthen the hand of the Nephites, that they slew the Amlicites with great slaughter, that they began to flee before them.”Alma 2:18
The Amlicites are slaughtered at a ratio of 2:1 to the Nephites. It’s a sound defeat. The Nephites rest for the night, but Alma “sent spies to follow the remnant of the Amlicites, that he might know of their plans and their plots, whereby he might guard himself against them, that he might preserve his people from being destroyed.” (21)
Do I stay informed about the enemy’s plans, so I can know his plots and guard myself and my family from his attacks?
The spies return “in great haste, being greatly astonished, and struck with much fear” (23) because the Amlicites have joined with the Lamanites. Evil loves company. They are attacking the Nephites in that land, and the spies tell Alma that if they don’t hurry, they will lose their land and people.
They immediately depart to save the city of Zarahemla. As they are crossing the river Sidon, the Lamanite and Amlicite army attack. They are “as numerous almost, as it were, as the sands of the sea.” (27)
Nevertheless, the Nephites being strengthened by the hand of the Lord, having prayed mightily to him that he would deliver them out of the hands of their enemies, therefore the Lord did hear their cries, and did strengthen them, and the Lamanites and Amlicites did fall before them.”Alma 2:28
Alma contends in hand-to-hand combat with Amlici, and he, “being exercised with much faith, cried, saying: O Lord, have mercy and spare my life, that I may be an instrument in thy hands to save and preserve this people.” (30)
I love the phrase—‘exercised with much faith.’ Faith needs regular exercise, like our body does. When I’m out of shape, exercise is painful. When we are spiritually out of shape, faith can be taxing to our spirit. But if we continue ‘exercising’, our body and faith become stronger. Alma’s faith was mighty—he was an Arnold Schwarzeneger type faith bodybuilder. God gives him power, and he slays the evil villain. Yea!
The Nephites battle boldly, and the evil armies flee before them, even though they outnumber the Nephites. The Nephites pursue them, scattering them and slaying them—armed with righteous indignation. And the war is won.
Am I exercised with much faith, prepared to battle the enemy no matter how well prepared he is, how numerous his armies are, or how cunning he is?
What can I do in my life right now to strengthen my faith in Jesus Christ?