Aaron heads with his brethren to offer his services to king over all Lamanite land. Lamoni’s father. He tells them he has been “troubled in mind because of the generosity and the greatness of the words of thy brother Ammon…” and he wonders why Ammon didn’t come to him. (3)
They tell him the Spirit wanted Ammon elsewhere. He asks about this Spirt they keep talking about. He doesn’t understand, just like Lamoni didn’t at first. Their traditions didn’t give them knowledge of the truth…that’s why it was so important to teach the incorrectness of their traditions first, and then build upon what knowledge they did have.
The king asks about repentance that Ammon talked about. His heart has been softened to question his ‘knowledge’ and build upon it.
Aaron builds a spiritual foundation by teaching about who God is first.
God is the Great Spirit that they’ve been taught about, and He “created all things both in heaven and in earth.” (10)
When Aaron realizes the king is sincere in his desire to learn, “he began from the creation of Adam, reading the scriptures unto the king—how God created man after his own image, and that God gave him commandments, and that because of transgression, man had fallen.” (12)
Christ, the Foundation
He expounds these truths, laying a firm foundation of the creation, the fall, and the need for a redemption. He gives him the gospel message of salvation in Christ.
And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory…”Alma 22:14
A Change of Heart
The king is moved to conversion. His heart has been changed and he desires to be born again of God, and now he wants to know how to be born of God.
What shall I do that I may have this eternal life, of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day?”Alma 22:15
That image of rooting out wickedness from our breast is poignant. Sin weaves its tendrils into our hearts, like a cancerous tumor, making it impossible for us to get all of it out ourselves. There were still be deadly ‘almost invisible’ cancers left behind after our best efforts.
That is why we need the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He roots out every tendril, every invisible thread of wickedness within us, so we have no more desire to do evil, but to be righteous, like He is.
What am I willing to give?
Here is where the king’s sincerity is shown. Earlier, in chapter 20, he had offered Ammon half his kingdom to spare his life. Now he’s willing to give even more for a spiritual cleansing and healing.
Behold, said he, I will give up ALL that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.”Alma 22:15
We cannot offer only half of ourselves to God and believe He will give us eternity in exchange.
We must be willing, like Lamoni’s father, to offer up ALL that we possess—our lives, our wills, our selfish desires, our pride, our strengths, our doubts, our sins, our talents, our hearts—Everything!
We must be willing to forsake the world in order to receive the joy only God possesses and anxiously wants to share with those who truly love Him and follow Him.
Aaron tells the king what he must do to receive the hope he desires.
If thou desirest this thing, yea, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and wilt bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest.”Alma 22:16
The king takes him at his word, and immediately bows down to the earth—but even goes so far as to “prostrate himself upon the earth”—and cried mightily. This shows how zealous he was in seeking the hope he desired. How much more humble could he be than to lay before God, showing he was not better than any other man on earth?
The king exercises mighty prayer. He doesn’t worry whether or not his words are eloquent. He speaks to God as a man speaketh to another, pouring out his deepest desire. This means he knew what he wanted.
Sometimes, we must struggle and ‘wrestle’ in prayer to figure out what our deepest desire is. When we know, it’s easier to supplicate the Lord.
The king asks God for a witness of His existence, of His divinity. Then he says: “I will give away all my sins to know thee…” (18)
Am I willing to give away all my sins to know God?
If not, why? What is holding me back? What is strangling my trust in Him?
The Power of Humility
The king, after praying mightily for forgiveness “was struck as if he were dead.” (18)
Note the difference in his wife’s reaction compared to Lamoni’s wife. Lamoni’s wife was humble and displayed faith when her husband was struck down. She sought help from Ammon, who she knew to be a good man.
The old king’s wife “was angry with them, and commanded that her servants, or the servants of the king, should take them and slay them.” (19)
The servants tell her no. They saw what happened and know that Aaron and his brethren are stronger and “mightier than us all? Therefore we shall fall before them.” (20)
This doesn’t placate her. She decides to get the people to come and slay Aaron and his brethren.
Now when Aaron saw the determination of the queen, he, also knowing the hardness of the hearts of the people, feared lest that a multitude should assemble themselves together, and there should be a great contention and a disturbance among them; therefore he put forth his hand and raised the king from the earth, and said unto him: Stand. And he stood upon his feet, receiving his strength.”Alma 22:22
The king ministers to his frightened household “insomuch that his whole household were converted unto the Lord.” (23)
- Am I converted to the Lord?
- How do I show my commitment to Him?
- Am I willing to give up all my sins to know Jesus Christ?
Half-hearted efforts won’t suffice.