The poor Zoramites now have questions for Alma after he finishes preaching.
- Do we believe in one God to obtain this fruit of which you’ve spoken?
- How do we plant this seed—or the word—in our hearts?
- In what manner do we begin to exercise faith? (1)
These are good questions to ask ourselves as well.
He tells them that they do greatly err to think they can’t worship God but in their places of worship and that they need to “search the scriptures” to know truth again. (2)
He quotes Zenos (which seems to be a prophet in the brass plates that has been lost in our current Bible) as saying: “Thou art merciful, O God, for thou hast heard my prayer, even when I was in the wilderness.” (4) Zenos goes on to say that the Lord heard him “in my field” (5) and “when I did turn to my house thou didst hear me in my prayer.” (6) In his closet He heard him as well.
These Zenos quotes prove to the poor Zoramites that God will hear them wherever they are, “when they cry unto thee, to be heard of thee and not of men, and thou wilt hear them.” (8)
The prideful Zoramites do not heed this scripture. Their prayers at the Rameumpton (in an earlier chapter) are to be heard and applauded by men.
God does not heed those vain and prideful repetitions.
The ancient prophet Zenos is quoted again by Alma.
And thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity; and it is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son.”Alma 33:11
Repeatedly, he tells us the reason God is merciful is because of Christ, His Son.
Alma asks if they believe these scriptures. If they do, how can they “disbelieve on the Son of God?” (14)
The same could be asked of us. The scriptures are full of prophesies of Christ, and filled with pages of His merciful call for us to repent and come unto Him.
Alma quotes another lost prophet, Zenock, to prove that Christ lives. Zenock apparently got stoned to death for his testimony of Christ. But Zenos and Zenock aren’t the only prophets that testified of Christ.
Behold, he was spoken of by Moses; yea, and behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live.
But few understood the meaning of those things, and this because of the hardness of their hearts.”Alma 33:19-20
It’s interesting to note that being rebellious, stubborn, and hard-hearted actually keeps us from being able to understand the things of God. It keeps us from being saved spiritually, but also physically (as in the case with the children of Israel, when Moses raised up the golden serpent to save those who would look up after being bitten by the poisonous serpents).
“But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished. Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would heal them.” (20)
This always baffles me how some of the children of Israel refused to look up at the brass serpent and live. But I guess it shouldn’t surprise me, because Christ’s message of mercy is so loving and makes so much sense, but people reject it all the time.
One thing that hit me recently, that reminded me of the children of Israel not being willing to even look up at a golden serpent on their prophet’s staff to be saved is the mask-wearing dilemma. So many good, amazing people have become hard-hearted with wearing a mask during a pandemic.
But Church leaders have recently come out pleading with us to be good citizens during this time—to watch out and care for others—by wearing masks in public.
Do we listen? Or do we NOT look up (or put a mask on) because we think it won’t save us. We think “we have rights!” or “we’re smarter” than the doctors and religious and community leaders asking us to do this thing.
O my brethren, if ye could be healed by merely casting about your eyes that ye might be healed, would ye not behold quickly, or would you rather harden your hearts in unbelief, and be slothful, that ye would not cast about your eyes, that ye might perish?”Alma 33:21
Interesting that he used the word slothful. Laziness can be just as damning as rebelliousness.
Am I lazy in serving God and keeping His commandments?
What is the Word we must Plant in our hearts?
In chapter 32, Alma talked about planting the word of God in our hearts and experimenting upon it, nourishing it by faith. This next verse tells us the saving word that should be planted. This word, like the serpent Moses held up on his staff to save his people in his day, has the power to save us NOW.
…cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works.”Alma 33:22
THIS is the WORD we must plant in our hearts and nourish with great care.
- Believing in Christ, the Son of God
- That He will come to earth to redeem us
- That He will suffer and sacrifice Himself to atone for our sins.
- That He shall rise from the dead, breaking the chains of death.
- That His resurrection will make it possible for us to have eternal life and be resurrected and be judged of our works.
And as this testimony of Jesus Christ “beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen.” (23)
- Faith in Jesus Christ is what nourishes our testimonies and brings us joy in Him.
- Faith is what helps us learn to trust Him and believe wholeheartedly in His promises.
- Faith is what gives us courage to stand up for the word of God and defend it to those who try to tear it and our testimonies down.
- Faith in Jesus Christ will bring the enabling power of His Atonement into our lives and make us new men and women in Him—pure, mighty, and holy.
The principles are simple and true.
Will I believe enough to plant the seeds of salvation in my soul and then nourish them with all the faith I can muster?