Last post, I talked about the Rock of Jesus Christ that Helaman taught his sons in their youth. Now, as adults, this Rock motivates Nephi and Lehi to go to every Nephite city, and even some Lamanite ones, to preach Christ’s gospel of repentance, love, peace, and salvation.
“And it came to pass that they did preach with great power, insomuch that they did confound many of those dissenters who had gone over from the Nephites, insomuch that they came forth and did confess their sins and were baptized unto repentance, and immediately returned to the Nephites to endeavor to repair unto them the wrongs which they had done.” (17)
Nephi had been the chief judge. That’s the highest political position in his nation. Yet, he left his politics behind to preach the word of Christ. He truly stood upon the firm foundation of His Savior.
Think how much good could come about today if everyone who believes in Jesus Christ would put our politics second and focus on our Savior first.
- Would we ever bash others in social media posts because they don’t agree with our politics or social worldview?
- Would we ever put others down for any reason?
- Would pride make us think we are better, more enlightened, or more righteous then someone else…if we are focusing on our Savior?
I love how Nephi and Lehi went among the dissenters. They didn’t preach their political platform to show those dissenters how WRONG they were. That wouldn’t have convinced anyone to change. It doesn’t today.
No! They preached Christ, and then the Spirit touched the dissenters’ hearts to want to repent and return to the God they had left behind.
Prophesy (focusing on Christ) always works better than politics when trying to change someone’s heart or core beliefs.
It troubles me today how many good Church members are focusing on politics over Christ. I see judgments, bashing, anger, contention. I will admit, it is easy to fall into pride and contention. I have fallen to it at times, when I feel attacked or judged wrongly.
If we are focused on Christ first though, He will help us be humble in our political and social leanings. He will help us be kind to those who oppose us. He will help us listen to understand better. He will help us be humble, so we aren’t lifted up into pride and maybe take our political or social beliefs too far, to a place He can’t reside with us.
Nephi and Lehi put Christ over politics. They went into the land of the Lamanites to preach Christ unto them. Their enemy. The Lamanites have a different culture, different beliefs, different form of government. They are different in so many ways. Yet, they are still children of God, and Nephi and Lehi can see that…since they have focused on Christ and not worldly matters.
Teaching about Jesus Christ brings people together, no matter how different they might seem. The doctrine of Christ unifies. It uplifts. It is inclusive.
Therefore they did speak unto the great astonishment of the Lamanites, to the convincing them, insomuch that there were eight thousand of the Lamanites who were in the land of Zarahemla and round about baptized unto repentance, and were convinced of the wickedness of the traditions of their fathers.”Helaman 5:19
Politics could never have had such great power over the minds and hearts of those people. But the knowledge of Jesus Christ did.
Nephi and Lehi don’t stop there. They want everyone to know of Christ, so they enter the land of Nephi, even deeper into Lamanite territory. They are taken by the Lamanites here and cast into prison. These people want to slay them.
And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi were encircled about as if by fire, even insomuch that they durst not lay their hands upon them for fear lest they should be burned. Nevertheless, Nephi and Lehi were not burned; and they were as standing in the midst of fire and were not burned.”Helaman 5:23
This had to be incredible to witness. Mortal men in fire, not being harmed. Nephi and Lehi take advantage of God’s protection and preach Christ unto their enemies, who are now a captive audience. They tell them to fear not, that God is protecting them.
A cloud of darkness covers the people. They hear a voice from heaven, telling them to repent and not destroy His servants.
And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul—“Helaman 5:30
Again, the voice from heaven speaks, telling them to repent and not destroy His servants. A third time, the voice did “speak unto them marvelous words which cannot be uttered by man; and the walls did tremble again, and the earth shook as if it were about to divide asunder.” (33)
One of the spectators, a Nephite dissenter named Aminadab (39), looks into the fire and sees Lehi and Nephi conversing with unseen hosts in heaven. He tells everyone who wonders, “They do converse with the angels of God.” (39)
They ask him what they should do to have the darkness taken from them. Aminadab says:
You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you.” (41)
The darkness begins to dispel and “they were encircled about, yea every soul, by a pillar of fire.” (43) Darkness can’t stay when light enters. They are filled with unspeakable joy and “the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words.” (45)
In this spiritual state of joy, something spectacular happens. They hear God, the Father, “a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper, saying: (46)
Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world.”Helaman 5:47
They look up to heaven, and angels come down to minister unto them and tell them to “go forth and marvel not, neither should they doubt.” (49)
Do we ever doubt past spiritual experiences, letting the joy and knowledge we once had diminish because we don’t carefully nourish our soil?
All these people, about 300, go forth and declare the word they’ve received. They convince almost the entire Lamanite nation “because of the greatness of the evidences which they had received.” (50)
Do I keep my eyes open to see the greatness of evidences of God’s influence in my life?
Those who are converted lay down their weapons of war and their hatred. This is a sign of a truly converted person. They are filled with love, not hate.
Let’s work harder to put Christ first in our lives. He is more important than politics. He is more important than social events or causes. He is more important than everything. Let us not forget him, even for a second.