In 30 AD, the chief judge is murdered and chaos breaks out among this once righteous nation. They divide into tribes, instead of being united under a judge. These tribes “became exceedingly great.” (4) There are no wars yet, but “all this iniquity had come upon the people because they did yield themselves unto the power of Satan.” (5)
What does it mean to yield ourselves to someone?
The scriptures often talk about yielding our wills to God. Now, it uses the same term with Satan—yielding to him.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines YIELD these ways:
1) to bear or bring forth as a natural product especially as a result of cultivation.
This definition is usually used with fruit growing and things like that, but it can apply spiritually as well. What fruit are we yielding in our lives as a result of what we have cultivated? Are we cultivating goodness, purity, love, humility, repentance? Or are we cultivating negativity in some manner and yielding to the devil in small, subtle ways that can catch us unawares?
The other definition of YIELD is this:
2) to give up possession of or claim or demand: such as a) to surrender or relinquish to the physical control of another; hand over possession of; b) to give (oneself) up to an inclination, temptation, or habit; c) to relinquish one’s possession of (something, such as a position of advantage or point of superiority); d) to surrender or submit (oneself) to another.
This definition shows so many ways we can yield to the devil by giving in to his claims or demands. This happens in very subtle ways, usually. When we yield to our weaknesses or basest fears or desires, we are yielding to the devil. We must choose a higher road to keep from giving up our power to him. If we relinquish the high ground, we give up our spiritual advantage to the evil one. So, hold firm to the high ground. Don’t come down even a few steps.
The last definition of YIELD is this:
3) to give way to pressure or influence: submit to urging, persuasion, or entreaty. 4) to give up and cease resistance or contention.
This definition happens a lot today. Others are always trying to get us to yield to their beliefs, their opinions, their standard for what is right and what is wrong. Satan can deceive even the very best of people, if we are not humble and seeking to have the Spirit with us at all times. I have had family members and close friends challenge decisions I have made, with the Lord’s help. It is easy to doubt myself at these times, because of my respect for the person that I hold. But, I am slowly learning that even good people can get us to yield in bad ways—not that their intentions are bad or evil. Usually, they have the best of intentions. But if I let any man or woman (even highly loved or respected ones) influence me to doubt spiritual promptings and answers I have received from the Lord, then I am yielding to Satan’s power.
The righteous Nephites are few among them. (7) The secret members of Gadiantons are led by Jacob, who becomes their king. He’s a super vile man, being “one of the chiefest who had given his voice against the prophets who testified of Jesus.” (10)
Nephi, son of Nephi, is “grieved for the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds.” (16) He preaches once again repentance and remission of sins through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. Simple, basic doctrines of salvation. These are the things we must hold firm to—in order not to yield ourselves unto Satan.
A few people believe, and “as many as were converted did truly signify unto the people that they had been visited by the power and Spirit of God, which was in Jesus Christ, in whom they believed.” (21)
What do I do to signify that I am truly converted to Jesus Christ?
Nephi’s faith is so great that “angels did minister unto him daily” and he has power the wicked do not. They cannot help but believe his words, and that makes them angry.
How could they believe, but be angry about believing?
I think it’s easier than we think to do. Maybe, we are even guilty of this attitude ourselves. Online interactions are an obvious example. I see (and have been guilty of feeling this way myself, when I am honest) this attitude all the time. We get caught up in a cause or political stance we are passionate about, and we refuse to give heed to anything that clashes against it (even if it is true and factual information).
I have observed people fighting among themselves on FB or comments on news articles and I can tell that they will only believe that which justifies their own view and upholds it. Anything else (even truth) that disagrees with what they have chosen to believe, they will deny, deny, deny. And if that doesn’t work, they will twist truths to justify their positions or finally just ignore it (if we’re lucky—ha ha).
Being humble and repentant sounds easy. But it takes diligent effort. If we are casual about our relationship with God for even one minute, pride can creep in and grab hold of our hearts, leading us carefully off the path. Even good causes we stand for can be twisted by the devil to bring us to his side. That’s why we must always look to our prophet and repent daily, as he has counseled us to do. That’s why we must side with Mercy and stop trying to dish out Justice with harsh words or actions. It is easy to find motes in everyone else’s eyes. But let’s make sure we get the beams out of our own eyes first, so we can see clearly. Clarity of vision seems to lead people to be more loving and tolerant, not contentious.
Nephi, through the priesthood, does many miracles among the people. And this makes a lot of them angry. He casts out devils and even raises his brother from the dead, after he was stoned by the people.
Three years pass away, and Nephi again preaches “unto them repentance and remission of sins.” (23) Those simple truths that keep us from yielding our hearts to the devil. God gives the people many chances, before He destroys them. The few who believe and repent, are baptized “as a witness and a testimony before God, and unto the people, that they had repented and received a remission of their sins.” (25)
The people are poised on a peak of great changes ready to come about. Many are not prepared to receive Christ. They have cast out the prophets and let themselves become hardened or prideful.
But there are a few who have let these troublesome events soften their hearts and have sought after the simple principles of the gospel that prepares us to meet our Savior.
Both types live in a horribly evil and dangerous society, yet, I bet the spiritually prepared did not fear. They looked with hope for the coming of their Redeemer. And they are prepared to receive Him.
- Do I look with faith or fear to the future?
- Am I ready to receive my Savior when He comes again in power and might, to rule and reign on the earth?
- What am I doing today to build His kingdom.