After a terrible famine and poisonous serpents have killed off a bunch of the Jaredite nation, Shez, a descendent of wicked Heth, takes over and “began to build up again a broken people.” (1)
How do you build up a broken people?
I think it starts by remembering God.
Shez remembered the destruction of his fathers.” (2) He builds on righteous principles “for he remembered what the Lord had done in bringing Jared and his brother across the deep; and he did walk in the ways of the Lord.”Ether 10:2
His oldest son rebels against him, but is smitten by the hand of a robber because of his riches. Shez, the good, builds many cities and the people slowly begin to prosper again. He lives to a ripe old age, begat Riplakish, and he reigns in his stead.
Riplakish “did not do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, for he did have many wives and concubines, and did lay that upon men’s shoulders, which was grievous to be borne.” (5) He heavily taxes his people to satiate his pride and ego by building many spacious buildings and a beautiful throne for himself. He builds many prisons, and those who can’t afford his tax burden are thrown into these. These prisons are basically labor camps, and if the people can’t labor, they’re killed. The prisoners work to refine his gold and do a bunch of things for the king’s glory.
And it came to pass that he did afflict the people with his whoredoms and abominations.”Ether 10:7
The people get sick of this hard rule after 42 years and rise up and kill him and drive his family out of the land.
After more years, Morianton, a descendent of Riplakish, “gathered together an army of outcasts…and gave battle unto the people.” (9) He eventually gains power and becomes king. He eases the people’s burden after gaining the throne
And he did do justice unto the people, but not unto himself because of his many whoredoms; wherefore he was cut off from the presence of the Lord.”Ether 10:11
Do I ever do justly to others, but not myself?
Sin—ANY sin—cuts us off from God. We must watch our thoughts, words and actions, and be quick to repent when we offend our God.
Kim reigns after Morianton. He’s not a righteous king either. His brother rises up against him and brings him into captivity and he serves out the remainder of his days in prison, bearing Levi. Levi serves Kim in captivity for 42 years before he rises up and takes over the kingdom. He is a righteous king and “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord; and the people did prosper in the land.” (16)
Notice the number 42. It keeps popping up.
Whenever the people turn to the Lord, they prosper. When a wicked ruler comes into play, their prosperity starts decreasing as greed increases.
Corom reigns after him. He is good too. Maybe serving in captivity humbled Levi enough that he repented and turned to God and taught his children to do the same. Corom begets Kish, and he begets Lib.
And it came to pass that Lib also did that which was good in the sight of the Lord. And in the days of Lib the poisonous serpents were destroyed.”
From wicked king Heth (who brought the famine upon them…and the serpents) we had four more generations of wickedness before Levi turned it around. After Levi, we have three more good generations before the consequence of past wickedness (serpents) is taken away. Roughly 8 or 9 generations had to suffer the consequences of Heth’s great wickedness.
Sin is not only bad for one generation. It’s consequences last for many generations.
The people in the days of Lib set aside the land south for a wilderness to get game. The whole land northward is covered with cities and buildings. Commerce flourishes because of their industry.
And never could be a people more blessed than were they, and more prospered by the hand of the Lord. And they were in a land that was choice above all lands, for the Lord had spoken it.”Ether 10:28
Four generations of righteous living and industry have made them a great nation once again.
But at the peak of prosperity, pride and power-seeking creep into hearts. Lib’s son Hearthom reigns after him, but he only reigns 24 years before the kingdom is taken from him and he is made a captive. His son Heth serves out his days in captivity. His son Aaron serves out his days in captivity. Amnigadah serves out his days in captivity, and also his son Coriantum (that’s five generations in captivity.
What did Hearthom do to cause this great calamity after the prosperous days of his father, Lib?
Coriantum begets Com. He draws away half of the people and reigns over them for 42 years (here’s that number again). He goes to battle against the other king Amgid and eventually restores the whole kingdom to his family.
And in the days of Com there began to be robbers in the land; and they adopted the old plans, and administered oaths after the manner of the ancients, and sought again to destroy the kingdom.
Now Com did fight against them much; nevertheless, he did not prevail against them.”Ether 10:33-34
Why didn’t he prevail against his enemy?
Our prophet spoke last month about letting God prevail in our lives. I think Com couldn’t prevail in Jaredite times because God didn’t prevail in his life or the lives of his people. When we choose the Lord, He blesses us, in ways we usually couldn’t imagine, because His ways are not our ways.
Each of us has a divine potential because each is a child of God. Each is equal in His eyes. The implications of this truth are profound. Brothers and sisters, please listen carefully to what I am about to say. God does not love one race more than another. His doctrine on this matter is clear. He invites ALL to come unto Him, “black and white, bond and free, male and female.” (2 Nephi 26:33)
I assure you that your standing before God is not determined by the color of your skin. Favor or disfavor with God is dependent upon your devotion to God and His commandments and not the color of your skin.”Russell M. Nelson (see resources below)
Favor with God depends upon whether we allow Him to prevail in our lives.
The question for each of us, regardless of race, is the same. Are YOU willing to let God prevail in your life? Are YOU willing to let God be the most important influence in your life? Will you allow His words, His commandments, and His covenants to influence what you do each day? Will you allow His voice to take priority over any other? Are you WILLING to let whatever He needs you to do take precedence over every other ambition? Are you WILLING to have your will swallowed up in His?”Pres. Nelson (see resources)
The Jaredite history shows us historical examples of what happens when a people let God prevail in their lives…and what happens when they don’t. The contrast is shocking.
Let us determine today to be part of God’s team. Let us be willing to Let Him prevail in our lives in all things. This is the way to find joy, in letting Him—and no one else—be our King.
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