Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mosiah 4

Every devoted Christian would do well to read the instructions of King Benjamin in this chapter and follow them. When he had addressed his people, he noticed that they were all prostrate, and Mormon notes

2 And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.

They saw themselves as "less than the dust of the earth." In Genesis, Abraham, and elsewhere, the scriptures talk about man being created from the dust and returning to the dust at death. So, in what sense is man "less" than the dust? The Psalmist mused about man's place in the universe: (Psalms 8)

3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

So, in one sense as sons and daughters of God, we have this divine potential to be the greatest of all God's creations, for we have the potential to become like Him. However, we are less than the dust because even the dust obeys Him when He speaks. Nephi said (Helaman 12),

7 O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth.
8 For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God.
9 Yea, behold at his voice do the hills and the mountains tremble and quake.

All of the physical elements obey the voice of the Lord. Men and women, however, use the great gift of agency to defy the God who created them. Nephi said (Helaman 12):

6 Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide.

So, King Benjamin counsels his people, that after they have come to believe, they must do according to the things they believe.

9 Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
10 And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.

I pray that I can follow the admonition of James -- "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only." (James 1:22)

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