Monday, March 14, 2011
Poisoned by Degrees
One of my favorite scripture stories is in the Book of Mormon. It is the story of Amalikiah and Lehonti. (See Alma 47).
In this story, Amalikiah, who was a Nephite dissenter, takes the Lamanite army and goes after Lehonti. Amalikiah is sent after Lehonti to force him and his men to go to battle against the Nephites. Lehonti and his army flee to the top of a mountain where, they build a fortress and prepare to stay there for a long time. Amalikiah tries to get Lehonti to come down out of the fortress. Three times Lehonti says no. But the fourth time, Amalikiah comes almost to Lehonti's camp and makes such a good offer, that Lehonti doesn't refuse to meet him. The deal that he makes is that Lehonti will come down off the mountain with all his men and surround the Lamanite camp. Then Lehonti will take over the entire army and make Amalikiah the second in command. No one will know that Amalikiah ever betrayed the King of the Lamanites. Everything proceeds as planned until after Amalikiah is made second in command. Then (not surprisingly) Lehonti is poisoned "by degrees" until he dies. Now Amalikiah is the head of the entire Lamanite army.
For me, the point to this story is that Satan is very much like Amalikiah. He does not give up easily. He will try and get us to come down from our higher ground. Lehonti was safe until he came down just a little way to meet Amalikiah. Satan will likewise continue to make offers to us that sound so good. Here a little, there a little, until soon we find ourselves compromising our standards and making choices that do not have eternity in mind.
He might promise us wealth, or happiness, or even prestige and power. The sad part is that he never has any intention in giving us the things that will really be of benefit to us. His intentions are to bring us down and than poison us a little at a time by desensitizing us into thinking that moral standards are not important or relevant in today's society. Lehonti was well positioned on the top of the mountain, yet it took Amalikiah only four tries to get him to come down.
Could it be that this same type of thing is happening today?
Could it be that we are easily deceived by false role models, by seductive advertising, by worldly concerns? Could it be that we first tolerate, then accept and finally embrace the worldly ways?
Could it be that we need to remember who we are and where we come from?
We need to look at what is going on around us and get rid of the poison in our lives. We need to turn away from the evil influences that are everywhere and remember that only He can heal us from the poison. We need to remember that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father. We need to remember that we are encircled about in the arms of His love.
He cares for us.
He wants us to be happy.
He wants us to return to Him.