Sorry this is late---we never did get around to turning on the computer yesterday. so we had a nice digital-free shabbat. This week's post is a continuation of last week's, notes from my Sunday School lesson on Alma 17-22.
Since last week's post, I've heard a few comments on my lesson, and the main one--a little surprising--is that it was 'funny.' You wouldn't really get that from the notes. I didn't plan any jokes......
Anyway, here's the second of the three lessons I prepared. We ran out of time and only barely touched on this one, but there's some interesting stuff. I used the Blue Letter Bible for my vocabulary research (what word[s] were translated intoguile). If you're not familiar with it, it's a great tool.
-John 1:47 (dolos)
+2 Cor 12:16 (dolos)*
-1 Thess 2:3 (dolos) seems to say the opposite of 2Cor12
-1 Peter 2:1 (dolos)
-1 Peter 2:21-22 (dolos) Christ was without guile
-1 Peter 3:10 (dolos)
Revelation 14:5 (dolos)
-Exodus 21:14 (ormah)
-Psalms 32:2 (r@miyah) Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
-Psalms 34:13 (mirmah)
-Psalms 55:11 (mirmah)
*Some translations suggest that this is a continuation of Paul listing the ways he had supposedly taken advantage of the people. They way I read it myself is that he is saying that if he tricked them, it was not for their money but, you might say, for their souls.
This is a further likening to Ammon. Upon first meeting Ammon, it's clear that Lamoni's father expects that he, Ammon, is after wealth. With a bit of squinting, we could guess that Lamoni started with that assumption as well. A bit of swordplay and Ammon, like Paul, has apparently found a sneaky way to riches. But, in fact, all his guile is used for is in freeing his brethren and helping his buddy Lamoni.
**This one is particularly interesting to me. In a list of attributes of your good priesthood man, guile
is explicitly excluded. And this is the same God that had Joseph translate whatever word was in the Book
of Mormon as 'guile.'
How do we choose to understand this?
Or, perhaps, what was it about Ammon's and Paul's "guile" which makes it okay?
My guess: charity.
Also, consider this: Ammon had a chance at guile with Lamoni's father and all he did was ask favors for friends. And what result did this have?
Within moments of trying to kill Ammon, he says:
Alma 20:27 And I will also grant unto thee that thy brethren may be cast out of prison, and thou and thy brethren may come unto me, in my kingdom; for I shall greatly desire to see thee. For the king was greatly astonished at the words which he had spoken, and also at the words which had been spoken by his son Lamoni, therefore he was desirous to learn them.
So Aaron and presumably Muloki come to visit the king and they offer to be his servants (they've learned from the Ammon playbook). But the king will have none of that.
Let's read. We have an Aaron, a king and a narrator. Please share a mike, folks. And read with gusto!
If you want to follow along, Alma 22:2-18.
Pay close attention to the startling lack of guile on the part of the king. I'll be asking you what we can learn from him and how we can apply those lessons.
- Narrator: And it came to pass that he went in unto him into the king’s palace, with his brethren, and bowed himself before the king, and said unto him:
Aaron: Behold, O king, we are the brethren of Ammon, whom thou hast delivered out of prison. And now, O king, if thou wilt spare our lives, we will be thy servants.
King: Arise, for I will grant unto you your lives, and I will not suffer that ye shall be my servants; but I will insist that ye shall administer unto me; for I have been somewhat troubled in mind because of the generosity and the greatness of the words of thy brother Ammon; and I desire to know the cause why he has not come up out of Middoni with thee.
Aaron: Behold, the Spirit of the Lord has called him another way; he has gone to the land of Ishmael, to teach the people of Lamoni.
King: What is this that ye have said concerning the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, this is the thing which doth trouble me. And also, what is this that Ammon said—If ye will repent ye shall be saved, and if ye will not repent, ye shall be cast off at the last day?
Aaron: Believest thou that there is a God?
King: I know that the Amalekites say that there is a God, and I have granted unto them that they should build sanctuaries, that they may assemble themselves together to worship him. And if now thou sayest there is a God, behold I will believe.
Narrator: And now when Aaron heard this, his heart began to rejoice, and he said:
Aaron: Behold, assuredly as thou livest, O king, there is a God.
King: Is God that Great Spirit that brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem?
Aaron: Yea, he is that Great Spirit, and he created all things both in heaven and in earth. Believest thou this?
King: Yea, I believe that the Great Spirit created all things, and I desire that ye should tell me concerning all these things, and I will believe thy words.
Narrator: And it came to pass that when Aaron saw that the king would believe his words, he began from the creation of Adam, reading the scriptures unto the king—how God created man after his own image, and that God gave him commandments, and that because of transgression, man had fallen. And Aaron did expound unto him the scriptures from the creation of Adam, laying the fall of man before him, and their carnal state and also the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all whosoever would believe on his name. And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king. And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said:
King: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.
Aaron: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest.
Narrator: And it came to pass that when Aaron had said these words, the king did bow down before the Lord, upon his knees; yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried mightily, saying:
King: O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day.
Narrator: And now when the king had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead. But don’t worry, everyone! Things work out! He’s not really dead! Not till chapter twenty-four, anyway! Back to you, Brother Jepson.
What does it mean to be willing to give up all your sins to know God?
Why do you think the king offered his sins? To Ammon he offered half the kingdom.
How can we be more like the king?
When SHOULD we be more like him?
And HOW CAN WE BE MORE LIKE HIM?
This is something I want to know.