Thursday, July 12, 2007

Alma 56, 57 & 58

Battle One: The Strongest Lamanite Army and Antiparah

The Stripling Warriors were prepared to fight. I'm sure they had physical preparation, but what really mattered was their spiritual preparation. This preparation took years and came at the hand of their mothers. "They had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them." (Alma 56:47)

And when it came time to battle, these young men were prepared. They had tricked the Lamanites into following them. Following the Lamanite army was Antipus. When the Stripling Warriors realized that the Lamanites had stopped following them, they had a decision to make: should they battle or not. The young men recited to Helaman, "Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth,; we would not slay our brethren if they would leave us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus." (Alma 56:46) Up to this point, they had not fought, but they were prepared.

They retrieved and joined the on-going battle in the nick of time. When the battle was over, not one soul of them had fallen. Even still, not only had they survived, but they fought with miraculous strength and mighty power, so much so that they frightened "the strongest army of the Lamanites" (Alma 56:34) This god-like power must have been legend because when they began to make preparations to take the city of Antiparah, the citizens there fled without a fight (Alma 57:4)

Battle Two: Cumeni

The next city Helaman and the Stripling Warriors conquered was Cumeni. At first they laid siege to the city and after several days it fell into their hands. They took on so many prisonsers, that they had to create a special force team to take these captives to Zarahelma.

In their journy to Zarahemla, some Nephite spies cried out to them that a Lamanite army was approaching Cumeni and was going to destroy it. The Lamanite prisoners heard this and started a rebellion. Most of them were killed, but a few escaped. The special force then returned to Cumeni and helped to save the city and the Stripling Warriors. The Stripling Warriors again fought valiantly and "they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness." (Alma 57:21) They won the battle and saved the city.

After the battle was over, a count of the Stripling Warriors was taken and again, not one of them had perished. Their minds were firm and they put their trust in God continually (Alma 57:27) They were an amazing group of young men!

Facing Death, Manti

During this next phase in the history of this band of brothers, they faced death by starvation. Where the Lamanites had failed to accomplish, the lack of concern by the Nephites almost succeeded. The Stripling Warriors found themselves in a desparate situation with no food or provisions. During this time, they kept their faith in God and they "did pour out [their] souls in prayer to God" that he would strengthen and deliver them. (Alma 58:10) God heard their prayers and spoke peace to their souls and gave them hope. They took courage and finally received provisions guarded by an army of two thousand.

Once they received their strength, they continued their plan to take Manti. Again, as in the first battle, the seemingly weak Stripling Warriors were used as bait to get the Lamanites out of their strong holds. Gid and Teomner hid their armies in the wilderness. Once the Stripling Warriors passed between Gid's and Teomner's armies, Gid and Teomner cut off the Lamanite spites and then took Manti with little resistence. The Stripling Warriors continued to flee as if they were heading to Zarahemla. Once the Lamanites realized this and thinking it was another trap, they stopped following the Stripling Warriors and began to return to Manti. Helaman then caused that his men should not sleep, but retreat back to Manti via another way. By sunrise the next day, they were safe in the city of Manti. When the Lamanites approached the city, to their surprise, it was possesed by the Nephites. The Lamanites were astonished and fled into they wilderness.

The Legend of the Stripling Warriors

Their legend still lives on the the minds of millions. They were the small band of brothers who defied the odds and survived a war. More importantly, what we can learn from their legend is how they prepared. They were always strict in remembering God. They kept the commandments continually and they never doubted that God would deliver them. Their faith was exceptional.

No comments: