Alma, Chapter 33

What did Alma want the Zoramites to plant in their hearts?

“Now after Alma had spoken these words, they sent forth unto him desiring to know whether they should believe in one God, that they might obtain this fruit of which he had spoken, or how they should plant the seed, or the word of which he had spoken, which he said must be planted in their hearts; or in what manner they should begin to exercise their faith.”  The Zoramites asked Alma some questions.  Should we believe in one God?  How do we plant the seed of the word of God in our hearts?  How do we begin to exercise our faith?

Faith is a Sunrise

Should we believe in one God?  My answer is yes, because there is only one true and living God and we have been commanded to only worship him and none else.  How do we plant the seed of the word of God in our hearts?  First we must learn of the word of God.  We read the scriptures, listen to the prophets, and then the spirit, which will tell us what we need to do.  How do we begin to exercise our faith?  We start by doing what we have been commanded to do.  The first step is to obediently try it and the faith that we have in that thing will grow.

Alma answers these questions with the words of the prophets.  “And Alma said unto them: Behold, ye have said that ye could not worship your God because ye are cast out of your synagogues. But behold, I say unto you, if ye suppose that ye cannot worship God, ye do greatly err, and ye ought to search the scriptures; if ye suppose that they have taught you this, ye do not understand them (v. 2).  Do ye remember to have read what Zenos, the prophet of old, has said concerning prayer or worship (v. 3)?  For he said: Thou art merciful, O God, for thou hast heard my prayer, even when I was in the wilderness; yea, thou wast merciful when I prayed concerning those who were mine enemies, and thou didst turn them to me (v. 4).  Yea, O God, and thou wast merciful unto me when I did cry unto thee in my field; when I did cry unto thee in my prayer, and thou didst hear me (v. 5).  And again, O God, when I did turn to my house thou didst hear me in my prayer (v. 6).  And when I did turn unto my closet, O Lord, and prayed unto thee, thou didst hear me (v. 7).  Yea, thou art merciful unto thy children when they cry unto thee, to be heard of thee and not of men, and thou awilt hear them (v. 8 ).  Yea, O God, thou hast been merciful unto me, and heard my cries in the midst of thy congregations (v. 9).  Yea, and thou hast also heard me when I have been cast out and have been despised by mine enemies; yea, thou didst hear my cries, and wast angry with mine enemies, and thou didst visit them in thine anger with speedy destruction (v. 10).  And thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity; and it is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son (v. 11).”

From the scriptures, or the word of God, Zenos taught that we pray to one God.  We can pray to Him anywhere that we are and He will here our prayers.  Our prayers are personal messages of gratitude and pleadings for help which should be sincere.  Heavenly Father is able to show us mercy because His Son.

Alma continued by asking if they believed the words of the scriptures as they claimed they did.  He said, “Now behold, my brethren, I would ask if ye have read the scriptures? If ye have, how can ye disbelieve on the Son of God (v. 14)?  For it is not written that Zenos alone spake of these things, but Zenock also spake of these things (v. 15)—For behold, he said: Thou art angry, O Lord, with this people, because they will not understand thy mercies which thou hast bestowed upon them because of thy Son (v. 16).  And now, my brethren, ye see that a second prophet of old has testified of the Son of God, and because the people would not understand his words they stoned him to death (v. 17).”  From Zenock we learn again that Heavenly Father bestows mercy upon us because of His Son.

Alma goes on, “But behold, this is not all; these are not the only ones who have spoken concerning the Son of God (v. 18 ).  Behold, he was spoken of by Moses; yea, and behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live (v. 19).  But few understood the meaning of those things, and this because of the hardness of their hearts. But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished. Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would heal them (v. 20).”

In Numbers 21:4-9 we read, “And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way (v. 4).  And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread (v. 5).  And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died (v. 6).  Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people (v. 7).  And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live (v. 8 ).  And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived (v. 9).”

Here we learn from Moses, that there was to be a Christ.  That they showed the people a staff with a serpent on top, to represent what Christ would be able to do for the people.  Many would believe in Christ and live, just as those who looked at the serpent were spared.  Still, many would not believe and perish, just as those who died because they would not believe that looking at the serpent would save them.  The thing that the people would chose not to believe was the atonement.  The atonement has the power to heal us of everything that hurts our physical and spiritual bodies.  The atonement is that thing which Christ did, that allows God to show us the mercy.

Alma continues, “O my brethren, if ye could be healed by merely casting about your eyes that ye might be healed, would ye not behold quickly, or would ye rather harden your hearts in unbelief, and be slothful, that ye would not cast about your eyes, that ye might perish (v. 21)?  If so, wo shall come upon you; but if not so, then cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works (v. 22).  And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen (v. 23).”

How did this answer the questions:  Should we believe in one God?  How do we plant the seed of the word of God in our hearts?  How do we begin to exercise our faith?  There is one God that the prophets speak of in the scriptures.  The planting comes from learning the truth of the word of God and then we exercise the faith, but praying as Zenos did and looking to Christ for the blessings of the atonement as Moses has taught us.  Alma is trying to show the Zoramites that we exercise our faith, or plant the seed, by experimenting upon the word of God in the scriptures.  It tells them that they should believe in Christ, so they need to test it out.  Believe, even a little, and the faith in Him will grow and bring blessings to their lives.

And Alma said unto them: Behold, ye have said that ye acould not bworship your God because ye are cast out of your synagogues. But behold, I say unto you, if ye suppose that ye cannot worship God, ye do greatly err, and ye ought to search the cscriptures; if ye suppose that they have taught you this, ye do not understand them.
3 Do ye remember to have read what aZenos, the prophet of old, has said concerning prayer or bworship?
4 For he said: Thou art merciful, O God, for thou hast heard my prayer, even when I was ain the wilderness; yea, thou wast merciful when I prayed concerning those who were mine benemies, and thou didst turn them to me.
5 Yea, O God, and thou wast merciful unto me when I did cry unto thee in my afield; when I did cry unto thee in my prayer, and thou didst hear me.
6 And again, O God, when I did turn to my house thou didst hear me in my prayer.
7 And when I did turn unto my acloset, O Lord, and prayed unto thee, thou didst hear me.
8 Yea, thou art merciful unto thy children when they cry unto thee, to be heard of thee and not of men, and thou awilt hear them.
9 Yea, O God, thou hast been merciful unto me, and heard my cries in the midst of thy congregations.
10 Yea, and thou hast also heard me when I have been acast out and have been despised by mine enemies; yea, thou didst hear my cries, and wast angry with mine enemies, and thou didst bvisit them in thine anger with speedy destruction.
11 And thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my asincerity; and it is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine bafflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, cbecause of thy Son.
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