We just finished two weeks of studying the war chapters in the Book of Mormon; Captain Moroni and Helaman strategizing against Zarahemnah, Amalickiah and Ammoron; the Nephites defending their liberty against the determined Lamanites; internal strife compounding external aggression. So many lessons that we can apply to our day and lives. The best aide for these lessons was indeed the CD by John Bytheway entitled Righteous Warriors. What once only seemed like stories of war and bloodshed to me, are now stories of awareness of the adversary in my life – in your life!
This time through the stories, I was quite intrigued by an underlying premise that I have missed in the past. Time and again, I paid attention to the way that the Nephite captains always had their eye on the enemy. Early on (see Alma 43), Captain Moroni set the stage when he sent spies out to track the movements of the Lamanites, while he sent other messengers to the prophet, to ask Alma what inspired guidance he could give them against the enemy. Other Nephite leaders similarly utilized spies to keep the Lamanites in their sights, and to remain a step or two ahead of them.
Moroni’s enemy was the charging, aggressive Lamanites led by Zarahemnah and Amalickiah. Helaman’s enemy was the Ammoron-led, marauding Lamanites. Pahoran’s enemy was the internally mis-directed kingmen. Who is our enemy? How can we keep an eye on him?
The adversary would like us all to think that he isn’t real. He wants you to feel safe from the enemy, by trying to convince you that he isn’t there. However, we know that he is there! We’ve been told many times by the prophets of old – Old Testament and Book of Mormon; as well as by our modern-day prophets and apostles that he is real, and that he is out there…somewhere in the wilderness around you…quite near to you…and certainly not that far off!
Part of the defense of the Nephite cities was heaps of earth, with pickets on top of a fence of timbers; on top of the pickets, they built towers in which they could put watchmen. And for what were these watchmen watching out? They were keeping their eyes on the enemy, so that they could warn the people when the Lamanites were advancing, and from which direction they were coming.
We have many watchmen and spies to help us keep our eye on the enemy. The watchmen on the tower described by the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel are the prophets and apostles in our day. Some of the spies helping us identify the enemy and his location are our parents, our teachers, our leaders, our bosses, our families and our friends. Sometimes it’s hard for us to see over the timbers and heaps of earth, but these others can. If we are able to discern the warnings and prepare ourselves against the enemy, we can overcome him. Are you hearing the watchmen and the spies? Listening to them? Heeding them? Captain Moroni certainly did!