Alma Chapter 38
The commandments of Alma to his son Shiblon.
Alma 38 Alma counsels his son Shiblon
Alma 38:12 Alma to his son Shiblon: Use boldness, but not overbearance.
Alma 38:14 Alma to Shiblon: Do not say, O God, I thank thee that we are better than our brethren; but rather say: 0 Lord, forgive my unworthiness.
1 My son, give ear to my words, for I say unto you, even as I said unto Helaman, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence.
2 And now, my son, I trust that I shall have great joy in you, because of your steadiness and your faithfulness unto God; for as you have commenced in your youth to look to the Lord your God, even so I hope that you will continue in keeping his commandments; for blessed is he that endureth to the end.
3 I say unto you, my son, that I have had great joy in thee already, because of thy faithfulness and thy diligence, and thy patience and thy long-suffering among the people of the Zoramites.
4 For I know that thou wast in bonds; yea, and I also know that thou wast stoned for the word's sake; and thou didst bear all these things with patience because the Lord was with thee; and now thou knowest that the Lord did deliver thee.
5 And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
verse 5 "as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions" Does this promise apply to this mortal life or to the life to come? Undoubtedly it applies to both. We read in Matthew: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matthew 11:28- 30). John the Revelator wrote: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). Speaking of righteous men, Isaiah wrote: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." All of this is not to say that if a man is sufficiently righteous, he may expect to be blessed to avoid life's viscissitudes. Every man, regardless of his righteous living, may expect mortality to be a vigorous experience strewn with ample numbers of difficulties. But if he truly believes in and loves his Savior and regularly feels and expresses gratitude for his atoning death, and if he strives to follow his example, he will become well acquainted with the Savior's peace, comfort, and love. He will be able to brook his hardships with the calm assurance of someone who has come to know that this life is not the real life-that the real life is the one which follows. When it is confirmed to a man that he will live with his Father again, when hardships arise, he will be resilient by virtue of his relationship with the Lord and with the Lord's Spirit.
To be "lifted up at the last day" is to be exalted in the celestial kingdom.
6 Now, my son, I would not that ye should think that I know these things of myself, but it is the Spirit of God which is in me which maketh these things known unto me; for if I had not been born of God I should not have known these things.
7 But behold, the Lord in his great mercy sent his angel to declare unto me that I must stop the work of destruction among his people; yea, and I have seen an angel face to face, and he spake with me, and his voice was as thunder, and it shook the whole earth.
8 And it came to pass that I was three days and three nights in the most bitter pain and anguish of soul; and never, until I did cry out unto the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, did I receive a remission of my sins. But behold, I did cry unto him and I did find peace to my soul.
verse 6-8 These verses contain the third of three accounts of the story of the conversion of Alma found in the Book of Mormon. The first two are found in Mosiah 27:8-37 and Alma 36:4-26. This particular account, intended for his son Shiblon, is the briefest of the three. For a discussion of the comparison of these three accounts see the commentary for Mosiah 27:8-37.
9 And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness.
verse 9 "he is the life and the light of the world" If you have spent some time pondering over D&C 88-the revelation referred to as the Olive Leaf-then I hope you have concluded with me that the subject of the relationship between the Savior and the natural laws and physical energies of the universe including the physical energy of light is a most complex one that I'm not sure we are given to fully understand. God is the law of our universe. He is the source of all power in the universe. By virtue of him we have a universe. Everything in our universe operates by power which emanates from him.
Even the natural laws of the universe operate by his power. By virtue of his power, the sun, the moon, the stars, rocks, tulips, light, electricity, water, etc., all exist. Their molecules and atoms exist and function because of his power. Their electrons spin around their protons and neutrons by virtue of his law or power. Indeed all energy in the universe originates with God. Thus, he is in all things. For our purposes, Jesus Christ is given to be God of our world and innumerable other worlds. He has all that his Father has. He is our God. Thus, Christ is "in all and through all things." In other words, his influence, this universal energy of which we have spoken, which emanates from him is intimately involved in all things, both animate and inanimate, indeed they exist and function because of Christ and his power. Indeed, he is, in both a spiritual and physical way "the light and the life of the world." See The Concept of Light in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1, chapter 15.
The attributes attributed to the Savior in this verse might also be used as titles for him. These include "the life," "the light of the world," "the word of truth," and "righteousness."
10 And now, as ye have begun to teach the word even so I would that ye should continue to teach; and I would that ye would be diligent and temperate in all things.
verse 10 He who is "temperate in all things" uses restraint and moderation in speech and behavior.
11 See that ye are not lifted up unto pride; yea, see that ye do not boast in your own wisdom, nor of your much strength.
12 Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness.
verse 12 "see that ye bridle all your passions" Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language defines bridle as, "To restrain, guide or govern; to check, curb, or control."
13 Do not pray as the Zoramites do, for ye have seen that they pray to be heard of men, and to be praised for their wisdom.
14 Do not say: O God, I thank thee that we are better than our brethren; but rather say: O Lord, forgive my unworthiness, and remember my brethren in mercy-yea, acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times.
15 And may the Lord bless your soul, and receive you at the last day into his kingdom, to sit down in peace. Now go, my son, and teach the word unto this people. Be sober. My son, farewell.