They Went Again Even the Third Time – Mosiah 21:6-13

6 And it came to pass that the people began to murmur with the king because of their afflictions; and they began to be desirous to go against them to battle. And they did afflict the king sorely with their complaints; therefore he granted unto them that they should do according to their desires.
7 And they gathered themselves together again, and put on their armor, and went forth against the Lamanites to drive them out of their land.
8 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did beat them, and drove them back, and slew many of them.
9 And now there was a great mourning and lamentation among the people of Limhi, the widow mourning for her husband, the son and the daughter mourning for their father, and the brothers for their brethren.
10 Now there were a great many widows in the land, and they did cry mightily from day to day, for a great fear of the Lamanites had come upon them.
11 And it came to pass that their continual cries did stir up the remainder of the people of Limhi to anger against the Lamanites; and they went again to battle, but they were driven back again, suffering much loss.
12 Yea, they went again even the third time, and suffered in the like manner; and those that were not slain returned again to the city of Nephi.
13 And they did humble themselves even to the dust, subjecting themselves to the yoke of bondage, submitting themselves to be smitten, and to be driven to and fro, and burdened, according to the desires of their enemies.

What a sad time in the history of the Nephites! They had already learned by experience that the Lord would bless them and give them power over their enemies when they were fighting for the survival of their families. Apparently, their victory in the prior chapter against an enemy with more than twice as many soldiers gave them an unhealthy level of confidence in their own abilities. In any event, in the passage above, they display a remarkable inability to learn from their failures.
Tenacity and persistence are positive qualities, and there are times when the right thing to do is simply to carry on with the current strategy until it is successful. However, like Nephi and his brothers who continually changed their tactics when retrieving the brass plates from Laban, there are other times when the best approach is to regroup, learn from our failures, and generate some new ideas. It is a sad thing when we are governed by emotion to the degree that we behave irrationally and self-destructively, as the people of Limhi were doing at this time. It took them three devastating defeats before they were able to override their anger and desire for vengeance and humble themselves before the Lord, so that He could strengthen them by His grace (see Ether 12:27).
Today, I will learn from my failures. I will not give up on my goals, but if my current tactics don’t appear to be leading me to success, I will be humble enough to take a step back, reevaluate my strategy, and ask the Lord what I need to do differently.

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