18 Now the Amlicites knew not that they were fulfilling the words of God when they began to mark themselves in their foreheads; nevertheless they had come out in open rebellion against God; therefore it was expedient that the curse should fall upon them.
19 Now I would that ye should see that they brought upon themselves the curse; and even so doth every man that is cursed bring upon himself his own condemnation.
When the Amlicites, an insurgent group of Nephites, formed an alliance with the Lamanites, they adopted some of Lamanite customs. Among those was the tradition of marking their foreheads with a red mark. Mormon sees this as a fulfillment of prophecy: The Lord had promised Nephi when his people separated themselves from the familes of his brothers, Laman and Lemuel, that it would be easy to distinguish his descendants from the descendants of his brothers. God further promised to mark any Nephites who chose to align themselves with the Lamanites, so that the Nephites could easily identify their enemies.
As Mormon points out in the verses above, the Amlicites didn’t start marking their foreheads with the intent to fulfill this prophecy. However, their decision to begin marking their foreheads had the effect of distinguishing them from the Nephites, just as the Lord had promised. God really is able to direct His work on the earth and to fulfill His promises, even as He respects the agency of His children. Our understanding and perspective is so limited that we may make decisions which move His work forward without even realizing what we are doing. As the example of the Amlicites shows, even people who intentionally rebel against God may be inadvertently fulfilling His promises through their rebellious decisions.
Today, I will trust the Lord. I will make the best decisions that I can, and I will remember that those decisions are happening in a broader context which is beyond my comprehension. I will have faith that God will keep His promises, and I will believe in His ability to do all that He has said He will do, even as He respects my agency and the agency of the people around me.