They Did Humble Themselves Before God – Alma 62:39-41

39 And thus ended the thirty and first year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi; and thus they had had wars, and bloodsheds, and famine, and affliction, for the space of many years.
40 And there had been murders, and contentions, and dissensions, and all manner of iniquity among the people of Nephi; nevertheless for the righteous’ sake, yea, because of the prayers of the righteous, they were spared.
41 But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites many had become hardened, because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and many were softened because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility.

After dedicating 17 chapters to a massive war which lasted 13 years, Mormon makes two observations about the people who lived through those years:
  1. The Nephites had committed many sins during those years, but they received the help of the Lord to defend themselves because of the prayers of the righteous among them.
  2. The afflictions they suffered had one of two effects in their lives. Some were hardened; others were softened. The people whose hearts were softened made intentional choices which led to that outcome: “they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility.”
These two principles are more closely related than they may appear. When people allow their hearts to be hardened, they become susceptible to sin, and they cut themselves off from the protective and empowering influence of the Lord. The way to avoid this outcome is to intentionally turn to the Lord, as Nephi did when his family faced significant afflictions:

I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers (1 Nephi 2:16).

Today, I will turn to the Lord in prayer, so that my heart can be softened. I will intentionally choose to humble myself, so that I can receive the blessings and guidance I need from the Lord for myself and for the people I love.

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