The King Stood Forth, and Began to Minister unto Them – Alma 22:22-23

22 Now when Aaron saw the determination of the queen, he, also knowing the hardness of the hearts of the people, feared lest that a multitude should assemble themselves together, and there should be a great contention and a disturbance among them; therefore he put forth his hand and raised the king from the earth, and said unto him: Stand. And he stood upon his feet, receiving his strength.
23 Now this was done in the presence of the queen and many of the servants. And when they saw it they greatly marveled, and began to fear. And the king stood forth, and began to minister unto them. And he did minister unto them, insomuch that his whole household were converted unto the Lord.
(Alma 22:22-23)

Lamoni’s father, who was “king over all the land” (Alma 20:8), responded favorably to the preaching of Aaron. After praying for his sins to be forgiven, “he was struck as if he were dead” (Alma 22:18), which alarmed his servants. They shared with the queen what had happened. When she commanded them to kill Aaron and his associates, they refused to obey. “Why commandest thou that we should slay these men,” they asked, “when behold one of them is mightier than us all?” (Alma 22:20) They didn’t understand what had happened to their king, but they didn’t dare attack the men who were the cause of it. Unhappy with this answer, the queen asked them to “go and call the people” (Alma 22:21). She thought that a larger group might be more courageous and willing to take action. Trying to calm the situation, Aaron reached out his hand, commanded the king to stand, and raised him up.

There is an important lesson in what happened next. The king “began to minister” to his wife and to the servants. “And he did minister unto them, insomuch that his whole household were converted unto the Lord.” I think it’s noteworthy that he was the one who ministered to them, not Aaron, and not Aaron’s associates. After all, according to the Bible Dictionary, to minister is “to do the work of the Lord on the earth—to represent the Lord among the people, preach the gospel, and administer the ordinances thereof.” A minister “represents the Lord…and is the Lord’s agent.” Lamoni’s father didn’t administer any ordinances at this time. Nor could he, without the appropriate priesthood authority. Yet here we find him, as a brand new convert, preaching the gospel to his family with such power that they are all converted to the gospel. And he does it with a group of experienced missionaries standing in the same room.

Here’s the lesson: no matter how skilled and experienced you may be, you can’t reach every potential listener. They won’t all trust you. If someone they already trust is willing to teach them, they might be more receptive to the message. Aaron and his associates had great power and were effective teachers, but the king’s family and servants didn’t trust them. Only the king could open their hearts so that they would be willing to hear and believe the gospel. And so it was the king who taught them, and it was through the king’s ministering that they were converted.

Later, when an angry mob gathered, the king spoke to them and “pacified” them, so that they were willing to hear the words of Aaron (Alma 22:24-26). At that point, Aaron had the opportunity to teach again.

Today, I will take responsibility for sharing the gospel with others, particularly my own friends and family. I will be grateful for full-time missionaries who are trained to share the gospel and who have been set apart for this important responsibility. But I will remember that my testimony may be more impactful to some people because of the relationship I have with them. Like Lamoni’s father, I will not hesitate to minister to them, knowing that my ministry may play an important role in their conversion.

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1 Response to The King Stood Forth, and Began to Minister unto Them – Alma 22:22-23

  1. Pingback: Lessons from Missionary Experiences in the Book of Mormon | Book of Mormon Study Notes

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