“Jonah on the Beach at Nineveh” (detail), by Daniel A. Lewis
How would you respond if God asked you to do something impossible? Running away might not be the wisest course of action, but the instinct might be understandable.
“Arise,” the Lord commanded Jonah, “go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me” (Jonah 1:2). Jonah responded by boarding a ship bound for Tarshish—the opposite direction. Through a series of miraculous events, God brought Jonah back, and he did preach in Ninevah. In the process, he learned that a task which seems terrifyingly insurmountable may not be. We have to be willing to trust God.
Two Book of Mormon prophets were given similarly challenging assignments. An angel commanded Alma to preach again in Ammonihah immediately after he was kicked out of that city. (See Alma 8:16.) And the Lord told Samuel the Lamanite to return to Zarahemla after being rejected there. (See Helaman 13:3.) Both of them encountered the severe opposition they knew they would face, but both were able to reach some people who needed to hear their message.
It’s easy to think of reasons we will fail. Jonah, Alma, and Samuel all had plenty of evidence that their messages would not be well-received. But there are times when we need to overcome our fears and push ahead in spite of headwinds. Here is a blog post on that topic:
“As a Lion”
The prophet Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah, and like Isaiah, he prophesied that God’s covenant people would eventually prevail. When Jesus Christ visited the Nephites and the Lamanites on the American continent, He quoted several passages from Micah alongside passages from Isaiah to emphasize this point: “Ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver” (3 Nephi 20:16, see Micah 5:8). And “I will make thy horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass” (3 Nephi 20:19, see Micah 4:13).
Disciples of Jesus Christ may be relatively few, but because they are “armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory” (1 Nephi 14:14), they need not be afraid of being outnumbered. Here is a blog post about that concept:
Micah also emphasized that people and places can be more important than they seem. The small village of Bethlehem was the birthplace of King David and would one day be the birthplace of an even more important king. When wise men later arrived in Jerusalem seeking a newborn king, the chief priests advised Herod that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, based on the following prophecy from Micah (see Matthew 2:1-6.):
But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.Micah 5:2
Here is a post about the significance of Bethlehem as the birthplace of the Savior:
“He Delighteth in Mercy”
Micah explained that we do not earn salvation. “Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil?” (Micah 6:7). Elder Dale G. Renlund explained, “The answer is no. Good deeds are not sufficient. Salvation is not earned. Not even the vast sacrifices Micah knew were impossible can redeem the smallest sin” (“Do Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly with God,” General Conference, October 2020).
Instead, God asked something less quantifiable but much more important: “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8).
Micah later testified that God “delighteth in mercy,” and that He will “cast all [our] sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:18-19). Elder Renlund testified, “God delights in mercy and does not begrudge its use…. To love mercy as God does is inseparably connected to dealing justly with others and not mistreating them” (“Do Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly with God,” General Conference, October 2020).
Here is a blog post on that topic:
Wonderful post, loved it..
Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the post!