Where are we? Ha ha… where. Remember that we’re looking for settings this week. Where where where.
When Nephi came into Zarahemla, he found that things were not as he left them and that over the years that he had been gone as a missionary, the people had grown wicked. He immediately began to preach unto the people of Zarahemla and “they did reject all his words insomuch that he could not stay among them”. I find this so sad. The state of affairs in Zarahemla had to have been awful for a righteous Nephite to not even be able to live there. However, Nephi began to pray and cry out the sadness inside of his heart. Nephi climbed upon a tower in his garden and began to pray and his garden was in Zarahemla near the highway and people began to gather at the sound of his prayer.
When Nephi noticed the multitude he asked them why they were there. Nephi uses some pretty strong words toward them and he calls the people unto repentance. He asks them how they could have forgotten God who has saved them and he clearly prophesies to them that unless they repent, Heavenly Father will scatter them and they will become food for the wild animals. Nephi tells them of their wrong doings. Again, he calls them to repentance and states that if they will not repent, Zarahemla and all the other great cities around will be taken from them and God will not give them strength to withstand their enemies. And now, if I were a Nephite, the next statement would probably light a fire under me…. Nephi tells these people that it will be better for the Lamanites in from of God if they do not repent. Nephi tells them that the Lamanites are more righteous than they are and they are doing what they should be. Nephi clearly tells them that he knows of the Gadianton band and that those that belong to it are a great abominations. Verse 28 reads “And except ye repent ye shall perish; yea, even your lands shall be taken from you, and ye shall be destroyed from off the face of the earth.”
What I like about verse 28, is the truth of Nephi’s words, but most of all his use of the word shall. I recently learned that shall doesn’t just mean “this will happen,” but it means this will happen and with a purpose. There is purpose behind the “this is going to occur.” Heavenly Father, with a purpose will ensure that the Nephites perish, they have no land and that they will be destroyed from off the face of the earth. Is that enough to call you unto repentance?
Think of the wicked state that these folks must be in… where they are in life, attitude, in their pride, in their thoughts and behaviors. Where must they be to bring this wrath upon them from the heavens.
I leave this for you to ponder in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.