You might already know this background, and if you do, then skip on ahead, but read on if you want the background that will help us to see how the Lord helps us save one another through the whisperings of His Spirit.
In the Book of Mormon, we learn about a few main groups of people: The Nephites, Lamanites, and (later on) the Jaredites. Throughout the Book of Mormon, these people migrate to various lands. The Nephites, somewhere around 279 BC, were led out of their land (the Land of Nephi). They escaped the Lamanites, and ended up being guided to a Land: Zarahemla.
At about 200 BC, a few Nephites, including a man named Zeniff, were interested in going back to the land of their inheritance: The Land of Nephi. So, while King Benjamin was king, a group of people left Zarahemla to the Land of Nephi – which was then inhabited by the Lamanites.
Plenty of drama surrounds this situation, but it isn’t important to really discuss right now. What is important is: Zeniff reigned as king. His son, Noah, inherited the throne, but was incredibly wicked. He led the people into wickedness. Their wickedness culminated in killing the prophet, Abinadi. Shortly after this, their life in the Land of Nephi became very difficult. The people rebelled against Noah, he was killed, and the people also were put under stricter rules imposed by the Lamanites. Limhi, Noah’s son, inherited the throne while they lived in captivity. He was not wicked, but the Nephite living conditions were difficult – they endured beatings, persecution, and they were required to pay a 50% tax to the Lamanites for nothing other than the promise that the Lamanites wouldn’t kill them.
Despite the difficulties they faced, they were slow to remember the Lord. Instead, they tried to rely on their own faculties – sometimes even facing the Lamanites in war, only to be beaten down, and further oppressed.
Eventually, the people humbled themselves and began to pray – pleading for the Lord to deliver them from their difficult circumstances. We learn:
“And now the Lord was slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities; nevertheless the Lord did hear their cries, and began to soften the hearts of the Lamanites that they began to ease their burdens; yet the Lord did not see fit to deliver them out of bondage.” – Mosiah 21:15
The Lord did not quite deliver them from bondage. They couldn’t find a way out either. They sent a search party out to look for the land of Zarahemla, but they came up empty-handed. They had to wait until finally, one day, King Limhi ran into Ammon – while hunting – and learned that Ammon was from Zarahemla, sent to find the people of King Limhi.
So…here’s where it gets interesting…
“And now, it came to pass that after king Mosiah had had continual peace for the space of three years, he was desirous to know concerning the people who went up to dwell in the land of Lehi-Nephi, or in the city of Lehi-Nephi; for his people had heard nothing from them from the time they left the land of Zarahemla; therefore, they wearied him with their teasings.
And it came to pass that king Mosiah granted that sixteen of their strong men might go up to the land of Lehi-Nephi, to inquire concerning their brethren.” – Mosiah 7:1-2
By this time, when King Mosiah is thinking about the people who had left Zarahemla, two generations had passed. At least 60 years had gone by. Why did he wait until this time to go and search for the People of Zeniff?
Meanwhile, King Limhi had sent a group of men out to search for Zarahemla. They wanted to petition the Nephites in Zarahemla to help them get out of bondage to the Lamanites. This trip was unsuccessful. Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi were far apart – to the point that neither land was easily found by each other. This group of spies returned back to Limhi, defeated, and they had to continue to endure the difficult captivity of the Lamanites.
Yet, King Mosiah was inspired to have a group go out and look for the land of Nephi. This group was led by Ammon and was successful. They found the people of Limhi, learned of the difficult captivity they were in, and helped to liberate them – bringing them back to Zarahemla.
I realize that King Mosiah was probably prompted by the Spirit – to think about these people. In the scripture it says that “they wearied him with their teasings.” The prompting to search for the people that had left with Zeniff didn’t seem to come to King Mosiah as a super-obvious spiritual message. Instead, it was a feeling – a teasing.
I have experienced this – little feelings that irritate me until I take some kind of action. I am starting to realize that these feelings are often the Spirit – or maybe a combination of my own spirit communicating with the Lord’s Spirit. It is good to pay attention to them – pray about them, and even take action on them.
In the case of King Mosiah, if he had done nothing, then the People of King Limhi would have continued to suffer and pray for help. King Mosiah thoughts, his teasings were the answers of the prayers given by those who were in captivity. It may not have been obvious to him at the time, but it is very obvious from our point of view – where we know the whole story.
This is just such a good reminder to me to always stay close to the Spirit and to learn how the Spirit of God works with my Spirit – so I can help be the answer someone’s prayers.
Have you experienced these kinds of promptings – teasings? What do you do to determine if they are messages from the Holy Ghost? How have you learned to fine-tune your spiritual ears?