14 And it came to pass that on the morrow, that when the Lamanites saw that we were in the borders by the wilderness which was near the city, that they sent out their spies round about us that they might discover the number and the strength of our army.
15 And it came to pass that when they saw that we were not strong, according to our numbers, and fearing that we should cut them off from their support except they should come out to battle against us and kill us, and also supposing that they could easily destroy us with their numerous hosts, therefore they began to make preparations to come out against us to battle. (Alma 58:14-15)
These verses stood out to me recently as I was reading through. I noticed that the Lamanites were not prepared for battle. You’d think they would keep themselves in a constant state of preparation and alert, having taken over the city Manti in the first place, but no. And do they prepare when they find Nephites in the borders of the land? No. They only prepare once they decide it necessary to fight. The problem is, during the time they were preparing, the Nephites were putting their strategy in place.
16 And when we saw that they were making preparations to come out against us, behold, I caused that Gid, with a small number of men, should secrete himself in the wilderness, and also that Teomner and a small number of men should secrete themselves also in the wilderness.
17 Now Gid and his men were on the right and the others on the left; and when they had thus secreted themselves, behold, I remained, with the remainder of my army, in that same place where we had first pitched our tents against the time that the Lamanites should come out to battle. (Alma 58:16-17)
If the Lamanites had been prepared already, there would have been no time for the Nephites to split off their special ops groups.
Now, this is one of those times when I'm going to use the Lamanite failure as a lesson. I think this shows us the important principle of staying prepared in our fight against evil and temptation. If you prepare only after you have seen the enemy threatening, you are too late.
The tricky thing is, it requires faith to prepare before seeing the enemy. It can seem like preparation is pointless when no enemy is in sight. It can be hard to know exactly what to prepare for. UNLESS… you have prophets. Prophets are the men on the watchtower who can see the enemy from far away and who sound the alarm as to the way to prepare. Our prior preparation may be what makes the difference between our success or failure.
I'm really looking forward to general conference in a week. My husband and I have never been in the conference center yet and we're going to try to go to one of the general sessions. We don't have tickets, so we're going to be standing in line hoping some seats stay empty for us. ;-)