Friday, January 20, 2012

Limhi’s people humble themselves

13 And they did humble themselves even to the dust, subjecting themselves to the yoke of bondage, submitting themselves to be smitten, and to be driven to and fro, and burdened, according to the desires of their enemies.

14 And they did humble themselves even in the depths of humility; and they did cry mightily to God; yea, even all the day long did they cry unto their God that he would deliver them out of their afflictions. (Mosiah 21:13-14)

When I was reading this recently it stuck out to me all of a sudden the different ways humility is described in these verses.

I notice that when they humble themselves “to the dust,” it is to men, and when they humble themselves “in the depths of humility,” it is to God. This suggests that humility to God is deeper than humility to men.

Verse 3 has some interesting words associated with humbling oneself (even if it is to men)—“subjecting themselves” and “submitting themselves.” This shows us that self control goes along with humility. Force is not required; the decision to obey is made without force. In the case of King Limhi’s people, they didn’t humble themselves until they had been beaten three times in battle, but if they hadn’t finally humbled themselves, they would have been completely forced into it.

It could be argued that because the people of Limhi “cried mightily…all the day long…unto their God that he would deliver them out of their afflictions” (v14) that they weren’t totally subjected by the Lamanites. They still wanted to be free and hoped God could free them, rather than being content to be slaves. This shows it is possible to have an outward humility while still wanting out.

When they humbled themselves to God, we see that this humility consisted of mighty prayer for deliverance, which they most wanted. However, it didn’t yet extent to repentance and forsaking their sins. “And now the Lord was slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities…” (Mosiah 21:15) It seems repentance was the final ingredient needed for total humility.

It is possible that their bondage to the Lamanites was a learning experience and training and chastisement that would help them learn to submit and subject themselves to the Lord. It would help them appreciate the lighter demands the Lord makes.

These verses make me think hard about what I do to indicate my humility to the Lord. Does my humility involve:

  • Subjecting myself?
  • Submitting myself?
  • Crying mightily to God all the day long?
  • Repenting?

I think I have incorporated a few of those factors, but I don’t think I have implemented them all. How about you?


Ramona Gordy said...

I am making a concious effort to "repent" of habitual offenses.

By subjection, does that mean to give ones self wholly for God purposes? I have endeavored bit by bit to "replace" worldly things and put in place those things that are pleasing to God. I started an exercise with myself about 2 years ago. I wanted to lower my stress level while driving, and even if another car offended me, I would not yell or make gestures. "Be angry, but sin not." So I listen to inspirational and gospel music and teachings. I have managed to change my behavior and in effect I am more patient in my driving and try to be more considerate. It works.
By submitting my self for his puposes, I pray for humility and compassion. I try to swallow my pride in quite a few thins, and admit to myself, that I don't know everything.
My husband and I pray almost everyday; specifically before he goes to work. I try to read my scriptures on a weekly basis, at least once during the week.

Michaela Stephens said...

Good question, RGG.

The dictionary refers to "subjection" in a negative context, as in someone being forced to obey.
It seems Limhi's people "subjected themselves" or forced themselves to obey their Lamanite taskmasters.

In terms of obeying the Lord, before we have had our hearts changed, choosing to obey the Lord can feel like one is forcing oneself to obey. I suppose our goal is come to the point where we cheerfully submit ourselves.

RGG, I love your example of working to change your attitude while driving to something more positive.

chococatania said...

I love this post. It made me think, and I even blogged about it...
Oh, and the way that I took subject - was more in a way of exposure. I mean, if we look at this as kind of a step-by-step process, subjection (even with a negative context) comes first - as we must subject our natural selves to the seems to me like this comes before we are able to actually submit...Just thinking.

Anyways. thanks for the post and getting me to think today!

Becky Rose said...

In Mosiah we are also told to be willing to submit to the things the Lord "inflicts" upon us.