And it came to pass that king Mosiah did walk in the ways of the Lord, and did observe his judgments and his statutes, and did keep his commandments in all things whatsoever he commanded him. (Mosiah 6:6)
Somehow this verse caught my eye. It seems to say three different times that Mosiah was a good man and a good king, but with different wording. This made me wonder if it simply said it three times or if it was describing different aspects of his righteousness. (Aha, analysis is called for!)
“king Mosiah did walk in the ways of the Lord” – This uses the metaphor of righteousness as a path. King Mosiah had to know that path—what the Lord’s ways were—in order to walk in it. He probably asked himself the question, “What would the Lord do?” when faced with something tricky. Is walking in the Lord’s ways accidental? No, it has to be deliberate. It has to be learned and practiced.
"[Mosiah] did observe his [the Lord’s] judgments and his statutes" – The word observe has a number of meanings that help us here. 4 of 9 possible definitions are the following:
--show respect towards
--behave as expected during holidays or rites
--stick to correctly or closely
--conform one’s action or practice to
Another interesting thing is that the words “judgments” and “statues” imply the existence of certain things. Observing judgments in once sense implies noticing the judgments of God at work and pointing out how natural consequences fit with the Lord’s commandments. Or, it might imply sticking with the precedents formed by a body of case law. Observing statutes implies keeping to smaller facilitating laws.
“[Mosiah] did keep his [the Lord’s] commandments in all things whatsoever he commanded him” – This shows us Mosiah received personal revelation and followed it. We get the account of several instances of his doing this. 1) translating the 24 plates Limhi’s people brought with them, and 2) receiving revelation that he should let his four reconverted sons go preach to the Lamanites. Changing the Nephite government from monarchy to a judge-ruled government may have been part of this, but that is only speculation.
So, having examined these things more closely, we see that those three phrases about Mosiah’s righteousness describe different aspects. It may strike you as it has struck me that they aren’t only for kings. We also can walk in the ways of the Lord, observe His statutes and judgments in our stewardships, and keep the Lord’s commandments in all things He commands us. What a heaven this world would be if we all did that.