Saturday, December 29, 2007

Thoughts on Enos

1 BEHOLD, it came to pass that I, Enos•, knowing my father that he• was a just man—for he taught• me in his language, and also in the nurture• and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it—

My comments: The very first words out of Enos’ mouth was praising his father for teaching him his language and about the Lord. What would be the first things out my children’s mouth? What more can I do to help them know the Lord?

2 And I will tell you of the wrestle• which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.

My comments: The scriptures talk of Jacob wrestling an angel all night. Alma, wrestled with the Lord in mighty prayer. Both men were greatly blessed, both men paid a price for that blessing. A price that we should all be willing to pay, but few of us are willing to do so. I taught a family in Montreal. They were a great family. They were our only consistent dinner appointment each week. We taught them everything we could. We gave their daughter a blessing. The spirit was so strong that everyone was in tears at the end of it. Regardless, they wouldn’t accept the gospel. The husband once told me, “I don’t think that I would join the church even if I knew it was true.” It broke my heart because they were such a good family. Ultimately, the question becomes, “Am I willing to wrestle with God, to receive the blessing I want?” Am I willing to get down on my knees and plead for forgiveness and remain there on my knees, until I receive an answer? The scriptures suggest that good things come to those that pay the price.

3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk• deep into my heart.

My comments: Sunk. Enos is graphically trying to express how deeply his father’s words embedded themselves into the very center of his soul.

4 And my soul hungered•; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried• unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.

My comments: This verse shows that this wasn’t a casual experience for Enos, “my soul hungered,” “I cried…mighty prayer,” “all the day long…when the night came I did still raise my voice high.” He struggled and wrestled with God for forgiveness of his sins. He prayed a long time and still apparently hadn’t received the answer, so he kept praying until he did.

5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.

My comments: Psalms 32:5 – I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. The Lord wants us to succeed in life. He will do everything He can to bless us. Some of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had came through repentance. It was at those times, that I knew how much God loved me.

6 And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.

My comments: Ether 3:12 – thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie. Enos had been taught that God was a God of truth. He believed what he had been taught even though the next verse shows he didn’t understand how it is done. Adam offered sacrifice not knowing why, merely that he was commanded to do so. It was after the trial of his faith that he received a witness.

7 And I said: Lord, how is it done?

My comments: I ask myself this frequently. How can the Lord take a sinner like myself, who has done so many things wrong, and make something useful of me. The scriptures seem to suggest though, that is the Lord’s specialty. I certainly hope so.

8 And he said unto me: Because• of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole•.

My comments: Enos’ faith must have been unwavering. It is much stronger than mere belief. Lectures on Faith describe faith being a principle of action and power. Enos’ belief in what his father taught him became a principle of action, i.e. it motivated him to repent and seek the Lord. It became a principle of power as he exercised his faith and received the desired blessing. The third Lecture on Faith states, “Let us here observe, that three things are necessary in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and Salvation. First, the idea that he actually exists. Secondly, a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes. Thirdly, an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to his will.” Lectures on Faith pg. 38.

9 Now, it came to pass that when I had heard these words I began to feel a desire• for the welfare• of my brethren, the Nephites; wherefore, I did pour• out my whole soul unto God for them.

My comments: Once Enos had a hope of his salvation and tasted of the joy mentioned in verse 3, it is natural that he would desire others to enjoy it as well. 1 Nephi 8:12 “And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.” By comparing 1 Nephi 15:36 with D&C 14:7 we learn that the fruit from the tree is Eternal Life. The tree itself is a symbolic representation of Jesus Christ, from whom, salvation comes.

10 And while I was thus struggling in the spirit, behold, the voice of the Lord came into my mind again, saying: I will visit thy brethren according to their diligence in keeping my commandments. I have given• unto them this land, and it is a holy land; and I curse• it not save it be for the cause of iniquity; wherefore, I will visit thy brethren according as I have said; and their transgressions will I bring down with sorrow upon their own heads.

My comments: “the voice of the Lord came into my mind again.” This doesn’t appear to be a visitation from an angel or the Lord, rather it is the way most of us will receive revelation, through the prompting of the spirit, if we are in tune enough to hear it. The spirit does not shake a person, it whispers. We need to be calm and at peace to hear His voice.
Why do the Lamanites get promised that their seed will be preserved whereas the Nephites don’t? Because, where much is given, much is required. I have been given much.

11 And after I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed• unto him with many long strugglings• for my brethren, the Lamanites.

My comments: Line upon line, precept upon precept. Alma 32:30 “But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then ye must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith.”

12 And it came to pass that after I had prayed• and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desires•, because of thy faith.

My comments: You can clearly see how Enos struggled, “labored with all diligence,” to receive the answers he received. It is not something he took lightly or for granted that he simply needed to ask the Lord for something, and he would get it. It reminds me of the verse, “Ye are saved by grace, AFTER all ye can do,” emphasis added. Grace is divine help to lift us above our own abilities. However, like Enos, we need to expend all of our energies for a righteous cause to receive grace.


Candace E. Salima said...

This is such a powerful lesson to all of us. I love this story of Enos and the realization that the Lord hears us and expects us to put some effort into to it. Enos prayed until his sins were forgiven. . .what circumstance are we in now that we need to petition the Lord until peace is found in our hearts, as it was in Enos' heart?

Dan and Wendy said...

The book is comprised of only one chapter, but what a chapter it is. Repentance, faith, prayer, forgiveness, not just the Lord forgiving Enos, but also Enos forgiving the Lamanites, and loving them enough, to want salvation for them as well.

Good stuff.