Short Take: “Your Words Have Been Stout Against Me”

Author's Note
My neighbor and I are writing short columns for our monthly ward (congregation) newsletter. We focused on the Book of Mormon in 2013. Here’s one of my “short takes,” as previously published there.

When Jesus visited the Nephites after his resurrection, he filled in some gaps in their own records (3 Nephi 23:6-13), then gave them some of the words of Malachi.

In Malachi 3 and 3 Nephi 24 the Lord has two complaints against his people; both are relevant today. First, “Ye have robbed me.” In several familiar verses he promises to shower us with blessings, if we will be faithful in tithes and offerings (3 Nephi 24:7-13), showing that God matters more to us than money.

His second, less-quoted complaint is, “Your words have been stout against me.” His people gripe that living the gospel doesn’t do them any good. It is in vain; there is no profit in it. They think this because they look at the proud and judge them to be happy. They complain that success comes to the wicked, who are able to tempt God without immediate punishment (3 Nephi 24:14-15).

The problem here is that God’s people have the wrong heroes, admire bad examples, and let their envy of the world’s temporary rewards distract them from the hope and joy which are eternally in Christ. Yet there is hope. Those who repent of this, the Lord says, “shall be mine . . . and I will spare them” (3 Nephi 24:17).

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