Unexpected Help: Antipus and the Faith-Filled Youth

I was playing in the Gospel Doctrine Sunday School readings today.

Anti-Nephi-Lehies bury weapons by Del Parson.

I love the story of Antipus and the 2,000 Ammonite youth. There he was in the City of Judea, struggling to keep the cities he and his men had taken. Their war with the Lamanites had gone on for the last seven years and they were depressed.  Tired in body and spirit and unsure how long they could continue.  Probably praying for help.

Perhaps you are in a similar state.  Tired in body and spirt through health, or family or financial issues? Praying for a miracle?

To Antipus comes the prophet Helaman at the head of 2,000…well…not the type of reinforcements Antipus expected.  Not trained soldiers.  No.  The young, untrained sons of the Ammonite refugees who had moved to Jershon over a decade before.

The Ammonite people (who called themselves the Anti-Nephi-Lehies) had almost been annihilated by their fellow Lamanites after converting to the Christian faith.  The non-converts viewed their countrymen’s conversion as a betrayal of their traditions and heritage.

The Anti-Nephi-Lehies buried their weapons of war and met their angry Lamanite brothers on their knees in prayer. On their knees in praise.  Many had been slaughtered where they knelt. When the Lamanites discovered their unarmed enemy did not fight and did not flee many laid down their weapons and joined those they had been slaying.

Together they found refuge with the Nephites.

When war with the Lamanite’s broke out the refugees wanted to help. But the prophet Helaman and his brethren urged the people not to break their oath to the Lord.  Not to take up weapons of war.  They had been forgiven their murders once.  But if they took up weapons again—even though it was in defence instead of offence—they might not be forgiven a second time.

But their sons had not taken the oath; their sons were desirous to fight for their families, their faith and their freedom. So they marched to the city of Judea.

The remainder of that 26th year of the Judges the Lamanites did not come against Antipus and his men.  This gave them a chance to recoup physically and spiritually.  They fortified the cities they had taken and made other preparations to meet the Lamanite armies.

The youth were untrained in war but well-trained in faith.  Their mothers had taught them if they had faith in the Lord he would deliver them.  “We do not doubt our mothers knew it,” they told Helaman.

The next year the 2,000, trusting in the Lord, helped the Nephites defeat the Lamanites in that part of the land.  During the battles they received many injuries but none died—proof of their mothers’ promise that if they trusted in the Lord he would deliver them.  Antipus was killed in one of the battles—striving to keep the Lamanites from the Ammonite youth.  He gave his life for the friends who had brought him and his weary men renewed faith and hope and energy.

This week look for the equivalent of the 2,000 to come to your assistance—perhaps it will be unexpected help, (as in the case of Antipus).  Perhaps a thought, a book, a piece of music, a nature walk, a pet, a smile or a friendly word.

Leave a comment about your own 2,000 this week.

You can read more about this story in Alma 23, 24, 53 and 56.