"I say unto you, I will not recall the words which I have spoken unto you concerning this people, for they are true; and that ye may know of their surety I have suffered myself that I have fallen into your hands, and I will suffer even until death, and I will not recall my words, and they shall stand as a testimony against you. "(Mosiah 17:9,10)
I am giving this lesson tomorrow. Mosiah chapters 12-17. After reading it over, I realized how much I truly admire Abinadai. He did have "beautiful feet" as Isaiah put it. The wicked priests of Noah tried to challenge Abinadai with the words of Isaiah: "What meaneth the words which are written, and which have been taught by our fathers, saying: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth; Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion; Break forth into joy; sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem; The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God?" (Mos. 12:20-24)
They wanted to trick him. They were saying that the words that Abinadai brought to them were not beautiful, or tidings of good, nor did they bring forth joy...but rather tidings of judgment. Yet those priests failed to see that indeed Abinadai's words were of beauty, of peace, and of love: The Atonement. We are promised that our sins will be remembered no more; that even though they might be scarlet, they will be turned to white as wool. As long as we continually strive to be obedient and to repent, and to keep on doing this, the Atonement is indeed a message of joy. It is not just for the "good" people out there; it's for everyone. It is actually created for sinners (which, again, is everyone). We have hard time feeling worthy of our Father and our Redeemer, but this is the ways of Satan! That is what the Atonement is all about! Picking ourselves up, brushing ourselves off, and starting fresh! As many times as we have to!
"But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore, he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the devil an enemy to God." (Mosiah 16:5). By choosing to do evil, especially after we are so tired of trying, we want to give up, we say to ourselves "I can't do this, I keep on committing the same sin. Why do I even try? God will not forgive me. I should be stronger than this." By saying this, or by not forgiving ourselves, it is indeed "as though there was no redemption made".
We cannot allow ourselves to give up. All that is required is that we continually pick ourselves up again.
Abindai did indeed teach a lesson of love, and he gave his life for it. What a difficult mission! But he knew the truth; he felt it in his being, and he was willing to lay down his life for it. He was a messenger from God, with "beautiful feet" as Isaiah described. All missionaries can be described as having beautiful feet. We all can; we can stand up for this work, and teach it. It isn't a message of restriction and of destruction! It truly IS one of joy!