King Benjamin's address to the Nephites stands out as a veritable feast of truths for us to enjoy. This brings up the question: How can we enjoy this spiritual feast?
Let us consider for a moment, walking into a banquet hall where a great table is laid out before us. Our physical senses of sight and smell convey and entice us to partake, and then our sense of taste translates the message to our brains that we are enjoying this feast. This utilization of our physical senses seems to come automatically, but this is not so—we have learned by trial and error how to become trusting of our physical senses through repetition of their uses.
Educating Our Spiritual Senses
The same principle applies to the use of our eternal spiritual senses. As we educate our consciences and heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we gain more confidence in the 'language of the Spirit' (Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Language of the Spirit,” Ensign, Nov. 1975). We prepare ourselves for a spiritual feast by living the commandments, trusting in the Lord, and following the promptings of the Spirit.
One of the “Ideas for Personal Scripture Study” in the April 13-19 Book of Mormon 2020 Come, Follow Me manual is that “Receiving the word of God requires preparation.” For example, King Benjamin prepared his people by asking them to “hearken unto me, and open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view” (Mosiah 2:9).
If we come to King Benjamin's feast with little or no preparation, not fully utilizing our spiritual senses, we may be content to read the account and see it as simply another setting for a gathering of people to hear a message from a king to his people. But if we strive to live our lives in such a way that we have the Holy Ghost as our constant companion—our closest friend, our tutor, and confidant—then we will be prepared to read and truly ponder the words of King Benjamin. Our hearts will swell with joy and our “bosom shall burn” like warm honey (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8). We will then feast as if we were present there at the temple listening to the great King Benjamin when this address was given.
Led by Honourable Servants of God
How blessed were the Nephites who basked in the light of such a king! He was a king who did not burden his people and cause them to stumble, but rather King Benjamin laboured with his own hands. He taught us that when 'ye are in the service of our fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God' (Mosiah 2:17). This principle is as relevant today as it has been throughout time.
We know that true power comes through honour. King Benjamin knew this also. He gained honour by serving his people, by loving them, and remembering that he was a child of God. This man, although being appointed a ruler over his people, desired to be a humble servant of his fellow man. Instead of using his earthly power to grind down and oppress his subjects, King Benjamin followed the path of light as directed by his Heavenly King. Thereby he demonstrated the true love of God, and the people loved him for it. In fact, they honoured him for it. When a large group of people love and honour their king, this represents true power. The power of love is greater than any pretended authority that is acquired through oppressive acts. This magnificent example that King Benjamin set is like a light on a hill for all the world to see. This is the example of a man who observed through the Spirit his Heavenly King and strived with all his might to emulate Him.
Thus, we see through King Benjamin's life an example of celestial living that foreshadows how our Saviour Jesus Christ will rule and reign when He returns to the earth. When we envision King Benjamin's reign, we are moved through the Spirit to desire to honour and obey such a monarch. We are moved to express great joy to be in the service of such a being. There is no force or compulsion. King Benjamin's power flowed naturally to him because it came from his people’s love and honour for his faithful life.
We have all observed the exercise of authority in like manner when we see our Prophet, Apostles, General Authorities, stake presidents, and bishops as they strive to follow that same heavenly pattern of living, governing, and serving. When we read the account of King Benjamin's address Mosiah 1-3, let our hearts be full of gratitude. We should feel gratitude for our Heavenly Father who knew of the spiritual hunger and thirst that we would have here in mortality. We should be grateful for the Holy Spirit who conveyed these plain and precious truths to King Benjamin's mind and heart. We should be grateful for the plan of redemption that brought a Saviour to earth to redeem mankind from the fall of Adam.
Feasting Upon the Words of Christ
How blessed we are as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to have the Book of Mormon, the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price all at our fingertips to study, to ponder and to feast upon. The kingdom of God has been restored and established on the earth. We also have the words of living prophets over the last 200 years. Let us remember and be truly grateful for the preservation of the holy scriptures and for the inspired words “moved upon by the Holy Ghost” (Doctrine and Covenants 68:4).
One of the greatest blessings we share as mortal beings is the gift of scriptures.
May I invite you to reflect for a moment on the Saviour's revelation 'man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God' (Matthew 4:4). These are not idle words, or a simple observation, but profound directional counsel. We have these words from the mouth of God revealed to us through the prophets as inspired of the Holy Ghost. We accept the scriptures as spiritual food.
With His reference to bread for mortal nourishment, the Saviour drew our attention to the needs that eternal spiritual beings have for spiritual nourishment. Our Father in Heaven loves us and has revealed many truths through the scriptures for our spiritual sustenance.
Our living Prophet—President Russell M. Nelson—continues to provide us with wonderful opportunities to draw closer to the Spirit by studying Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families. As we read and ponder the ideas for scripture study, ideas for family scripture study and family home evening in our homes, we can also access a variety of additional resources: hymns, Church magazines, Book of Mormon videos, media library, and gospel topics. Through this inspired curriculum, we have felt the closeness and companionship of the Spirit. We are blessed on a daily basis and have drawn closer to our Heavenly Father by following the Saviour's admonition to 'Come, follow me” (Luke 18:22).