From this morning’s scripture reading: “And the mists of darkness are the temptations of the devil, which blindeth the eyes, and hardeneth the hearts of the children of men, and leadeth them away into broad roads, that they perish and are lost.” 1 Nephi 12:17
I see three things in this verse caused by the mists of darkness or the temptations of the devil:
1. The blinding of the eyes
2. The hardening of the heart
3. The leading away into broad roads
The blinding of the eyes is the devil’s ability to cause us to not see the good in the things of the Lord. “What a waste of time,” he whispers, “There is so much more in the world to see.” People blinded like this often say, “I just can’t see the benefit” of a course of action that leads them to the tree of life. They have no vision. They have lost their way. They have been blinded. They run to and fro looking in all the wrong places for that which can only be found in the gospel.
The hardening of the heart prevents us from perceiving the ways of the Lord as desirable. The adversary works hard to cause us to forget the benefits and blessings of attending church, reading the scriptures or attending to our duties. “You’re too busy,” he whispers, “You don’t have time for that now.” Soon, the idea of engaging in such activities has lost the connection with good memories. Their hearts have become hardened and they do not feel or remember feelings from God.
The leading away into broad roads gets us distracted and side-tracked from our real purpose in life – to prepare to return to the presence of God. We get busy with stuff that is of no real eternal consequence or value. Some of it may be plain worldliness while other paths lead to destruction – evil music, drugs, immorality, drinking – anything that keeps us from growing. The broad roads of worldliness are filled with the snares, flaxen cords and chains of the devil.
The sad state of individuals who give heed to the temptations of the devil are evident to those who are clinging to the rod of iron. “Why can’t they see?” we say. “Why don’t they feel the sweetness of the blessings of the gospel?” we ask. “How can they waste their time in following that path – don’t they see where it leads them?” Sadly, no, they don’t. They can’t see. They don’t feel and they have lost their way. Only faith and repentance will bring them back.
End of today’s scripture study. I hope that’s not too negative. The gospel is full of hope and joy, but sadly, we all know people, often someone close who we love, who have been blinded by the mists of darkness and are wandering down forbidden paths. Clinging to the rod of iron brings safety and peace, but it takes daily effort to read the scriptures and to apply them. My hope in this today is that you will find encouragement and determination to study the gospel.