The Decoy Play (Alma 52)
You're watching a big football game. Time is running out, and your team needs a big play. Your team's star pass receiver comes into the game. The huddle breaks, and the star receiver lines up on the right side of the field. The quarterback calls the signals and glances over to his right several times. Everybody knows what's coming. The defense knows, too, and shifts some of the players over near the star receiver to make it harder for him to catch the pass that will be coming his way.
The ball is snapped. The quarterback takes a few steps back and watches the star receiver the entire time. He waits, waits, and then turns and fires the ball on the left side of the field where another player — totally overlooked by the defense — is waiting to catch the winning touchdown pass. What happened? The defense was just a victim of the decoy play with one player being used as a decoy to take their focus away from where it really should have been, resulting in a big loss.
Moroni, the leader of the Nephite army, uses the decoy play in Alma 52. The Nephites want to retake the city of Mulek, which is currently under occupation by the Lamanites and is heavily guarded by the Lamanite army. Moroni devises "a plan that he might decoy the Lamanites out of their strongholds" (verse 21).
A small portion of the Nephite army camps outside the city. When the Lamanites see this small army, they decide to attack, so they send their army out of the city. The small Nephite army flees, and the Lamanite army pursues them. The chase continues — farther and farther away from the city. Finally, the remainder of the Nephite army swoops in to capture the city, which is no longer heavily guarded. The Lamanite army is surrounded and defeated, victims of the decoy play.
If you are serving God today, be aware that the decoy play is a favorite strategy of the enemy. Here are some examples of things that can potentially be used as decoys to lure us away from our intended course of serving God:
- Political Causes: It's very common today for people to become emotionally involved with various political causes. Unfortunately, when the cause is contrary to the Word of God, the response is often to question the validity of the scriptures. This is probably the biggest challenge to churches today, as faith in God's Word is being undermined by political causes of the day, and people are being lured away from active service to God.
- Jobs/Careers: If we are in the workforce, we, of course, want to do the best we can in our jobs and have careers that are as successful as possible. However, be aware of the ease with which we can be enticed into channeling a disproportionate amount of our time, energy, and focus into our careers at the expense of using those to serve God. A successful career can also breed a prideful attitude, which can lure us off the path of being humble servants of God.
- Girlfriend/Boyfriend/Spouse: When choosing a companion of the opposite sex, we should make it an objective to be as "equally yoked" as possible. Pairing up with someone who does not share our beliefs in God creates a risky situation in which we will often be tempted to compromise our service to God. In extreme cases, ultimatums can even arise — "leave the church, or I'm leaving you." Don't let the desire for love in this life lure you away from serving God.
In Lehi's dream (1 Nephi 8), the people in the "great and spacious building" were used as a decoy to lure people off the straight and narrow path that led to the tree of life. As the people moved toward the building, they left the path and couldn't find their way back. Don't let that happen to you via any of the potential decoys listed above or any other. Don't be a victim of the decoy play. Keep your focus where it should be — on serving God and continuing on the path that leads to His kingdom.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.