6 And it came to pass that the people began to murmur with the king because of their afflictions; and they began to be desirous to go against them to battle. And they did afflict the king sorely with their complaints; therefore he granted unto them that they should do according to their desires.
Three times the people of Limhi are angered and vex their king with a desire to go to war. Even though Limhi knows that his people have not humbled themselves before the Lord, he gives into their wishes. Perhaps he realizes that his people need to be humbled before they can fully turn to the Lord.
And then, after being smitten three times they finally humble themselves to the dust. The lord is slow to listen at first because of their arrogance and pride. But gradually the lord gives them the strength to change their circumstances and to escape bondage.
This story contrasts with that of the faithful followers of Alma who likewise suffer grievous burdens but are strengthened by their faith and ultimately miraculously liberated from bondage.
How often are we like Limhi’s people and try to act on our own strength time and again? When we fail, we redouble our efforts and fail again. Only then are we willing to lean on the Lord. How much better would we be if we started off turning to the Lord in the first instance.