Thursday, January 25, 2007

2 Nephi 15

Grapes and Olives

This chapter is very similar to Jacob 5. The main differences between Jacob 5 and 2 Nephi 15 is that chapter 15 deals with grapes rather than olives and that Jacob 5 talks about the scattering and gathering of Israel while 2 Nephi 15 discusses why Israel and Judah were left to be destroyed … because of their wickedness.

What Could Have Been Done More?

In verse 4, the Lord laments over the outcome of his vineyard. After all his work, the grapes turn out to be wild and all that work is wasted. In Jacob 5:41, the Lord laments likewise. I will never forget Elder Holland's October 2003 talk in General Conference. He was teaching us of the nature of God and used Jacob 5:41 to illustrate his point. If you really want to feel the Spirit and power of his talk, I suggest you listen to the entire talk. The climax of the talk references Jacob 5:41 and by extension, 2 Nephi 15:4. Elder Holland said,
"Looking out on the events of almost any day, God replies: 'Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands. … I gave unto them … [a]commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood. … Wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?' (Moses 7:29-33, 37). That single, riveting scene does more to teach the true nature of God than any theological treatise could ever convey. It also helps us understand much more emphatically that vivid moment in the Book of Mormon allegory of the olive tree, when after digging and dunging, watering and weeding, trimming, pruning, transplanting, and grafting, the great Lord of the vineyard throws down his spade and his pruning shears and weeps, crying out to any who would listen, 'What could I have done more for my vineyard?' (Jacob 5:41)."
Nothing pleases me more in my home than to see my children happy, loving each other and choosing the right. But there are days when we try and try to get them to listen, to obey and to choose the right. Thankfully, those times of disobedience are not frequent. But can you imagine the anguish of our Heavenly Father when he sees the discord among his children? After all that he has done and is doing for us, we still follow our own hearts rather than His will.

I think it is in understanding and sympathizing that we desire to be more obedient. There are times when my wife and I are at our wits end in dealing with our children and they don't listen to a word we say … even though we've repeated it many, many times … we simply want to sit down and cry. Sometimes it is too much and we do sit down and put our faces in our hands to try and get a grip. It is then when one of our kids will come up to us and give us a hug and maybe say they are sorry and want to choose to listen to us.

Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil

It is so frustrating to see good and evil turned up-side-down. Satan would have us believe that there are no laws … that there is no good and evil. If he can change that premise in people's minds, then nothing is evil and it can even be called good.

The three biggest problems in our society today are abortion, homosexuality and pornography. Various lawyers, interest groups, politicians and people will go to great lengths to defend these three things. There was a time when these things were considered evil … they were sins and vices. Now, they are socially acceptable and even embraced.

Ensign to the Nations

Thankfully the Gospel has been restored in its fullness to combat the pervasive evil that is filling our world. The Gospel has the power to change people's hearts and minds. As more and more hearts and minds are changed toward Christ, then evil will have less dominion on the earth.

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