Jacob’s Tree

oliveThe allegory of the tree, in the fifth chapter of Jacob, while being quite long and very repetitive, provides the reader many different avenues to explore. The unknown prophet Zenos was the original author of the parable and we know absolutely nothing of who he was or what issues he was facing while he served in his calling. But we can infer from this story, the the Children of Israel were once again doing their best to test God’s patience.

I say that because one the of oft repeated phrases of the allegory is: “What could I have done more for my vineyard?” My experience has taught me that when God repeats something, it is not for a lack of something to say, rather, it is to emphasize the concept He is teaching.

So, while we could use this chapter to explore the history of the world or the repetitive nature of the rise and fall of God’s people, I would rather focus on the unyielding desire for God to show us mercy. I think that is what God is teaching us as He asks: “What could I have done more?

mercyI know that I have personally struggled with the concept of mercy. At times, I felt I had strayed too far from the path I knew I should be on. As a result, I felt I have taxed the Lord’s patience and drained the cup of mercy allotted to me.

Other times, I became judgmental and was ever ready to condemn those who so foolishly sinned when I knew they could do better.

But once you see the Living Waters of mercy in action, you begin to understand that none of us can commit any sin that Christ’s atoning sacrifice cannot fix.

Why is God so willing to forgive us even when we so often return back to that same sin over and over again? The answer is quite simple.

God is our Father.

As our Father, He wants only one thing for each of us — He wants us to be happy. He knows that true happiness comes only through a personal relationship with Him. He also understands that our relationship with Him deepens as we realize how much He has done for us.

The best way for us to come to know God is through the enabling power of Christ’s atonement.¬†Think about that, Christ atoned for all of our sins – all of them.

What could He had done more?

He wants to show us mercy. He wants us to learn from our mistakes. He will do all He can, as did the master of the vineyard in this allegory, to help us live with Him again.

It is God’s relentless mercy that transforms sin, repentance, and forgiveness from being punitive to being a vehicle by which each of us can develop a better, more personal relationship with Him.mercy2

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