CLICK HERE to read 2 Nephi 15.
This chapter compares to Isaiah 5.
Remember that the last chapter was all about atonement-ness, and how His people become covenant people.
When they become covenant people, and really do that work, then He is able to make them holy.
“And then will I sing to my well-beloved (His covenant people)…” (verse 1).
This begins a song in which the prophet Isaiah now compares the relationship between the Lord and His people to the relationship between the man and his vineyard. So now, rather than using the symbolic image of a bride, the church is now a “vineyard”.
“What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it?” (verse 4). What else could the Savior have done for us that He has not done?
Yet if we persist in not bringing forth good fruit, if we do not grow because we will not do things His way, then we have chosen to be outside His protection and provision.
“I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and I will break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down;” (verse 5). When we let down our boundaries, we get “eaten up” – used up, overdrawn, disappeared. When we break down the walls (the Laws of God) that protect us, we will be squashed and knocked down and overcome by things that attack us.
“And I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned nor digged” (verse 6). Once we remove ourselves from the protection the Lord’s Laws offer, then He lets us choose our own destruction. He stops trying to refine us. He stops trying to warn us. He stops trying to dig out what is not good for us, and dig us out of where is not good for us. Because we will not listen to Him, He lets our consequences come as we choose them.
So instead of natural development like in the Garden of Eden, “there shall come up briers and thorns” (verse 6). This means that instead of it coming to us easily and naturally, we will have to work hard to understand.
“I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it” (verse 6). When we are not living worthy of the Lord’s protection and help, we also are not living worthy of His spirit. His spirit does nourish us like water, and cleanse us like water. His spirit does correct, instruct, and guide. However, we cannot receive these benefits if we do not live worthy of them.
And without the Spirit, there is “no knowledge” (the Spirit brings pure knowledge and revelation both), and so “their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst” (verse 13). They are wasting away because they are not being nourished, not by studying scriptures or prayer or being worthy of the spirit.
And so he goes on to describe the difference between those who ignore the Lord and so sell themselves into captivity, and those who acknowledge the Lord and give Him credit for everything, and so in Him find themselves free.
So we must learn the difference between what is good (righteous) because it is of Him, and what is evil (wickedness) because it is not of God.
“Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (verse 20). We can’t play switch-a-roo on what is good and righteous, or on what is evil and wicked.
And we cannot be content with lack of progress, not improving our lives, not growing spiritually, or saying no line-upon-line is sufficient. It is not.
We cannot say darkness is light.
In the same way, when the Lord does work, we must acknowledge His working in our lives. We cannot take what is good and throw it away. We cannot fail to use the gifts the Lord has bestowed upon us. We cannot forget to testify. We cannot be ungrateful, thinking what we have is not good enough in some way
We cannot say light is darkness.
When we do, we are messing with the plan of happiness.
And that messes with other people’s understandings of that plan of happiness.
It’s the knocking someone down while they are already weak.
(This is the opposite of edification, which is uplifting and strengthening.)
“Therefore, is the anger of the Lord kindled against his people….” (verse 25).
But when we return to Him, He is immediately there – like the father of the prodigal son – already waiting, already watching, so that he see us from “a long way off” (Luke 15:20).