All the Day Long – 2 Nephi 28:32

32 Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.

Five times in the preceding chapters, Isaiah enumerates Israel’s sins and then says, “For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still” (2 Nephi 15:25, 2 Nephi 19:12, 2 Nephi 19:17, 2 Nephi 19:21, 2 Nephi 20:4).  It might appear at first that Isaiah is describing a vengeful or a punishing hand that is stretched out because of God’s anger.  In this verse, Nephi clarifies that it is a loving and a merciful hand.  Our Heavenly Father “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance” (Alma 45:16, D&C 1:31), so “His anger is not turned away” as long as we have not repented of our sins. But He stands ready to help us repent and to save us as soon as we are willing to accept the help which He alone can give.
In the words of a hymn:

He’ll call, persuade, direct aright,
And bless with wisdom, love, and light,
In nameless ways be good and kind,
But never force the human mind.
(“Know This, That Every Soul Is Free“, hymn 240)

How grateful I am for a Father in Heaven who is patient, who is willing to “lengthen out His arm” toward all of us “from day to day,” in spite of our faults and in spite of our current unwillingness or inability to fully accept the blessings He wants to give us. I am grateful for His constant and patient loving kindness, and I want to emulate that attribute in my relationships with others.
Today, I will keep my arm outstretched “all the day long,” in a willingness to help others, particularly those who are not yet ready or able to accept my help.

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