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)
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.