How Oft Will I Gather You – 3 Nephi 10:4-6

4 O ye people of these great cities which have fallen, who are descendants of Jacob, yea, who are of the house of Israel, how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you.
5 And again, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, who have fallen; yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, ye that dwell at Jerusalem, as ye that have fallen; yea, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not.
6 O ye house of Israel whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart.

This is an expansion on Matthew 23:37:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

(This passage also appears in Luke 13:34.)
By repeating the same sentiment three times with three different verb tenses, the Savior clarifies to the inhabitants of the American continent that:
  1. His love for us is constant and enduring, and
  2. our willingness to receive the gifts He offers is the only variable in the equation.
Each of the three statements in 3 Nephi conveys something important to me:
  • “How oft have I gathered you…” Remember all of the times you have been blessed by the Savior. Remember the many gifts you have already received from Him.
  • “How oft would I have gathered you…and ye would not.” This is the poignant one, and the one that most closely mirrors the passage in Matthew. Imagine the pain our Savior and our Heavenly Father feel when we fail to accept the blessings they are willing and able to give us!
  • “How oft will I gather you…” This is the hopeful part of the passage. If we choose to repent and turn toward Him, we will continue to receive good gifts from Him in the future.
Today, I will reflect upon the blessings I have received from the Lord throughout my life. I will exercise faith in Him, knowing that if I continue to place my trust in Him, He will continue to bless me and to guide me along the path toward eternal life.
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