The Work of the Father Hath Already Commenced – 3 Nephi 21:7

5 Therefore, when these works and the works which shall be wrought among you hereafter shall come forth from the Gentiles, unto your seed which shall dwindle in unbelief because of iniquity;
6 For thus it behooveth the Father that it should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel;
7 And when these things come to pass that thy seed shall begin to know these things—it shall be a sign unto them, that they may know that the work of the Father hath already commenced unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he hath made unto the people who are of the house of Israel.
(3 Nephi 21:5-7)

When Jesus Christ visited the American continent, His audience was a group of Israelites who had migrated to America from Jerusalem. They thought of themselves as the inheritors of the covenant which God had made with their direct ancestors: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (See, for example, 1 Nephi 17:40.) And like their counterparts in other parts of the world, they referred to non-Israelites as Gentiles.

Jesus prophesied to them that, many years later, their descendants would no longer believe in the gospel. At that time, He said, the Gentiles would receive a record of His visit and would bring it to their unbelieving descendants. When they received this record from the Gentiles, they would know that God fulfills His covenants and specifically that He was keeping His promises to them.

In the passage above, I am most interested in the Savior’s characterization of what these American Israelites will know when they receive the record of their ancestors from the Gentiles. He doesn’t say that they will know that their Father in Heaven “is about to” fulfill His covenant with them, or that He “is starting to” do so.  He says that they will know that “the work of the Father hath already commenced.” Heavenly Father has already been working on fulfilling His covenant with them for some time. They were simply not aware of it.

When we begin to see the hand of God in our lives, chances are good that we are only catching a glimpse of something that has been going on for some time. Our perception is limited, and God may be even now preparing the way for our deliverance from a challenge we are not yet aware we will face. The prerequisites for a future miracle in our lives may be even now being laid in ways that are imperceptible to us today.

Today, I will be grateful for the indications I have received that my Heavenly Father is mindful of me and is acting on my behalf. I will remember that I have only seen the tip of the iceberg in this respect: that my Heavenly Father is blessing me in ways that I cannot see today and which I may only be partially aware of in the future. I will be grateful for a God who knows all things, who loves me, and who always keeps His covenants.

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