Cumber The Ground

     Well might the Jewish nation inquire, "What mean these words, And after that thou shalt cut it down." They might have been answered, "O inhabitants of Jerusalem, this is your day of opportunity and privilege, your day of merciful visitation." It was still time for them to know the things which belonged unto their peace. Jesus was in the midst of them, the only one who had power to save them; but their unbelief, their resistance, was bringing to them its sure results of hardness of heart and impenitence, and was filling them with stubbornness and rebellion. Jesus was diffusing light, scattering his blessings upon every hand, showering mercies upon the unthankful and the evil. His mercies were unacknowledged, and Jesus, the Light, the Way, and the Truth, was rejected. Still a brief space was theirs before the irrevocable words should be spoken. Shall the season of trial close, and after that the mandate from heaven be pronounced. "Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?" They had fulfilled the word, "They would none of My counsel; they despised all My reproof." They had none to blame but themselves if they perished in their sins. Jesus had said to them, "Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life."  

     The Lord had often punished the enemies of the Jewish nation, and had saved his people when their foes purposed to destroy them. As a mighty warrior he had raised his hand to press back the powers of darkness, working in behalf of his people in order that the Jews and that other nations might have an opportunity to see the character of God as represented in Christ Jesus. He gave them an opportunity to repent and to believe on the only-begotten Son of God. And "as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." He bore long with the Jewish nation, even when they were given up to idolatry. He saw them not as fruit-bearing trees, but as cumberers of the ground. These were not merely useless, but decided hindrances. Their religion was misleading, and wrought ruin instead of salvation. 

ST, November 21, 1895