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The Tree of Life:


A New Trust in God

Chapter 1. This prophecy gives voice to the urgent cry of the human for an answer to the question of permitted wrong. Why should violence and injustice prevail unchecked? "How long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear." People of this enlightened age say and do the most outrageous things, and laugh at all authority. They worship might, and not right. The Chaldeans represent this spirit. How can the Lord, who is "of purer eyes than to behold evil," permit the wicked to devour one more righteous than himself? Must these barbarities continue indefinitely? Surely, "in a world where a just God rules, nations as well as individuals must answer for what they do," and for what they are. This is the inside of the cup.

2. The prophet ascends his watch tower. The answer can only be seen by reason enlightened from above. We may long doubt the Lord’s providence in permitted wrongs, but one conclusion appears in the light, the longer we look at the problem from the inside, "his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faithfulness." To trust in self leads downward to sorrow and chaos: whereas trust in God leads upward with the only solution of the problem through suffering. The curses of the nations crushed by the Chaldeans enumerate the sorrows inherent in self-seeking to be borne and overcome by the faithful. Woe to him that despoils his neighbor to the shame and confusion of both. And, woe to the idolater, with no power above self to afford help in time of need. For the faithful "the Lord is in His Holy Temple," to enlighten, to direct, and to save; "let all the earth keep silence before him." The Lord’s works are done in silence. "Their voice is not heard."

3. Yet, further, the prophecy announces the advent of the Lord into a world hopelessly beside itself with violence, and contempt of the law, giving no quarter to opposition in any form. The world rejected the Lord, but the Lord overcame the world. "The mountains saw thee, and they trembled. . . . Thou didst move through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed." That is the final answer to the problem. The preponderance of evil without restraint, other than the restraint of the weak by the strong, is proof positive that man is a free agent, and holds his life in his hands. On the other hand, the Savior demonstrates the existence of the power of God available to overcome all evil through prayer and effort. We are free momentarily to choose good or evil. Holding the Lord’s example before us, we may renew our conviction that we have nothing to fear in life. Although everything that we have thought most worthwhile in life should fail us, and although we face desolation in our spiritual life from time to time, "yet, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. . . . He will make me to walk upon mine high places." The prophet’s name means "embrace." "Underneath are the everlasting arms."


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