Humble Hero

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Why This One Tree Was Cursed

The leafless trees raised no expectation and caused no disappointment. These represented the Gentiles, who had no more godliness than the Jews, but who made no boastful claims to goodness. With them “the season for figs” was not yet. They were still waiting for light and hope. God held the Jews, who had received greater blessings from Him, accountable for their abuse of these gifts. The privileges of which they boasted only increased their guilt. HH 269.4

Jesus had come to Israel, hungering to find the fruits of righteousness in them. He had granted them every privilege, and in return He longed to see in them self-sacrifice, compassion, and a deep yearning for the salvation of others. But pride and self-sufficiency eclipsed love to God and humanity. They did not give to the world the treasures of truth that God had committed to them. In the barren tree they might read both their sin and its punishment. Withered, dried up by the roots, the fig tree showed what the Jewish people would be when the grace of God was removed from them. Refusing to give blessing, they would no longer receive it. “O Israel,” the Lord says, “thou hast destroyed thyself.” Hosea 13:9, KJV. HH 269.5

Christ’s act in cursing the tree that His own power had created stands as a warning to all churches and all Christians. There are many who do not live out Christ’s merciful, unselfish life. Time is of value to them only so that they can use it to gather for themselves. In all the affairs of life, this is their aim. God planned for them to help others in every possible way. But self is so large that they cannot see anything else. Those who live for self in this way are like the fig tree. They follow the forms of worship without repentance or faith. They claim to honor the law of God, but they lack obedience. In the sentence pronounced on the fig tree Christ declares that the open sinner is less guilty than someone who professes to serve God but bears no fruit to His glory. HH 269.6

The parable of the fig tree, which Christ spoke before His visit to Jerusalem, had a direct connection with the lesson He taught by cursing the fruitless tree. In the parable the gardener pleaded for the barren tree, “Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.” Luke 13:8, 9. It was to have every advantage. The parable did not predict the result of the gardener’s work. The outcome depended on the people to whom Christ spoke those words, whom the fruitless tree represented. It was up to them to decide their own destiny. God had given them every advantage, but they did not profit by their increased blessings. Christ’s act in cursing the barren fig tree showed what the result would be. They had determined their own destruction. HH 270.1

For more than a thousand years the Jewish nation had rejected God’s warnings and killed His prophets. When the people of Christ’s day followed the same course, they made themselves responsible for these sins. They were fastening on themselves the chains that the nations had been forging for centuries. HH 270.2

There comes a time when mercy makes her last appeal. Then the sweet, winning voice of the Spirit no longer pleads with the sinner. HH 270.3

That day had come to Jerusalem. Jesus wept in anguish over the doomed city, but He could not deliver her. He had exhausted every resource. In rejecting the warnings of God’s Spirit, Israel had rejected her only means of help. HH 270.4

The Jewish nation was a symbol of the people of all ages who scorn the pleadings of Infinite Love. When Christ wept over Jerusalem, His tears were for the sins of all time. HH 270.5

In this generation many are walking the same path as the unbelieving Jews. The Holy Spirit has spoken to their hearts, but they are not willing to confess their errors. They reject God’s message and His messenger. HH 270.6

Today Bible truth, the religion of Christ, struggles against a strong tide of moral impurity. Prejudice is stronger now than in Christ’s day. The truth of God’s Word does not harmonize with natural human preferences, and thousands reject its light and choose their independent judgment. But they do so at the peril of their eternal life. HH 270.7

Those who tried to pick flaws with the words of Christ found everincreasing cause for doing so, until they turned from the Truth and the Life. God does not propose to remove every objection that the carnal heart may bring against His truth. To those who refuse light that would illuminate the darkness, the mysteries of God’s Word remain mysteries forever. The truth is hidden from them. HH 270.8

Christ’s words apply to everyone who treats the pleadings of divine mercy lightly. Christ is shedding bitter tears for you who have no tears to shed for yourself. And every evidence of the grace of God, every ray of divine light, is either melting and subduing the heart or confirming it in hopeless rebellion. HH 271.1

Christ foresaw that Jerusalem would remain unrepentant, yet all the guilt lay at her own door. It will be this way with everyone who follows the same course. The Lord declares, “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thy self.” Hosea 13:9, KJV. HH 271.2

“Hear, O earth!
Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people—
The fruit of their thoughts,
Because they have not heeded My words
Nor My law, but rejected it.”
Jeremiah 6:19
HH 271.3