Summary Lesson 36: “The Desert Shall Rejoice, And Blossom As The Rose”
The greatest deliverance of the Children of Israel was from the adversities and hardships in Egypt. It was a learning experience where a complete generation had to die and only the next generation was the one to enter the promised land to prosper there. “O Judah, and . . . Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD . . . believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” (2 Chronicles 20)
Lehi, Nephi, and those who left Jerusalem about 600 B.C. were sent to the “ends of the earth,” to continue teaching the same truths that were given in the original “prosperous” vineyard. What they recorded as their scriptures became an even clearer source of teaching materials for later generations. Even in the distant or “poorest” spot of land, the truths thrived and the righteous created a “genetic imprint” of true dealings with God. They prospered both temporally and spiritually.
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As the Mormon pioneers gazed into a vast Salt Lake desert, a Jordan River valley, the Lord knew what was in store for them because they sought first for spiritual food, and the prosperity followed “The pioneers were hungry and weary; they needed food and rest; a hostile desert looked them in the face; yet in the midst of such physical requirements they turned first to the building of temples and to the spiritual food and strength that the temples provide” (John A. Widtsoe Conference Report, Apr. 1943, 38).
In modern times, the returning Jews have turned the Israeli Jordan Valley desert into vast flower farms. They are exporting more roses from Israel than any country in the world. The growth in the desolate Jordan valley, where the rainfall has been recorded at one inch or less per year, has now increased to six or seven inches per year in the new agricultural areas. Israeli engineering has taken the genetic structures of date palms which grow well in depleted or poor soil and naturally introduced them into other domestic crop structures. This means that elsewhere in the world, poor spots of land can also become fruitful.
Even though, ethnically, Israel looks like a tossed salad of mixed fruit, the roots still bear the genetic imprints of the original House of Israel. Connecting to those roots will trigger a recollection of the covenants made of old. So, even when the fruit in the nethermost part of the vineyard becomes apostate, there still is a root connection to the old tree.
Ah, both deserts, East and West, are blossoming as the rose!