2 Nephi 19:8-21
What the remainder of this chapter is dealing with has to do with Israel's complete ignorance, or deliberate lack of faith, so that they might continue in their sinful ways.
The reality that seems to be echoed in my mind is this simple truth: that the closer one gets to God and becoming like God, the harder it is, and more offensive to the Lord it is to back down, ignore, or turn away from Him. The Lord does not forget the execution of his covenants. So to those whom he has blessed with his Word, he judges according to that knowledge which is given them.
Men will try to rebuild in the face of such condemnation from the Lord, as if the condemnation and chastisement of God were some minor inconvenience that they could just work around. "...The sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars." (vs. 10)
Here are some thoughts as I contemplate these verses. I think on what wickedness there must be to incite the wrath of God. These verse include condemnations of hypocrisy and folly.
What causes a God to condemn his own people while he allows other nations to prosper in worldly increase? How can a God of mercy, at the same time, be so very demanding of his children? Why will he utterly destroy a nation gone astray from the ways of truth, but permit other nations, where there has never been light, to go unchecked?
It is impossibly for a people of God to continue on in paths of wickedness, for the Lord will not allow it. Is it any wonder that records and accounts of righteous civilizations are as limited and seemingly non-existent as they are? When they loose their way, the Lord overshadows their lands with darkness, they are not permitted to continue and to prosper in paths of wickedness. They are destroyed.