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Isaiah - Warnings and Council for us today

I keep thinking I should be posting my Sunday School lessons, but I think I will turn comments off.   I took a little bit of break from posting them and have felt badly that I hadn’t.  This week’s lesson was on Isaiah 1-6.  It is lesson 34 in the Gospel Doctrine Manual.

Isaiah was an important prophet, yet he is often considered difficult to understand.  People are nervous about having to prepare lessons on Isaiah, they sometimes even skip over Isaiah when they read the Bible and skip over the Isaiah chapters of the Book of Mormon.  But, Isaiah is very important to read and to understand.  Today we are going to look at the first 6 chapters and we’ll learn quite a bit about God’s plan for us and what He expects of us in the latter days.

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Did you know???

32% of Isaiah is quoted in the Book of Mormon

Another 3% is paraphrased

Isaiah is mentioned in the New Testament 57 times

There are a 100 mentions, quotes or paraphrasing in the D&C

Isaiah begins by describing the condition of the world in the last days.  Many of the things he mentions were directed to the people of Jacob but we know they can and should be applied to today.

Isaiah 1:3-5

3- The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.

4- Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto danger, they are gone away backward.

5- Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.

–          Israel has forsaken the Lord and has rebelled

  • What are some examples of this today?

Isaiah 1:11-15

11- To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.

12- When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?

13- Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.

14- Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.

15- And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.

–          Religious ceremonies without meaning or faith

  • What does that mean?
    • Draw near to the Lord with lips but not with hearts
  • How do some be outwardly religious but not genuinely so?
  • Why do you think that offends God?
    • We are sometimes told better to do something for the wrong reasons then not do it at all.  But is that being not genuine in our actions?

Isaiah 1:18

18- Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

–          Blessings of forgiveness

  • How can these two images help us when we have sinned?

Isaiah 2:7-8

7- Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots:

8- Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:

–          Worship of worldly things and military security

  • How do we worship military security today?

Isaiah 2:11-12

11- The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.

12- For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:

–          “Pride is characterized by ‘What do I want out of my life?’ rather than by ‘What would God have me do with my life?’  It is self-willing as opposed to God’s will.  It is the fear of man over the fear of God.” – President Ezra Taft Benson

–          What are some other ways that pride is characterized?

Isaiah 3:5 And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.

–          Oppression of other people and failing to honor older people

  • What are some ways the world is failing to honor and help the older generation?

Isaiah 3:9 The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.

–          No shame for sin

Isaiah 3:14-15

14- The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have deaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.

15- What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.

–          Taking advantage of the poor and failing to care for them

  • How is that happening today?

Isaiah 3:16-24

16- Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:

17- Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.

18- In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,

19- The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,

20- The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,

21- The rings, and nose jewels,

22- The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,

23- The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.

24- And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.

–          Emphasis on outward physical beauty at the expense of righteousness and good character

  • Does that mean that we can’t care about our physical beauty?
  • How can we know if our focus on beauty is costing us our righteousness and/or good character?
  • What about the extremes?  If you are focusing too much or not enough?

Isaiah 5:8 Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!

–          Greedy desires to own more and more material things

  • Keeping up with the Jones’
  • Is it wrong to have material goods?
  • How do you know if your motivation is greedy or healthy?

Isaiah 5:11-12

11- Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!

12- And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands.

–          Constantly seeking worldly pleasures instead of seeking the Lord and His Work

Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

–          Say that Evil things are good and good things are evil

  • How often do we say something a little differently in order to be politically correct?
  • What are some ways that we (as a people) are doing that today?
    • Politics –
    • Media – depicting pre-marital sex as normal, drinking as expected and a normal part of life, drugs are part of growing up

Isaiah 5:21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

–          Trusting in oneself instead of God

  • How do you make decisions?
  • What causes someone to be wise in their own eyes?
  • How can we avoid it?
  • Example from General Conference – Quote about paying off the mortgage
    • Henry B Eyring – told how he heard President Ezra Taft Benson speak about the importance of getting out of debt and if possible even paying off your mortgage.  The night of the talk, he and his wife discussed how to pay off their mortgage.  Simply because they were told to by the prophet.  It would be easy to write it off as coincidence, but they were able to sell another property that they had on the market for a long time.

Isaiah 5:24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

–          Despising the commandments and  Word of God

  • President Boyd K Packer’s talk on legalizing and morality

“If we are not alert, there are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God’s laws and nature. A law against nature would be impossible to enforce. For instance, what good would a vote against the law of gravity do?

There are both moral and physical laws “irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world” that cannot be changed.17 History demonstrates over and over again that moral standards cannot be changed by battle and cannot be changed by ballot. To legalize that which is basically wrong or evil will not prevent the pain and penalties that will follow as surely as night follows day.

Regardless of the opposition, we are determined to stay on course. We will hold to the principles and laws and ordinances of the gospel. If they are misunderstood either innocently or willfully, so be it. We cannot change; we will not change the moral standard. We quickly lose our way when we disobey the laws of God. If we do not protect and foster the family, civilization and our liberties must needs perish.”

  • In the media I heard people say “He can’t tell me how to live”  or “How dare he think he can tell me who I can or cannot love?” – Was he talking to them?

All that Isaiah described for the last days seems a bit grim and challenging.  But God always shows us what we can do to find safety and refuge when it is a difficult time.

Where can you go for safe refuge?

Isaiah 4:5-6 tells us where to find safety

5- And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence.

6- And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.

The three places are home, church and the temple.

Home –

–          Is your home the place you can escape to or is it a place you want to escape from??

–          What can you do to make it the place you find peace?

–          Do you or your children feel safe in your home?  If your children are grown, do they find security in your home as well as their own?  When you return to your parents’ home, is there peace there?

–          If you have children, go home and talk to your family about the feeling in your home.  If it is broken, determine together what you  can do to fix it.

Branches, Wards, Stakes –

–          The ward is designed as a Holy Place for us to find security and comfort.

  • How does the ward provide that for you?

Temples –

–          What 3 things did Isaiah say we would find in these Holy Places?

  • Re-read Isaiah 4:5-6

Whenever we are feeling the weight of the times, our lives, our jobs, our etc. we should run not walk to one, two or all three of the Holy Places.

We also need to be reminded that His hand is stretched out still.  He will not forsake nor forget us.

*** some information taken from Beardall 2000’s Gospel Doctrine site.

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