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Enlarge the place of thy tent

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 40

Isaiah 54–56; 63–65

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How many of you have gone tent camping?

What happens to your tent in the wind?

How can you prevent your tent from blowing away?

Does the quality of your stakes make a difference in the level of stability?

In Isaiah 54:2-5 we read

2  Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;

3  For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.

4  Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.

5  For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

What does the tent refer to today?

What does a stake represent?

President Ezra Taft Benson said:

“The term stake is a symbolic expression. Picture in your mind a great tent held up by cords extended to many stakes that are firmly secured in the ground.

“The prophets likened latter-day Zion to a great tent encompassing the earth. That tent was supported by cords fastened to stakes. Those stakes, of course, are various geographical organizations spread out over the earth. Presently, Israel is being gathered to the various stakes of Zion” (“Strengthen Thy Stakes,” Ensign, Jan. 1991, 2).

In Isaiah it says “enlarge the place of thy tent”, what does it mean? To share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those that do not have it.

In Isaiah 54:3 that we read a minute ago, it describes what will happen with the church.  Let’s re-read verse 3.

What does it say will happen?  The church will grow quickly.

In verse 2 we were given very important council but it is Isaiah-speak.  So lets break it down…

  • Stretch the tent curtains and lengthen the cords

What does that mean?

What can we do to share the gospel?

  • Strengthen the tent stakes

How can we do this?

How does what we do as individuals strengthen the stakes?

On my mission, there were very few members of the church.  As we were looking for investigators we were told to look with leadership callings in mind.  We were told that as we were speaking to people to think of them as more than a member of the church, but to think of them as a leader in the Relief Society.  This was one way that we were able to strengthen the stakes.

Today is fast Sunday.   It is the perfect opportunity for us to “strengthen the stakes” through the fast.

Isaiah 58:3-7 tells us just how important the law of fasting is.

3  Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.

4  Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

5  Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?

6  Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

7  Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

What makes a “true fast”?

How often do you hear or murmur about how hard it is to fast?

Do you ever forget that it is fast Sunday?  I do.

Here’s a little one question quiz…

If you forgot it is fast Sunday until you have finished making pancakes with homemade syrup and sausage.  Do you…

  1. Say “Oh well, next time I’ll do better”
  2. Start your fast right then with a prayer and wrap of the food for later
  3. Throw away the food and go hungry until dinner
  4. Scold your spouse for not reminding you before you went to bed the night before
  5. Eat pancakes and give more in your fast offering envelope than you normally do to ease the guilt

What is right or wrong about each of these answers?

How do you determine the amount that you donate?  We’ve been advised to give the cost of the two meals that we are skipping.  But I really like the quote that President Kimball shared in April conference 1974.

“I think that when we are affluent, as many of us are, that we ought to be very, very generous … and give, instead of the amount we saved by our two meals of fasting, perhaps much, much more—ten times more where we are in a position to do it”

In Isaiah 58 we are also told what blessings we can receive from a true fast.

Isaiah 58: 6-11

6  Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

7  Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

8  Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.

9  Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

10  And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:

11  And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

What are the blessings promises?

  • stronger against temptation
  • lightened burdens
  • physical and spiritual health
  • become humble
  • assist poor
  • receive guidance
  • souls satisfied in drought

How does the fast help strengthen our stakes?

How can the fast help us enlarge our tent?

In Isaiah 54:7 we are told that the Lord would gather together his people in the last days.

Who will be invited to gather?

Isaiah 55:1-3

1  Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

2  Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

3  Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

I thought verse two was very intriguing.  “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?”

What do you interpret that to mean?

What does “satisfy”?

How do the other things get in the way of satisfaction?

How does gathering the Lord’s people together strengthen the stakes?

The stronger our stakes the  stronger our tents.

As we conclude Isaiah, we are told about the beauty that is the Millennium.   We are told that in the last days the Lord would

  • create new heavens and a new earth
  • great joy and no more weeping
  • people will not die young
  • people will enjoy the fruits of their labor
  • prayers will be answered immediately
  • there will be no enmity among beasts

As we strengthen our stakes and enlarge our tents, we are getting closer and closer to the time that we will have that peace we have been talk about.  Pure peace.

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