“September 26–October 2. Isaiah 50–57: ‘He Hath Borne Our Griefs, and Carried Our Sorrows,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Old Testament 2022 (2021)
“September 26–October 2. Isaiah 50–57,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2022
Record Your Impressions
Throughout his ministry, Isaiah spoke of a mighty deliverer (see, for example, Isaiah 9:3–7). These prophecies would have been especially precious to the Israelites centuries later when they were in captivity in Babylon. Someone who could topple the walls of Babylon would be a mighty conqueror indeed. But that isn’t the kind of Messiah that Isaiah described in chapters 52–53: “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him. … We did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:3–4). By sending such an unexpected deliverer, God taught us about true deliverance. To save us from oppression and affliction, God sent One who Himself “was oppressed, and … afflicted.” Where some expected a lion, He sent a lamb (see Isaiah 53:7). Surely, God’s ways are not our ways (see Isaiah 55:8–9). Jesus Christ frees us not by just opening the prison but by taking our place there. He relieves us from our chains of grief and sorrow by bearing them Himself (see Isaiah 53:4–5, 12). He does not save us from a distance. He suffers with us, in an act of “everlasting kindness” that “shall not depart from thee” (Isaiah 54:8, 10).
Even though the Israelites spent many years in captivity—and even though that captivity was a result of their own poor choices—the Lord wanted them to look to the future with hope. What hopeful messages do you find in Isaiah 50–52? What does the Lord teach us about Himself in these chapters, and why does this give you hope? (see, for example, Isaiah 50:2, 5–9; 51:3–8, 15–16; 52:3, 9–10).
You might also list everything in chapters 51–52 that the Lord invites Israel to do to make this hopeful future a reality. What do you feel the Lord is inviting you to do through these words? For example, what do you think it means to “awake” and “put on strength”? (Isaiah 51:9; see also Isaiah 52:1; Doctrine and Covenants 113:7–10). Why do you think the invitation to “hearken” (or “listen with the intent to obey”) is repeated so often? (Russell M. Nelson, “Hear Him,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2020, 89).
Few chapters in scripture describe Jesus Christ’s redemptive mission more beautifully than Isaiah 53. Take the time to ponder these words. With each verse, pause to contemplate what the Savior suffered—the “griefs,” “sorrows,” and “transgressions” He bore—for all people and specifically for you. You might replace words like “we” and “our” with “I” and “my” as you read. What feelings or thoughts do these verses inspire in you? Consider writing them down.
We all have times when we feel distant from the Lord because of our sins or weaknesses. Some have even given up hope that He will ever forgive them. Isaiah 54 and 57 are great chapters to read for reassurance and encouragement during such times. Particularly in Isaiah 54:4–10; 57:15–19, what do you learn about the Savior’s mercy and His feelings about you? What difference does it make in your life to know these things about Him?
How do the blessings described in Isaiah 54:11–17 apply to you?
For generations, Israel had been identified as God’s covenant people. However, God’s plan has always included more than just one nation, for “every one that thirsteth” is invited to “come … to the waters” (Isaiah 55:1). Keep this in mind as you read Isaiah 55 and 56, and ponder what it means to be God’s people. What is God’s message to those who feel “utterly separated” from Him? (Isaiah 56:3). Consider marking verses that describe attitudes and actions of those who “take hold of my covenant” (see Isaiah 56:4–7).
Isaiah 51–52.As you discuss the Lord’s invitations in these chapters, you could invite family members to act them out. For instance, what does it look like to “lift up your eyes to the heavens,” “awake, stand up,” or “shake thyself from the dust”? (Isaiah 51:6, 17; 52:2). What do these phrases teach us about following Jesus Christ?
Isaiah 52:11; 55:7.These verses could lead to a discussion about what the phrase “Be ye clean” might mean. As part of this discussion, you could review topics in For the Strength of Youth (booklet, 2011) or read scriptures about the blessings of being spiritually clean (see 3 Nephi 12:8; Doctrine and Covenants 121:45–46).
Isaiah 53.To introduce Isaiah’s description of the Savior, your family could talk about how stories, movies, and other media often depict heroes who rescue people. You could contrast those depictions with the descriptions of the Savior that you read in Isaiah 53. You could also watch the video “My Kingdom Is Not of This World” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org) and talk about how the prophecies in Isaiah 53 were fulfilled. What are some of the griefs and sorrows the Savior carries for us?
Isaiah 55:8–9.How do things look different when you are high above the ground? What does it mean to you that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “I Stand All Amazed,” Hymns, no. 193.