“Lesson 126: Isaiah 48–50,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)
“Lesson 126,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
The Lord invited the Israelites to return to Him and keep their covenants. He promised scattered Israel that He had not forgotten them and that He would restore them to their covenant blessings and gather them back to their lands of inheritance through the efforts of His servants.
Invite students to list in their class notebooks or scripture study journals things that cause them to feel worried, stressed, or afraid. After sufficient time, invite a few students to share with the class what they wrote, if it is not too personal. Write their responses on the board.
Do you think it is possible to have peace even if these difficulties are present in your life? Why or why not?
Invite students as they study Isaiah 48 to look for a principle that can help them have greater peace in their lives, even during times of trouble. Point out that Isaiah 48 is the first full chapter of Isaiah that the prophet Nephi quoted in the Book of Mormon (see 1 Nephi 20). Nephi stated that his reason for reading Isaiah to his brethren was so that he “might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer” (1 Nephi 19:23).
Explain that in Isaiah 48:1–8 we read that the Lord addressed the Israelites who broke their covenants and described their rebellious behavior. Invite a student to read Isaiah 48:1, 4–5, 8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words and phrases that show how the house of Israel had rebelled against the Lord. Invite students to report what they find. You may want to point out that the “waters of Judah” mentioned in verse 1 refer to baptism (see 1 Nephi 20:1).
Display a piece of metal that is difficult to bend. Ask students what they think it means for someone’s neck to be “an iron sinew” or for someone’s brow to be “brass” (Isaiah 48:4). Explain that a sinew is a tendon, which connects bone to muscle. Just as iron does not bend easily, prideful people will not bow their necks in humility.
According to Isaiah 48:5, what did the Lord say about why He prophesied or declared events before they happened? (So the Israelites could not attribute the Lord’s acts to their graven images and idols.)
Summarize Isaiah 48:9–15 by explaining that the Lord told the people that despite their wickedness He would not abandon them.
Invite a student to read Isaiah 48:17–19 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for how the Israelites would have been blessed if they had kept the commandments.
What blessings would the Israelites have received if they had been obedient to the Lord?
How would you state a principle based on verse 18 using the words if and then? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify a principle similar to the following: If we hearken to the Lord’s commandments, then we will have peace.)
Why do you think Isaiah used the image of a river as a symbol of peace? In what ways can righteousness be like “the waves of the sea”? (Isaiah 48:18).
Invite students to ponder times when hearkening to the Lord’s commandments has brought them peace. Consider inviting a few students to share their experiences with the class.
Invite students to read Isaiah 48:22 silently and look for what this verse teaches about peace.
Ask students to ponder times when they may have lacked peace because of their own disobedience. You may want to testify that the Lord will bless us with peace as we obey His commandments. Invite students to consider one way they can choose to be more obedient to the Lord’s commandments so they can feel greater peace.
Invite a few students to share experiences they have had when they were forgotten or left behind and to describe how they felt as a result. After several students share their experiences, invite students to ponder how they would respond to a friend who felt like the Lord had forgotten him or her.
Explain that Isaiah warned the Israelites that because of their wickedness, they would be scattered. Invite a student to read Isaiah 49:14 aloud. Ask students to follow along, looking for how the Israelites (referred to in this verse as “Zion”) would feel in their scattered condition.
How would the Israelites feel in their scattered condition?
What are some reasons that people today may sometimes feel that the Lord has forgotten them?
Explain that Isaiah 49 records the words the Lord spoke to reassure the Israelites of His love for them. Invite a student to read Isaiah 49:15–16 aloud. Ask students to follow along, looking for truths that can help us when we may feel the Lord has forgotten us.
According to verse 16, why will the Savior not forget any of Heavenly Father’s children? (Because the Savior has “graven [us] upon the palms of [His] hands.”)
Write the word graven on the board. Explain that to engrave is to cut or carve something into an object so the imprint remains there permanently.
In what way have we been graven upon the palms of the Savior’s hands?
How might this demonstrate the Savior’s love for us?
What can we learn from these verses that can reassure us when we may be tempted to feel that the Lord has forgotten us? (Students may suggest many correct truths, but make sure it is clear that the Lord loves us, and He will never forget us. Using students’ words, write this truth on the board.)
What experiences have helped you know that the Lord loves you and has not forgotten you?
Summarize Isaiah 49:17–26 by explaining that Isaiah prophesied that in the latter days, the descendants of Israel will be gathered in great numbers. Isaiah 49:22–23 specifically refers to how the Gentiles, or non-Israelite people, will assist in this process. The Lord testified that the time will come when all people will know that He is the Savior and Redeemer of mankind.
Invite students to list in their class notebooks or scripture study journals several items they own that have some value to them. Invite them to write next to each item the amount of money they would be willing to sell that item for. Invite a few students to explain to the class some of the items and amounts of money they listed.
When something is sold, who becomes the owner? (The person who purchased the item.)
Invite students to write their names at the bottom of the lists they created.
Point out that when we sin we may feel like the Savior has sold us or that He may not want us anymore. Invite a student to read Isaiah 50:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said to those who felt they had been sold or abandoned by the Lord.
What do you think the Lord meant when He said, “For your iniquities have ye sold yourselves”? (The Lord had not sold or forsaken His chosen people; they had sold themselves into the captivity of sin.)
What principle can we learn from verse 1? (Students may suggest a variety of principles, but be sure it is clear that when we sin, we sell ourselves into captivity.)
What are some examples of how we might sell ourselves into captivity through sin?
What do you think it means that when we sin, we sell ourselves for naught? (By sinning we trade our freedom and happiness for that which is of no real value.)
Once we have sinned and sold ourselves into captivity, what needs to happen in order for us to regain our freedom?
Write the word redeem on the board, and ask students to explain what they think it means. After they respond, explain that to redeem means to buy back or to deliver from captivity. Invite students to read Isaiah 50:2 silently and look for what the Savior said about His power and ability to redeem us, or buy us back, from the captivity of sin.
What do you think the Savior meant when He asked, “Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver?” (Students may give a variety of answers, but make sure it is clear that the Savior has the power to redeem us because of His Atonement. Using students’ words, write this truth on the board.)
Explain that in Isaiah 50:4–7 we read the Lord’s explanation of some of the things that would happen to Him as part of the Atonement. Invite a student to read Isaiah 50:4–7 aloud. Ask students to follow along, looking for words and phrases that describe what would happen to the Savior. Invite students to report what they find.
How is the Savior’s willingness to endure the suffering involved with the Atonement evidence of His commitment to us?
Remind students that while the Savior performed the Atonement and therefore has the power to redeem us from the captivity of sin, each of us must choose to repent of our sins in order to be redeemed. Invite students to open their hymnbooks to “Redeemer of Israel” (Hymns, no. 6) and either sing as a class or silently read the verses. Encourage them to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals their feelings about any verses or phrases of this hymn that stand out to them. After sufficient time, invite a few students to share with the class what they wrote.
Invite students to ponder whether they have any sins they need to repent of. Encourage them to allow the Lord to redeem them by choosing to repent.