“Lesson 127: Isaiah 51–52,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)
“Lesson 127,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
The Lord invited His people to take comfort in His salvation and to awake and remove themselves from the bands of their captivity. Isaiah then prophesied that the Lord would deliver captive Israel.
Suggestions for Teaching
The Lord calls Israel to take comfort in His salvation and righteousness
Write the following statement on the board: Sometimes it is hard to be righteous.
Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why?
What are some of the challenges you have faced or you have seen others face when trying to be righteous?
Explain that in Isaiah 51, we read that the Lord, through Isaiah, addressed people who were trying to be righteous. Invite students as they study this chapter to look for principles that can help them in their efforts to be righteous.
Invite a student to read Isaiah 51:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord counseled those who are trying to be righteous to do. Before students read, remind them that Isaiah often repeated the same concept in different ways, as he did in verses 1 and 2.
What did the Lord counsel those who are seeking to be righteous to do?
Explain that when the Lord said to look to Abraham and Sarah, He was calling on the people of Israel to remember and keep the covenants that He had established with Abraham and Sarah.
What covenants or promises had the Lord made with Abraham and Sarah? (See Bible Dictionary, “Abraham, covenant of.”)
Write the following incomplete principle on the board: As we remember our covenants and keep them …
Invite a student to read Isaiah 51:3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for why the Lord called upon Israel to remember and keep their covenants.
How did the Lord say He would bless those who would remember and keep the covenants He had made with Abraham and with them? (They would be blessed and comforted.)
Based on what you learned from verse 3, how would you complete the principle on the board? (After students respond, complete the principle on the board so it conveys the following truth: As we remember our covenants and keep them, the Lord will bless us and comfort us.)
What words and phrases did the Lord use to describe how His people would be comforted?
How has the Lord comforted you (or people you know) during challenging times as you (or they) were faithful to Him through keeping covenants?
Summarize Isaiah 51:4–6 by explaining that the Lord taught Israel that they can have comfort in Him when they are faithful to their covenants because His redemptive power and righteousness are eternal.
To prepare students to identify another principle, invite them to ponder a time when they worried about what others thought of them because they were trying to be righteous.
How might fearing others’ mockery or opinions affect our efforts to be righteous?
Invite a student to read Isaiah 51:7–8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for who the Lord said did not need to fear the mockery or negative opinion of others. Explain that the words reproach and revilings refer to rebukes or mockery.
According to verse 7, who should not fear what others say or do to them?
What principle can we learn from this verse? (Students should identify a principle similar to the following: If the Lord’s law is in our hearts, then we have no need to fear the mockery of others.)
Why did the Lord say that those with His law in their hearts did not need to fear what others say or do to them? (Because the blessings of the Lord’s righteousness and salvation will endure forever, while those who revile against righteousness will no longer be able to hurt us in the next life.)
What are some things we can do to invite the Lord to place His law in our hearts? (We must choose to love God’s laws and sincerely desire to live them. We must prayerfully open our hearts to God’s law and live the gospel with real intent.)
The Lord calls upon Zion to awake and remove themselves from the bands of their captivity
Display an alarm clock or an alarm on a cell phone.
Why do people use alarm clocks?
Invite students to look at Isaiah 51:9 and notice the first two words. Explain that in Isaiah 51:9–10, Isaiah wrote that the Lord’s people were pleading with the Lord to awake (or use His power) to help them as He had done in the past and to fulfill His promises.
Summarize Isaiah 51:11–23 by explaining that the Lord indicated that it was His people who needed to awake.
Invite a student to read Isaiah 52:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to look for what the Lord invited Israel to do to awake from their spiritual sleep.
What did the Lord invite Israel to do to awake from their spiritual sleep?
You may want to explain that the phrase instructing the people of Zion to “put on thy beautiful garments” (Isaiah 52:1) means that they should clothe themselves with inner purity and sanctity. It means to figuratively remove the clothes of their captivity to sin and instead wear clothes of righteousness and priesthood authority (see D&C 113:7–8).
What does the phrase “shake thyself from the dust” (Isaiah 52:2) mean? (To get rid of the filth of sin and the influence of the world.)
What do we need to do to rid ourselves from the effects of our sins?
Explain that the Lord said that His people had figuratively sold themselves when they turned away from Him and embraced the wickedness of the world. Invite a student to read Isaiah 52:3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Israel received when they sold themselves through sin.
What did Israel receive when they turned away from the Lord by sinning? What do we receive when we sin? (Nothing.)
What do you think the phrase “ye shall be redeemed without money” (Isaiah 52:3) means?
Explain that although we are not redeemed from sin through money, the process of returning to the Lord does often have a price. We must be willing to offer Him a broken heart and a contrite spirit and put forth great effort to repent.
What principle do these verses teach us concerning what we must do to be redeemed from our sins? (Students should identify a principle similar to the following: When we repent and come unto the Lord, He will redeem us from our sins.)
How can this principle be a comfort to us when we sin?
Invite students to ponder in what ways they may be spiritually asleep and what they may need to do to awake, repent, and come to the Lord. Invite them to set a goal to act on any promptings they receive.
Isaiah prophesies of the Lord delivering captive Israel
Explain that anciently during times of war, people would anxiously await news from the battlefield. This news would have been brought by runners traveling on foot.
How do you think these messengers were received when they brought news that the battle had been won and peace had been established? Why?
Explain that in Isaiah 52:7–8, Isaiah compared these battlefield messengers with Jesus Christ and the message of salvation that He gave and would give. The description of messengers given by Isaiah also includes those who would share the gospel message of peace and salvation and spread the joyful news that Jesus Christ has won the battle against sin and evil.
Invite students to read Isaiah 52:7–8 silently, looking for how those who share the message of salvation with others are described. Explain that publish means to proclaim or tell. Those who initially publish the message of salvation and the “watchmen” spoken of in verse 8 are prophets.
What do you think it means that those who share the message of the gospel with others are considered to have “beautiful feet” by those who receive their message? (This is an expression of gratitude for those who bring them the gospel message, which fills them with joy and peace; see also Mosiah 15:15–18.)
Invite a student to read Isaiah 52:9–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how those who receive the gospel message will feel.
How will those who receive the gospel message of redemption and salvation feel?
What principles can we learn from these verses about sharing the gospel with others? (Students may identify a variety of principles, but make sure it is clear that when we share the message of the gospel, we offer joy to others.)
Ask students what tools and methods are available for us today to publish the gospel and share it with our friends and family. List their responses on the board. Students may mention tools and methods such as text messages, social media, verbally sharing testimony, and pass-along cards.
When have you used one of the tools or methods on the board to share the gospel with others? How did your sharing the gospel bring joy to them?
Invite students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals the names of those with whom they have felt prompted to share the gospel. Invite students to set a goal to share the gospel with those on their list so those people can experience joy.
Remind students that Isaiah 51–52 records Isaiah’s words to the Lord’s covenant people, who had been asleep spiritually. He taught them that they needed to awake by repenting and coming unto the Lord to be redeemed from their sins. Invite a student to read Isaiah 52:11–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how these verses help us understand what we need to do to awake, repent, and come to the Lord. Before students read, explain that Babylon is a symbol for the wickedness of the world.
According to verse 11, what do we need to do to be clean and to come unto the Lord so we can be redeemed from our sins?
According to verse 12, what promise is given to those who seek to leave the wickedness of the world and be clean? (You may need to explain that the phrase “the God of Israel will be your rearward” refers to the protection God will give to those who come to Him.)
Why would this promise be comforting to someone desiring to leave a lifestyle of sin?
Conclude with your testimony of the principles identified in the lesson today.