“Unit 24: Day 2, Isaiah 6–9,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 24: Day 2,” Old Testament Study Guide
Isaiah saw the Lord, and the Lord called Isaiah to minister to the people of Judah. Isaiah warned Ahaz, king of Judah, not to make an alliance with Syria and Israel against Assyria. He also prophesied of the destruction of the wicked, the gathering of Israel in the latter days, and the power of Jesus Christ to save His people if they will repent.
Think about what worries or concerns you would have if you were called on a mission to minister to a wicked group of people.
Isaiah 6 records that in the year King Uzziah died, Isaiah saw a vision in which he was caught up to the throne of God. There he saw the true King and received his calling to preach repentance to the people. Other prophets have had similar experiences (see 2 Nephi 11:2–3).
Read Isaiah 6:5, looking for how Isaiah felt in the presence of the Lord.
The literal meaning of the Hebrew word translated as undone in this verse is “cut off.” Isaiah was overwhelmed with feelings of unworthiness through his awareness of his sins and the sins of his people. (See Isaiah 6:5, footnote a.)
- Ponder a time when you felt you were in a holy place or in the presence of someone you respected for his or her righteousness. In your scripture study journal, write down some of the feelings and thoughts you experienced at that time.
Read Isaiah 6:6–7, looking for what happened to Isaiah in his vision.
The altar in verse 6 refers to an altar in the temple where sacrifices and incense were burnt as offerings unto God. The coal taken from the altar was a symbol of cleansing (see Isaiah 6:6, footnote a).
You may want to mark in verse 7 what the seraphim said had happened to Isaiah’s sins. What feelings might you have if a messenger from the Lord pronounced you clean from your sins?
Read Isaiah 6:8, looking for answers to the following questions:
How did Isaiah respond to the Lord’s invitation to serve?
How could the knowledge that he was clean from sin affect Isaiah’s willingness to serve the Lord?
From what you learned about Isaiah in this account, complete the following principle: As we are from our sins, we become more to do what God asks of us.
Notice that the Lord told Isaiah that the people would reject his message and thereby harden their hearts and become spiritually deaf (“make their ears heavy”) and blind (“shut their eyes”). While the Lord certainly did not want the people to harden their hearts and become spiritually deaf and blind, in verse 10 is His description of how the people would respond to Isaiah’s preaching—they would choose not to listen.
During the time of Isaiah, Assyria had become a powerful nation, and the Assyrians threatened the peace of the Lord’s people. Through Isaiah, the Lord promised His people safety if they would trust in Him rather than trusting in other nations, such as Syria. Isaiah 7–9 contains both the promised deliverance if the people trusted in the Lord and the promised destruction if they failed to heed His words.
Think about your name and what it means. Consider why your parents gave you the name you have. (You may want to find out what your name means or ask your parents why they gave you this name if you don’t know.)
The meaning of names in the scriptures can often teach us important truths. Isaiah’s name means “the Lord is salvation” or “Jehovah saves.” Read Isaiah 7:3 and 8:1 to find the names Isaiah gave his two sons. Use Isaiah 7:3, footnote a; 8:1, footnote d; and 8:18, footnote a to discover the meaning of each name. Write these names of Isaiah’s sons and their meanings in the following chart:
“The Lord is salvation” or “Jehovah saves.”
Read Isaiah 8:18 to understand how Isaiah saw himself and his sons in relation to the children of Israel.
Isaiah’s and his sons’ names were signs of the great things the Lord would do for Israel. Their names represent three themes that are prevalent in Isaiah’s writings: the destruction the people would face if they persisted in wickedness, the eventual gathering of Israel back to the promised land and God’s covenant, and the power of Jesus Christ to save His people.
Read each of the following references and decide which of the three themes (destruction, gathering, or saving) the scripture passage relates to. Write the related theme or themes next to each reference.
The prophecies in Isaiah 7:14–16 and 9:6–7 are some of the more significant prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the coming of Jesus Christ. You may want to mark these verses and note that the name “Immanuel” in Isaiah 7:14 means “with us is God.” It was important for the people to know that the Lord would be with them against their enemies in their day, but it was also important for them to know that one day the Messiah would be born and live among them.
- Select two or more of the prophecies you read about in the preceding references, and write a few sentences in your scripture study journal about what you learned from them.
Because of the people’s wickedness during the time of Isaiah, destruction loomed in their future. Assyria would conquer the Northern Kingdom of Israel and threaten to destroy the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
Read the following account by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles about a woman he and Elder David S. Baxter of the Seventy met. Think about how you would respond to the woman.
“Last year while Elder David S. Baxter and I were driving to a stake conference, we stopped at a restaurant. Later when returning to our car, we were approached by a woman who called out to us. We were startled by her appearance. Her grooming (or lack of it) was what I might politely call ‘extreme.’ She asked if we were elders in the Church. We said yes. Almost unrestrained, she told the story of her tragic life, swamped in sin. Now, only 28 years old, she was miserable. She felt worthless, with nothing to live for. As she spoke, the sweetness of her soul began to emerge. Pleading tearfully, she asked if there was any hope for her, any way up and out of her hopelessness” (“Repentance and Conversion,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 102).
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What would you have said to the woman?
Read Isaiah 9:12, 17, 21, and identify a phrase that Isaiah repeated as he taught the people about the consequences of their sins. Fill in the blanks to complete the phrase: “His is not away, but his is stretched out .”
Isaiah may have intended more than one meaning in the phrase “his hand is stretched out still” because the Lord’s hand can be extended for both justice and mercy. One meaning may be that because the people of Isaiah’s time did not turn away from sin (see Isaiah 9:13–16), they would experience the Lord’s hand in the form of destruction. But Isaiah may have also been teaching that the Lord still offered hope for eventual mercy if the people would repent (see Isaiah 9:12, footnote d).
From these phrases we can learn the following principles: If we repent, the Lord is willing to extend to us His mercy and forgive our sins. The justice of God demands punishment for sin, but the Atonement brings about the plan of mercy to appease the demands of justice.
Read the conclusion of the experience of Elder Nelson and Elder Baxter to see what they taught this woman: “‘Yes,’ we responded, ‘there is hope. Hope is linked to repentance. You can change. You can “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him” [Moroni 10:32].’ We urged her not to procrastinate. She sobbed humbly and thanked us sincerely” (“Repentance and Conversion,” 102).
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How can both images of the Lord’s hand being stretched out—one threatening justice and the other offering mercy— help us decide to repent and come unto Him?
Ponder the love the Savior has for you, and consider what you may need to repent of. Remember the Lord’s willingness to stretch out His hand of mercy to you as you repent.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Isaiah 6–9 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: