“Unit 26: Day 1, Isaiah 48–50,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 26: Day 1,” Old Testament Study Guide
The Lord invited the Israelites to return to Him and keep their covenants. He promised scattered Israel that He had not forgotten them and would restore them to their covenant blessings and gather them back to their lands of inheritance through the efforts of His servants. The Lord also spoke to those of the house of Israel who would later be in captivity—either physically or spiritually.
What do you sometimes feel worried, stressed, or afraid about?
How is it possible to feel peace even when you are faced with difficulties in your life?
As you study Isaiah 48, look for a principle that can help you feel greater peace in your life, even during times of trouble. The prophet Nephi quoted all of Isaiah 48 in the Book of Mormon (see 1 Nephi 20). He stated that his reason for reading “that which was written by the prophet Isaiah” to his brethren was that he “might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer” (1 Nephi 19:23).
In Isaiah 48:1–8 we read the Lord’s words to the Israelites who break their covenants, and He described their rebellious behavior. Read Isaiah 48:1, 4–5, 8, looking for words and phrases that show how the house of Israel had rebelled against the Lord. (The phrase “the waters of Judah” mentioned in verse 1 refers to baptism [see 1 Nephi 20:1].)
What do you think it means for someone’s neck to be “an iron sinew” or for someone’s brow to be brass (Isaiah 48:4)?
A sinew is a tendon, which connects bone to muscle. Just as iron does not bend easily, a prideful person will not bow his or her neck in humility. The phrase stating that Israel “wast called a transgressor from the womb” (Isaiah 48:8) refers to Israel’s history of rebelling against God.
In Isaiah 48:9–15 we read that the Lord told the people that despite their wickedness, He would not abandon them, and He reassured them that they were still His chosen people. The Lord also identified Himself as “the first [and] the last” (verse 12), signifying His eternal nature.
Read Isaiah 48:17–19, looking for how the Israelites would have been blessed if they had kept the commandments.
Why do you think Isaiah described the Lord by using the titles “thy Redeemer,” “the Holy One of Israel,” and “the Lord thy God” (verse 17)? Consider how each of these titles helps us better understand Jehovah.
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)?
Read Isaiah 48:22, looking for what this verse teaches about peace.
Ponder times when hearkening to the Lord’s commandments has brought you peace. Record one of these experiences in your scripture study journal.
Also think about times when you may have lacked peace because of your own disobedience. Consider one way you can choose to be more obedient to the Lord’s commandments that can help you feel greater peace.
What is it like to feel you have been forgotten?
Isaiah warned the Israelites that because of their wickedness, they would be scattered. Read Isaiah 49:14, looking for how Zion would feel as a result of her people being scattered.
How you would respond to a friend who felt like the Lord had forgotten him or her?
According to verse 16, why will the Savior not forget about any of Heavenly Father’s children?
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 does this demonstrate the Savior’s love for us?
These verses teach that the Lord loves us, and He will never forget us. Consider writing this truth in your scriptures next to Isaiah 49:15–16.
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What experiences have helped you know that the Lord loves you and has not forgotten you?
Isaiah 49:17–26 records Isaiah’s prophecy that in the latter days the descendants of Israel would be gathered in great numbers. (It is helpful to know that 1 Nephi 22 contains Nephi’s interpretations of some of the contents of Isaiah 49.) In previous verses you read that Zion felt forgotten and forsaken. In Isaiah 49:17–26 we read how the Lord showed Zion a great gathering back to her, a gathering that commenced because God did a marvelous work and a wonder—He has not forgotten Israel.
The Lord lifting his hand up to the Gentiles and setting up His standard is the Restoration of the gospel. Nephi connected it to this marvelous work (compare 1 Nephi 21:22 with 1 Nephi 22:8; see also 2 Nephi 6:5–18; 29:1). Isaiah 49:22–23 specifically refers to how the Gentiles, or non-Israelite people, will assist in this process. Church members who perform missionary work are among those Gentiles who will gather Israel and carry them in their arms and on their shoulders.
In the first two spaces in “Item” column in the following table, list two personal items that you own that have some value to you. In the “Amount” column to the side of each item, write the amount of money that you would be willing to sell that item for.
In the last space in the “Item” column, write your name.
When something is sold, the purchaser becomes the owner. Through His atoning sacrifice, the Savior purchased our souls with His blood. In that sense, as the Apostle Paul taught, we are not our own; we have been “bought with a price” (see 1 Corinthians 6:19–20; 7:23). When we sin we may feel like the Savior would not want us anymore.
Read Isaiah 50:1, looking for what the Lord said to those who felt they had been sold or abandoned by the Lord.
The phrase “for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves” means that the Lord had not sold or forsaken His chosen people; through their sins they had sold themselves into captivity.
From this verse we can learn the following principle: When we sin, we sell ourselves into captivity.
Ponder this truth as you read the following statement: “True freedom comes from using your agency to choose obedience; loss of freedom comes from choosing disobedience” (For the Strength of Youth , 3).
Once we have sinned and sold ourselves into captivity, what needs to happen in order for us to regain our freedom?
Read Isaiah 50:2, looking for what Jehovah said about His power and ability to redeem us—to 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?” (Isaiah 50:2)?
Consider writing the following truth next to verse 2 in your scriptures: The Savior has the power to redeem us because of His Atonement.
In Isaiah 50:6 we read the Lord’s explanation of some of the things that would happen to Him as part of the Atonement. Read this verse, looking for words and phrases that describe what would happen to the Savior.
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How is the Savior’s willingness to endure the suffering involved with the Atonement evidence of His commitment to us?
Remember that even though 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. If you have access to a hymnbook, open it to “Redeemer of Israel” (Hymns, no. 6), and sing or read the verses.
In your scripture study journal, record your feelings about verses or phrases of this hymn that stand out to you. (If you are not able to read the verses of the hymn, record your feelings about the Savior as your Redeemer and His desire and power to save all who repent and come unto Him.) If appropriate, consider sharing what you wrote with a family member or friend.
Ponder whether there are any sins you need to repent of. Make the decision to allow the Lord to redeem you by choosing to repent.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Isaiah 48–50 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: