Chap 18 – compare Isaiah 8
Isaiah writes more about the destruction by Israel with great imagery:
“Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria and all his glory; and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks.” (7)
I picture Assyria flooding into Israel, so that they are drowned by that foreign power. If we don’t prepare and fortify ourselves, the world can do the same to us—spill over our spiritual banks and flood us with a tsunami of filth.
The Lord tells His people to “neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.” (12)
Fear really is a crutch that keeps us from God. That’s why He tells us over and over again not to fear what man can do. But fear Him—meaning to worship and reverence Him above all others.
Sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. / And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”2 Nephi 18:13-14
A sanctuary is a place of safety or rest. God can give us peace and rest when we sanctify His name and place our complete trust in Him.
In order to trust Him, we must come to know Him. It’s difficult to trust a Being we don’t know much about. The more we keep His commandments and exercise faith in Him, the more our trust grows and develops.
How can I come to know the Lord better this week?
Chap 19 – compare Isaiah 9
This talks about the blessings that come from Christ. “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (2)
Jesus is light, truth, life.
He goes on to describe the joy the restoration of Christ’s gospel will bring to the world.
Thou hast multiplied the nation, and increased the joy—they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. / For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor.”2 Nephi 19:3-4
Then, the greatest of verses—one which Handel memorialized in glorious song.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”2 Nephi 19:6
That just gives me goosebumps even to type the words.
- Our God is Wonderful—meaning marvelous, astonishing, unusually good, admirable, exciting rapt attention at something awesomely mysterious. What He has done to save us is wonderful beyond comprehension.
- Our God is a Counselor—He counsels with us in prayer and guides and leads us to all good, and counsels us back to heaven.
- Our God is Mighty to save. He has created the earth and the heavens. He has put Satan in his place. There is nothing He can’t do.
- He is the Everlasting Father, because He and the Father are one. He chose the Father’s plan and enables us to return to God’s presence once more.
- Our God is the Prince of Peace. The only way peace can return to this earth and to our hearts is through Him.
Make a list of what God is to you? How has He blessed your life?
The rest of this chapter talks about how the Israelites fall into apostasy because their leaders cause them to err. They have no mercy and are hypocrites and evildoers. Yet… “for all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.” (17)
That is such a hopeful statement—and a theme of Isaiah.
No matter how much we sin or think we are too far gone, God’s hand is always stretched out, waiting to bring us back, through repentance.
Do I truly believe and know this truth about God?