“Beside Me There Is No Saviour”

Lesson 38 – Isaiah 40-49

 

Introduction

·         “What think ye of Christ?” (Matthew 22:42).

·         “What manner of men ought ye to be?” (3 Nephi 27:27).

·         “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? … Whom say ye that I am?” (Matthew 16:13, Matthew 16:15).

·         “Who is on the Lord’s side?” (Exodus 32:26).

·         “Have ye received his image in your countenances?” (Alma 5:14).

These quotations have something in common—all of them are questions from the scriptures that help us evaluate our testimony of the Savior and our commitment to be his disciples.  There are many questions like these in the scriptures.  Part of this lesson focuses on scriptural questions that emphasize the greatness of the Savior, who is incomparable in his devotion to his people.

 

Isaiah taught that the Savior is incomparable.

Through Isaiah, the Lord repeatedly asked a certain question in different ways. That question is asked in each of the following verses:

·         Isaiah 40:18 - “To whom then will ye liken God?”

·         Isaiah 44:8 - “Is there a God beside me?”

·         Isaiah 46:5 - “To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me?”

The preceding questions are similar in that they all teach that the Savior is greater than any person or thing we could compare him to.  Our god is truly incomparable.

Think of how you might have answered these questions.  Then, let’s look at how these questions are answered in the book of Isaiah.  Note that in each verse below that the Lord was speaking to idolatrous people who manufactured their own false gods of silver and gold.

·         Isaiah 43:11 - “Beside me there is no saviour.”<

·         Isaiah 44:6 - “Beside me there is no God.”

·         Isaiah 45:5, 6, 14, 18, 21-22 - “There is no God beside me”.

·         Isaiah 46:9 - “I am God, and there is none like me.””

Think about why these questions and answers are repeated so many times in the book of Isaiah and how these questions and answers are relevant to our day.

 

Isaiah described the Savior’s incomparable qualities.

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that we need “a correct idea of [God’s] character, perfections and attributes” in order to have faith in Him (Lectures on Faith [1985], 38).

Isaiah gives many beautiful descriptions of the Savior’s character and attributes.  Read the passages listed below with the following questions in mind:  Which attribute of the Savior is mentioned in the passage? How does knowing of this attribute help increase our faith in the Savior?

·         Isaiah 40:13-14 - No one counsels or instructs him.>

·         Isaiah 40:28-31 - He is never weary; he strengthens us.<

·         Isaiah 40:12, Isaiah 40:21-22, Isaiah 40:26; Isaiah 45:12, 18 - He planned and created the universe annd knows every part of it.

·         Isaiah 41:17-18 - He hears us when we are in trouble andd blesses us abundantly.

·         Isaiah 42:1, Isaiah 42:4 - He will not fail or be discouraged tilll his purposes are fulfilled.

·         Isaiah 42:16 - He lights and straightens the way for his people who are lost.

·         Isaiah 43:1-4 - He will help his people through their trials.

·         Isaiah 43:25-26; Isaiah 44:21-23 - He blots out our sins and remembers thhem no more.

·         Isaiah 44:2-4 - He pours out his Spirit on our familiees like water on dry ground.

·         Isaiah 46:3-4 - He carries his people from birth to olld age.

·         Isaiah 49:14-16 - He will never forget us. We are “graveen” in the palms of his hands.

Think about how your testimony has been strengthened by any of these attributes of the Savior.

 

The world (Babylon) competes with the Savior for our devotion.

Isaiah 47 Chapter heading and verse 1 –indicate that these prophecies are directed to Babylon and Chaldea.  Babylon was a powerful city of the ancient world that was destroyed for its wickedness. In the scriptures, Babylon is often also used as a symbol for the wickedness of the world.  In Isaiah 47, Isaiah warned that Babylon would be destroyed because of its wickedness. These warnings can also be applied to the eventual destruction of the world and its wickedness.

 

The following passages teach about the results of seeking after the wicked ways of the world.

·         Isaiah 47:1, Isaiah 47:5 - The world will be brought down to the dust and become silent and dark.

·         Isaiah 47:7-9 - Despite the world’s thoughts that it iis invincible, it will be destroyed and lose the things of greatest value, symbolized by the loss of husband and children.

·         Isaiah 47:10-11 - Because the world declares that it is greater than God, desolation will come upon it.

 

Isaiah 47:8, Isaiah 47:10 – One false claim of Babylon (the world) that is the same as the Savior’s true declaration about himself is  “I am, and none else [is] beside me.”

The world’s offers of rewards, in comparison to what the Savior offers, are worthless counterfeits.  Even so, many people give their devotion to the world instead of to the Savior.  It is part of our responsibility as followers of the Savior to help others see what the Savior offers—through our example as well as our teaching.

Isaiah 48:17-18 - The Lord promised great blessings to tthose who seek him rather than the world.

These promises make us feel blessed and peaceful about following the Savior with all our hearts.

 

Isaiah described the mission of latter-day Israel.

Isaiah 49 contains many prophecies about the mission of latter-day Israel. These prophecies can help us understand the important work the Lord has for each of us to do.

As we read some of the passages listed below, consider the answer to this question: What does this passage teach about our responsibilities in these latter days?  As we read, note that many of the prophecies apply both to the work of the Savior and to the work of his servants, the house of Israel [Isaiah 49:3].)

·         Isaiah 49:1, Isaiah 49:5. - “The Lord hath called me from the womb.”  We were called from birth to fulfill the Lord’s work in the last days; see also Jeremiah 1:5.

·         Isaiah 49:2. - “He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword.” This image suggests speaking powerful words of truth—the words of the Lord; see also D&C 6:2.

·         Isaiah 49:2. “In the shadow of his hand hath he hid me.” The Lord has protected us and prepared us for our great responsibilities; see also D&C 86:9.

·         Isaiah 49:2. “He hath … made me a polished shaft.”  Arrows with polished shafts will fly straight and true. We have been polished and prepared by the Lord to fly straight and true wherever he sends us.

·         Isaiah 49:6. “Thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”  The Lord has asked his servants to raise up and restore the remnant of Israel and to be a light to the Gentiles. In this way we can help bring salvation to the ends of the earth; see also D&C 86:8-11.

 

“But thou hast not called upon me”

Some of us occasionally feel that the Lord has forsaken us.  We feel the Lord has withdrawn from us. In referring to that situation, President Kimball stated the likely cause and what we can do to feel close to him again. (Also see Isaiah 43:22-26; Mosiah 5:13.)  

President Spencer W. Kimball said: “I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 135).

 

Conclusion

Isaiah’s writings can help us develop greater love for the Savior and greater understanding of the work he wants us to do.

 

These lessons are posted on the Internet at http://www.geocities.com/jeninstitute/