I Will Wait Upon the Lord

Isaiah 8

A dominant theme throughout this chapter is Israel’s tendency to form alliances and partnerships with anything other than God. Isaiah rebukes such tendencies and calls them out for their failures to depend upon God.

In this chapter, I have already completed four other studies from the 2 Nephi version of these scriptures. I reference them here because of their depth and spiritual insight. ( I am also very grateful for the years of experience that past faithfulness now gives me as a support. See Alma 37:35 . )

Here are some key points from a fresh reading:

  • Judah, as a people, have rejected the slow flowing waters of Shiloah. Consequentially, the waters of the river, strong and many, are to take over the land as a flood.
  • Avoid alliances and planned allegiance with anything other than the kingdom of God, because God is with his people. Nothing else shall stand.

This second point is being reinforced in my mind this morning.

In verse 11, Isaiah gives a little personal insight into how the Lord speaks to him. “For the Lord spake thus unto me with a strong hand…” This reminds me of the times and season in my life, where the spirit of the Lord has rested strongly upon, this usually happens in my scripture studies and sometimes in prayer. We frequently talk about the voice of the Spirit being a still small voice. I need to improve my own ability to listen in this regard. Yet to hear Isaiah say that sometime the Lord needs to add an exclamation point to his council and that he sometimes does that with what feels to be a strong hand, this helps me to understand that the Lord employs multiple channels with his children in communicating with them.

Verse 16 seems to come out of nowhere, but it is a reminder that those that are faithful, even in difficult times, can be sealed up and preserved. In the Kirtland Temple dedicatory prayer, there was a similar reference to the binding of those with testimony and a sealing up of the law among the disciples or servants of Christ. (See Doctrine and Covenants 109:46)

Binding of the Testimony, Sealing of the Law. Isaiah reiterates the point then near the end of the chapter, by stating: To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (see vs. 20)

What does this mean though? The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:10) The law of God is the standard by which we are to live to dwell in God’s presence.

The final thoughts from this chapter of Isaiah guide me towards patience in the Lord’s timing. While most are without light, God is still with his faithful disciples.

The Lord Himself Shall Give You a Sign

Isaiah 7

First thing to note is that I’ve already studied the 2 Nephi version of this broken up into three separate posts. I am grateful for these seasons past, because they are still available to me in my current struggles.

Efforts to understand the historical context of this chapter sheds much light on the state of affairs and the significance of the counsel given. King Ahaz and the house of Judah (Jerusalem) had as their concern the kingdoms of Syria and Ephraim, which had joined forces together to come up against Judah. The real threat however for Judah was not these “smoking firebrands” (or fires that are without flames and just consist of smoldering embers). The real danger lie beyond in Assyria.

Surely the Lord God will do nothing save he first reveal his secrets to his servants the prophets. Listening to how Isaish words the impending danger of Assyria, the Lord is given credit for allowing the bondage that is about to come to Judah. 2 Chronicles 28:19-27 details what was happening with king Ahaz of Judah, and why the Lord saw it fit to bring him into bondage.

New day, I’ve sat here for a few minutes now wrestling with the context of this amazing prophecy that seems to be utterly out of place. Here is the king of Judah worried about two minor adversaries that seem to be the whole of his concern. Isaiah invites him to request a sign of God, but Ahaz, not out of righteous respect, refuses to ask a sign of the Lord.

(There is an experience from my mission that always comes to mind when I reflect upon these things. Those that are afraid to “prove the Lord” often lack the confidence of their own conscience in the presence of God. This because they are hiding in sin. This was Ahaz.)

So Isaiah gives the king a sign, the sign of the coming Messiah, born of a virgin into poverty. Isaiah’s commentary is even more condemning of the king. He says that in poverty, the Messiah will be able to “know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.” (vs. 15) Isaiah is not mincing words here, for he repeats that phrase again in the next verse, and ties it together with the king’s initial concern:

For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

Verse 16, emphasis added

There is the sign and the reason why Judah is about to fall captive to a much bigger oppression: you are devoid of knowledge to refuse the evil and without the capacity to choose good.

An interesting side note: does poverty enable one to see clearer in terms of choosing good, and knowing to reject the evil? Isaiah is suggesting as much.

Know to Refuse the Evil, and Choose the Good

In his precise choice of words, Isaiah is teaching us also the lopsided reality of the plan. It’s not an equal choice between good and evil, lifestyle preferences, and the such. Wisdom is to know to refuse evil. The power of agency and our freedom is to choose the good. There is no strength, victory, or freedom if we choose evil. Freedom comes in knowing what evil is and being empowered to reject it when the temptation comes calling.

Because I Am a Man of Unclean Lips

Isaiah 6

Isaiah sees the throne of God, whether literally or symbolically, the effect is the same. Isaiah becomes aware of his uncleanness and the uncleanness of his people. He consequently laments his state having been brought into the presence of God. Subsequently, Isaiah is symbolically cleansed with a live coal from the alter of the temple.

Here is found in verses 9 and 10, a significant passage quoted by the Savior in his ministry:

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Then at the end of the chapter is a prophetic contemplation on the fallen state of man. He asks the Lord how long will man remain in this state. The Lord’s answer is until the cities are desolate. In other words, until man is no more.

There is a hopeful reference to a tenth that will remain.

Because They Have No Knowledge

Isaiah 5

The first 7 verses of this chapter contain a parable of the Lord’s vineyard. There is also another version of the Lord’s vineyard found in Doctrine and Covenants 101:43–58. Both are compelling and notable for their distinct differences. In the account found in Section 101, the servants were slothful in erecting a tower, and were overthrown because of their failure to follow these specific instructions.

In the account in Isaiah however, the vineyard already had a tower, every safety precaution had been taken to protect the vineyard. But instead of producing grapes, it made wild grapes, which were useless and of no value to the master of the vineyard.

The practices of land hording are condemned in verses 8 – 10. This is what I like about Isaiah; he’s not afraid to call out shady business practices, like building houses so close to one another so that there is no room for life in between them. Land enough to live on, and land enough to breathe, this is the right way of the Lord. The greedy business owner, land barons that buy up the farms of the poor, these things out not to be.

Woe is pronounced upon those that follow strong drink and seek out the party lifestyle, without acknowledgement of God. That is to say, a celebration in due season would be in order for notable events. But those that seek this and nothing else, they are without God.

An accusation that is brought against Israel is that they are without knowledge. Knowledge of what? Knowledge of the truth, the things of God. The knowledge that we are sent here to acquire in this life. The consequence of this is captivity. Bondage is what results when we are devoid of the knowledge of God.

In its place is pride and arrogance. The pride cycle is inevitable. Destruction results and the only one left standing is God.

Another day, and a similar sentiment is reinforced in my mind again. The wicked give no consideration for the work of the Lord, or the operation of his hands. (see vs. 12) Can I see the hand of God at play in my life?

It is not articulated in this chapter, but the essence of this chapter seems to echo these scriptures:

And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.

D&C 59:21


Thou art angry, O Lord, with this people, because they will not understand thy mercies which thou hast bestowed upon them because of thy Son.

Alma 33:16

An Ensign to the Nations

This is a key prophecy in the book of Isaiah referring to our times. I still remember the seminary discussions that I had where we discussed Isaiah’s efforts to describe what he witnessed in vision about the latter days.

How to Not Interfere in the Lord’s Work

Or in other words, how to properly participate in the work of the Lord.

I feel to speak to the topic of participating with the Lord to do His own work.

The thought impresses me that in order to participate with the Lord in His Work, we have to know who he is. What is his work? How can we avoid sin without knowing the will of the Lord.

A Brief History of the Lord’s Work

First address the history of the Lord doing his own work. From the creation, to Elisha and his servant, to the life and ministry of the Savior in the Flesh (no one taketh my life from me, but I lay it down of myself), to the restoration of the Church, and even recently in the prophetic preparation for a period of Church at Home. As we consider what is still yet to come, there can be no doubt that the Lord will yet still accomplish all he has declared by the mouth of his prophets. The Lord is able to do his own work.

I am able to do mine own work.

2 Nephi 27:20

See also “Thy Kingdom Come”

One of the most well-known and frequently cited passages of scripture is found in Moses 1:39. This verse clearly and concisely describes the work of the Eternal Father: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (emphasis added).

A companion scripture found in the Doctrine and Covenants describes with equal clarity and conciseness our primary work as the sons and daughters of the Eternal Father. Interestingly, this verse does not seem to be as well known and is not quoted with great frequency. “Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength” (D&C 11:20; emphasis added).

Tender Mercies of the Lord

Secondly, address the need for us to understand our part in this work.

And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.

D&C 59:21

This also has to do with agency of man, not overstepping our bounds, and putting our energies into the work that is most productive for us to accomplish our salvation. Perhaps the temptation to go beyond the scope of our boundaries and influence is owing to the reality that while salvation is an individual matter, exaltation is a family matter. Consequently, we worry about our family member’s reluctance to respond to the Lord’s invitations for them.

Joseph Smith understood this principle well when he responded to a journalist’s inquiry about how he compelled his people to follow him, “I teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves.”

Does such a stance relieve us of the burden of work? No it does not. But burdens lifted this doctrine does do. What burdens? The burden of self-pity, or the burden of needless worrying about the choices and consequences of others.

For some, that eternal joy may seem a faint or even a fading hope. Parents, children, brothers, and sisters may have made choices that seem to disqualify them from eternal life. You may even wonder whether you have yet been qualified through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

A prophet of God once offered me counsel that gives me peace. I was worried that the choices of others might make it impossible for our family to be together forever. He said, “You are worrying about the wrong problem. You just live worthy of the celestial kingdom, and the family arrangements will be more wonderful than you can imagine.”

To all of those whose personal experience or whose marriage and children—or absence thereof—cast a shadow over their hopes, I offer my witness: Heavenly Father knows and loves you as His spirit child. While you were with Him and His Beloved Son before this life, They placed in your heart the hope you have of eternal life. With the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ working and with the Holy Spirit guiding, you can feel now and will feel in the world to come the family love your Father and His Beloved Son want so much for you to receive.

President Henry B. Eyering, The Hope of Eternal Family Love

He that Is Left… He that Remaineth

Isaiah 4

This chapter is notably short at only 6 verses in length. It deals with the eventual redemption of Zion and the Lord’s protective presence over Zion at that day. The question in my mind this morning then is: so what? What does this mean to me? How can this affect me now in an non-Zion society and time?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the organization that will build up Zion in the last days. Verses 2 and 3 suggests that there will be those that remain, and of those that remain, they will be beautiful and glorious. They shall be called holy. I read these verses and see that there was a great effort to obtain to such a station. The work that was done to get to this state of purity is why membership in the Church of Christ is important. It is the vehicle of preparation. How well am I letting it prepare me?

These things are actually important to understand. That the Lord is able to do his own work is a fact. He will wash away the filth of the daughters of Zion, he will purge the blood of Jerusalem through judgment. This is Christ’s work, not mine. He will also setup his places of refuge and protection from the storms. His work, not mine.

What is my work then? To ensure that I am prepared for that Day, whether it happens in my lifetime or beyond. If I am to return in the morning of the First Resurrection, it will be the same as if I had lived, and survived the sweeping judgments that came upon the earth. I must be prepared for that time.

They Shall Eat the Fruit of Their Doings

Isaiah 3

First thought as I go into chapter 3 is how well organized was the Lord with his people. Ample provisions of leadership and judgment should have been a safety net for the people to keep them in the ways of righteousness. All these were taken away in their wickedness.

Similarly, this is how the devil works as well. He weaves us into such intricate system of enslavement that to leave it is a very difficult process indeed. The haughtiness of the daughters of Zion is an example of this detailed entanglement in things that are of no eternal consequence.

In verse 5, a people that are in a state of sin are an oppression to one another. Neighbors drawing resources from one another. There is a scarcity mentality — not enough to go around. While the poor have burdens to be lifted, when everyone is poor, so that no one is able to provide for their own, then do they become a burden to each other.

There is a conversation recorded here between a man and his blood brother ( brother of the house of his father) where in the former will solicit the later for protection. The brother will refuse the invitation to become a ruler in that day, acknowledging that he himself is without resources even to provide for this own house, let alone to be a ruler over the people.

Either this is the foolish assumption that one must be of means to occupy a position of public service, or there is a more sober reality that a people in such a state cannot be governed. At any rate, leaders of good character are hard to find when the people refuse to be self-governed by the truth.

Verse 9 illustrates how far gone these people are. “They declare their sin as Sodom, they hid it not.” This is the seriousness of their situation, they are in open acknowledgement of their rebellion. So long have the warnings of the prophets been ringing in their ears, that it has become for them a subject of mockery. They openly declare their own sins. The prophets no longer had anything to tell them for they had accepted this as the way things were for them. Sodom did the same.

Their final indictment is this: “For they have rewarded evil unto themselves.” Evil as a reward? How backwards have we become when we see wickedness as something good or to be desired as a reward?

Amidst all the destruction foretold in these verses, and which are verified in other parts of the Old Testament, there is this verse of hope and promise:

Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.

Verse 10

This is such an important declaration, that even in the midst of a civilization in decline, among a people who’s fallen countenance witnesses of their sins, it will still be well with those that choose to follow God, even if they are alone in doing so.

The final topic of consideration is this stinging indictment of the house of Israel towards their own poor.

…for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor?

Verses 14 & 15

This is a topic of serious contemplation. How can I build and grow in such a way as to not take advantage of the poor? “The spoil of the poor is in your houses.” This means so much to me. Can we go to the stores and buy what was produced through quasi-slave labor to adorn our homes and not be held without blame?

The Last Days… The Day of the Lord of Hosts

Isaiah 2

( My thoughts as I read this are extremely personal, and of personal direction. Teaching the Gospel within my family is the single most important responsibility. But of course there are other responsibilities. )

Verse 5: A familiar primary song comes to mind when I read: “O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.” ( I suppose I didn’t realize that we were learning truths taught by Isaiah in primary.) In other words, let our actions be according to the truths of the Gospel of Christ.

Verse 11: “The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.” This verse is a reminder of the arrogance of man. A vile of pride that even I am prone to drink from on occasion. Only the Lord will be able to rightfully claim what is His at the end of days.

Almost the same wording is repeated in Verse 17. The loftiness of men shall be brought down, the haughtiness of men shall be made low, and the Lord alone shall be exalted (raised up) in that day.

It is hard, even in the confidence of truth, for man not to become proud, comfortable, and complacent.

Because the first five verses of this chapter are fairly familiar to me, I’ve skipped over them prior to now without much consideration. Maybe because this is prophecy that has already been fulfilled: A house of the Lord established in the tops of the mountains. And then Isaiah makes this statement, “All nations shall flow unto it.” The headquarters for the Church of Christ in the last days is established in the remote region of the United States in the tops of the Rocky Mountains. At the center of that is the Salt Lake Temple, a dedicated house of the Lord. In so many ways, the nations of the earth have flowed to the headquarters of the Church. Every six months, the world membership of the Church flows to Salt Lake to view General Conference. This happens (in most years) via car, airplane, but also via broadcasts via airwaves, satellite, and fiber optic cables. These digital signals flow out from the house of the Lord.

Verses 3 & 4 pertain to yet future events. Zion shall be established as the governing head of the world. Jerusalem will be reinstated as the spiritual head of the world. They stand at opposite ends of the world. These are things that are not yet.

The Lord will exercise judgment and rebuke upon the nations: and consequently, their weapons of war shall be repurposed for gardening tools. The acts and study of war will literally come to an end. These too are future events. A time of peace when all shall learn to walk in the light of the Lord.

I’ve taken a little more time this morning to reflect upon Isaiah’s conclusion here at the end of the chapter. “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” A favorite verse from Moses is referenced:

Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.

Moses 1:10

In other words, this is God explaining the difference between a proud man and God. Though he may be proud and arrogant, deep down his actions (hiding his idolatrous treasures in the caves and rocks) indicate that his is ultimately governed by fear, a fear of loosing what he has acquired.

This changes everything when we contemplate priorities from day to day and our daily activities.

The pride and arrogance of man is a common theme in the Old Testament and particularly with Isaiah. Words like “haughty” and “haughtiness” are only found in the Old Testament. If men were prideful and arrogant in the days of the Old Testament, how much more so have they become this way now?

Help Is Coming

(25 Aug 2020) I am in a spirit of fasting and prayer this morning for an ecclesiastical matter, lending my assistance to our branch president in making a decision. However, the Lord has seen it fit to bless me with some additional help in personal family affairs at the same time, which have pretty much derailed my morning activities from what I assumed them to be. (This is a semi-frequent occurrence for me – the derailment because of spiritual impressions.)

What is not a frequent occurrence is the nature of present communications. Much as was the series of impressions that lead us back to Arizona from Utah.

The first impression came two or three weeks ago. I have it recorded as being somewhere around the 13 or 14 of August this year (2020). This is how I’ve recorded it:

0.0 Grandpa Brigham says he’s sending help.

I don’t know what that means, but I trust him if he says help is coming.

I cannot even recall now if this impression came at the end of a prayer or morning study or fasting, but it surprised me. I think at the moment I was struggling with my weaknesses as a parent and the troubled dynamics of our marriage and wayward children.

This morning, in prayer and fasting (as mentioned above), my mind was brought back to this topic.

Now I have mulled over in my mind several times since then, who or what the nature of this help would be that Grandfather Brigham (Young) would be sending to me or my wife or children. I’ve thought that it might be Emily Dow Partridge (Rachel’s 3rd Great Grandmother), but my mind shifted to another of Brigham’s wives: Eliza R. Snow. But I don’t have an answer to this question, rather just a musing.

This morning however, as I contemplated this question, I felt as if a great Matriarch from the Eternal Realms was enlisting upon an Errand of particular importance to me. (That a woman occupied such a position in the Unseen World is a topic for exploration that I had never even begun to consider.) That is the best that I can put into words what I had felt.

I then proceed to search online and located an autobiography of Emily Dow Partridge Young which I proceed to read for the next hour or so.

More than being an autobiography of her life, the account gave a great deal of understanding into her father’s life, Edward Partridge, and the great ordeals that he was called to pass through for the cause of Christ. My personal history pales in comparison to his personal sacrifice, but we do share one thing in common: having left a comfortable position in this life because of our faith. I find myself slowly returning to that, while he never had the privilege of returning to that place of comfort in this life. Emily did, eventually.

I am only making note here of all these spiritual impressions so that when I figure out what is really going on, I can have a reference point from whence it came.

See also another Autobiography of Emily D. P. Young

Zion Shall Be Redeemed

Isaiah 1

This introductory chapter illustrates quite vividly the issues at hand: Israel has departed from righteousness, and has sold herself for sin. There is also here both and invitation to return and also the hopeful prophecy that Zion will be redeemed.

Righteousness herein is defined as:

  • Learning to do well
  • Seeking judgment
  • Relieving the oppressed
  • Judging the fatherless
  • Pleading for the widow

(See vs. 17)

There is a restoration and redemption mentioned herein. After this period of cleansing, which the Lord himself will perform, then will Israel be called “the city of righteousness, the faithful city.” (vs. 26)

Vs. 27: “Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.”

Redemption comes differently for the inhabitants of Zion (through judgment/justice), as opposed to its converts who are redeemed with righteousness. That there are converts is also an important point, because the establishment of Zion has little to do with deserved lineage of inheritance and everything to do with personal righteousness. There will be converts in Zion.

On a second reading of the chapter, the first thing that stands out to me is the blatant failure of the children to respond to the nurturing and rearing of a loving father and instead they are in rebellion. (See vs. 2-3) This point seems so important to understand, because conversion and discipleship doesn’t come instantly, in a moment. It is a long process of step by step growth. It is continual nourishment that bring forth fruit. Oh how frustrating it must be after a period of nourishment to see rebellion where there should have been flowering and delicious fruits.

The diagnosis against the House of Israel is one of sickness uncured. Isaiah explains it such a way that it suggests there were remedies that could have been taken, actions that would have healed them, but all such cures have been left unattended to. No bandages applied, no closing of wounds, no mollifying with ointment. (see vs. 5-7)

Earlier in the chapter (verses 16-20), there is a invitation to repentance. Then later in the chapter (verses 24-31), there is a stronger statement of fact, that the Lord will purge and redeem Israel, cleansing her of all impurity. The Lord will not compel any man to repentance; it must be a voluntary act. Then when time for change has passed, then comes the destruction and the consumption. It comes quickly.