Lesson 38: “Beside Me There Is No Saviour”

Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (2001), 183–86


Purpose

To help class members understand that Jesus Christ is incomparable in his devotion to his people and that he has a great work for them to do.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study the passages from Isaiah 40–49 that are discussed in this lesson.

  2. 2.

    If you use the attention activity, write the following quotations on a poster or on the chalkboard before class:

    1. a.

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

    2. b.

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

    3. c.

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

    4. d.

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

    5. e.

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

  3. 3.

    If Family Home Evening Video Supplement 2 (53277) is available, you may want to show the five-minute segment “What Think Ye of Christ?” as part of the lesson.

Suggested Lesson Development

Attention Activity

You may want to use the following activity (or one of your own) to begin the lesson.

Refer class members to the quotations you have written on a poster or on the chalkboard (see “Preparation” above). Then ask the following questions:

  • What do these quotations have 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.) Why do you think there are so many questions like these in the scriptures?

Explain that part of this lesson focuses on scriptural questions that emphasize the greatness of the Savior.

Scripture Discussion and Application

As you teach the following scripture passages, discuss how they apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share personal experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.

1. Isaiah teaches that the Savior is incomparable.

  • Through Isaiah, the Lord repeatedly asked a certain question in different ways. What question is asked in each of the following verses?

    1. a.

      Isaiah 40:18 (“To whom then will ye liken God?”)

    2. b.

      Isaiah 44:8 (“Is there a God beside me?”)

    3. c.

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

  • What is similar about the preceding questions? (They all teach that the Savior is greater than any person or thing we could compare him to.) How would you answer these questions? How are they answered in the book of Isaiah? (See the verses listed below, noting that in each case the Lord was speaking to idolatrous people who manufactured their own false gods of silver and gold.)

    1. a.

      Isaiah 43:11 (“Beside me there is no saviour.”)

    2. b.

      Isaiah 44:6 (“Beside me there is no God.”)

    3. c.

      Isaiah 45:5 (“There is no God beside me”; see also verses 6, 14, 18, 21–22.)

    4. d.

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

  • Why do you think these questions and answers are repeated so many times in the book of Isaiah? How are these questions and answers relevant to our day?

2. Isaiah describes 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. Have class members read some of the passages listed below and discuss the following questions: Which attribute of the Savior is mentioned in the passage? How does knowing of this attribute help increase our faith in the Savior? You may want to list these attributes on the chalkboard.

    1. a.

      Isaiah 40:13–14 (No one counsels or instructs him.)

    2. b.

      Isaiah 40:28–31 (He is never weary; he strengthens us.)

    3. c.

      Isaiah 40:12, 21–22, 26; 45:12, 18 (He planned and created the universe and knows every part of it.)

    4. d.

      Isaiah 41:17–18 (He hears us when we are in trouble and blesses us abundantly.)

    5. e.

      Isaiah 42:1, 4 (He will not fail or be discouraged till his purposes are fulfilled.)

    6. f.

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

    7. g.

      Isaiah 43:1–4 (He will help his people through their trials.)

    8. h.

      Isaiah 43:25–26; 44:21–23 (He blots out our sins and remembers them no more.)

    9. i.

      Isaiah 44:2–4 (He pours out his Spirit on our families like water on dry ground.)

    10. j.

      Isaiah 46:3–4 (He carries his people from birth to old age.)

    11. k.

      Isaiah 49:14–16 (He will never forget us. We are “graven” in the palms of his hands.)

    Invite class members to tell of experiences that have strengthened their testimonies of any of these attributes of the Savior.

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

  • To whom is Isaiah 47 directed? (See the chapter heading to Isaiah 47 and verse 1. 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. What do the following passages teach about the results of seeking after the wicked ways of the world?

    1. a.

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

    2. b.

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

    3. c.

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

  • In Isaiah 47:8, 10, what claim does Babylon (the world) make that is the same as the Savior’s declaration about himself? (“I am, and none else [is] beside me.”) What can the world offer in comparison to what the Savior offers? Why do so many people give their devotion to the world instead of to the Savior? How can we help others see what the Savior offers?

  • In Isaiah 48:17–18, the Lord promised great blessings to those who seek him rather than the world. How do these promises make you feel about following the Savior with all your heart?

4. Isaiah describes 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. Have class members read some of the passages listed below and discuss the following question: What does this passage teach about our responsibilities in these latter days? (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].)

    1. a.

      Isaiah 49:1, 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.)

    2. b.

      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.)

    3. c.

      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.)

    4. d.

      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.)

    5. e.

      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.)

Conclusion

Testify that Isaiah’s writings can help us develop greater love for the Savior and greater understanding of the work he wants us to do. You may want to invite class members or a small group to sing “How Great Thou Art” (Hymns, no. 86) or “How Firm a Foundation” (Hymns, no. 85).

Additional Teaching Ideas

The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or more of these ideas as part of the lesson.

1. Symbols used by Isaiah

2. Waiting upon the Lord

  • What does it mean to “wait upon the Lord”? (Isaiah 40:31). In what ways does the Lord renew the strength of those who wait upon him? (See Isaiah 41:10.) Invite class members to share experiences about the Lord renewing a person’s spiritual or physical strength.

3. “But thou hast not called upon me”

  • Why do some of us occasionally feel that the Lord has forsaken us? If we feel the Lord has withdrawn from us, what is likely the cause? (See Isaiah 43:22–26; Mosiah 5:13.) What can we do to feel close to him again?

    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).