Lesson 118

Isaiah 6–9

“Lesson 118: Isaiah 6–9,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)


Introduction

Isaiah saw the Lord, and the Lord called Isaiah to minister to the people of Judah. Isaiah warned Ahaz, the king of Judah, not to make an alliance with Syria and Israel against Assyria. Isaiah prophesied of the destruction of the wicked, the gathering of Israel in the latter days, and the power of Jesus Christ to save His people if they will repent.

Suggestions for Teaching

Isaiah 6

Isaiah sees the Lord in vision and is called to prophesy to the people

Ask students what worries or concerns they might have if they were called on a mission to a wicked people.

Explain that Isaiah 6 begins with a vision that Isaiah had when he was called to serve the Lord. Invite a student to read Isaiah 6:1–4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what Isaiah saw in this vision.

  • According to verse 1, whom did Isaiah see?

  • What else did Isaiah see in this vision?

You may want to explain that seraphim are angelic beings that minister in the courts of God (see Bible Dictionary, “Seraphim”). The wings of the seraphim are symbolic of their power to move or to act (see D&C 77:4).

Invite a student to read Isaiah 6:5 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for how Isaiah felt in the presence of the Lord.

  • How did Isaiah feel in the Lord’s presence? Why? (You may want to point out to students the explanation in Isaiah 6:5, footnote a, to help them understand how Isaiah felt.)

Invite students to ponder times when they have felt they were in a very holy place or in the presence of someone very holy.

Ask a student to read Isaiah 6:6–7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what happened to Isaiah in his vision. Explain that the coal taken from the altar was a symbol of cleansing (see Isaiah 6:6, footnote a).

  • According to verse 7, what did the seraphim say had happened to Isaiah’s sins? (They had been purged or removed from him.)

  • What feelings might you have if a messenger from the Lord pronounced you clean from your sins? Why might you have those feelings?

Ask a student to read Isaiah 6:8 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord asked and how Isaiah responded.

  • How did Isaiah respond to the Lord’s invitation to serve? (Explain that this invitation was Isaiah’s call to be a prophet.)

  • How might the knowledge that he was clean from sin affect Isaiah’s willingness to serve the Lord?

  • From what you learned about Isaiah in this account, how can being cleansed from our sins affect our desire to serve the Lord? (Students may identify a principle such as the following: As we are forgiven of our sins, we become more willing to do what God asks of us.)

Explain that when we are clean from our sins, we have a greater desire to serve the Lord and to help others draw closer to Him and become clean as well.

Explain that Isaiah 6:9–10 describes the people to whom Isaiah was called to preach. Invite a student to read Isaiah 6:9–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what the Lord said about how the people would respond to Isaiah’s message.

  • What did the Lord tell Isaiah about how the people would respond to his message? (The people would reject his message and thereby harden their hearts and become spiritually deaf [“make their ears heavy”] and blind [“shut their eyes”]. You may want to clarify that the Lord did not want the people to harden their hearts and become spiritually deaf and blind. Rather, the Lord’s words in verse 10 describe the people’s response to Isaiah’s preaching—they would choose not to listen.)

Isaiah 7–9

Isaiah prophesies of Jesus Christ

Ask students if they know what their name means. Ask a few students to share. Then ask if any of them know why their parents gave them their name, and invite a few students to share.

Explain that the meanings of names in the scriptures can often teach us important truths. Invite a student to read Isaiah 7:3 and 8:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what Isaiah named his two sons.

  • What names did Isaiah give to his sons?

Draw three columns on the board and label them Maher-shalal-hash-baz, Shear-jashub, and Isaiah. Then ask students to look in Isaiah 7:3, footnote a; 8:1, footnote d; and 8:18, footnote a, to discover the meaning of each name. Invite students to report what they find, and write the meanings on the board under the appropriate name (see the chart below).

Maher-shalal-hash-baz

Shear-jashub

Isaiah

(1) To speed to the spoil (destruction) or (2) he hastens the prey or (3) destruction is imminent

The remnant shall return

(1) The Lord is salvation or (2) Jehovah saves

Invite a student to read Isaiah 8:18 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for how Isaiah saw himself and his sons in relation to the children of Israel.

Explain that Isaiah’s and his son’s names were signs of the great things the Lord would do to Israel. Their names represent three themes that are prevalent in Isaiah’s writings: (1) the destruction the people would face if they persisted in wickedness, (2) the eventual gathering of Israel back to the promised land and God’s covenant, and (3) the power of Jesus Christ to save His people.

Write the following references on cards or pieces of paper, and hand them out to students. (Provide duplicate references if you have a large class, or give students more than one reference if your class is small.)

Isaiah 6:11–13

Isaiah 8:15

Isaiah 9:6–7

Isaiah 7:14–16

Isaiah 8:22

Isaiah 9:13–16

Isaiah 8:13, 16–17

Isaiah 9:2

Isaiah 9:18–21

Invite students to read the reference on their card and decide which of the three themes their scripture passage relates to. Ask students to take turns summarizing what they read and what they feel they can learn from that particular prophecy. You could have students place their cards under the appropriate columns on the board.

Explain that because of the people’s wickedness during the time of Isaiah, destruction loomed in their future.

Invite a student to read aloud the following account by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles about a woman he and Elder David S. Baxter met. Invite students to consider how they would respond to the woman.

Elder Russell M. Nelson

“Last year while Elder David S. Baxter and I were driving to a stake conference, we stopped at a restaurant. Later when returning to our car, we were approached by a woman who called out to us. We were startled by her appearance. Her grooming (or lack of it) was what I might politely call ‘extreme.’ She asked if we were elders in the Church. We said yes. Almost unrestrained, she told the story of her tragic life, swamped in sin. Now, only 28 years old, she was miserable. She felt worthless, with nothing to live for. As she spoke, the sweetness of her soul began to emerge. Pleading tearfully, she asked if there was any hope for her, any way up and out of her hopelessness” (“Repentance and Conversion,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 102).

  • What would you have said to the woman?

Explain that in Isaiah 9, we read Isaiah’s description of how Israel had turned away from the Lord and the consequences that awaited them.

Invite a student to read aloud Isaiah 9:12, 17, 21. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a phrase that Isaiah repeated as he taught the people about the consequences of their sins.

  • What phrase did Isaiah repeat? (“His anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.” Write this statement on the board.)

Explain that Isaiah may have intended more than one meaning with the phrase “his hand is stretched out still,” because the Lord’s hand can be extended for both justice and mercy. One meaning may be that because the people of Isaiah’s time did not turn away from sin (see Isaiah 9:13–16), they would experience the Lord’s hand in the form of destruction. But Isaiah may have also been teaching that the Lord still offered hope for eventual mercy if the people would repent. Invite a student to read aloud Isaiah 9:12, footnote d.

  • What truths can we learn from Isaiah’s imagery of the Lord’s hand being stretched out? (Although student responses may vary, write the following principles on the board: If we repent, the Lord is willing to extend His mercy to us and forgive our sins. The justice of God demands punishment for sin, but the Atonement brings about the plan of mercy to appease the demands of justice.)

Read the conclusion of Elder Nelson’s account, and ask students to look for what Elder Nelson and Elder Baxter taught the woman.

Elder Russell M. Nelson

“‘Yes,’ we responded, ‘there is hope. Hope is linked to repentance. You can change. You can “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him”’ [Moroni 10:32]. We urged her not to procrastinate. She sobbed humbly and thanked us sincerely” (“Repentance and Conversion,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 102).

  • How can both images of the Lord’s hand stretched out—one threatening justice and the other offering mercy—help us decide to repent and come unto Him?

Invite students to ponder the love the Savior has for them and to consider what they may need to repent of. Testify of the Lord’s willingness to stretch out His hand of mercy to us as we repent.

Draw students’ attention to the names of Isaiah and his sons and their meanings. Invite students to look for these three themes as they continue to study Isaiah.

Encourage students to share with a friend or family member what has impressed them during the lesson today.

Commentary and Background Information

Isaiah 9:12, 17, 21. “For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still”

Although the phrase “his hand is stretched out still” can represent the justice of God holding the wicked accountable, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reminds us of the merciful aspect of this imagery:

“To all of you who think you are lost or without hope, or who think you have done too much that was too wrong for too long, to every one of you who worry that you are stranded … , this conference calls out Jehovah’s unrelenting refrain, ‘[My] hand is stretched out still’ [Isaiah 5:25; 9:17, 21]. ‘I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them,’ He said, ‘[and even if they] deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, … if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts’ [2 Nephi 28:32]. His mercy endureth forever, and His hand is stretched out still. His is the pure love of Christ, the charity that never faileth, that compassion which endures even when all other strength disappears [see Moroni 7:46–47].

“I testify of this reaching, rescuing, merciful Jesus, that this is His redeeming Church based on His redeeming love” (“Prophets in the Land Again,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 106–7).