Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be a light to the Gentiles and free God’s children from the captivity of sin. He contrasted the Savior’s power to redeem His people with the foolishness of trusting in false gods. Isaiah also prophesied of the destruction of Babylon.
Invite a student to come to the front of the class and stand on a chair. Ask the student:
If you were to fall backwards, whom would you trust to catch you? Why? (Do not actually have the student attempt this.)
Ask the student to be seated. Explain that the children of Israel were faced with a decision concerning whom they would trust: the Lord Jesus Christ or false gods that were represented by idols made of wood, clay, or metal. Write Jesus Christ and False Gods above two columns on the board. Point out that we also must decide whether we will trust in Jesus Christ or in false gods.
What are some false gods that people put their trust in today? (Write students’ responses on the board under the heading “False Gods.” Answers could include such things as wealth, possessions, physical strength, appearance, popularity, and intelligence.)
Explain that Isaiah 42–47 records Isaiah’s efforts to help the people understand that they needed to place their trust in the Savior, Jesus Christ. Invite students as they study these chapters to look for truths that will help them understand why they should trust in the Savior.
Point out that in Isaiah 42, Isaiah spoke about the Messiah. The title Messiah means “the anointed” and is the Old Testament equivalent of the New Testament title of “Christ” (see Bible Dictionary, “Messiah”).
Invite a student to read Isaiah 42:5–7 aloud. Ask students to follow along and look for what Isaiah said about the Messiah. Invite students to report what they find. Write their responses on the board under the heading “Jesus Christ.” Invite students to share how they think each phrase describes what the Messiah can do.
Point out the phrase “to bring out the prisoners from the prison” in verse 7, and explain that it refers to freeing those in spiritual captivity both on earth and in the spirit world. During Christ’s earthly ministry He taught the gospel, which would enable God’s children to become free from spiritual captivity through the Atonement. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, His spirit went to the spirit world, where He preached the gospel.
Invite a student to read aloud Doctrine and Covenants 138:18–19, 30–31. Ask students to look for what happened in the spirit world shortly after Jesus Christ died on the cross. (You may want to suggest that students write D&C 138:18–19, 30–31 as a cross-reference in their scriptures next to Isaiah 42:7.)
What did Jesus Christ do in the spirit world?
What truth can we learn from these passages? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following truth: Jesus Christ’s Atonement makes it possible for all, including those who have already died, to accept the gospel and become free from the captivity of sin. Write this truth on the board under the heading “Jesus Christ.”)
Invite a student to read Isaiah 42:16–17 aloud. Ask students to follow along, looking for the results of trusting in the Savior versus trusting in false gods. Ask students to report what they find. Write their responses in the appropriate column on the board.
Invite a student to read Isaiah 42:18 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Isaiah described those who depend on false gods. Invite students to report what they find. Write their answers under the heading “False Gods” on the board.
In what ways are people blind and deaf when they depend on wealth, possessions, physical strength, appearance, popularity, or intelligence?
Summarize Isaiah 42:19–23 by explaining that Isaiah taught that only those who hearken to Jesus Christ can be healed of their spiritual blindness and deafness (see Joseph Smith Translation, Isaiah 42:19–23 [in the Bible appendix]).
Invite students to read Isaiah 43:1–5 silently, looking for more phrases that describe what the Savior said He would do for Israel. After sufficient time, invite students to come to the board and write these phrases on the board under the heading “Jesus Christ.”
Summarize the rest of Isaiah 43 by explaining that the Lord told the Israelites that they were witnesses of Him because of the great things He had done for them, and He emphasized that there is no Savior other than Him.
Invite students to consider what problems young people are faced with today. Ask students to write a few of these problems on the board.
Where do some people turn when they have problems like these?
What makes some sources of help better than others?
Invite students as they study Isaiah 44–46 to look for doctrines and principles that will help them know where they should turn when they have problems.
Invite a student to read Isaiah 44:9–10, 14–20 aloud. Ask students to follow along, looking for why it is unwise to seek help from false gods or images. Explain that these verses describe gods and images that the people were making out of wood.
What did the Lord say that wood could do for the people?
According to verse 17, what did the people ask of their idols?
What difficulties might people face when they seek deliverance from their problems by the false gods of wealth, possessions, physical strength, appearance, popularity, or intelligence?
Place the picture Jesus Christ (Gospel Art Book , no. 1; see also LDS.org) next to the heading “Jesus Christ” on the board. Divide the class into three groups, and assign each group one of the following references: Isaiah 44:21–24; Isaiah 45:5–8; Isaiah 45:12, 17–18, 20–22 (you may want to write these references on the board). Explain that in these verses, the Lord taught the children of Israel whom they should trust in for deliverance from their problems. Invite students to read their assigned verses, looking for what the Lord wanted the children of Israel to know about Him. After sufficient time, invite several students to report what they found.
What truth can we learn about Jesus Christ from this repeated idea in the verses you read? (While your students may identify several correct truths, make sure they identify the following truth: Jesus Christ is the Redeemer, the only one who can save us. Write this truth on the board under the heading “Jesus Christ.”)
What does it mean that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer?
Why do you think the Lord would repeatedly emphasize that He is the only God who can save us?
Explain that in Isaiah’s day, many in Israel had turned to two false gods, Bel and Nebo, for help from their problems. Invite a student to read Isaiah 46:1–2 aloud. Ask students to follow along, looking for how ineffective these false gods were at helping the Israelites.
What happened to these idols? (Explain that not only could Bel and Nebo not help the Israelites, but they also became a burden even to the animals that carried them into captivity. Write the phrase “becomes a burden” under the heading “False Gods.”)
In what ways can trusting in modern idols—such as wealth, possessions, physical strength, appearance, popularity, or intellect—instead of trusting in the Savior become a burden?
Invite a student to read Isaiah 46:3–5 aloud. Ask students to follow along, looking for what the Savior said He would do for the Israelites. (You may want to explain that the word borne means to carry, and the words hoar hairs refer to gray hairs of old age [see Isaiah 46:4, footnote b].)
What does it mean that the Lord will carry us even to our old age and gray hairs? (The Lord will always be there for us throughout our entire lives, even to old age.)
According to verse 4, what will the Savior do for those who trust and worship Him? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: If we trust in the Savior, He will carry and deliver us. Write this principle on the board under the heading “Jesus Christ.”)
To help students understand this principle, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite students to listen for what it means to trust in Jesus Christ:
“This life is an experience in profound trust—trust in Jesus Christ, trust in his teachings, trust in our capacity as led by the Holy Spirit to obey those teachings now and for a purposeful, supremely happy eternal existence. To trust means to obey willingly without knowing the end from the beginning (see Prov. 3:5–7). To produce fruit, your trust in the Lord must be more powerful and enduring than your confidence in your own personal feelings and experience” (“Trust in the Lord,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 17).
What can we do to show that we trust in the Savior? (Answers might include follow His teachings, repent of our sins, and follow the prophet.)
Invite students to respond to the following question in their class notebooks or scripture study journals:
How have I or someone I know been carried or delivered by the Savior?
After sufficient time, ask if any students would like to share a time when they were carried or delivered by the Savior, or when someone they know was delivered in this way. Consider sharing your testimony or an appropriate experience that has helped you know the truthfulness of this principle. Encourage students to consider what they can do to show their trust in the Savior so they can be carried and delivered.
Summarize Isaiah 47 by explaining that Isaiah prophesied that Babylon and the Chaldeans (the inhabitants of Babylon) would be destroyed because of the sinfulness of the people. Point out that the kingdom of Babylon is frequently used in the scriptures to symbolize the world. Isaiah’s prophecy that the daughters of Babylon would be destroyed can be likened to anyone who revels in their sins and iniquities and refuses to repent.