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Light for My PathLikening Isaiah: Messages of Hope
by Kathryn Grant
In teaching the gospel to his people, Nephi records that he “did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.” (1 Nephi 19:23.) The apostle Paul likewise explained that “whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4.)
Hope is one of the great themes of scripture, because all scripture bears witness that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our Savior and Redeemer. As we read, we find repeated promises that the Lord will be with us in all the challenges of our lives.
It’s not surprising that with Isaiah’s emphasis on Christ’s saving mission, Isaiah’s writings gleam with messages of hope. Perhaps because they’re expressed in poetic language, these messages of hope lend themselves easily to application in our lives, despite the chasm of time and culture between us.
Isaiah’s words speak to multiple situations. As you read the following passages, what guidance and encouragement might they provide for your life?
Do you wonder if God is aware of you and your challenges?
But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.
Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.... (Isaiah 49:14–16.)
Do you need comfort?
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me [Christ]; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.... (Isaiah 61:1–3.)
Do you need relief and healing?
Surely he [Christ] hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4–5.)
Do you wonder if your sins can be forgiven?
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18.)
Do you need encouragement and reassurance?
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. (Isaiah 12:2.)
Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. (Isaiah 51:11.)
Are you looking for the strength to continue on?
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28–31.)
The light and promise of Isaiah’s words makes it easy to see why Nephi introduced them by saying, “Hear ye the words of the prophet [Isaiah], which were written unto all the house of Israel, and liken them unto yourselves, that ye may have hope.” (1 Nephi 19:24.)
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