This lesson talks about all the wonderful things the Savior does. This is one of those topics where there never seems to be a shortage of materials to discuss. Isaiah speaks in layers, the same words often referring to events in his day, as well as events that would be happening in our day. Whenever Isaiah says, “and in that day,” he is referring to the last days.
Isaiah 22:22 makes reference to the Lord’s place in the house of David.
22 And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
The key mentioned refers to the keys of the priesthood. As a member of the royal line of David, Jesus received from God the keys, the responsibility, to be in charge of the spirit prison. After his crucifixion he opened the prison doors for the gospel to be taught to those who had been waiting since the days of Adam. No one has the right to close those doors or stop the work of preaching to those in prison, except Christ, for he alone holds the keys to that place.
This key goes beyond just the preaching of the gospel to the prisoners. As the Messiah he also holds the right to decide who will or will not have access to the Father. If we are to see our Father again, ever, we will have to have satisfied the demands of Christ do so so. These are the same demands the Father makes on us, so it isn’t like we have any unreasonable demands we have to meet.
The Lord is Merciful
In Isaiah 25:4, Isaiah talks about the power of the Lord to help his people. This verse paints a picture of the distress of those who are defenseless, and who have to recourse for protection. It refers not only to the spiritual help and defense Christ offers his people, but the physical protection offered to those who are His people.
4 For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
One of the ways the Lord’s mercy is shown is by his willingness to unlock the prison doors in the spirit world so his missionary force could enter and preach the gospel to those who never heard it during mortality, as well as those who heard the gospel, but rejected it in mortality. Every opportunity to repent and accept the will of God will be given each and every person before they are judged. Everyone will have ample chance to accept the gospel.
Sometimes we forget that the things the Lord does for us are of such magnitude – they are so big in the grand scheme of things – that we have difficulty feeling appropriately grateful. In Isaiah 25:8 we are told that the Lord will wipe away our tears. What tears? There are three specific things mentioned elsewhere in the scriptures (Revelation 21:4), death, sorrow, and pain.
8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.
Mortality brings many first-time experiences. One of these is physical pain. We live with pain. The older we get the more of it we experience. Pain is a great teacher. We learn long suffering and patience through pain. The Lord promises us that after this life all pain will be done away. What a blessing and relief! Because of the blessings of the atonement we will not have to sorrow over the suffering of others, nor will we have to fear death, either our own or the death of our loved ones. All these tears, the signs of agony and suffering associated with mortality, he will wipe away. How much is that worth to us?
Where is Our Heart?
13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
The verses that follow this one in Isaiah 29: 13, talk about the Lord’s marvelous work and the wonder his is going to perform in destroying the wisdom of man by using the unlearned to do his work. He refers to turning the world upside down. The reference in verse thirteen is fleeting, and is never really explained, nor explored by Isaiah, but it is plain enough for us to learn a good lesson.
The condemnation people are brought under by the Lord is that they have lost the true attitude of worship. They use action and words to make grand gestures of worshipping God, but their hearts are not in an attitude of worship. This basically makes those he is referring to like the Pharisees in the New Testament. They do everything for show. When they fast it is with sad faces and disheveled clothing to show everyone how much they are suffering by going without food. But the Lord wants us to be glad so no one but God knows that we are fasting. The world had lost the the attitude of the true religion, that of taking care of the poor and the needy. Religion had become all about self promotion and worldly praise.
These chapters in Isaiah outline for us some of the Savior’s greatest achievements in our behalf. They talk about His redemptive power, His mercy, kindness, love, and atoning sacrifice. They also point out the places in our lives where we need to take stock to see if we have fallen into some of the behaviors that the Lord condemns or if we are being truly grateful for all that has been done for us by a loving God.