Week 39 is scheduled for study Sept. 19-25, 2022. Comfort is born of service, and this week’s lesson is all about how we learn to both give and receive the comfort that can only be found in the service of God and man.

Day 1

Isaiah often used symbolic language. Pay attention to the thoughts and feelings these symbols bring to your mind and heart. This may help you better understand what he taught.

Isaiah 40-49 – Jesus Christ can comfort me and give me hope.

I actually struggled with all the passages of comfort the manual lists for today’s lesson. I don’t question the passages of comfort. I question the Jews of Isaiah’s time. Sure, the Lord wanted to bless them with all the things Isaiah talks about. God always wants to comfort and prosper His people. But the Jews were going to go into captivity precisely because they had rejected their God and abandoned His precepts. Their captivity was the punishment for their rebellion. When Israel obeyed their Lord, He always protected them against such enemies as Babylon.

As we read today’s passages, I think it is important to remember that our Savior is anxious and desirous to bless us, care for us, and protect us. He wants to see us happy and thriving. But His hands are bound by the laws He lives by. God cannot bless someone who is disobedient. It is those who willingly obey the Lord who can expect the kind of gentle shepherdly care described in these verses.

Today’s lesson makes me wonder about how love can be shown to those who are disobedient. How would you describe the qualitative difference between the demonstrations of love a parent can show for their child who is rebellious and the child who is respectful and obedient? This is the same problem the Lord deals with every day. He has so much to offer us, but to give His choicest blessings to the disobedient children only encourages a continuation of their disobedience, because apparently there aren’t any consequences for their misbehavior. But oh how wonderous are the blessings God can pour down upon the heads of those who walk in His paths and revere His ways.

It really is true that obedience is the first law of heaven. This is why we are told that all blessings can come only as we are obedient to the laws that bring or grant those blessings. All spiritual powers and freedoms are based on our obedience. So if God isn’t pouring blessings upon our heads, where does the fault lie? It is our choice to be either obedient or disobedient. We choose whom we worship and reverence. If it is God, and we do it with all our heart then we can expect all these verses in Isaiah to be applied to us in our personal life, despite what our physical circumstances might be at the moment.

The talk referenced in the manual is a great way to finish studying today’s lesson. Jeffrey R. Holland speaks on A Perfect Brightness of Hope.

Day 2

Isaiah often used symbolic language. Pay attention to the thoughts and feelings these symbols bring to your mind and heart. This may help you better understand what he taught.

Isaiah 40:3-8, 15-23; 42:15-16; 47:7-11 – God’s power is greater than worldly power.

At first, the title of today’s lesson was such a “Well Duh!” moment for me that I was tempted to skip writing anything at all about it. Of course the Lord is more powerful than any power on earth. I recommend listening to the talk from the Welfare session of Conference Oct. 1980, given by Douglas W. DeHaan, then the President of the Portland, Oregon East Stake entitled, Is Any Thing Too Hard for the Lord?

Once I got past my initial reaction to the title of this lesson, and I reflected on President DeHaan’s talk, I started to think about how we struggle with our faith in God’s abilities when we are faced with real world challenges. Imagine you belong to a small country that is several countries away from a super power set on domination and conquering. One by one you see this super power gobbling up one country after another, inching ever closer to your own borders. You know what they do to those they conquer. All that you have ever held dear, including your own family and heritage is threatened by this ever-growing monster inching toward your homeland. No one has been able to stand up to them. They have rolled over the top of all resistance given by country after country. The demise of your own land seems to be inevitable and assured.

Now, in the midst of this conquering rampage, the prophet tells you to have faith in the Lord. He says that God will protect you, sustain you, and that your country, if faithful to God will be safe. You are now faced with believing in something you cannot see, or putting stock in what you can see, and what your current experience tells you is going to happen. This is what Israel was facing. They had seen their northern tribes taken captive by the Assyrians a few years prior. Now they were faced with a new super power in the rise of Babylon, who had their eye on tiny Jerusalem. If you were a resident of Jerusalem, who would you be most likely to believe, the power of Babylon or the promises of the prophet?

All of us are faced with such choices in mortality. Do we believe in the realities around us or in the limitless power of the creator of all of creation? The one is tangible and ever present. The other is a being who requires faith and effort to believe in, but whose promises are vast and offer unlimited personal joy and safety from the evils of this world. The world, relying on only what they can see with their eyes, call us dreamers and a danger to society for putting our faith in a power who chooses to remain hidden to all but those who put their faith in Him.

As you read Isaiah, and all the prophets after him, consider how you are making your choices between the power of God and the power of the world. Who really deserves our scriptural “fear” or respect? Can the world hurt us beyond our life in this world? Can God? Can the world promise us eternal blessings of any kind? It seems that God’s greatest blessings focus on the rest of eternity. Our choice is between the transitory nature of earthly powers and that of eternal power and blessings. That is a lot of think about.

Day 3

Isaiah often used symbolic language. Pay attention to the thoughts and feelings these symbols bring to your mind and heart. This may help you better understand what he taught.

Isaiah 41:8-13; 42:1-7; 43:9-12; 44:21-28; 45:1-4; 48:10; 49:1-9 – Thou art my servant.

Please don’t turn your nose up at this next bit. Some hate it when people turn to a dictionary for a definition, but I think this is an important point that needs to be made. Here is the Noah Webster definition of a servant from his 1828 dictionary. I believe it is important that we seek to understand what it really means to become a servant. This definition can give us a lot of food for thought.

SERV’ANT, [Lservant, from servo, to keep or hold; properly one that waits, that is, stops, holds, attends, or one that is bound.]

1. A person, male or female, that attends another for the purpose of performing menial offices for him, or who is employed by another for such offices or for other labor, and is subject to his command. The word is correlative to masterServant differs from slave, as the servant’s subjection to a master is voluntary, the slave’s is not. Every slave is a servant but every servant is not a slave.

Servants are of various kinds; as household or domestic servants, menial servants; laborers, who are hired by the day, week or other term, and do not reside with their employers, or if they board in the same house, are employed abroad and not in the domestic services; apprentices, who are bound for a term of years to serve a master, for the purpose of learning his trade or occupation.

In a legal sense, stewards, factors, bailifs and other agents, are servants for the time they are employed in such character, as they act in subordination to others.

2. One in a state of subjection.

3.In Scripture, a slave; a bondman; one purchased for money, and who was compelled to serve till the year of jubilee; also, one purchased for a term of years.

4. The subject of a king; as the servants of David or of Saul.

The Syrians became servants to David. 2 Samuel 8:2.

5. A person who voluntarily serves another or acts as his minister; as Joshua was the servant of Moses, and the apostles the apostles the servants of Christ. So Christ himself is called a servantIsaiah 42:1. Moses is called the servant of the Lord, Duet. 34.

6. A person employed or used as an instrument in accomplishing God’s purposes of mercy or wrath. So Nebuchadnezzar is called the servant of God. Jeremiah 25:9.

7. One who yields obedience to another. The saints are called servants of God, or of righteousness; and the wicked are called the servants of sin.

8. That which yields obedience, or acts on subordination as an instrument.

9. One that makes painful sacrifices in compliance with the weakness or wants of others.

10. A person of base condition or ignoble spirit.

In the spirit of the above definition, all of us, including Christ, are servants to our Father in Heaven. Abraham 3:25 states quite clearly that the reason we have been sent to earth in the first place is to be proven or tested to see if we are willing to be obedient to the commandments of our Father.

25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

Not one soul who has or will ever come to earth is exempt from this purpose. Even Christ came to prove his own willingness to do all that the Father commanded him to do. All of us are ultimately servants to our Father. Why? Because God’s purpose for taking us from a state of being just Intelligences and giving us a spirit body was to ultimately guide us through the stages of development that leads us to godhood. This is God’s purpose for all that He does (Moses 1:39).

39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

God has already received His exaltation. He has already gone through the whole process of development. Now it is our turn, and He is willing to create an entire universe as our school ground and laboratory to teach us how to become like Him. Since we haven’t a clue as to how this is to be done, we must be willing to do all that He tells us to do. We must develop the attitudes he wants us to develop, serve others as He tells us to serve, learn to love as He teaches us to love, and to repent or turn back to God when we have turned away from our purpose of being here in the first place. He even gave us a Savior who has set a perfect example for us as to how this is all to be done. Our Father has instructed us that we are to do all things in Christ’s name, for only Christ is worthy of the exaltation we all seek, and only Christ will be able to make that exaltation possible. Why? Because he did all that our Father demanded of him – just as we are being called upon to do all that Christ demands of us.


Who is being called a servant in today’s lesson is almost immaterial. All of us are servants to a master. That is an inescapable reality of life. But we can choose our master. As the manual states, we can be servants of Christ and each other, or we can be servants of sin. Our choice, God’s consequences. We only have control over our choice. Everything else has been declared by God and must happen, either to our damnation or our exaltation. That is the declaration of destiny that is proclaimed throughout the scriptures, and most clearly through the Book of Mormon.

As Isaiah gives examples of the various servants of God in these chapters, it is our responsibility to consider how we are fulfilling our role as a servant. We are placed in families and friendships to serve one another. We have callings in Church to serve each other in various capacities. Ministering calls upon us to give of ourselves for the betterment and salvation of those to whom we minister. And we have been given the gift of the Holy Ghost who will open our eyes and enlarge our capacity to comprehend and understand the personality of God, our Father, as we are obedient to Christ’s commandments and fulfill our callings to serve. This truly is a great place to liken the scriptures unto ourselves.

FHE/Personal Study

Isaiah 44:3-4; 45:8 – Watering

Assuming you have read these verses, let’s talk about watering! I hope that anyone reading this has seen what a plant looks like when it has gone without water for too long, and that you have a visual in your mind of what that same plant looks like after it has been watered. The leaves that looked thin and limp become full and stiff with that which gives them life. Instead of drooping they stand up strong. Instead of looking like death is at the door, they look like the very definition of vitality.

When Isaiah promises that the Lord will send down rain upon the people, he is speaking literally, for their land was and is a parched land. But Isaiah is also referring to the living waters Christ promised the woman at the well in Samaria, the gospel. It is a truth that never changes that humans without the gospel of Christ spiritually wither and waste away. Satan thrives in this weakness. He exploits it, and uses it to make our lives miserable. When we seek Christ’s living water, his gospel, our lives are enriched, and we spiritually thrive both personally, as well as collectively.

In these verses the Lord promises to water us, but we are also commanded to water each other. Aren’t we told over and over again in the scriptures to nourish each other with the pleasing word of God? Isn’t this what ministering is all about? As you keep that visual of the wilting plant and the revitalized plant in your mind, apply it to your family, friends, and the strangers you meet. We are all prone to withering away without the nourishment we receive from the scriptures and the service God has commanded us to give to one another. If we want to be spiritually healthy we must not only accept God’s watering, but we must be willing to go out and water others as well. Only in this way will all of us prosper and find the happiness that is found in the joy of the Lord. Let’s go get wet!

Click the link below to

print a PDF copy of the article.

OT39-2022 – Comfort Ye My People

Week 39