A while back we were studying Isaiah in our Gospel Doctrine class. Am I too far gone or are there others that are as baffled by this book as I am? Nephi says, "For behold, Isaiah spake many things which were hard for many of my people to understand; for they know not concerning the manner of prophesying among the Jews."
I can relate...
Then a bit later he goes on: "Wherefore, hearken, O my people, which are of the house of Israel, and give ear unto my words; for because the words of Isaiah are not plain unto you, nevertheless they are plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy."
And I think, "Ah HA!" That's my problem!" I just need that spirit of prophecy thing... How do I get that? You know, prayer, fasting, righteous living, etc... At least I'm working on it...
One thing I've tried that sometimes works, is to just be really superficial about it. Read each verse like it's talking to me and not read too deep. 'Cause when I read to deep, that's when it rushes over me and I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of obscure images. I like the verses that have simple messages.
Like: "Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow." That one's pretty clear, innit?
And the next verse is pretty famous in Sunday School: "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."
But my favorites since I was a child have always been the ones that I hear music to. The ones that Handel chose for the oratorio "Messiah". I can never read these without singing them in my mind.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
This one's lifting and haunting melody cuts right through me every time: "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted."
And this one inspired a song of my own: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"
I haven't finished recording that one, but when I do, you'll be among the first to know! I can hear the gospel choirs echoing the chorus in my head. I don't hear voices, I hear music!
Well, even though it can be challenging, I gotta just dive in and read it. Maybe the fact that I don't understand it is kind of a challenge calling me out. "C'mon, Mark, figure me out!" You certainly can't get any better endorsement that this one from 3 Ne: "AND now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah." Nothing like a plug from the Lord himself, eh?
Thanks for listening,