We got a couple of Isaiah chapters here in 2 Nephi 7-8. Chapter 7 happens to be one of those Isaiahs that I like to read. There's a couple things here that are definitely worth the effort of not skimming over, as I've been known to do when I read the dreaded words:
Compare Isaiah 50 in this case. It says in the preamble (chapter heading) "Isaiah speaks Messianically." There are a lot of Isaiah preambles that say that. What's it mean? Well, Isaiah has this sometimes confusing talent for speaking as himself, speaking as God, speaking as Christ, or speaking as the entire house of Isreal, etc., sometimes all at the same time. And he'll change from one to the udder without any warning or commercial interruption. So, as you begin 2 Nephi 7 (or Isaiah 50), you'll read "I did this" and "I said that" and whatever, and in this case, Isaiah is speaking as Christ, or Messianically. But (and this is a big butt), that doesn't mean that Isaiah will stick to that policy all the way through the chapter, so you need to watch your P's and Cues.
2 Nephi 7: 1
1. Yea, for thus saith The Lord: Have I put thee away, or have I cast thee off forever? For thus saith The Lord: Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement? To whom have I put thee away, or to which of my creditors have I sold you? Yea, to whom have I sold you? Behold for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.
Isaiah Metaphor #1: Christ is the bridegroom; the house of Israel is His bride. There's whole bunches of stuff in the law of Moses about divorces and stuff, but basically, this is talking about Israel's infidelity to Christ (apostasy), and Christ's promise of never letting go of them (us).
Here's a part I really love. Remember what that verse said..?
...to whom have I sold you? For your iniquities have ye sold yourselves..."
I hate the idea that I have sold myself, but I make that a true statement every time I choose disobedience. How much did I get for me? Is the picture on the right suggestive enough, or do I need to get crude?
Here comes the miracle of Christ's Atonement!!!!
|Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, by the incredible Carl Bloch|
2 Nephi 7: 2
2. Wherefore, when I came, there was no man; when I called, yea, there was none to answer. O house of Israel, is my hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem, or have I no power to deliver? Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make their rivers a wilderness and their fish to stink because the waters are dried up, and they all die because of thirst.
- John is an idiot, so he sells himself for some fleeting, short lived satisfaction of some kind.
- Jesus Christ loves John, so if John feels like he made a mistake and wants to come back, Jesus will buy him back.
And what did it cost Him?
It cost Him everything.
There's this fellow at church, name of George. No matter what the topic of the lesson he's teaching is, George will always bring Christ and His Atonement into it. He has said the following many times:
"They spit on him! That's the part that bugs me the most, they spit on him. It's as if they spit on my Dad or my Mom. Oooh, that really gets to me." (-George Beardall)
I commented to George once that there is something that bugs me even more than the spitting. It's how they plucked out His beard. He didn't know about that one. I showed him the following verse. His reaction was silence.
2 Nephi 7: 6
6. I gave my back to the smiter, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair. I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
Light of lights
I'm in this choir thing right now. It's called Because We Sing. This year we're singing "Let all mortal flesh keep silence." In her masterful way, our choir director, Merrilee Webb, painted for us a picture in our minds of approaching the throne of God when we sing this song. There's a part in the song that refers to Jesus Christ as "The Light of lights." There is such a profound feeling when we sing this.
2 Nephi 7: 11
11. Behold all ye that kindle fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks, walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks which ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand -ye shall lie down in sorrow.If you've sold yourself, and you are without His light, let Him buy you back. Is His hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem? Here's the good news: He's already paid for you.
Redeemer of Israel, our only delight;
On whom for a blessing we call;
Our shadow by day, and our pillar by night;
Our King, our Deliverer, our All.
Peace be with you...