Isaiah Nuggets of Understanding

Prophets always point the way

Isaiah writing prophecy

I’ve been transcribing a very small diary - it’s challenging. I know Nephi’s efforts to inscribe on the plates were not simple like writing with a pen or tapping on a keyboard. He put forth great effort to transcribe the words of Isaiah and he wrote: “Hear ye the words of the prophet, which were written unto all the house of Israel, and liken them unto yourselves, that ye may have hope” (1 Nephi 19:24).

Isaiah is a master of word images. His writings were primarily a mystery to me until I decided to take my time and study one chapter a day in a determination to find nuggets of spiritual gold. It was time well spent.

Hawk flying mountain

Birds in flight

I find Isaiah so subtle that it’s easy to read a verse and miss the message. It is only in the stopping to consider that I find in a simple verse about birds in flight a powerful testimony of the power of God to deliver me from my afflictions.

“As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it” (Isaiah 31:5).

Birds in flight defend their young by drawing the enemy away or by fighting the enemy. Isaiah connects a bird in flight to the Passover to remind us of the power of God to deliver. The Lord, like a bird in flight, protects His children - defending against enemies, drawing the enemy away and destroying the enemy like the chariots of Egypt. I no longer see birds quite the same.

Jesus and the money changers

Jesus is my captain

Reading Isaiah 25, I had a new insight about Jesus Christ. I have held this one-dimensional view of Jesus as kindness, comfort and love. Isaiah shows me how very multifaceted the Saviour is. He is powerful, strong, a warrior like Captain Moroni.

It is as if I am walking in a jungle and the Lord walks before me cutting a path through the tall growth. He does not just carry me on a calm beautiful beach so beautifully depicted in many artworks, but He is there in the rough jungle making a path for me to follow. There is power for me in this jungle image. So much of life is tough - not calm beach days.

Jesus has the abundant strength to do the things I can no longer do. He has ever been my protector, guide and friend. He does not walk passively beside me but is often clearing the path before me with His strength - strength I do not possess. This is the captain of my soul - a captain of ability and strength and power. Like Captain Moroni, He teaches me the way to prepare for events that I cannot foresee.

Jesus calms the sea

Repent and turn

Isaiah bids us: “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6). Isaiah repeats the invitation repeatedly to repent and turn unto the Lord. Like Nephi in Helaman 7:17: “O repent ye, repent ye! Why will ye die? Turn ye, turn ye unto the Lord your God.” Both prophets tell the people to turn to the Lord. Repent and turn.

President Nelson
President Russell M. Nelson

President Nelson encourages with the same consistency and constancy. “My dear brothers and sisters, with all the pleadings of my heart, I urge you to get on the covenant path and stay there. Experience the joy of repenting daily. Learn about God and how He works. Seek and expect miracles. Strive to end conflict in your life” (Russell M. Nelson, “The Power of Spiritual Momentum,” Liahona, May 2022).

The constancy and consistency in the messages of the prophets across centuries ensure I can trust the Lord.


“I have even from the beginning declared it to thee” (Isaiah 48:5). The Lord tells us things before they occur so we can know it is Him. There were many prophesies about the birth of Jesus. Joseph Smith was foretold long before his birth. Christ’s Second Coming and all associated with it has been prophesied. The Lord prepares us, and one mode of preparation is foreknowledge.

Beautiful Mountains

Sound of music

One way to liken the scriptures to our mortal experience is to connect to places we have been or things we have seen. Watching The Sound of Music has new meaning for me. Isaiah’s words come to mind:

“The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands” (Isaiah 55:12). These words of Isaiah bring to my mind the scene from The Sound of Music where Julie Andrews is walking atop a beautiful mountain, the sun is shining, and she is singing. In the final movie scenes as they walk on the mountain peak it brings to mind the heights we can reach when we keep our covenants. I love how the gospel truths are reflected in the daily activities of life.

man studying scriptures

Where art thou?

“Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?” (Isaiah 63:15).

In this verse I hear the plea of Joseph Smith: “O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries?” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:1-2).

I have felt these pleas in my own life. A part of my heart knows God is there. His tender mercies are abundant, but the desire is for deliverance. I know that in an instant He could heal this imperfect body, but He does not, and I wonder why, and I wonder how long? I am not alone in my desire for deliverance – Isaiah knew, Joseph Smith knew, and I am comforted.

This is one example of the scriptures as one unified whole.


I concur with Nephi, “for my soul delighteth” in [the words of Isaiah]” (2 Nephi 11:2). Great are his words of warning, blessing, truth, hope and faith. His heart was deep with desire for all people to see the Lord and choose His ways. Isaiah tried in every way possible to communicate the love of the Lord to all who would read or hear his words. He was faithful in fulfilling his calling to cry repentance to all people - those living at his time and all those in dispensations to follow.

I am grateful for his efforts on my behalf and the golden nuggets I have unearthed.