Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Book of Mormon: 2 Nephi 18

Again, I hope you’ll accept my apologies for the length of time between postings.  However, there’s no time like the present for repentance so let’s get to it.  Today we’ll be studying 2 Nephi 18, which is comparable with Isaiah 8.

Isaiah is commanded by the Lord to obtain a large roll of paper or parchment and write in it with a “man’s pen” concerning “Maher-shalal-hash-baz.”  So, Isaiah hires Uriah the priest and Zechariah (a prophet of the Old Testament) to record, then goes to his wife and, long story short, they conceive and she bares a son that the Lord tells him to call Maher-shalal-hash-baz" (the footnotes tell us this means “destruction is imminent”)  His elder son is named Shear-jashub (meaning “a remnant will return”).  He is told that this son won’t be old enough to call for his parents by their parental titles before Damascus and Samaria will be conquered and despoiled by Assyria.

Furthermore, the Lord tells Isaiah that the reason this is happening is because the people refuse the “waters of Shiloah” but rejoice in the alliance between Damascus and Samaria.  The waters of Shiloah is a reference to the Pool of Siloam where, in the New Testament, Christ sent the man who was born blind to wash.  According to Wikipedia, “The Gospel of John suggests that it was probably used as a mikvah (ritual bath), although mikvahs are usually much smaller in size”  A mikvah is something like a baptismal font, wherein the sins are symbolically washed away by full immersion in water.  In other words, the people of the kingdom of Israel have greater confidence in the power of the king’s alliance with Damascus than in the power of faith and repentance to save them.  So the Lord intends to use Assyria to humble Israel.  The Lord says that the “flood” of Assyria will pass through Judah and cover the land.  If they continue to rely only on each other, they will be broken apart.

The Lord then instructs Isaiah not to follow the way of the people.  If everyone else is talking about confederacy, Isaiah is flatly not to talk about confederacy and not to be afraid of the things they fear.  Instead, he should talk about the Lord and be afraid of displeasing him.  The Lord will protect Isaiah while the rest of Israel (both kingdoms) are being destroyed by outside forces.  Instead, Isaiah is directed to strengthen the faithful.  When they start suggesting checking with wizards and spiritualists, Isaiah is to remind them that the real person they should be checking with is the Lord if they really want to “hear from the dead” and with the scriptures.  If they aren’t talking with each other regarding these words, it’s because the light of truth isn’t with them.  They will “pass through it hardly bestead and hungry.”  The word “bestead” here means oppressed according to the King James Dictionary.  It means that Assyria will oppress them and they will become hungry for their old life again.  They will, as Isaiah says, curse their king (Pekah) and their God (probably a reference to some idol) and look upward toward their true God.  They will also look to the earth and see darkness, anguish and trouble.

Applying the Scriptures to My Life

I feel impressed by this scripture.  I feel that this scripture is effectively telling me how to live.  I’d say more, but I’m fighting a migraine.  Just the fact that I made it through this far is a miracle.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent! Good to see you "back in the saddle again".

    The book of Isaiah is heavy stuff, but you're doing well. I myself never understood this passage well, but I think I understand it a little better now. Thanks for this, and thank you for discussing this passage with me the other day. I love you, mi vida.