Internalizing Isaiah

Nephi loved the words of Isaiah. He read them to his family to “persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer” (1 Nephi 19:23). He assigned his brother Jacob to preach a sermon about a passage from Isaiah (2 Nephi 6:4). He quoted 16 chapters from the book of Isaiah in his writings. And he said, “My soul delighteth in his words” (2 Nephi 11:2).

Nephi studied and pondered Isaiah’s words so much that key phrases became part of him. A couple of days ago, I was listening to 2 Nephi 26, and I kept noticing fragments from Isaiah, some from the chapters Nephi had just quoted, and others from elsewhere in the book of Isaiah. Here are some examples:

Nephi Isaiah
“They sell themselves for naught; for, for the reward of their pride and their foolishness they shall reap destruction” (2 Nephi 26:10). “Ye have sold yourselves for nought” (Isaiah 52:3).
“They yield unto the devil and choose works of darkness rather than light, therefore they must go down to hell” (2 Nephi 26:10). “Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?” (Isaiah 29:15).
“He manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost; yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, working mighty miracles, signs, and wonders, among the children of men according to their faith” (2 Nephi 26:13). “For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory” (Isaiah 66:18).
“After the Lord God shall have camped against them round about, and shall have laid siege against them with a mount, and raised forts against them; and after they shall have been brought down low in the dust…
“For those who shall be destroyed shall speak unto them out of the ground, and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit; for the Lord God will give unto him power, that he may whisper concerning them, even as it were out of the ground; and their speech shall whisper out of the dust” (2 Nephi 26:15-16).
“And I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee.
“And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust” (Isaiah 29:3-4).
“The Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block” (2 Nephi 26:20). “He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken” (Isaiah 8:14-15).
“They put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor” (2 Nephi 26:20). “What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the LORD GOD of hosts” (Isaiah 3:15).
“Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price” (2 Nephi 26:25). “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1).

I’m impressed with how naturally these phrases flow in Nephi’s writings. He had immersed himself in the words of Isaiah, and those words had become an integral part of his gospel knowledge.

Elder Richard G. Scott emphasized the value of internalizing the word of God:

The scriptures…can become stalwart friends that are not limited by geography or calendar. They are always available when needed. Their use provides a foundation of truth that can be awakened by the Holy Ghost. Learning, pondering, searching, and memorizing scriptures is like filling a filing cabinet with friends, values, and truths that can be called upon anytime, anywhere in the world (“The Power of Scripture,” General Conference, October 2011).

Today, I will strive to emulate Nephi’s investment of time and energy in studying the scriptures. I will strive to fill the file cabinets in my mind with passages which I can draw upon anytime and anywhere.

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