Old Testament Scriptural Summaries and Commentary
The Book of Isaiah, Selections from chapters 40-49
Gospel Doctrine Class, Sunday School Lesson #38
"Beside Me There Is No Saviour" - Isaiah 43:11 and Hosea 13:4
Reference: Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, (2001), 183-86
This lesson is all about the greatness of the Savior. It is introduced by quoting scriptures from holy texts (other than Isaiah) that ask questions about our commitment and devotion to him as his disciple.
Matthew 22:41-42 - " While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
3 Nephi 27:26-27 - "And know ye [Twelve Apostles] that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as [perfect as] I am."
Matthew 16:13, 15 - 13 "When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?"
Exodus 32:26 - "Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me."
Alma 5:14 - "And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? "
1. Isaiah teaches that the Savior is incomparable
Isaiah 40:18 - "To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness [idol] will ye compare unto him?"
Isaiah 44:8 - "Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any."
Isaiah 46:5 - "To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?"
Isaiah 43:11 - "I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour."
Isaiah 44:6 - "Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God."
Isaiah 45:5, 6, 14, 18, 21-22 - 5 "I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me:"
6 - "That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else."
14 - "Thus saith the Lord,…[Egypt, Ethiopia, the Sabeans, and men of stature], shall come over unto thee,… they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no [other] God."
18 - "For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else."
21-22 - "Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."
Isaiah 46:9 - "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me."
2. Isaiah describes the Savior’s incomparable qualities
"The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that we need 'a correct idea of [God’s] character, perfections and attributes' in order to have faith in Him (Lectures on Faith , 38). Isaiah gives many beautiful descriptions of the Savior’s character and attributes." (Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (2001), 183–86.)
▶Isaiah 40:13-14 - "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?" [No one counsels or instructs the Lord. He is all knowing.]
▶Isaiah 40:28-31 - "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding." [The Lord is never weary.]
▶Isaiah 40:12, 21-22, 26 -"Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?"
21-22 - "Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in."
26 -"Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth." [The Lord created the universe and knows every part of it.]
▶Isaiah 41:17-18 - "When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water." [The Lord hears and blesses his people.]
▶Isaiah 42:1, 4 - 1 "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. 4
He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law." [The Lord will not be discouraged or fail to fulfill his purposes.]
▶Isaiah 42:16 - "And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them." [The Lord helps those who are lost.]
▶Isaiah 43:1-4 - "[Thus] saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life." [He will help his people through their trials.]
▶Isaiah 44:3-4 - "For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: 4 And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses." [The Lord pours out his spirit on us.]
▶Isaiah 46:3-4 - "Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: 4 And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar [gray] hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you." [He carries us from birth to old age.]
▶Isaiah 49:14-16 - "Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. 15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. 16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." [He will never forget us.]
3. The world (Babylon) competes with the Savior for our devotion
"Babylon was a powerful city of the ancient world that was destroyed for its wickedness. In the scriptures, Babylon is often also used as a symbol for the wickedness of the world." (Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (2001), 183–86.)
▶Isaiah 47: 1, 5 - 1 "Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate. [Footnote 1b, Babylon was to be overthrown; this prophecy was fulfilled by Cyrus, 539 B.C.] 5 Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness [footnote 5a, exile] O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms." [The world will be brought down to the dust and become silent and dark.]
▶Isaiah 47:7-9 - "And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it. 8 Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: 9 But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments." [Despite the world’s thoughts that it is invincible, it will be destroyed and lose the things of greatest value, symbolized by the loss of husband and children.
▶Isaiah 47:10-11 - "For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me. 11 Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know." [Because the world declares that it is greater than God, desolation will come upon it.]
4. Isaiah 49 describes the mission of latter-day Israel
Note: many of the prophecies apply both to the work of the Savior and to the work of his servants, the house of Israel. (Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (2001), 183–86.)
▶Isaiah 49:3 -"And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified."
▶Isaiah 49:1, 5 - "Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. 5 And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength." [We were called from birth to fulfill the Lord’s work in the last days.]
▶Isaiah 49:2 - "And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, [The Lord has protected us and prepared us for our great responsibilities.]
and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;" [Arrows with polished shafts will fly straight and true. We have been polished and prepared by the Lord to fly straight and true wherever he sends us.]
▶Isaiah 49:6 - "And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth." [The Lord has asked his servants to raise up and restore the remnant of Israel and to be a light to the Gentiles. In this way we can help bring salvation to the ends of the earth.]
See also the following supplemental study of chapter 49 from my summaries of The Book of Isaiah.