Thursday, October 23, 2014

Old Testament Scriptural Summaries and Commentary
The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 50-53
Gospel Doctrine Class, Sunday School Lesson #39
"How Beautiful Upon the Mountains" - Isaiah 52:7
Reference: Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, (2001), 183-86
Book Reference: Old Testament Made Easier, Part Three, David J. Ridges, pp. 171-181

1 Nephi 22:15-17 – Verses left out of The King James Version of the Bible
            The Student Manual, II, quotes Monte S. Nyman who suggests that these verses from the Book of Mormon be inserted between the last verse of Isaiah 49 and the first verse of chapter 50 (“Great Are the Words of Isaiah,” p. 191).
“For behold, saith the prophet [Isaiah], the time cometh speedily that Satan shall have no more power over the hearts of the children of men; for the day soon cometh that all the proud and they who do wickedly shall be as stubble; and the day cometh that they must be burned [the earth will be cleansed].  For the time soon cometh that the fullness of the wrath of God shall be poured out upon all the children of men; for he will not suffer that the wicked shall destroy the righteous.  Wherefore, he will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the fullness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire.  Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet [Isaiah], they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire." 
The purpose of this lesson is to strengthen our testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ (Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (2001), 187–89).

Isaiah 50 – “Who has left whom?” The Lord asks: “Did I leave you, or did you leave me?”
            (For comparison, see 2 Nephi, chapter 7.)  In chapter 50 as in other chapters, Isaiah speaks of the future as if it has already happened.  The first verse contains questions the Lord, through his prophet Isaiah, asks of his people—scattered Israel:
            “Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away [where is the proof that I have left you and sent you away]; or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you” [it was lawful to sell himself or his children to satisfy a creditor]?  The answer: “Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves and for your transgressions is your mother put away” [you brought it upon yourselves] (v. 1).  Speaking as the Messiah, the Lord asks: “Wherefore when I came [in the meridian of time] was there no man? [my people rejected me]; when I called [“Come unto me”] was there none to answer?  Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver?”  We know this is not the case as He states: “behold, at my rebuke [command] I dry up the sea [remember when I parted the Red Sea], I make the rivers a wilderness” [I have the power to dry up the rivers and make the land a wilderness] (v. 2).  The Savior also reminds us that he can “clothe the heavens with blackness;”—meaning He has the power to control the elements that he created.  And Heavenly Father has given him “the tongue of the learned that I should know how to speak a word [of encouragement]…to him that is weary,” O house of Israel (see 2 Nephi 7:4) (vv. 3-4). 
            "And the Father “hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back [from completing the Atonement].  I gave my back to the smitters [I was flogged –Matthew 27:26] and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair [of my beard]: I hid not my face from shame and spitting [Matthew 26: 67] (vv. 5-6). 
Note: To pluck out the hairs of the beard is to show utter contempt (Edward J. Young, Book of Isaiah, vol. 3, p. 300) (quoted by Ridges, III, p. 172).
Then the Savior bears his testimony: “For the Lord GOD [the Father] will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint [I am strong], and I know that I shall not be ashamed [I will never fail my Father].  He [the Father] is near that justifieth me” [He approves of everything I do] (vv. 7-8).
            The question is asked: “who is among you that feareth the LORD that obeyeth the voice of his servant [who] walketh in darkness, and hath no light?”—no one, the Lord blesses his true followers with light.  To all those who walk in the light, “Let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God” (v. 10).  The last verse of this chapter is full of imagery.  Visualize!  “Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass [surround] yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks that ye have kindled.  This shall ye have of mine hand: ye shall lie down in sorrow” (v. 11). Those who kindle and walk in the light of their own fire, walk in their own way according to their own will rather than the will and direction of the Lord.  When we attempt to create our own light instead of relying on the light of Christ, the judgment will be to “lie down with our sorrow” (OT Student Manual, p. 195.}

Isaiah 51 – In the last days Israel will receive the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant
            In this chapter the Lord speaks to the righteous of Israel—compare 2 Nephi 8.  In verses 1 and 2, Isaiah wants us to consider our origins, the heritage we have from Abraham and Sarah, and be able to see the hand of the Lord in our lives (Ridges, III, p. 173)
            “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD:  look unto the rock [from] whence ye are hewn.…Look unto Abraham your father and unto Sarah that bare you [your ancestor] for I called him alone and blessed him and increased him” [see Abraham 2: 9-11].  Through covenant the Lord has made promises to Abraham and his descendants which he assures us will be kept. “For the LORD shall comfort Zion.”  He will make the earth like the Garden of Eden; “joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody” (v. 3). 
             The Lord tells Israel that “a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.”  This prophecy means that gospel laws and covenants will be restored in the last days and will bring new scriptures and prophets “to reveal God’s will” in the last days (Student Manual, II, p. 195).  We are to have a personal relationship with the Lord which is stressed in verses 4 to 8 using me, my, and mine pronouns:  “Hearken unto me, my people, and give ear unto me, O my nation” (v. 4); My righteousness [ability to save] is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people…and on mine arm shall they trust” (v. 5);
            "Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished" (v. 6)
Compare Mosiah 16:9 - "He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death."
“The [Lord] is our Creator, our Judge, He is our Savior, and He is our perfect Exemplar” (SM, p. 195).  If we trust in Him we shall not fear even though “the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment” (v. 6).  And the “reproach of men” and “their revilings” will not make us afraid. “Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law” (v. 7);  “[My] righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation [throughout eternity]” (v. 8). Now righteous Israel replies, “Awake, awake [help us], put on strength, O arm of the LORD, awake, as in the ancient days”—when you saved our ancestors.  The people ask, “Art thou not [He]…that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed [the children of Israel] to pass over?” (vv. 9-10). “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD [we, righteous Israel] shall return and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their [our] head: and they [we] shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away” (v. 11).  And the Lord replies that he is their God who gives them comfort.  They need not fear any mortal man who has been their continual oppressor as their end will come and they “shall die” (vv. 12-13).  “I am the [same] LORD thy God, that divided the sea, and I have put my words in thy mouth [I have taught you], and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand [I have protected you], and [I] say unto Zion, Thou art my people!” (vv. 15-16).  
            For many centuries the covenant people of the Lord have “drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury” and this has “wrung them out” [they have paid a hard price] (v. 17).   And for many years, Israel has not had anyone “to guide her among all the sons” [of Israel].  Second Nephi 8: 19-20 corrects and clarifies Isaiah 19 and 20 referring to “two who shall be sorry for thee” in the last days.  “These two sons [see Revelation 11:3-12] are come unto thee, who shall be sorry for thee—thy desolation and destruction, and the famine and the sword—and by whom shall I comfort thee?  Thy sons have fainted [they are on their last legs], save these two; they [thy people] lie at the head of all the streets; as a wild bull in a net [they are caught]; they are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of thy God”—God’s punishment because of their sins.  But the Lord will plead “the cause of his people…thou shalt no more drink the cup of the Lord’s fury again”—Christ will save the Jews in the last days, (see 2 Nephi 9:1-3) (vv. 19-20).  In the end the Lord’s fury will be turned on those who have afflicted the covenant people of the Lord (v. 23).

Isaiah 52 – Come unto Christ—“Thy God reigneth”
            Compare 3 Nephi 20:30-44.  In verse 1 the imagery is of clothing yourself in the gospel.  “Awake, awake: put on thy strength, O Zion, put on thy beautiful garments [see D&C 113:7-8], O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean” [the wicked].  Remember, in the Millennium the gospel will go forth from Old Jerusalem in the Holy Land and also from Zion, the New Jerusalem on the American continent.  “Shake thyself from the dust; arise and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.”  This is a call for the gathering of the people back to their God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Because of their wickedness, “my people [have been] taken away for nought”—for pride, worshiping false gods, wickedness (v. 5).  But, the Lord sees: “my people shall know my name:  they shall know in [the last] day that I am he that doth speak: behold it is I.” And then shall they say, (3 Nephi 20:40): “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings [Christ]; [and the servants of the Lord] that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth” (vv. 6-7).  And the “watchmen” who are the prophets and leaders “shall lift up the voice” of song and they will be united “eye to eye.”  “Then will the Father gather them together again and give unto them Jerusalem for the land of their inheritance” (see Nephi 20:33).  And the people will “break forth into joy…for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem” (vv. 7-9).  And the Lord will show his power to all the nations; “and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of the Father, and the Father and I are one(see 3 Nephi 20:35).  The righteous who answer the call for the gathering will prepare to depart from among the wicked having become “clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.”  They are told not to go “with haste, nor go by flight,” that the Lord will protect them both in front and in back (vv. 11-12).  And the Lord reveals that “my servant” who is unnamed (see 3 Nephi 21:10-11) “shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high” (v. 13).  When the people see the Savior “many [will be astonished]…his visage was so marred more than any man” (v. 14) "when He suffered for the sins of mankind and was crucified on Calvary. Nails—metal spikes were driven into His hands and feet, and a spear pierced his side to ensure his death[see John 19:17-18; 32-34] (Student Manual, II, p. 197).  “So, shall he [gather, JST] many nations, the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.” The Lord’s work in the last days will not be stopped (vv. 14-15).

Isaiah 53 – Isaiah asks: Who hath believed our report?  Christ died for our sins!
               Compare Mosiah 14 in the Book of Mormon.  This is the most moving and inspiring chapter in all of Isaiah.  It cannot be summarized.  Therefore, I will quote it for the reader mostly as it is written.  When one considers that Isaiah saw all this in vision some seven hundred years before it actually happened, it is almost too hard to comprehend.  Please refer to the Student Manual, 1 Kings to Malachi, pp. 197-199 for detailed explanations of some of the passages.  The first verse indicates that Isaiah has grown weary of the people who don’t listen to the word of the Lord given through the prophets.
            “Who hath believed our report and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed” (v. 1)—are you listening? can you see the hand of God in your lives?  Now, we learn of Jesus Christ, our Savior, who died for our sins.  “For he shall grow up before him [Israel - those who don’t see] as a tender plant and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him (v. 2).  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not (v. 3).  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted (v. 4).  But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him and with his stripes we are healed (v. 5). 
            All we, like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD [the Father] hath laid on him the iniquity of us all (v. 6).  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth (v. 7).  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken (v. 8).  And he made his grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death [Joseph of Arimathaea gave him his own tomb] because he had done no violence [nothing wrong] neither was any deceit in his mouth (v. 9).  Yet it pleased the LORD [the Father] to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou [Christ] shalt make his soul [life] an offering for sin [to fulfill the Father’s plan]; he shall see his seed [the sons and daughters of Christ], he shall prolong his [their] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand (v. 10).  He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied [with Christ’s atoning sacrifice]; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant [Christ] justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities (v. 11). 
            Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great and he shall divide the spoil with the strong [the righteous will become joint-heirs with Christ] because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many and made intercession [with the Father] for the transgressors (v. 12).

Book of Mormon, Mosiah: 5:7-9:
"And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters (v. 7).  And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free.  There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives (v. 8).  And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ" (v. 9).

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

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,
 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David."
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 C├Žsarea 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 sidelet 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: 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 elseI 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 [1985], 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 himWith 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 wearythere 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 themI 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, 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, 51 "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 everso 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, 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, 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 suddenlywhich 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.
Old Testament Supplemental Study
The Book of Isaiah, Chapter 49
Gospel Doctrine Class, Sunday School Lesson #38
"Beside Me There Is No Saviour"
Book Reference: The Old Testament Made Easier, Part three, by David J. Ridges, pp. 166-171

Isaiah 49 – Israel will yet help to preach the gospel to all the nations of the earth
Note: The entire chapter of Isaiah 49 is quoted in 1 Nephi 21 except for half of verse one.    And almost every verse is reviewed in the Old Testament Student Manual, II.  I have used it extensively in my summarization of Isaiah chapter forty-nine as it is more correct than my own interpretations (sometimes quoted without attribution to keep a smooth flow of the text). 
Ridges explains that in this prophecy Isaiah presents Israel as a person who is “thinking about her past and feels like she has been a failure as far as her calling and mission from the Lord is concerned.  Then she is startled by her success in the last days” (p. 166). 

“Listen, O isles [scattered remnants of Israel throughout the world] unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; the LORD hath called me [Israel] from the womb [before I was born]; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name” [Israel was foreordained in premortality to assist the Lord in His work] (v. 1).  “And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword” because she possessed the word of God to preach to all the nations of the earth.  However ancient Israel failed to live the teachings of the Lord and did not receive the blessings promised by the Lord in the Abrahamic Covenant (see Abraham 2:11).  It is believed that verses two and three may refer to latter-day Israel.  “[I]n the shadow [protection] of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me” (v. 2). 
Monte S. Nyman explains: "'in the shadow of his hand' is clarified in the Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord declares that the priesthood holders of this last dispensation are ‘lawful heirs, according to the flesh and have been hid from the world with Christ in God' (D&C 86:8-9).…[These lawful heirs of scattered Israel were lost to the world], but the Lord knew and had concealed them in his protective hand. 
"The polished shaft hidden in the Lord’s quiver may be a reference to Joseph Smith as the Lord’s 'choice seer' of the latter days." (Great Are the Words of Isaiah, pp. 173-74, quoted in the Student Manual, p. 192.)
“Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified” [Israel will yet fulfill its stewardship] (v. 3). 

Between the time when Israel was dispossessed and the Restoration, Israel became discouraged that she had “laboured in vain” and her strength was spent for naught [apostasy and false worship]. And yet her “judgment is with the Lord [only the Lord can judge Israel] and my work with my God” (v. 4).  “Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength” (v. 5).  Jacob will yet be raised and restored and stand as “a light to the Gentiles” and as a beacon of “salvation unto the end of the earth” (v. 6). 

“In an acceptable time,” God will hear their cry and “give thee [my servant, see 1 Nephi 21:8] for a covenant of the people” (v. 8).  That began with Joseph Smith.  Since then, the call has gone forth to others, “to [spiritual] prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in [spiritual] darkness, Shew yourselves” (v. 9).  They shall be fed with the fruits of the gospel—not “hunger nor thirst”—and shall be gathered into the gospel net “from far…from the north and from the west” (vv. 10, 12). 

Even though the Lord has clearly promised that Zion will be restored and smitten no more, Zion in her forlorn condition will come to view herself as one “forsaken” of the Lord (v. 14).  But He will show that He has not forsaken her.  "Can a woman forget her sucking [nursing] child."  The Lord answers that question, “Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel” (see 1 Nephi 21:15).  All that the Lord has promised will be fulfilled, for His covenant people are so a part of Him that it is as if their name has been carved on his hands [the Atonement] or on the walls that are continually before His eyes (v. 16).  For this reason Israel’s children [or descendants] shall “make haste against [their] destroyers; and they that made thee waste [their enemies] shall go forth of [flee from] thee (v. 17). 
President Wilford Woodruff said: “But the set time has come to favor Zion, and the Lord Almighty has decreed in the heavens that every weapon formed against her shall be broken” (Journal of Discourses, 15:8-9, quoted in the Student Manual, p. 193)

In verses 18-21, the latter-day gathering of Israel is spoken of as a bride who adorns herself for her wedding. So will the Zion of the latter days spiritually clothe those who come to her for blessings (v. 18). 
"The imagery of Christ as the Bridegroom and His covenant people as His bride is also found in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Matthew, Revelation and the Doctrine and Covenants (see also Revelation 19:8)."
"So many people will come, both to Zion and the old Jerusalem, that they will complain that the land is “too strait [narrow] for me: give place to me that I may dwell” (v. 20).  This has happened in the modern Church where the need for chapels and leadership has been difficult to keep up with due to the many converts (SM, p. 193).  Then the modern Israelites will say: “Who hath begotten me these…,where had they been?” (v. 21).   In other words, where in the world did all these people come from?  Now, Isaiah speaks of the day when God’s promises will be fulfilled and of how it will be done.  The “how” is made clear in verses 22-23.  God will set up His “standard,” [the gospel, or the new and everlasting covenant] (see D&C 66: 2), “and they [the Gentiles] shall bring thy [the house of Israel’s] sons in their arms and thy daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.  And kings shall be thy nursing fathers and their queens thy nursing mothers” (vv. 22-23).  "The 'when' of the prophecy is now.  Converts from throughout the world have joined the Church and then gone throughout the world to reclaim the house of Israel and bring them back to the Lord" (SM, 193)
“Nursing fathers and nursing mothers” could refer to Great Britain and other countries including the United States who supported the mandate over Palestine after the end of World War I, for the preparation of the gathering of the scattered Jews.  In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine and create a Jewish state in the land for the first time in nearly two thousand years" (SM, p. 194).

In verse 24, the “prey” mentioned is the house of Israel in her scattered condition.  She is “prey” or “captive” because she has been unable throughout the centuries to return to her promised home or to claim her gospel blessings.  Although many nations still will not allow the gospel to be preached freely, all that will change, for “even the captives [Israel] of the mighty [Israel's enemies] shall be taken away [from their enemies], and the prey [victims] of the terrible shall be delivered [set free]” (v. 25) (Ridges, p. 171)
"For the Mighty God shall deliver his covenant people, For thus saith the Lord: I will contend with them that contendeth with thee—…and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob" (2 Nephi 6:17-18).

"First, the Lord predicts it, then He brings it to pass; only a 'mighty one' could perform such a task.  Nephi made it very clear that all who seek to thwart the Lord in bringing this great thing [gathering] to pass shall be destroyed, for 'they shall fall into the pit which they digged to ensnare the people of the Lord'" (1 Nephi 22:14) (SM, p. 194).