The Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament strikes fear into the hearts of many readers of the Bible. It is impenetrable, enigmatic, and indecipherable. Yet within these "hard sayings" the Christian student finds beautiful testimony of the coming Messiah, fulfilled to the letter by the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, Jesus himself quoted many sentiments from Isaiah's prophetic words. To respond to the Master's call to "Come, follow me," should we not study what he studied and learn what he learned?
Like a mountaineer looking at the peak of Mount Everest, I had wanted to scale the chapters of Isaiah for many years but assumed it was impossible. Then one day I decided I was going to do it. I grabbed some metaphorical ropes, slipped a couple of tanks of oxygen into my backpack, tied on my crampons, and started at base camp of chapter 1. With guides and Sherpas to help along the way, I began to scramble up the rocky slopes. Most importantly, however, I tethered myself to Jesus Christ and took courage from the words of a prophet who had already made the assent: "My soul delighteth in [Isaiah's] words," wrote the Prophet Nephi, and "I write some of the words of Isaiah, that whoso of my people shall see these words may lift up their hearts and rejoice" (See Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 11:2, 8). I wanted to rejoice with Nephi and delight in the words he thought were so profound.
As I read, I took notes of things I learned, impressions I had, ideas that came to mind, and doctrines that stood out. The deeper I got into my study, the sweeter, more hopeful, and more joyful the messages of Isaiah became to me. After a year of careful, verse-by-verse pondering and studying, I compiled this book to capture my thoughts and the marvelous pearls I had found. I learned for myself to delight in Isaiah's words and to lift up my heart and rejoice in his writings.
I want to share what I have learned with others in the hope that my readers will see the vistas I saw from the summit and will want to make to make the assent themselves.The joy is not in watching another climb, but in making one's own trek and to see the magnificent scenery along the way.
I invite all students of the scriptures to read Isaiah. Find your own path, learn your own way, and see what Isaiah has to say to you. My words are not the answer of all answers but merely encouragement to strike out on your own and see how marvelous the journey is.