“Behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things.
Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently;
for great are the words of Isaiah.
For surely he spake as touching all things concerning my people
which are of the house of Israel;
which are of the house of Israel;
therefore it must needs be that he must speak also to the Gentiles.
And all things that he spake have been and shall be,
even according to the words which he spake”
(3 Nephi 23:1–3).
This is the Lord speaking. He is recommending a book for us to read. Anytime Oprah recommends a book, or Glenn Beck for that matter, the book becomes an instant NY Times Bestseller. Funny how when the Lord not only recommends, but gives us a commandment to search these words.. we still don't read it. I am not immune.. I need to be more diligent.
A friend of mine sent me a link today of an essay written by Hugh Nibley. Here are a few key paragraphs that I liked.
"The book of Isaiah is a tract for our own times; our very aversion to it testifies to its relevance. It is necessary to remind us of its importance, however, because Isaiah’s message has not been popular, and he tells us why. The wicked do not like to be told about their faults. Every society, no matter how corrupt, has some good things about it—otherwise it would not survive from year to year. Isn’t it much pleasanter to talk about the good things than the bad things? The people of Zarahemla, said Samuel the Lamanite, wanted prophets that would tell them what was right with Zarahemla, not what was wrong. There is a great danger in that: the many things that are right with any society can hardly damage it, but one serious flaw can destroy it. One goes to the physician not to be told what parts are functioning well but what is making him ill or threatening him with the worst."
"For the rest of the time I want to talk about those human qualities Isaiah describes as pleasing to God and those qualities He despises. They both come as a surprise. As to the second, the traits and the behavior Isaiah denounces as the worst of vices are without exception those of successful people. The wickedness and folly of Israel do not consist of indolence, sloppy dressing, long hair, nonconformity (even the reading of books), radical and liberal unrealistic ideas and programs, irreverence toward custom and property, contempt for established idols, and so on. The wickedest people in the Book of Mormon are the Zoramites, a proud, independent, courageous, industrious, enterprising, patriotic, prosperous people who attended strictly to their weekly religious duties with the proper observance of dress standards. Thanking God for all He had given them, they bore testimony to His goodness. They were sustained in all their doings by a perfectly beautiful self-image. Well, what is wrong with any of that? There is just one thing that spoils it all, and that is the very thing that puts Israel in bad with the Lord, according to Isaiah. The Jews observed with strictest regularity all the rules that Moses gave them—”and yet . . . they cry unto thee” and yet they are really thinking of something else. “Behold, O my God, their costly apparel, . . . all their precious things . . . their hearts are set upon them, and yet they cry unto thee and say—We thank thee, O God, for we are a chosen people unto thee, while others shall perish” (Alma 31:27–28; emphasis added).
“Great are the words of Isaiah” (3 Nephi 23:1). We have been commanded to search them, study them, ponder them, take them to heart, and understand that the calamities and the blessings therein are meant for our own generation. May the words of this great prophet prepare us for these calamities and blessings is my prayer."