Lesson 40: “Enlarge the Place of Thy Tent”
Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine
- God loves us, watches over us, and has covenanted to gather us to Him.
- He has created a Church organization to give us the ability to help each other.
We now live in a very strange time of Social Media. You can ask the class how many of them love Facebook or Twitter. How many of them are even on Twitter? Twitter is a strange tool because it forces you to share information in 140 characters. Facebook gives you more room, but often people are trying to force their thoughts into just a few sentences that they think people will read. Here are some funny tweets, share a few of them with the class and have a fun conversation with them.
“I don’t watch tv” proudly says a person who spends 8 hours a day on the internet.
How come sneezes get a “Bless You” but coughs get a cold unflinching silence?
twitter has a very “high school class where the teacher had to leave the room for a few minutes” vibe
kids born in 2000 never have to worry about forgetting how old they are
Weird when someone vanishes from your Facebook feed for 3 years then suddenly reemerges with the results of a “Which Muppet Are You?” quiz.
Every time I think I’ve parallel parked in a space the size of a shoebox, I get out and find it’s the length of two football fields
If you’re meeting someone, get to the place early so you’ll have a few minutes to kick back and repeatedly text, “Where are you”
“Dang! It’s only lettuce.” – What my dog thinks when I drop lettuce on the floor
In the year 1973, there were 2000 Elvis Impersonators. By 1993, over 30,000. At this rate, by 2050 1 out of 3 people will be Elvis
Think I might run a marathon just to prove to myself that I can do something pointless and awful.
I can’t face my checkbook so I check my Facebook.
Now ask, “What if Isaiah had to share his messages using Twitter? Let’s see what that might look like. There are some beautiful verses in Isaiah 54:4-10. Have the class read through the verses and then pick 4 words and only 4 words that they think best describe what Isaiah is trying to teach. Have them come up and write their 4 words on the board. Tell the class that we need 5 different sets of 4 words. Once the class has read through and you have at least 5 different examples you can now have a good discussion around these verses and what people thought was important. Ask them to explain why they picked those specific words. What do those words teach us about the Savior? Why did Isaiah think that was such an important message to share? How have you experienced the result of the words that you picked in your life?
If you have time you can transition to the verses that talk about who is invited to find refuge from the second section of the lesson outline. Say something like, “All of these amazing blessings are promised to us, but who is Isaiah talking to? Let’s look at a few verses to see who gets these amazing blessings.” After looking at the verses you could even ask, “Which group do you most relate to? Have you felt like all of these groups at one point in your life?” Only do this if you have time, if you don’t have time, just move on to the following section.
God always has a plan. If he says that he loves us and has covenanted to have “great mercies” and that His “kindness shall not depart from thee” there must be a plan on how that will happen. I know there are many facets to that plan, but today we want to talk about one that involves all of us. Look at Isaiah 54:2-3 and see if the class can identify what Isaiah is talking about. The answer is that he is talking the Church. Share the quote from Ezra Taft Benson:
“The term stake is a symbolic expression. Picture in your mind a great tent held up by cords extended to many stakes that are firmly secured in the ground.
“The prophets likened latter-day Zion to a great tent encompassing the earth. That tent was supported by cords fastened to stakes. Those stakes, of course, are various geographical organizations spread out over the earth. Presently, Israel is being gathered to the various stakes of Zion” (“Strengthen Thy Stakes,” Ensign, Jan. 1991, 2).
Ask, “How does the Church help fulfill the promises that we talked about in Isaiah 54:4-10?” The point you are trying to drive home here is that the Lord has made great promises about gathering and protecting us and then created a Church organization. Those two things seem to be linked. We are given the organization of the Church to help fulfill God’s plan of love and protection for His children. We have a significant part to play in the fulfillment of those promises. You can ask, “How has the Church organization helped you feel loved and protected?” or “What are specific things we need to be doing to help the Lord fulfill this promise he has made?” Remember, the promise wasn’t just to other members, it was to all that thirst, the wicked, and to strangers.
Share your testimony about the strength that can come from the Lord and how being a part of this organization has assisted with that. You can end by asking, “What does this message from Isaiah inspire you to want to do better this week?”