Ludlow refers the reader to Deut. 33:5, 26 for more information regarding Jesurun. He also states that this name is Hebrew for "upright" or "righteous" (377)
In Isaiah 44:3, the Lord says he will "pour water upon him that is thirsty" and will also "pour [his] spirit upon they seed" symbolizing the ordinances of baptism and confirmation.
In Isaiah 44:5, Isaiah continues by describing the steps converts take in their "growing relationship with the Lord (377).
First, they say they are the Lord's or in other words, they take upon them the name of the Lord. This is what we do when we are baptized and when we partake of the sacrament each week.
Next they will desire to take upon them the name of Jacob. Today, we receive patriarchal blessing which declare our lineage. Additionally, those who honor the oath and covenant of the priesthood become "the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham" (D&C 84:34).
Third, they "subscribe with [their] hand unto the Lord" meaning they use their hand to "witness [their] relationship with the Lord" (378). Ludlow additionally teaches "the hand could be used in a sign, token, or witness of a person's promises and covenants with God." In the Church today, we make many covenants with our hands.
Lastly, when a person takes upon himself the name of Israel, he is further developing the 2nd step. Ludlow states, "he actually receives the name. The actualization of the full blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob come only to those who enter into the 'new and everlasting covenant' in the temples of the Lord" (378).
Scorn for Idolatry
Isaiah uses "sharp sarcasm" (380) to describe the idols that men make. He describes how men use iron and wood to make idols as well as how man will plant trees, harvest them and then use some of the wood for fuel and some of it to make idols. For all this effort, the idols and the gods they represent cannot save the man. Only the true and living God can provide true life for man.
Ludlow makes a couple of really interesting comments regarding idolatry.
First he said, "The Ten Commandments strictly forbade images of God because, among other reasons, nothing material can capture the full glory of God." (380) I somewhat appreciate art … paintings, sculptures and such. But there is a fine line between idolatry and art. I know the goal of Temple Square the Visitor's Center is to help visitors feel the spirit and want to come to Christ. But do we indulge in idolatry when we "must see" the Christus statue as well as the many other art displays?
In the following paragraph he said, "These idolators worshipped the efforts of their craftsmanship and deprived themselves of the resources the wood, metal, and their labors could otherwise provide." When I read this sentence, I wondered if we sometimes raise LDS painters and sculptors on a pedestal. Do these artists get caught up in their craftsmanship? I don't know the answer to these questions, but I simply wonder sometimes.
The bottom line and modern-day application of guarding against idolatry is to ask ourselves certain questions. Are our thoughts centered on God or on something else? Do we spend more time building up our financial portfolio or building up the kingdom of God? We should be worshipping God in our thoughts, words and actions. We should not be idolizing anything.
For another great article on idolatry, read Dennis Largey, “Refusing to Worship Today’s Graven Images,” Ensign, Feb 1994, 9
Isaiah 44:21-22 offers counsel to Israel. The Lord tells Israel to remember these things that the Lord has taught them. He pleads for them to remember who they are and that He has blessed them. He reminds them too that they will not be forgotten.
He also tells them that He has blotted out their transgressions, thus referring to His atoning sacrifice He would perform when he received a mortal body.
Cyrus the Great
From wikipedia's entry … "The Bible records that a remnant of the Jewish population returned to the Promised Land from Babylon, following an edict from Cyrus to rebuild the temple. This edict is fully reproduced in the Book of Ezra. As a result of Cyrus' policies, the Jews honored him as a dignified and righteous king. He is the only Gentile to be designated as a messiah, a divinely-appointed king."
Purpose of the Earth
Isaiah 45:18 has an interesting snippet. "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." Mankind was not made inhabit the earth, rather the earth was made for mankind to live on it. Indeed we are to be good stewards of the earth and keep it clean and let it be healthy, but we do not necessarily have to submit to the earth. The earth was made for us to live on it and not the other way around.