This chapter skips back to the chapter before last, where Isaiah is talking about the restoration of Israel. It is important to remember that this is the chapter the Savior quoted in its entirety when he visited the Nephites after His resurrection (3 Nephi 22). He told the people that there would be a free country where the full Gospel would be restored, and that many would persecute the believers, and that because of this the land would have to be cleansed and many cities left desolate (3 Nephi 21; Isaiah 52).
When the Father begins to gather us according to His promise, and we keep our part of the covenant by becoming His people, then we shall rejoice and celebrate and sing. We had no hope, it was really hard work, and we were tempted toward despair (verse 1).
But we were not lost! We have not been forgotten!
Our hope is Christ (1 Timothy 1:1).
By the great atoning sacrifice of Christ, by the Son of God, we may approach our Father to become His people. He will keep His promise to gather us! As we increase in this faith and practice, so does our hope grow. We must grow in how we live and mature in who we are becoming. This is enlarging the place of our tent (verse 2), just as much as lengthening the cords of our stake are those numbers as the Father gathers us in to His tabernacle (the Temple!).
He gives us life where we had none before, even restoring to us our inheritance as His children, as His people (verse 3).
When we know this, there is no need for fear (verse 4). When we have the atonement of His great atoning sacrifice, there is no need for shame. When we are forgiven, He embraces us instead of reproaching us.
Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed; neither be thou confounded, for thou shalt not be put to shame; for thou shalt forget the same of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy youth….
How is it possible? Because He has redeemed us (verse 5).
He who created us has seen our repentance, and has known that we have been “forsaken and grieved in spirit”. He knows how we have been refused because of the consequences of our own sins (verse 6).
For a small moment have I forsaken thee,
but with great mercies will I gather thee (verse 7).
He will have mercy on us, because of the Savior, and will be kind to us as our Father (verse 8). He will keep this promise, just as He has kept His other promises (verse 9).
My kindness shall not depart from thee,
neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed,
saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee (verse 10).
We have grieved so deeply in the past, and been so afflicted because of our own messes that we made. Nothing could change the past, and nothing could rescue us from ourselves – except Him (verse 11). He will rescue us, and we will become His people, so much that even our children will be “taught of the Lord” and have peace (verse 13).
In righteousness shalt thou be established;
thou shalt be far from oppression
for thou shalt not fear,
and from terror for it shall not come near thee (verse 14).
We shall be gathered by Him, and He shall prevail (verse 15). This has been the plan all along (verse 16). We are righteous not because of ourselves, but because He has provided a way (verse 17).