There is an account in the Book of Mormon where Nephi explains why Isaiah is so hard for people to understand – specifically his people in the New World. When Nephi and his family left Jerusalem they also left behind much of the culture, and they did so on purpose. So much of Isaiah’s prophecies are centered around the culture of that day – the people, the politics, the problems.
The Bible speaks of many people willingly leaving a culture, sometimes physically, others just mentally. Abraham left Ur behind because of its idolatry and human sacrifices. Moses escaped Egypt (and was called back to it a very different man). Saul left behind a life he was fully committed to and knew in his heart was right, until that day that Christ spoke to him on the road to Damascus and he became Paul.
There will come a time when all of us, when we are ready for that step, will need to leave behind our own Jerusalem, our comfort, our way of life that no longer serves us as we try to immerse ourselves deeper into our spiritual practices. Every culture – family, community, state, nation, race – carries something that we may need to sacrifice, something we may need let go in order to progress to develop a deeper relationship with God and with ourselves.
We may need to stand alone. Friends and family may not understand at first. They may never understand but the risk is worth it. We are worth it. YOU are worth it.
Devotional exercise: let’s sit in stillness and honestly evaluate our habits that may derive from a culture we were raised in. Is there one thing we can leave behind? Are we ready to leave our own Jerusalem to find that New World that God has waiting for us?