Kelsey Wilding: So, in your classes, what was ‘aha’ moments for students?
David Ridges: There were many of them which made it very, very pleasing. One of them was one that most members of the Church are very familiar with, and that was the Isaiah, Chapter 1, verse 18, where it’s, ‘Come now, let us reason together, though your sins be scarlet.’ Scarlet was a color fast dye, one of the very few color fast dyes in Isaiah’s world. Do you know what color fast is? It’s something that when you dye, say a towel, for instance, you dye it, and it’s green, and then you throw it in the laundry. If it’s color fast, it won’t bleed the dye into other clothes. By the way, I found that out, what color fast is myself, on my mission in Austria. I was saving money, really scrimping in fact and I needed a new towel, and I bought a very cheap green towel. And to save money, I’d been throwing all my clothes into the same batch, meaning my white stuff, shirts, garments and so forth, and everything else. And so, I threw that green towel in, that new green towel, and I found out that it was not color fast, and it bled into my whites. And so, I was a ‘greenie’ for many, many, many months, so to speak. That’s what color fast is. It does not bleed, and so when Isaiah says, ‘for the Lord, come now let us reason together, though your sins be a scarlet, they shall be white as snow.’ One of the ‘aha’ moments in class was when I explained what color fast is, and then said what Isaiah is saying is, that even though you may think your sins are color fast and cannot be eliminated and made clean, and pure, and white, so to speak, that’s what that Scripture has by way of additional meaning. Even though you think your sins are color fast, the Savior’s atonement can cleanse your sins also. That was an ‘aha’ moment. There were several others, all the way along in Isaiah, and then one of them comes in Isaiah, Chapter 6, which is a very short chapter, only 13 verses. It’s one of the finest chapters for me personally, to teach on Isaiah, to give people the hang of things. But in Chapter 6, it talks about Isaiah’s call to be a prophet, and then he’s given the call and then he’s shown by the Lord that the people he’s going to be talking to are really going to be hardened, and thick headed, so to speak. And spiritually deaf, and spiritually blind intentionally, and so he is shown to brace himself for that kind of people, but one of the ‘aha’ moments comes with the last verse of that chapter. It’s just saying that even though Israel will be destroyed substantially, there will be a remnant left and then it says that remnant of Israel, the Lord’s covenant people, in verse 13, it says, ‘they shall return and then be eaten’. Well that’s a sad end to…there’s nothing like a pretty happy story, isn’t it? So, they were a remnant well returned and they’ll be eaten. And my students go, ‘aha’ and I handed up a little bit and said, well that’s a downer isn’t it. Yeah. And then let’s look and see what that really means. And so, you look at…in your mind, you picture an orchard in Israel, and you look at all the trees, the olive trees, or whatever, and on the bottom, they’re all pruned, they’re all trimmed, quite evenly. That’s because there they let animals in the orchards in the Amazon forest to reach up the size they get and eat the limbs. And so, when he is saying they will return, and they will be eaten, that means they will be pruned. And when you understand what pruned is, where you clip the dead branches out, and the branches that are growing in the wrong direction. I used to prune peach trees for a farmer, in fact, but we shaped them nicely, cut out the dead wood, cut out the old stuff that’s growing the wrong way, cleaned it up so that it can really flourish. So, what Isaiah 6, verse 13, is saying, is, they will be…they will return a remnant of Israel, Israel will return, and they will be pruned by the Lord, their false ideas, their false notions, their false offerings, their bad behaviors. He will prune Israel so that it flourishes and then that was an ‘aha’ moment.
Kelsey Wilding: I know.
David Ridges: Ok, and we’re in that day, when the Lord has pruned, and He’s pruning and He’s gathering Israel, and Israel is flourishing. So, there’s a couple of moments.
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David Ridges has been a great teacher to us all. I went to Education Week for several years and sat in on his Book of Mormon and Isaiah classes..The best thing he did was to teach us that our scriptures was a workbook.He encouraged us to make notes in them..as we studied..and as we learned..Today my scriptures are full of notes taken during this time and I have continued through the years..I have added notes from Nibley..in my Book of Mormon notes that explain concepts or words used. Brother Ridges made me love my scriptures and how important they are..How I wish our Sunday Study was longer now not shorter..but then again i will have to devote more personal time to study..we all need to study and enjoy studying..and I thank Brother Ridges for helping me learn even more..
Ridges was my first go-to source. If you look in our labs you will see that his books outsell all other writers and think that is because he reads the verse and shares a thought, then reads a verse and shares again. It is such a natural approach. I just appreciate how accessible he makes Isaiah.