God’s Mercy and Israel’s Unfaithfulness (Isaiah 43:14 – 28)

Scripture Text:

Isaiah 43:14 – 28

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1. Have you ever fallen asleep in church? Was if out of tiredness or boredom? What woke you up?

2. What contrasting attitudes has God found in the Babylonians, in the wild animals, and in Israel (verses 14, 20, 22)?

3. With what attitude do you imagine the exiles carried out their religious practices (verses 22 – 28)? What does that show about their view of God? Although God has not wearied them with His demands, how have they wearied Him?

4. In spite of their attitudes, what has God done for them? What does God say about Himself in these verses?

5. What does God mean by blotting out sins “for my own sake” (verse 25)?

6. When has God seemed like a dusty memory to you? At those times, what helps you get in touch with Him? How might recalling the acts of God in your past give you courage to face the present and future?

7. What has God done in your past that you especially can look to as evidence of His presence with you? What “stream in the desert” is bubbling up for you now?

8. In your worship life, are you lavishly giving yourself to God or callously wearing Him with meaningless rituals? When has it been different? What accounts for the change?

9. In your service to God, are you wearying yourself for Him or are you wearying Him?

10. What “new thing” (verse 19) has the Lord done in your life? What is He doing now?

11. What “former things” (verse 18) from your past do you have difficulty forgetting? How might verse 25 help?

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Israel’s Only Savior (Isaiah 43:1 – 13)

Scripture Text:

Isaiah 43:1 – 13

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1. If your house were on fire, what three things would you save and why?

2. If you were an exile, how would you feel if Isaiah stopped with chapter 42? What would your reaction be to chapter 43:1 – 7?

3. Persia (under Cyrus) conquered Egypt, Cush and Seba. Based on Cyrus’ treatment of the exiles, what might the Lord mean in verses 3 and 4? Why will He give “men in exchange” (verse 4) for Israel?

4. Why are the exiles told not to fear (verses 1 and 5)? How will they know that God is with them? What effect will this have upon them?

5. Although Israel has been blind and deaf to God in the past (chapter 42:18 – 20), what is the purpose to which He will lead them out of Babylon (chapter 44:10, 12; see also chapter 41:20)? What will that act of deliverance communicate to the nations? With what attitude do you imagine this witness will be carried out?

6. Compare Isaiah 42:23 – 43:2 with Romans 3:19 – 24 and Ephesians 2: 11 – 13. What does the “but now” in each of these passages emphasize about your relationship with God? Which side of the “but” are you presently on?

7. If you were to set these passages to music, what type of music would you use for the lyrics before the “but now”? For the lyrics afterwards?

8. What “waters” or “fire” (verse 2) seem to be fearfully close to you at the moment? What does it mean to you that God says He will be with His people through these things? How have you experienced that in the past? How come He doesn’t just let us avoid them?

9. During the “unromantic” times in your life, when life and relationships have lost their sparkle, how does this passage help you to put things in perspective?

10. When has God worked good in your life despite your blindness and deafness? How would you explain to a non-Christian what God has done for you? What should be our motivation in witnessing to others of God’s grace in our lives?

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Israel Blind and Death (Isaiah 42:18 – 25)

Scripture Text:

Isaiah 42:18 – 25

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1. Have you ever misplaced something, only to discover it “right under your nose”? What and where was it? Why did you fail to see it right away?

2. What things have the exiles seen and heard but failed to notice? What was the result?

3. What did God originally plan that Israel should be? How have they failed to live up to this? What have they become instead?

4. If you were an exile, what comfort would you find in this passage? What lesson for the future would you learn?

5. Are there times in your past when you were deaf or blind to the obvious will of God? How was it obvious, now that you look back? Did God give up on you?

6. If God needed to gain your attention today, where would you place yourself on the scale of 1 (deaf) to 5 (all ears)? Are there any areas of your life where you might still be turning a deaf ear or an intentional blind eye?

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