Distress and Help (Isaiah 33)

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Isaiah 33

1. “When the cat is away the mice will play.” What playful thing do you try to get away with when the boss (parent, teacher, pastor) is gone?

2. Recall the three monkeys who “hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil”. What contemporary issues do you wish someone in office would notice and speak against?

3. Although the earlier “woes” in chapters 28 – 32 were directed toward Judah in light of the Assyrian invasion, to whom is this one directed? In verses 1 – 9, what four shifts in mood and speaker do you sense?

4. How are the Jerusalem leaders reacting to the news that Egypt will not help in the fight against Assyria? What does it matter that Assyria rebuffs the envoys of peace with their payments of tribute (verse 7; 2 Kings 18:14 – 16)?

5. As their city is besieged, how does Israel respond (verses 2 and 3)? How does that compare with earlier responses in a national emergency (see Isaiah 28:14, 15; Isaiah 31:1)? Are they any closer to demonstrating what God desired for them all along (chapter 30:15; chapter 31:6)? How will they find in God what they have been mistakenly looking for in their alliance with Egypt?

6. What will occur “now” that it is God’s time to act (verses 10 -12)? How will the people of Jerusalem react to this outpouring of God’s power in the defeat of her enemy? How does their reaction to God’s holiness and power (verse 14) compare to Isaiah’s reaction (see chapter 6:5)?

7. What is it that is heard, seen and spoken in God’s answer (verses 15, 16; see also Psalm 15)? How does God’s answer reflect both personal and social righteousness?

8. Verses 17 – 24 conclude the series of prophecies that begun in chapter 28. What does this final picture of God’s grace to Judah emphasize about God’s plan for His people?

9. Who do you think “the king in his beauty” (verse 17) refers to? Hezekiah (the king of Judah at the time)? Some Davidic king still to come? God as king? Why do you think so? Might this also be a picture of what the Gospel of Christ is all about? How so?

10. When was one time God’s power was so evident to you that by contrast your weakness was highlighted? In your experience of God now, does He seem more like a consuming fire or fading candle? How can you keep on experiencing the fire?

11. If you had to answer the question of verse 14, how would you relate faith in Jesus to the lifestyle commanded in verses 15 and 16?

12. From what former “terror” has God delivered you? How? What effect has that had upon your view of God? On the way you live or worship?

13. Of the kingdom traits described in verses 17 – 24, which ones do you most yearn to see with your own eyes? Which one do you desire to see take root in your life more and more?

14. What does it mean to you that the Lord Jesus is the fulfillment of verse 22? What aspects of His earthly and future ministry come to mind when you picture Jesus as Judge? Lawgiver? King? Savior?

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The Women of Jerusalem (Isaiah 32:9 – 20)

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Isaiah 32:9 – 20

1. In the morning, are you easy to wake up? Or do you need two alarms, a dog with a cold nose and someone to pull the covers off of you?

2. Up to this point, how have the men responded to Isaiah’s message (see Isaiah 28:7 – 10)? Why might he be turning to the women at this juncture? What does he anticipate for them?

3. What does Isaiah mean by the “thorns and briers” (verse 13; see also Isaiah 5:6, 7:23; and 27:4)? What is wrong with the revelry and merriment over which he calls the women to mourn (see Isaiah 22:12, 13)?

4. What will restore Judah (verses 15 – 20)? What will the restored kingdom look like?

5. How do these promises of God compare with those given earlier (see Isaiah 28:16; 29:17 – 24; 30:19 – 26; 32:1 – 8; 33:20 – 24)? What is distinctive about the imagery Isaiah uses to convey his message?

6. What is the difference between security in God’s love and complacency that you are on the right side?

7. What does Isaiah feel the outpouring of the Spirit will be like on God’s people? How does that compare to the disciples’ question in Acts 1:5, 6?

8. Which is closer to your own view of what it means to be filled with the Spirit? Is it more of an individual or corporate experience? How so?

9. Are you experiencing the fulness of the Spirit in your life? In your church’s life? How so?

10. What does Isaiah say about God’s ultimate desire for you?

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Deliverance of Israel (Isaiah 27)

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Isaiah 27

1. As a child, did you love or fear monsters? Were any “hidden” in your room? Where?

2. Do you have a vegetable or flower garden? If yes, how much time, money and affection do you lavish upon it?

3. The Leviathan was an evil monster in ancient Near Eastern mythology. What would God’s slaying of this familiar symbol accomplish (see Isaiah 24:1 – 3, 21 – 23 and Isaiah 26:20, 21)?

4. As God sings about His garden (verses 2 -6), what cords does He strike? Major or minor? Harmony or discord? High notes or low notes?

5. How does this song of God’s vineyard harmonize with that in Isaiah 5:1 – 7? What accounts for the change in tune?

6. How fruitful has Israel been? What is the “fruit” that will eventually “fill all the world” (see Isaiah 2:1 – 5; Isaiah 19:23 – 25; Isaiah 26:18)?

7. What has been the cause and purpose of God’s judgments against Judah (verses 7 – 11; compare chapter 11:11)?

8. Whether “the city” (verse 10) is Jerusalem, or is symbolic of any human endeavor pursued without regard for God (as in Isaiah 24:10 – 12; Isaiah 25:2, 3), what is the future of all such plans?

9. What “sea monsters” (pressures, temptations, opposing forces) seem to be chasing after you these days? How do you cope with them? Which one do you want God to slay first?

10. Is the fruit of your life mostly taking root (present, but unseen)? Or is your fruit budding and blossoming (beginning to show its God-given potential)?

11. This past year, have you sensed God singing about your garden? Or have you felt God was disciplining you in some way? Explain your answer.

12In retrospect (and in view of John chapter 15), what do you see as the purpose of such discipline? What is your part, and God’s part, in being fruitful and multiplying for God?

13. “Asherah poles” and “incense altars” (verse 9) were idolatrous; even so, they were used by Judah. What things have possibly taken the place of God as “the desires of your heart” (Isaiah 26:8)?

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