God’s Judgment on Assyria (Isaiah 10:5 – 19)

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Isaiah 10:5 – 19

1. Who was the bully in your grade school, neighborhood or family who pushed you around with apparent impunity? How did you feel about that? Whatever became of that person?

2. What was God’s purpose in allowing Assyria to overrun Israel and Judah (verses 5 and 6; see also 7:17)?

3. The cities listed in verse 9 are all conquered by the Assyrian army en route to Jerusalem. What attitudes have these victories produced in the Assyrian leaders (verses 10 and 11)? Why do they think Jerusalem ought to be an easy victory? What does this show about their deep misunderstanding of the Lord?

4. Read aloud verses 13 and 14, accenting the tone of voice and attitude expressed in the many times “I” and “my” are used.What root problem does this reveal? According to the absurd picture in verse 15, what have they got backwards?

5. What is the Lord’s response to their pride? Compare verse 16 with chapter 37:36. What do you think happened here?

6. How is God both like a light and a fire (verses 16 – 19)? What truth about God is expressed in each idea?

7. When have you taken the credit for what was really God’s work and you were merely His instrument? How do you practice giving credit where credit is due? Would you rather judge or be judged? Why?

8. What are the “Assyrian armies” in which people today place their trust instead of God? How  have you seen that trust backfire in betrayal? Where are you now finding it easier to trust an “Assyrian army” rather than God?

9. Does God seem more like a guiding Light, or a consuming Fire to you right now? How so? When have you experienced Him in the other way? What have you learned about God from these experiences?

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To Us A Child Is Born (Isaiah 9:1 – 7)

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Isaiah 9:1 – 7

1. When were you most in need of (or grateful for) a flashlight?

2. When have you gotten up early to greet the sunrise? What “dawn of a new day” are you anticipating on this year’s calendar?

3. From Isaiah 8:19 – 22, what do you think Isaiah meant by the “darkness” in which the people walk (verse 2)? What suffering had Zebulun and Naphtali (in Israel) experienced?

4. How does Isaiah describe the effects of the dawning light (verses 3 – 5; see Judges 7:19 – 25 for Midian’s defeat)? In the context of the Assyrian threat, what does this light mean (see Isaiah 10:26, 27)?

5. What will be the light? How is he defined in verses 6 and 7?

6. What expectations would this arouse in you if you had first heard Isaiah pronounce it? What type of son or ruler would you expect to arise? How would his future rule and counsel compare with past alliances and plans (see Isaiah 8:7 – 10)? How would this make you feel?

7. How does the New Testament interpret what this prophecy means (see Matthew 4:12 – 17; Luke 1:32; John 8:12)? Of the titles given in verse 6, which fit Jesus as you know Him?

8. What is the purpose of His reign in your life? In the world? What does it mean that there will be no end to the “increase and peace” of His reign?

9. How has He shattered some of the “yokes that burden” you? What is one yoke that you desire to have Him shatter now?

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The LORD’s Anger Against Israel (Isaiah 9:8 – 10:4)

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Isaiah 9:8 – 10:4

1. When have you boastfully thought something would turn out fine, but it didn’t?

2. Have you ever felt a decision was rigged against you?

3. The repetition in chapter 9:12, 17, 21 and chapter 10:4 show that this is a song or poem. From this refrain, what do you think the song is about?

4. From verses 10 and 11 (with chapter 7:1), what must have happened in Israel?

Note: The opposition of King Rezin of Aram in verses 11 and 12 indicates this prophecy was given prior to the alliance described in chapter 7:1.

How did the people of Israel (Ephraim and Samaria) respond to these attacks (chapter 9:9, 10, 13)? How should they have responded?

5. Hence, what will God do to their leaders (chapter 9:14 – 17)? With what results?

6. What pictures come to mind as Isaiah describes the wickedness of the people (chapter 9:18 – 20)? What is the point of comparing their wickedness to a raging forest fire or people eating their own family?

7. What are the specific charges God lays against the leaders of Israel (chapter 10:1, 2)? What will be the result of refusing to provide justice and peace for the people? How is the finality of this judgment emphasized? (See 2 Kings 17)

8. From this song, what attitudes and actions do you see that are particularly offensive to God? Which ones do you feel are evident in your life? In the life of your nation?

9. God’s final judgment came only after many attempts to warn the people about the consequences of their deeds. How has God tried to warn you in the past of the consequences of where you were heading? How did you respond to those warnings?

10. What signs do you see today that God still cleans house, beginning with His own people? How might allowing the effects of wickedness to grow actually serve as part of God’s judgment upon that evil (compare Romans 1:21 – 27)?

11. What is one are of injustice or neglect of the poor in your community or nation that you could work on correcting? Tax reform? Housing? Healthcare? Race relations? Abuse victims? Or what? What keeps you from doing so?

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Fear God (Isaiah 8:11 – 22)

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Isaiah 8:11 – 22

1. When have you been afraid of the dark and why? How did you get over that fear?

2. What funny or fearful experience have you had with blackouts?

3. From chapter 7:2 – 4 and chapter 8:6, what is “the way of this people” God told Isaiah not to follow? What do they fear contrasted with what Isaiah fears?

4. What effects do these fears have on the way each acts? On God’s response?

5. How does Isaiah respond to Judah’s rejection of His message? How is His family a sign and a symbol from the Lord (verse 18)?

6. How does Isaiah bring out the contrast between mediums and spiritists and God? What should the people be seeking? What “blackout” will result from their refusal to do so?

7. What fears could motivate your agnostic friends to consider God? Job loss? Financial loss? Emotional devastation? Serious illness? If you have no agnostic friends, why is that?

8. From watching your life this week, what would someone say it means for you to fear God?

9. How is Jesus both a “sanctuary” and a “stumbling block” (verse 14; Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:6 – 8)? Which is He to you right now?

10. What does the rise of the New Age movement (occultism and spiritism) tell you about people’s spiritual hunger today? What would Isaiah say to those involved?

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Isaiah and His Sons As Signs (Isaiah 8:1 – 10)

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Isaiah 8:1 – 10

1. Whom were you named after? What does your full name mean?

2. When have you been afraid of water and why?

3. What do the names of Isaiah’s two sons (chapter 7:3 and chapter 8:3) symbolize in the context of chapters 7 and 8?

4. What does the “waters of Shiloah” in Jerusalem and the river Euphrates in Assyria represent? What then is the meaning of Judah “rejecting” Shiloah and “rejoicing” over Rezin (verses 6 and 7; chapter 7:1) resulting in a sweeping flood?

5. Why does Judah prefer Assyrian help over God’s as they face this crisis (see 2 Kings 16:7 – 9)? Why would idolatry lead to destructive political alliances?

6. Is “O Immanuel” (verses 8 and 10) a cry of despair or of hope? Why? What is Isaiah’s hope for Judah, even as he considers the coming siege from Assyria (see Isaiah 36 and 37)?

7. How has the Lord been like a gently flowing stream to you? When has your choice of allies resulted in a flood of overwhelming trouble? When has God stopped the flood of wrong choices from overwhelming you?

8. What “Rezin’s” and overflowing “Rivers” do people today free from? Which affect you?

Additional Note: The two sons of Isaiah

  • Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (Isaiah 8:3) is a sign of the coming judgment of the captivity of Judah
  • Shear-Jashub (Isaiah 7:3) is a sign of the return of a remnant of Judah at the end of the 70 years of captivity (Jeremiah 25:11, 12 and Daniel 9:2). The larger and final reference is to Christ Himself (Hebrews 2:13, 14).

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