Menahem and Pekahiah: Kings of Israel (2 Kings 15:17 – 26)

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2 Kings 15:17 – 26

1. What work around the house or on the job could you use 50 good men to do? Is the work mindless? Costly? Legal? Fun?

2. What is the purpose of military conquest (verses 19 and 20)?

3. Why should a desperado like Menahem stoop to such humiliating tactics to get rid of an enemy?

4. Who ends up footing the bill: the government? the wealthy? the little guy?

5. What hints do you see that despite Menahem, the country is enjoying prosperity?

6. Is Pekahiah done in because people are upset with his sinning (verses 23 – 25)?

7. What does the quick turnaround in kings say about life in Israel?

8. Is evil tolerable as long as the economy looks bright? Is it better to be poor and Christlike or comfortable and compromised? What gets you attention most – the bank balance or the word of God?

9. Does the Lord give you some wealth to help fend off evil? What is the purpose of your prosperity?

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Woes and Judgments (Isaiah 5:8 – 30)

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Isaiah 5:8 – 30

1. When someone “let you have it” for all the things they held against you, how did you feel? What did you do?

2. Where you live and work, are you among the “nobles” or the “masses”? Why?

3. This sermon elaborates what God said about the condition of the people in verse 7. What have the people in the first woe (verse 8) done that is so offensive to the Lord (see also chapter 3:14, 15)?

4. How would you react if you reaped only 10% of what you had sown (verse 10)? How does this curse contrast with the promise of blessing in Amos 9:13 – 15? Why will judgment come upon these people?

5. Who gets hit with the second woe and why (verses 11 – 17)? How contemporary does their lifestyle sound to you? What are their offenses? Does their judgment seem appropriate?

6. What role reversal do you see in the fate of the “arrogant” (verse 15) and that of the “lambs” and “sheep” (verse 17)? Who’s who in this portrait of justice?

7. Who gets hit with the third woe and why (verses 18, 19)? In today’s images, how would you describe what they are doing with these “cords of deceit”? What sarcasm do you hear between the lines?

8. How would you describe the sin of those deserving the fourth woe (verse 20)? The fifth woe (verse 21)? How do they relate? What effect would these woeful people have on others who tried to follow God’s ways?

9. Although the sixth woe (verses 22 – 24) starts off in a similar way to that in verses 11 – 17, what is the focus of God’s judgment here? How does Isaiah emphasize the completeness of the judgment they will face? On what grounds will that judgment come?

10. Verse 25 sums up God’s anger against all the “bad fruit” described so far. If judgment has already come to Judah (chapter 1:5 – 7), why is yet more punishment necessary? What will be the climatic judgment they have to face (verses 26 – 30)? What are these invaders like?

11. How will this prophecy be fulfilled by Assyria during Isaiah’s lifetime (see 2 Kings 18:17 – 25) and later by Babylon (see 2 Kings 25:1 – 7)?

12. Which one of these woes gets you cheering, “Hit ’em again, harder . . . harder!”? Is there any particular person or group where you live or work whom you would like to see get their due punishment?

13. Which of these woes could make you say, “Woe is me!”? Why that one?

14. “Trading places” is a common fantasy many poor people have in their view of the rich. Are there any rich in whose “pasture” you would love to graze (as do the sheep and lambs in God’s great reversal – verse 17)? In your society, what are some compelling examples of evil which others call good and vice versa (verse 20): pornography? abortion? adultery? cheating on taxes? cheating on exams? getting rich at the expense of the poor?

15. What lessons from war do you think God wants you to learn?

16. Does the woeful reality of chapter 5 make you hunger all the more for the hopeful vision of chapter 2:1 – 4? Why is it some people never appreciate the good news of peace without first hearing the bad news of war?

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The Song of the Vineyard (Isaiah 5:1 – 7)

Scripture Text:

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Isaiah 5:1 – 7

1. When you start a project (term paper, remodeling a house, etc.) with high hopes, but if fails repeatedly, what do you do: Give up? Try again? Wait until next year? Explain your answer.

2. What does your garden grow?

3. Put yourself in the place of the gardener in this song. What do you expect from your labors (verse 2)? How do you feel about the results? What would you do next year?

4. If you were a gardener with an annual crop, how long would it take you to give up on that plot of land? What is God’s purpose in asking the people to judge for themselves what He should do to the vineyard (verses 3 and 4)?

5. Verse 7 explains the song. What are some ways God cultivated and cared for Judah, the garden of His delight? What is one chief quality God expects to see in His people (see also Isaiah 1:17)? How is the “fruit” that has grown different from what He expected?

6. What are some of the “fruits” people use today to evaluate how spiritual a person is? How do these compare with what God looks for in a growing church (see Matthew 21:33 – 44; John 15:1 – 3; Galatians 5:22, 23)?

7. How would you assess the “fruit” in your life?

  • just budding
  • still premature
  • developing on schedule
  • ripe for enjoyment
  • diseased

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