Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
1. What are three characteristics you look for in a political leader?
2. What effect has the “dress for success” mentality had on you? Are you dressing upscale or downscale as compared to several years ago?
3. The first part of this sermon is a more specific prophecy of the judgment that is coming upon Judah. What things make up their “supply and support” that the Lord is going to take away?
4. The soothsayer and clever enchanter should never have existed in a faithful Judah. What would happen to a society where all their partners in crime (chapter 3:2, 3) were removed as well?
5. What types of social chaos would come about as a result of God’s judgment (chapter 3:4 – 7)? If you lived during a time like this, what would you expect to see around you? How would you feel about your future? Your family? Your money?
6. What attitudes and actions precipitate God’s judgment (chapter 3:8 – 15)? By what “legal” means might the leaders “plunder the poor”?
7. How are the women pictured in chapter 3:16 – 24? What reference to their captivity do you see here? What judgment upon the men is really meant for the women (chapter 3:25 – chapter 4:1)?
8. In reference to Question #7, how do you account for this (chapter 3:9)? Since being unmarried and childless was considered a disgrace, how is God’s judgment appropriate to their sin? What contrasts do you see between chapter 3:16, 3:24 and 4:1)?
9. The “Branch of the Lord” (chapter 4:2 – 6) is the remnant of the people who survive God’s judgment. How does the remnant contrast with the leaders and women described in chapter 3? What will the Lord do for them? What does this show about God’s purpose in judgment?
10. What is meant by “cloud . . . fire . . . shelter” (chapter 4: 5, 6; see also Exodus 13:21, 22 and Exodus 40:34 – 38)? What is the purpose of the canopy God will spread over those who come to Him? What does Isaiah mean by being safe from the “heat of the day” and the “storm and rain”?
11. What examples come to mind of how poor people in your world are oppressed by “legal” means? For example, is it fair that inner city schools are generally inferior to suburban schools? Is busing the answer? Why or why not?
12. How do you see the haughty, self-centered attitudes (chapter 3:16ff) reflected in men and women around you? How does their idea of beauty compare with that of 1 Peter 3:3, 4? Do you think such inner beauty qualities to men, as well?
13. How have you tried to develop this inner beauty on your own? How has God’s discipline of you led to growth and purity?
14. The “Branch of the Lord” theme is used by Jesus (John 15:1 – 8), as well as by other prophets (Jeremiah 23:5, Jeremiah 33:15; Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12). How does Jesus’ use of it differ from the way Isaiah uses it here? What does that say about who the true Branch of the Lord is? How do we become part of this Branch?