Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
1. What was the most dramatic, or true-to-life war movie you ever saw? How did it affect you as you watched it?
2. What warring nation in real life gets your “Evil Empire” award and why?
3. Why might God lead Isaiah to pronounce judgment upon all these nations (including Babylon) if only Judah (and not the nations themselves) would have heard them? What does this say about Judah’s tendency to trust in alliances with lesser nations for protection against greater enemies?
4. Since Babylon was not the dominant world power until a century after this prophecy in chapters 13 and 14, what does this city symbolize that is timeless and bigger than itself (Isaiah 13:5, 9, 11)? What characterizes this Babylon (Isaiah 13:11, 19; Isaiah 14:13, 14)?
5. What is the “Day of the Lord” like for Babylon (Isaiah 13:6, 9 ; see also Isaiah 2:11, 17, 20)? What poetic and cosmic images in Isaiah 13:4 – 16 graphically communicate its power to you?
6. What should the Judeans have learned about God from this prophecy against such a powerful nation?
7. The Medes (Isaiah 13:17), from what is today part of Iran, had a reputation as fighters even in the days of the Assyrian dominance. How will they be used as God’s agents against Babylon (an event which happened, definitively, in 539 B. C.)? What is the ultimate destiny of any endeavor built upon human pride (Isaiah 13:19 – 22)?
8. What is the positive side and real purpose of this judgment (Isaiah 14:1, 2)? What is the basis for God acting on Israel’s behalf (Isaiah 12:1; Isaiah 40:1, 2)? On the Gentiles’ behalf? Why do you think this imagery of tables turned actually means (Isaiah 13:2; see also chapter 2:3, 4; chapter 11:11 and chapter 19:24, 25)?
9. Where in our culture (and in your life) do you see the attitudes typified by Babylon? What do you learn about God’s response to these attitudes from this prophecy?
10. What parallels do you see between the destruction of Babylon and the judgment God will bring upon the whole earth in the last days (see Revelation 6:12, 13; 18:2) where “Babylon” represents human pride?
11. Babylon stood for wealth, refined culture and political power. What 20th/21st century culture holds these values as the most important ones? How have you seen these values blind people of the reality of God’s values such as truth, justice and love? How are you experiencing the tension between this dual set of values today?
12. What helps keep God’s values primary? In what area is that especially hard for you right now?