Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
1. Have you ever visited a ghost town? Where? What was it like?
2. Have you ever been to a party that came to a crashing halt? (Was that when your parents came home?) What happened?
3. What is the scope of the judgment in verses 1 – 6? Who gets hit? Who is left?
4. What is the reason for this total devastation that is to come (verses 5 and 6)? What “everlasting covenant” (from God’s viewpoint) might the people have broken (see Genesis 9:8 – 17)?
5. In reference to Question #4, what subsequent “curse” have the people brought on themselves? How has this been illustrated by some of the specific judgment (see chapter 14:12 – 14; chapter 16:6; chapter 17:10; chapter 22:11)?
6. What will be the impact of this future judgment on the rural and urban sectors (verses 7 – 13)? What images does this bring to mind for you? If you walked through such a ghost town (as in verses 10 – 12) how would you feel?
7. Who are “they” who rejoice in verses 14 – 16? How does their “song of glory” (verse 16ff) differ from the “sounds of silence” (verse 8)?
8. In reference to Question #7, how do you account for the flip-side of judgment in verses 14 – 16 (see 14:7; 16:5; 17:7, 8; 18:7; 19:23 -25; 23:18)?
9. Verses 16b – 20 return to the theme of judgment. What is the point of the dilemma that Isaiah present here? Who is wasting away? Under whose treachery? How would you feel under such persecution?
10. Pretend these pictures of the earth (verses 18b – 20) are literal descriptions. What do you see happening? When has something like this happened before? What is the reality these pictures are meant to convey? What effect does t hat have upon you?
11. What cosmic realities does God battle and bind “in that day” (verse 21)? What is the ultimate purpose of this judgment? Why, in spite of all the destruction foreseen here, is this really good news? How does your answer relate to chapter 11:10?
12. How does this prospect of universal judgment strike you:
- an archaic view of a Zionist Jew?
- vindictive action on God’s part?
- source of hope and joy conveyed by God’s control?
- a day to be feared by all, regardless of social or religious distinction?
13. How would your view of “that day” change if you were a powerful, corrupt king? If you were a victim of his oppressive rule?
14. Both joy (verse 14) and sorrow (verse 16b) will be the experience of the godly remnant who survive this judgment. When you see or hear about current disaster striking those who don’t deserve it, what do you feel?
15. When have you tried getting “out of the frying pan” only to find yourself “in the fire”? What did you learn about yourself in that situation? Did that experience drive you toward God, or away from God? Why?
16. What do you learn about God from considering His past judgments (such as the Flood, or the fall of specific nations)? In comparison, what do you learn when you consider God’s future glory, which will eclipse even the sun and stars above?