Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
1. Are you more of a “day dreamer”, “worry wart” or “book worm”? Last week, did you day-dream more, worry more or read more?
2. What do you do that keeps your mind sharp and glowing? Rested and peaceful?
3. How does this “city of God” contrast with the “cities of the world” mentioned in chapter 24:10 – 12 and 25:2, 3? What characterizes the inhabitants of God’s city (verses 3, 4, 7 – 9)? What qualities mark those upon whom judgment comes (verses 5, 10, 11)?
4. What makes the Lord worthy of trust (verses 4 – 6)? Does this reversal of human fortune underscore, or undermine, either God’s justice or His love? How so?
5. What do you learn about faith from the images of the ramparts (verse 1), the gates (verse 2), the steadfast mind (verse 3), the Rock (verse 4), level paths (verses 7), walking, waiting and yearning (verses 8, 9)?
6. With these images in mind, is faith active, passive or both? How so?
7. How is God contrasted to the “other lords” (Assyria and Egypt) (verses 12 – 15)? What image of faith is projected over against these foreign powers?
8. What does the pain of childbirth imagery add to your understanding of faith – its pain and purpose (verses 16 – 18)?
9. In her failure to give birth and bring salvation to others, Israel has failed in her divine calling. Still, what hope is she given here (verses 4 – 6, 19; also chapter 25:7, 8; Ezra 37:11, 12; contrast verse 14 with Daniel 12:2)>
10. What does Isaiah mean by his advice in verse 20? What are they to hide from (see Isaiah 24:21, 22)? How long will the oppressor’s tyranny and Judah’s exile last? How is that related to “waiting on the Lord” (verse 8)?
11. Of the qualities of God’s people (verse 3, 4, 7 – 9), what one or two do you yearn for now?
12. What would it be like to always be a credit to God’s name and reputation? What things do you do that you would just as soon not have God’s name dragged into.
13. What are some 20th or 21st century examples of the reversal in verses 5 and 6? Why are such case studies in judgment ultimately a cause for joy?
14. How might this prophecy serve as a model for how you could pray for oppressive governments today? When you pray the Lord’s Prayer (“Thy kingdom come”), do such judgments come to mind? Why or why not? How would you feel about God if He did not answer prayer that way?
15. What hope is held out to you in verse 19 as you consider your failures in life? How might this hope affect your view of yourself? Your willingness to take risks? Your sense of God’s call and courage>