Distress and Help (Isaiah 33)

Scripture Text:

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Isaiah 33

1. “When the cat is away the mice will play.” What playful thing do you try to get away with when the boss (parent, teacher, pastor) is gone?

2. Recall the three monkeys who “hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil”. What contemporary issues do you wish someone in office would notice and speak against?

3. Although the earlier “woes” in chapters 28 – 32 were directed toward Judah in light of the Assyrian invasion, to whom is this one directed? In verses 1 – 9, what four shifts in mood and speaker do you sense?

4. How are the Jerusalem leaders reacting to the news that Egypt will not help in the fight against Assyria? What does it matter that Assyria rebuffs the envoys of peace with their payments of tribute (verse 7; 2 Kings 18:14 – 16)?

5. As their city is besieged, how does Israel respond (verses 2 and 3)? How does that compare with earlier responses in a national emergency (see Isaiah 28:14, 15; Isaiah 31:1)? Are they any closer to demonstrating what God desired for them all along (chapter 30:15; chapter 31:6)? How will they find in God what they have been mistakenly looking for in their alliance with Egypt?

6. What will occur “now” that it is God’s time to act (verses 10 -12)? How will the people of Jerusalem react to this outpouring of God’s power in the defeat of her enemy? How does their reaction to God’s holiness and power (verse 14) compare to Isaiah’s reaction (see chapter 6:5)?

7. What is it that is heard, seen and spoken in God’s answer (verses 15, 16; see also Psalm 15)? How does God’s answer reflect both personal and social righteousness?

8. Verses 17 – 24 conclude the series of prophecies that begun in chapter 28. What does this final picture of God’s grace to Judah emphasize about God’s plan for His people?

9. Who do you think “the king in his beauty” (verse 17) refers to? Hezekiah (the king of Judah at the time)? Some Davidic king still to come? God as king? Why do you think so? Might this also be a picture of what the Gospel of Christ is all about? How so?

10. When was one time God’s power was so evident to you that by contrast your weakness was highlighted? In your experience of God now, does He seem more like a consuming fire or fading candle? How can you keep on experiencing the fire?

11. If you had to answer the question of verse 14, how would you relate faith in Jesus to the lifestyle commanded in verses 15 and 16?

12. From what former “terror” has God delivered you? How? What effect has that had upon your view of God? On the way you live or worship?

13. Of the kingdom traits described in verses 17 – 24, which ones do you most yearn to see with your own eyes? Which one do you desire to see take root in your life more and more?

14. What does it mean to you that the Lord Jesus is the fulfillment of verse 22? What aspects of His earthly and future ministry come to mind when you picture Jesus as Judge? Lawgiver? King? Savior?

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