Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
1. Who is the most unlikely convert you know?
2. What would you miss most if there were no national (or interstate) highway system or paved roads?
3. What has sibling rivalry done for you?
4. Egypt was the most likely ally for Judah against Assyria (see chapters 30 and 31). Why is that so foolish (verses 1 – 4)? What about the Exodus might account for the idols trembling (see Exodus 7:10 – 12; chapter 8:16 – 18; chapter 9:10, 11)?
5. Zoan and Memphis were major cities in Upper and Lower Egypt. Compared to the Lord’s power and wisdom, what are their famed wise men like? What effect has their leadership had upon the country? How is this related to their wayward spiritual ties (verse 3)?
6. Since Egypt’s plans (verse 3), natural resources (verses 5 – 7) and leadership (verses 11 and 12) are all dependent upon God, what should that have said to the Judeans who were looking to Egypt instead of God for help?
7. Isaiah anticipates a tremendous change for Egypt (verse 16 – 25). How and why will Egypt’s sense of superiority over Judah change?
8. What do you think is meant by the image of the five Egyptian cities? What could have Isaiah meant by that one city, the center of the worship of the chief Egyptian god, adopting the very language of the Jews (verse 18)?
9. Compare verses 19 – 20 with Exodus 3:7 – 10. What does that tell you about God’s judgments?
10. What does the “highway” motif indicate about restored fellowship between Egypt, Assyria and Israel (verse 23; also Isaiah 11:16 and Isaiah 40:3, 4)? How would Isaiah’s fellow Jews feel about Assyrians? What effect would hearing verse 25 have on them? What does that show about God’s attitude toward other nations?
11. Someone has said, “Whatever we trust in place of God will eventually turn on us and destroy us.” How have you seen that to be true so far in Isaiah? How about in your own experience? Where are you struggling with that now?
12. Since the steady flow of the Nile River accounts for Egypt’s prosperity, what would happen if that river should be dried up by God? Why would God do a thing like that? Could God’s judgment in verses 1 – 15 be intended to bring about the events of verses 16 – 25? How so?
13. In verses 16 – 22, Egypt moves from (a) fearing God, to (b) calling upon Him for help, to (c) joyfully worshiping Him. How far along are you on that a-b-c highway?
14. Egypt and Assyria represent all nations (see chapter 2:2 – 4 and Revelations 7:9 and 10). What then do verses 23 – 25 imply about God’s relationship to the world? Hence, how will you pray for the world?
15. What most excites you about what it will be like when the promise of verse 19 is fulfilled? How will the “altar in the heart of Egypt” (verse 19), in turn, alter your heart of hearts?
16. What “pagan Assyrian” in your life do you presently disdain, much as a Jew in Isaiah’s day would? What will you do about changing your heart in this area?