Woe To The Obstinate Nation (Isaiah 30)

Scripture Text:

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Isaiah 30

1. When you are in need of a good rest, what do you like to do?

2. Would your parents have ever called you obstinate or a “do-nothing” For what reason?

3. What was an embarrassing nickname for you? How did you get it?

4. This is Isaiah’s fourth “woe” message since chapter 28:1. For what is he pronouncing God’s judgment here? What is the basic problem with their desire to form an alliance with Egypt against Assyria (verses 1 – 7)?

5. How would you feel as one of the envoys to Egypt when Isaiah approaches your caravan and gives this oracle? How does the nickname for Egypt (“Rahab the Do-Nothing”) contrast with the description of God throughout these chapters? [Note: “Rahab” is a mythical sea dragon; its name means “storm” or “arrogance”.]

6. What was the “official” response to Isaiah (verses 8 – 11)? What inescapable logic do you see in God’s judgment here? What does Isaiah mean by the image of the wall (verses 13 and 14)?

7. In contrast to their alliance with Egypt, what is Isaiah’s plan for their deliverance (verse 15)? What will happen as a result of Israel rejecting this plan?

8. In light of all the warnings throughout chapters 28 – 30, how do you account for the promises of God’s grace here (verses 18 – 26)?

9. What do the agricultural images convey about God’s grace? What would be equivalent industrial or technological images to convey the same idea today? What is the condition of this outpouring of grace?

10. Are salvation (verses 18 – 26) and judgment (verses 27 – 33) flip sides of the same action on God’s part? How do they work together to achieve the same divine purpose?

11. Some songs teach theology. This song of God’s imminent judgment over Assyria is a case in point. What images, names and verbs are associated with God? What do these teach you about who God is, what He does and why?

12. What will happen to Assyria at Topheth? [Note: For a pungent account of how this garbage dump or burning place outside Jerusalem came to be associated with what the New Testament called Gehenna, or hell, see Jeremiah 7:31 and 32; Jeremiah 19:6, 11 – 14.]

13. Judah’s shame is repeated three times in verses 3 – 5. Judah looked for the right thing (security) but in the wrong place (Egypt instead of God). What are some of the wrong places you have hoped to find the right things (security, love, acceptance)? As a result of your search, did you find what you were looking for? Or did your search ultimately lead to the building up of shame in your life? What is the antidote to dealing with shame?

14. Israel was tired of hearing the Word of God, and wished to be left alone (or listen to others). What in your life are the “pleasant things” or “illusions” (verse 10) you would rather listen to at times?  How have they resulted in “high walls” (verse 13), fencing out God?

15. Have you experienced this wall of illusion eventually “cracking, bulging and collapsing” down on you (as in verses 9 – 11)? What effect has that had upon you? With what are you building a new wall?

16. Comparing Isaiah 28:12 and Isaiah 30:15 with Matthew 11:28 – 30, what differences do you see? What similarities? What thoughts or pictures come to mind as you consider the Lord as a “resting place”?

17. If you are a workaholic (reliant on ‘swift horses’), how would you begin to apply verse 15? How does a busybody or workaholic find rest and quietness? What is there to repent of?

18. When we pray “thy kingdom come”, what does that imply about those who resist God and are not part of His kingdom? Should one rejoice at the thought of God’s judgment? Why or why not?

19. What does this passage say to severely oppressed people? Knowing God’s judgment is certain, how does that strengthen you to keep on following Him?

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