Scripture Text:(Click the Scripture text to open the text in a new window.)
1. When hurts as a child, whom did you normally run to? What was the best way he or she could help you feel better?
2. What will happen for the exiles “in the day of salvation”? How will the nations learn of God’s covenant purposes (see Isaiah 45:14, 22 -24)? How does Israel reflect the mission of “the Servant” (Isaiah 42:6)?
3. If the exiles are to return on a “highway” to Jerusalem (see Isaiah 35:5 – 10; Isaiah 43:19, 20), what will the trip be like (verses 9 – 12)?
4. What are Israel’s doubts (verses 14 and 24)? How does this passage answer them?
5. Having children was important, both as a sign of God’s blessing and for provision for the future? What then does it mean that the people feel like barren and widowed women? What images does God use to respond to that feeling?
6. Verses 22 and 23 present a military image where the conquered bring their spoil and bow down before the victor. How does that fit in with God’s work in the world (see chapter 45:22, 23)?
7. The grotesque description in verse 26 describes civil strife within a nation (as in chapter 9:20, 21)? How does this apply to the coming conquest of Babylon by Cyrus (Isaiah 45:1 – 7)? What is the ultimate purpose of it all (verses 23b and 26b)?
8. What response is God looking for in Israel (verse 23)? What exactly do you think it means?
9. Emotionally and spiritually, what does it mean to be a forsaken captive? What can cause you to feel that way? Right now, do you feel more like that or like a person coming home to a long-awaited reunion? Why?
10. Jesus’ mission was unique. Yet it sets a pattern for our mission as well. Did the Lord ever use another person to extend His “covenant of the people” (verse 8) to you? How? How might you be part of this process to someone else this week?
11. Although we normally think of God as “our Father”, what insight do you gain about Him from considering the image of God as a mother (verse 15)? How have you experienced this type of maternal care from God?
12. How does verse 25 illuminate Jesus’ comment about “binding the strong man” (Matthew 12:29)? How have you been “retrieved from the fierce”?
13. Is the freeing of the exiles from Babylon by Cyrus (verses 22, 23) at all like what Jesus has done for you? How so?
14. What is one thing that convinces you that the Lord (and not some other god or force) is indeed the one you can trust?