Scripture Text:(Click the Scripture text to open the text in a new window.) 1. Have you ever moved into a new neighborhood? How long did it take to settle down and become a full member of the community?
2. In light of the impending deliverance (Isaiah 55:12), what type of lifestyle ought to characterize the exiles?
3. Given that family life was central to Jewish identity, what types of losses would those Jewish men suffer who were castrated by the Babylonians (verses 3 – 5; see Deuteronomy 23:1 – 3, where eunuchs are barred from worship)? What hope is God extending to them? What must they do to receive it?
4. What is God’s purpose in restoring Jerusalem (verses 7 and 8)?
5. How do the attitudes and actions of verses 1 – 8 apply to us today? Why are these so crucial to God?
6. How might you pursue justice and love this week in your family? Your work place? In an area of social concern?
7. Would you describe your church as a gathering place for sinners, or a fortress to protect those “inside” from those “outside”? Why?
8. Try seeing your church services from the viewpoint of someone from a totally different background. What “inside” practices or beliefs might prevent outsiders from regarding it as a place for them to meet God? What might you do to help change this? What “outsider” will you befriend this week?