New Hope UMC

Lesson 1: Early Messages Isaiah 1-6)

 April 27, 2017.

Key Verses:

“The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” (Isaiah 1:3)

“18 ‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.’ For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 1:18-20)

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8)

In attendance: Linda Heape, Mark Fairey,,  Miles McCorison, David Hutto, Cathy Hutto, Goldie O'Cain, Art Whetstone 

This lesson is divided into two parts, the first consisting of Chapters 1-5 and the second, Chapter 6. In the first section, Isaiah declares the state of Judah as he has received the word from God. He makes the case for the sinfulness and disobedience of the people and their fate if they do not change their ways. He lays out a fairly simple plan for achieving that in 1:17. He looks into the distant future when Jerusalem will return to the Lord. 

In Chapter 6, Isaiah shares a vision that he saw following the death of King Uzziah. This describes the awesome setting of the King (God) and depicts the holiness of God in language that is vintage Isaiah. 

Discussion questions:

 Discussion question 1 (Isaiah 1:2-20) In what way is Judah confused about its identity, according to verses 2-4? What are the consequences when Christians today suffer from such identity confusion? What injustices does God accuse his people of in verses 15-17?  In verses 18-20 God argues that their behavior is “unreasonable.” Why is it unreasonable? What does God offer as an alternative?

Discussion question 2 (Isaiah 2:1-5) What does this prophecy of the future Jerusalem tell us about God’s plan for the Gentiles? About God’s plan for the Jews? About spiritual hunger? About peace?

Discussion question 3(Isaiah 5:1-6) What was the vintner’s vision for the vineyard? What did he do to accomplish his vision? What happened when the crop came in? What did the vintner say he would do with the vineyard? What does this parable mean?

Discussion question 4. (Isaiah 6:1-4) Why do you think Yahweh revealed himself in this way to Isaiah? In what ways does this vision reveal God’s majesty? What do we learn about Yahweh from the serphaim’s chant?


Lesson 2: The Book of Immanuel (Isaiah 7-12)

 May 4, 2017.

Key Verses:

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness    from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 11:6-8)

I attendance: Linda Heape, Mark Fairey,,  Miles McCorison, Barbara Paul, Glenn Houser, David Hutto, Cathy Hutto, Goldie O'Cain,  Sandra Whetsell Art Whetstone 

This lesson is once again divided into two parts, Chapters 7-10 and secondly, Chapters 11 and 12. It is entitled The Book of Immanuel as this term is used to refer to both the coming King (Jesus) and a current situation. The first section describes the conflicts between the nations and the difficulties faced by each respectively. Assyria is dominant and ends up possessing or controlling Syria, Israel and Judah. King Ahaz is on the throne during this period and he is not a staunch believer. Isaiah is telling him that the only king he owes allegiance to is his heavenly King. This eventually introduices the topic of how God will eventually rule over his people, hence the coming of Immanuel. There is much familiar and comforting poetry here as Isaiah describes the situation to the people. Thiere is also prophecy which blends in with New Testament and other Old Testament predictions about the End Time.  

Discussion questions:

 Discussion question 1 (Isaiah 7-8) What was the gist of Isaiah’s prophetic instruction to Ahaz? Why do you think Ahaz chose to disregard it? What did Ahaz do instead? What was the consequence of this disobedience? Why do we sometimes seem to think that we’re smarter than God? Why is it sometimes so hard to do what God tells us to do?

Discussion question 2(Isaiah 8:14-15) In what sense is Yahweh (and his Messiah Jesus) a “stumbling stone” and “a trap and a snare”? In what way are people broken in this stumbling? Why do you think people stumble over a God who is almighty and righteous and must be obeyed?

Discussion question 3(Isaiah 9:6-7) What in the text convinces us that the Child/Son is the Messiah himself? What do you learn about the Messiah from the four word pairs describing him? Which of these saving attributes do you need most in your life right now?

Discussion question 4. (Isaiah 10:1-2) Why do we humans tend to pass laws that oppress the weak and poor? What can we as Christians do to prevent this? What can we do to help the poor and weak in our communities?

Discussion question 5. (Isaiah 11:1-5) Who was Jesse? How does his name indicate that this passage speaks of the Messiah? What attributes will he have due to the Spirit of God upon him? What do we learn about Messiah from verses 4-5? Who seem to be the victims of injustice and oppression here? When the Messiah comes, what will happen to all who involve themselves in injustice?

Discussion question 6.  (Isaiah 11:6-9) The passage speaks in figurative language. What kind of peace does it describe? How far will this peace extend?  According to Isaiah 11:9b, why will there be peace? What does “the knowledge of the Lord” mean? How widespread will this “knowledge” be?

Discussion question 7. (Isaiah 11:10-16) What does it mean that “the nations” will rally to the Messiah when he appears? Who are these “nations”? Who else will be “gathered” at this time? How does this prophecy relate to Jesus’ and Paul’s teaching about the Rapture (Mark 13:26-27; 2 Thessalonians 2:1)? When will this prophecy be fulfilled?

Discussion question 5. (Isaiah 6:5-8) What is Isaiah’s reaction to the vision? How does God deal with Isaiah’s fear? What question follows Isaiah’s cleansing? What is Isaiah’s response to God’s question? What is your response when you sense God calling you?

Discussion question 6. (Isaiah 6:9-10) How do you make sense out of these verses? Is Isaiah called to an impossible mission? Why will Isaiah’s prophecy make the task worse? In which parable did Jesus quote this passage (Matthew 13:1-23)? In Jesus’ parable, is there any frustration in preaching the gospel? Is there any hope?

Lesson 3: Judgment Upon the Nations  (Isaiah 13-23)

 May 11, 2017.

Key Verses:

“12  How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!

13  You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.

14  I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’” (Isaiah 14:12-14)

“5 In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it – one from the house of David– one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness.” (Isaiah 16:5)


This lesson is about a sweeping pronouncement of judgment against almost all the nations that were players in Isaiah's day. The most powerful was Assyria, and they were joined by Babylon, Syria, Israel, Egypt, Cush, Ethiopia, Phillistia and others. Of particular importance in this lesson is the judgment against Jerusalem. This is significant because under King Hezekiah,, foreign gods had been removed and the temple had been restored. What's more, the city was successfully defended against an Assyrian seige. But there are lessons here for Christians particularly in how to accept victory in a way that is pleasing to God.  

In attendance: Linda Heape, Mark Fairey,,  Miles McCorison, Barbara Paul, Glenn Houser, Sandra Whetsell Art Whetstone 

Discussion questions:

 Discussion question 1(Isaiah 14) What was the attitude of heart in the ruler described in Isaiah 14:12-17? What is the scriptural evidence that this indeed refers to Satan? Have you ever exalted your opinion and will over God’s will and God’s word? How does this differ from the ruler in 14:12-17? What is the best way to humble oneself before the Lord?

Discussion question 2(Isaiah 20) Why did God command Isaiah to go naked for three years? What was its meaning? What effect did this acted prophecy have on Judah’s foreign policy? If you were Isaiah, would you have obeyed God?

Discussion question 3(Isaiah 22) Why is Judah faulted for making necessary military preparations in the face of the Assyrian armies? What should they have done at the same time (verses 11-12)? What seems to be the sin of Shebna, steward of the palace (verses 15-19)? Have you ever been guilty of selfishness instead of doing your duty to Christ?

Lesson 4: God’s Final Victory: Isaiah’s Apocalypse (Is 24-27)

May 18, 2017.

Key Verses:

“In that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, will be gathered up one by one. And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 27:12-13)

In attendance: Linda Heape, Mark Fairey,,  Miles McCorison, David Hutto, Cathy Hutto, Goldie O'Cain, Sandra Whetsell Art Whetstone 

In these chapters of Isaiah, we get into apocalyptic, end time prophecies. We look at what Isaiah says and also check out passages from Daniel, Revelation, the Gospels and the Apostle Paul. All of these lead to the startling conclusion that Jesus is coming again and will reign supreme. But that is not before a battle takes place and something called the Tribulation occurs. 

We discussed a lot of this in our previous series, Daniel. Of course, Isaiah was long gone by the time Daniel arrived on the scene so the parallels between the two have much more meaning. The prophecies of the Old Testament are primarily concerned with the coming of the Messiah, i.e, the first coming. They did not distinguish between the first and second coming as they were perceived to be consecutive events. The New Testament (John, Revelation, Paul's letters) make this distinction for us as some of God's mysteries are revealed. The words of Jesus make it clear that he will come again at an hour that no one knows, "like a thief in the night".

The prophecies are interesting, exciting and make good reading but they are much more than that. To understand more of what God has intended for us in this life and the next one, it is critically important that we spend time listening to the prophets and the scriptures.  

Discussion questions:

 Discussion question 1(Isaiah 24) What is the reason that Yahweh will devastate the earth (24:5-6)?  Why do we feel so threatened by this kind of prophecy?  Why is this kind of prophecy important to forming faithful disciples who “fear the Lord”? In what way does the glitter and glory of man (1 John 2:15-17) contradict this kind of prophecy?

Discussion question 2(Isaiah 25:6-8) Obviously this “feast of rich food for all peoples”  is a symbol of something more than just good food. What does this theme represent in Isaiah and the New Testament? What does it promise about the Last Days?

Discussion question 3(Isaiah 25:7) Why does the promise that “he will swallow up death forever” provide such comfort to us when we grieve the death of loved ones? When we contemplate our own death? What will we experience instead of death when Christ comes?

Discussion question 4.  (Isaiah 26:3-4) According to this verse, what is the key to perfect peace? What happens when we get distracted from trusting in the Lord? Why is the Lord called the “Rock eternal”?

Discussion question 5(Isaiah 26:19) Does this passage actually teach a bodily resurrection? What does it teach us about resurrection? When will this resurrection take place, according to the New Testament?

Discussion question 6(Isaiah 27:12-13) When Isaiah prophesies the gathering of all his people at the sound of a great trumpet call, to what New Testament event does this correspond? 

Lesson 5: God’s Help vs. Man’s – the Assyrian Crisis (Isaiah 28-35)

May 25, 2017.

“16 So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure oundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed. 17 I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line....’” (Isaiah 28:16-17a)

“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” (Isaiah 29:13)

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” (Isaiah 30:15)

 In attendance: Linda Heape, Mark Fairey,,  Miles McCorison, Barbara Paul, Sandra Whetsell Art Whetstone 

We turn from the Apocalypse back to the problems facing Israel and Judah, namely the mighty Assyrians. Fresh from their conquest of Babylon, the Assyrians had made short work of Syria and Israel and were turning their attention to Judah. Meanwhile, Judah was looking for help in all the wrong places according to Isaiah, that place being Egypt. He speaks out against such alliances with that nation and even complains about them buying horses and chariots from them. But the main complaint is that the people and the leaders had looked for something other than God to help with their dilemma. They had not put their trust in God, although they appeared to worship him with the restored temple and Hezekiah's removal of pagan symbols. So idea is telling the people that there is more to worship than going through them motions of following the rituals.  

Discussion questions:

 Discussion question 1(Isaiah 28) How are we humans able to justify and deceive ourselves so easily? Why do we hold onto lies that guide our lives? Why do people stumble over Christ, the tested foundation stone, and his righteous standards? How can we help people come to the truth? What is the alternative if they don’t, according to Isaiah 28:21?

Discussion question 2(Isaiah 29:13) Have you ever seen a religious person go through all the religious motions, but whose heart is far from God? How can we detect this in ourselves if it applies to us? What is the remedy? How can you tell if your practice of religion is merely following “rules taught by men”? What is the danger of a rule-based faith? How does it differ from a love-based faith?

Discussion question 3(Isaiah 30:15-29) Why does God long to show us grace (30:18)? What does that say about God’s character? What prevents his grace? Have you ever experienced the kind of guidance Isaiah mentions in verse 21? What is necessary in us so that we can hear God's Voice?

Discussion question 4(Isaiah 31:1) Why do we tend to seek help from every source except the Lord? In what way is this similar to idolatry? People haven’t changed. Jesus recognized this tendency. What was the remedy he taught his disciples in Matthew 6:31-33?

Discussion question 5(Isaiah 33:14-16) How does ethical behavior display love for God? How does it display love for man? How does the corruption of taking bribes destroy righteous government?

Discussion question 6.(Isaiah 35:1-10) How do you think these verses brought hope to their first readers? What is promised here? Why do you think Isaiah relies on heavily figurative language to communicate these promises? How does he describe the “highway of holiness”? Who will walk on it? Who won’t? What does it mean to be redeemed and ransomed?

Lesson 7: Jerusalem’s Warfare Is Over (Isaiah 40-48)

 June 22, 2017.

 “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah 40:11)  

“Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket.” (Isaiah 40:15a) “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers.” (Isaiah 40:22a)

“Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) 

This lesson begins with the startling revelation by Isaiah that “The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon." Babylon? They are not even in the picture at this time. The scourge nation is Assyria. The prophecy will , nevertheless, come true, but it will take more than a hundred years to be fulfilled. Babylon, under King Nebuchadnezzar, defeats Assyria in 605 and the first wave of exiles are transported to Babylon a year later. The lesson gives us a timeline of events. Isaiah also says that God will comfort the nation and peace will come to His people. 


We look at the Servant Songs in Chapter 42, and the strengthening of Israel through various servants, the ultimate servant being the Messiah. We learn about Israel's mission and Yahweh, the Redeemer. This is a long lesson but one packed with enriching and thought provoking possibilities for discussion.  

Discussion questions:

 Discussion question 1(Isaiah 40) What does Isaiah 40 teach us about the necessity of preparing ourselves for the Lord (verses 3-5)? About God’s tenderness and compassion (verse 11)? About God’s glory vs. the glory of nations (verses 15-17)? Why do we get so enamored by the glitter and glory of the world? What pieces are we missing (verses 15-17, 21-26)? According to verse 31, how can we draw strength from the Lord?

Discussion question 2(Isaiah 42:1-4) What do these verses teach us about the Messiah? What will characterize him and his actions? What does it tell us about his quest for justice? About his tenderness? If this describes our Messiah, what difference should it make in our lives, values, and demeanor?

Discussion question 3(Isaiah 42:6-7) What does it mean for God’s people to be “a light to the nations”? In what ways are you “letting your light shine”? How well do you represent God’s covenant in your everyday life?

Discussion question 4 (Isaiah 42:18-25) According to this passage, in what ways is God’s “servant” blind? Why? Who is the “servant” in this passage? How would you assess your own degree of spiritual blindness in the last 5 or 10 years? How effective is a blind servant in accomplishing his master’s purposes? How effective have you been?

Discussion question 5(Isaiah 43) This chapter tells us specific purposes that God’s people have been created for. How can you fulfill your purpose to show God’s glory (verse 7)? To be his witness (verses 10, 12)? To proclaim his praise (verse 21)? What are the obstacles you are facing in fulfilling these purposes? How do you benefit from fulfilling God’s purpose for you?

Discussion question 6(Isaiah 45:1-4) How can Cyrus be called by name more than a century before he was born? In what sense is Cyrus “anointed” by God? How can an unbeliever accomplish God’s purposes? What does this tell us about God? About being humble in our judgments of others?

Discussion question 7(Isaiah 44:7b) In what sense does God “bring prosperity and create disaster”? Is God the source of evil? Of trouble? Of prosperity? Of poverty? In what sense is he responsible for these? In what sense are we responsible for these things? Since we know that God is the source of both prosperity and disaster, what should we be doing?

Lesson 8: Jerusalem’s Iniquity Is Pardoned (Is 49-55, except 53)

 July 6, 2017.

“He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.” (Isaiah 49:10)

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

(49:15-16) “See, I will beckon to the Gentiles, I will lift up my banner to the peoples.” (49:22a)


This lesson is divided into two parts: Israel Becomes and Agent in Yahweh's Universal Salvation and (2) Israel Is Called Back Home. It is a long lesson with nine discussion questions. Part A consists of Chapters 49 - 52. Israel has yet to restored but as Yahweh tells Isaiah, she can still be an agent for Yahweh's salvation to all of the nations. How is this possible? We will explore. 

Part B covers Chapters 54 and 55 when Israel is called back home. Though this takes places many years in the future, Isaiah describes the circumstances in some detail and in his usual elegant language. For some this is hope, for some a reminder of their despair. But where Yahweh is in charge, there is always hope.   

Discussion questions:

 Discussion question 1(Isaiah 49:1-13) Why do people tend to disregard or even discriminate against aliens in their country? How can you increase your love for people of other nationalities? God’s people are called to be a “light to the nations.” What might that entail for the church in your community? In your country?

Discussion question 2(Isaiah 49:14-50:3) Paul teaches that “all Israel will be saved.” According to Isaiah in our passage, what will happen to the scattered Jews in the Last Days. Does God seem to love Jews who haven’t trusted in Messiah Jesus yet? How can you show your love f or Jews?

Discussion question 3(Isaiah 50:4-9) Who does Isaiah seem to speak about in our passage? In what way is he open to the Lord? In what way does he suffer? When was the Messiah vindicated in history? How will he be vindicated at the end of the age? What character quality is necessary for believers when their vindication doesn’t seem to happen soon enough?

Discussion question 4 .(Isaiah 50:10-11) How can you trust the Lord to guide you when you can’t see where you’re going? Have you ever experienced fear in this situation? How do you continue? What is the danger of creating your own “light” to substitute for the invisible God?

Discussion question 5(Isaiah 52:7-9) Why is a messenger or carrier of good news so beautiful? What is the original historical context of these verses? How does Paul apply this verse in Romans 10:15?

Discussion question 6(Isaiah 54:1-8) In what sense was Jerusalem “barren” without God’s favor? What does it imply when Isaiah says “your Maker is your husband”? What does the husband do in this analogy? In the New Testament “bride of Christ” analogy, who is the wife, who is the husband? What is expected of the wife?

Discussion question 7(Isaiah 54:16-17) What does the promise mean that no weapon formed against you shall succeed? Does it mean we won’t have to conduct spiritual warfare through prayer and faith? What then does it mean?

Discussion question 8(Isaiah 55:1-3) Why do people “spend” their lives doing things that they know won’t satisfy them deep down? Where does hedonism or a love of pleasure lead? What are the gracious elements of Yahweh’s invitation in this passage? What is the cost of accepting the invitation? Will this invitation be perceived as “good news” to those who hear it? How can you issue this invitation in today’s vernacular?

Discussion question 9(Isaiah 55:6-9) What does seeking the Lord entail? If God’s ways and thoughts are different than our own human way of thinking, what are the implications of this for success in our lives? Why is repentance necessary to this process? Why is humility necessary? What happens to us if our seeking is shallow? What happens if we put off seeking the Lord when we hear his invitation? Is it ever too late to seek the Lord? Can any real success be found by other means than seeking the Lord?


Lesson 9: The Suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-53:12)


September 7, 2017.

Key verses:

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has tur:ned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)  

This lesson is devoted to a single chapter in Isaiah - Chapter 53, which describes the Suffering Servant. In this lesson we’ll be examining the profound ways in which Isaiah 53 speaks about Jesus’ ministry and mission. Brother Wilson gives us several things to consider. (1) the Servant as a substitute who bears our sin; (2) the Servant as a substitute who bears our punishment; (3) the Servant acts willingly (4) the Servant as a Priest and (5) the Servant is exalted by God. These concepts are made more profound in that they are referenced by Jesus and others in the New Testament writings. Sacrifice as atonement for sin is a fundamental concept of the Old Testament. However, the object of the sacrifice were animals, usually lambs. Jesus became the Lamb in atoning for the sins of mankind. Thus we see another example of how the New Testament and Jesus' ministry is a fulfillment of prophecies and how the Bible finds completeness in the Old and New Testaments. 

 Discussion questions:

 Discussion question 1(Isaiah 53) From how large a group of people does God remove sins in Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12? In what sense is this a universal sacrifice of salvationerv? In what sense is Jesus’ sacrifice wasted on some people?

Discussion question 2(Isaiah 53) Which New Testament parallels to Isaiah 53 convince you that Jesus himself saw his own mission and destiny spelled out in Isaiah 53? If you aren’t convinced, what stands in your way?

Discussion question 3(Isaiah 53) Isaiah 53 teaches what theologians call “the substitutionary atonement.” In what sense does the Servant act as a substitute to bear our sins? Put it in your own words.

Discussion question 4(Isaiah 53) In addition to our sins, the Servant also bears the punishment deserved by sinners. In what sense, if any, did Jesus bear the punishment due you when he died on the cross?

Discussion question 5(Isaiah 53) Which single New Testament passage best sums up for you the lessons of Isaiah 53? Why did you chose this passage? (Select from Matthew 26:38-42; Luke 22:37; John 1:29; Romans 3:24-26; 2 Corinthians 5:20-21; 1 Peter 2:24-25; 1 Peter 3:18; Philippians 2:5-11 – or any other passage you can think of.)


Lesson 10: Finding True Righteousness and Devotion (Isaiah 56-59)

 September 14, 2017.

Key verses:

“Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, the man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” (56:1-2)

“The Sovereign LORD declares – he who gathers the exiles of Israel: ‘I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.’” (56: 8) “For this is what the high and lofty One says – he who lives forever, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.’” (57:15)

“ I  have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him, creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel. ‘Peace, peace, to those far and near,’ says the LORD. ‘And I will heal them.’”

(57:18-19) “Day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.” (58:2)


In Lesson 9 we learned that the Servant would take away the sins of the world. So we who for whom the burden of sin has been removed are now free so that we might become the righteousness of God. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). In this lesson, we delve into this idea of righteousness, how it was perceived in the Old and New Testaments. We see what Isaiah has to say about it, which we can surely assume reflects God's view. We look at who was included in God's plan. We know from the New Testament that all peoples of the world are to be included. What did Isaiah have on for us this subject?

Topics discussed include Sabbath keeping, problems with religious leaders, humility and care for the poor. We look at the pitfalls of religious observance without obedience. We find that the forgiveness and freedom from sin is really only the beginning.  


 Discussion questions:

 Discussion question 1(Isaiah 56:3-8) What is the significance of God’s welcome of believing and ethical foreigners and eunuchs to full status in his temple? What are the implications of that for the church? Who does your congregation tend to exclude from its fellowship – if not explicitly, then by emphasis and focus? What could you do about this?

 Discussion question 2(Isaiah 56:2) Why does keeping a sacred day of rest honor God? Christians practice this different ways: (1) Sabbath worship and rest, (2) Sunday worship and rest, (3) Sunday worship, no rest, or (4) no worship, no rest. Which of the various options might best honor God? Which of these might dishonor God? Which of these keep the spirit of one “who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it”?

Discussion question 3(Isaiah 57:15) What things do we learn about God in this verse? What is the great paradox here? Why does God care so much about the downtrodden and the contrite? Do you and your congregation care for the downtrodden and contrite with the same intensity?

Discussion question 4(Isaiah 58:6-7) What kinds of injustice does Isaiah condemn in these verses? What excuses do we use to rationalize not being generous to the poor – in our communities or in our families? In what ways is “tough love” important to help people? In what ways could it hurt them?

Discussion question 5.(Isaiah 58:9b-10a) In what ways are people injured by backbiting, judgmental attitudes, and harsh criticism? How are they injured by false accusations and slander? How can we change our church cultures to banish this kind of behavior? What would it require of us to really “spend ourselves in behalf of the hungry”? What would this look like for an individual? For a congregation?

Discussion question 6(Isaiah 58:13-14) In these verses what positive actions align themselves with a true keeping the Sabbath? What negative actions should be avoided in a true keeping of the Sabbath?

Discussion question 7(Isaiah 59:1-2) How do disobedience and lack of repentance prevent our prayers from being answered? According to verse 2, who is causing the separation from God? How can it be corrected?

Lesson 11: The Glory of God’s Reign (Isaiah 60-66)

September 21, 2017.

Key verses:

“[They] will call you the City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 60:14b)

“Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so that men may bring you the wealth of the nations – their kings led in triumphal procession.” (Isaiah 60:11)

“They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted. “ (Isaiah 62:12)

We come to the final lesson in the book of Isaiah. The prophet served under 5 kings of Judah - some good like Hezekiah, some bad like Menasseh. He prophesied about events of the Old Testament including the siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrians and the exile to Babylon 150 years into the future and the return of the Hebrews to Jerusalem. Of all the prophets, Isaiah has more to say about the coming Messiah than any other. We looked at that in Lesson 10, The Suffering Servant.

Now we move to his prophecies that extend beyond the time of Jesus on earth. Here is what Brother Wilson says about the coming Kingdom of God. "It is a vision so large that it cannot be fulfilled in the present literal city, but a future Jerusalem of massive proportions, viewed in the New Testament as 'the Jerusalem that is above' (Galatians 4:26) and the radiant city of Revelation 20. As the writer of Hebrews said, 'Here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.' (Hebrews 13:14)."

Isaiah is the largest book in the Bible. It took such a book to contain the visions and prophecies of this servant of Jehovah. It has been a wonderful experience for us to journey with him and to view his remarkable life and incredible visions of the future. He provides a bridge taking us from the God of the Hebrews to our Lord Jesus Christ. We see how it fits into God's plan in an inspirational and instructional way. Thanks to everyone who participated in this special study.  


Discussion questions:

 Discussion question 1.  (Isaiah 61:1-3) Are words like “captive” and “prisoner” used literally or figuratively? How did Jesus intend them to be understood when he read them and spoke of their fulfillment? How are you personally doing in adopting Jesus’ agenda here? How is your congregation doing?

Discussion question 2.(Isaiah 62) The Jewish people have been humbled, scorned, and persecuted through the ages. According this passage, what will be their final state? Will Christians be included in these blessings? (Hint: Romans 11:11-24). If God has purposed to restore his people, why is intercessory prayer called for in 62:6-7? Where in the New Testament are we told to pray for what God has purposed? (Hint: the Lord’s Prayer).

Discussion question 3(Isaiah 63:7-64:12) What is the basis of Israel’s expectation of salvation according to this prophecy? What does 64:5-7 teach us about the quality of our righteousness? How are we to see our relationship to God according to 63:16 and 64:8-9? What does this passage teach about grace?

Discussion question 4(Isaiah 65:17-25) Why do you think the final state is referred to as the new heavens and the new earth? What is new about them? Which verse talks about the end of pain and sorrow? Which verse mentions instant communication? Which verse illustrates the peace of this Kingdom?

Discussion question 5 (Isaiah 66:1-4) If God prescribed temple worship in the Pentateuch, why does he seem to prohibit it in 66:3? What is missing from their worship? Have you ever had this element missing from your worship? What kind of heart is God looking for (66:2)?

Discussion question 6(Isaiah 66:22-24). Why do you think eternal punishment is mentioned at the end of such a glorious prophecy as Isaiah? Why is the enduring, eternal kingdom mentioned? Who will be included in this kingdom? Who will be excluded from it?