Bible Study Recap – Isaiah 11-13

And our discussion of Isaiah continues!  Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section.

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Bible Study Weekly Recap
March 10, 3015
Isaiah Week 5 {Isaiah 11-13}

Isaiah 11:1-9

Isaiah 11:1
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

  • “The stump of Jesse” – the root system
  • Jesse was King David’s father

Messianic Promise

  • The is a Messianic Promise that is often viewed as having been fulfilled through Jesus
  • Jesus did not, however, completely fulfill this promise

The Natural Order of Things

  • The scenario that the prophet is describing here would require a fundamental change in the natural order of things – there is an innate animalistic nature in the animals listed that cannot reason and are wired to attack the opposing animals. In order for them all to live peacefully, something would HAVE to change – only God has the ability to make this happen.
  • Is peace possible? Perhaps this prophecy is telling us that, left to our own devices, humans cannot achieve peace – we need God, we need God to transform our hearts and our lives.

Peace is Possible

  • This prophecy paints a picture of peace, saying that it IS possible – there is something deep within us that God can use.
  • BUT we have to put ourselves out there – we have to be willing to take the first step, seek God and then trust God, even if it is uncomfortable.

Isaiah 1:4

Reference to “he”

  • When read through a Christian lens, we identify “he” as Jesus
  • Discussion Question: What if we put ourselves in this prophecy, identify ourselves as “he”? What if we are the ones that God is using to bring peace to the world? Are we ready to be changed? Are we ready to stand up against evil and oppression?

Isaiah 11:10-16

Geography

  • In the previous passage (Isaiah 11:1-9), the metaphor of the one who would bring peace was locked up in animal imagery – now it is locked up in geography.

Isaiah 11:10
In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.

  • Read through a Christian lens – this sounds like a Palm Sunday celebration

Ephraim & Israel

  • In this passage, “Ephraim” is used when talking about “Israel”

Tie to Exodus

  • Isaiah 11:15-16
  • Parting of the sea
  • “There will be a highway … as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt”
  • This was a reminder then and it continues to be now that we are all connected in covenant

Apocalyptic Language

  • This is not just achieving peace; this is the end to a war. The prophet is talking about what happens after the war ceases – God will extend his hand and bring the survivors back to Israel

“God will reach out his hand”

  • “In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time …” – is this a reference back to Isaiah 9:12, 9:17, 9:21, 10:4 – “his hand is still upraised”?

Isaiah 12

“In that day”

  • When Christ comes?

Hymn of Trust / Songs of Praise

  • Different versions of our bible use these different section headings – it is a shift from the previous chapter’s prophesy about the Second Coming.
  • Reminds us that we need to START by trusting and praising God – before we do anything else

God’s Anger Turned Away

Isaiah 12:1
Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away
and you have comforted me.

  • This brings back the parental imagery – a parent being angry, but still feeling love and expressing that love and comfort through their anger
  • This makes the concept of reconciliation that much more powerful – God was admittedly angry at the people of Israel and he STILL showed them comfort. God does not ignore sin and wrongdoing and forgive no matter what we does – God feels angry and upset when we do something wrong and yet God’s love overcomes all of our imperfections and God can show grace.

Singing This Song In Our Lives

  • We should all wake up and sing this song – every day!
  • “On that day” – instead of thinking about this as the day that Christ returns, think of this as the day that God enters your heart. This does not necessarily have to be a “born again” experience – this can simply be a powerful moment in your life where you can feel God’s love in a new way.

Evangelism

Isaiah 12:4-6
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.

  • Matthew 28 – Go to the people and make them my disciples!
  • Even before Christ walked this earth, God was urging us to call others into our faith
  • Discussion Question: What are the ways that we can share our faith with others? Even in an area like New England – are there ways that we can talk openly about what we believe and encourage others along their own journey?

Isaiah 13

The Fall of Babylon

  • This likely (historically) happened later in Isaiah, which is why it seems a little bit out of place here

Cycle of Violence

  • This passage describes violence similar to something that we can probably describe in our own world (in our own country!) today. 3,000 years later, we are still experiencing the same cycle of violence that Israel experienced – how can we get out of it?
  • It seems like our human nature defaults back to conflict and violence – we need something drastic to snap out of this cycle

Medes vs. Babylon (v. 17)

  • The Medes was a tribal group east of Babylon who allied with the Babylonians to besiege and defeat Assyria, but then helped conquer Babylon

General Thoughts and Discussion Questions

  • This is not easy to read – we go to the bible for hope, not war and violence. But this reassures us in a way that we are not the first generation of people to face this struggle. Conflict and violence run deep through the roots through the systems of who we are as human being. Can these systems be changed?
  • Even if we cannot achieve world peace, what do these passages teach us about approaching our lives and bringing peace to our communities?
  • How can we open ourselves up to God in a way that will allow us to live in the radically peaceful scenario described in Isaiah 11?

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