Bible Study Recap – Isaiah 5-7

Okay, I am caught up on our discussion of Isaiah!  I have to say – I am learning SO much.  The questions that are being brought up are challenging me and we are really digging into the text.  I don’t really “teach” bible study, we all just come and learn from one another.  So the notes I post here belong as much to the people who come to bible study as they do me!

As always, feel free to continue the discussion in the comments section.

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Bible Study Weekly Recap
February 24, 2015
Isaiah Week 3 {Isaiah 5-7}

Isaiah 5:1-7

Harsh juxtaposition of this passage

  • This starts out so pleasant (“I will sing of the one I love”) and turns out so violent and harsh (a vineyard being ripped down for yielding rotten grapes)
  • These are the challenging pieces of the Old Testament! How do we feel – as Christians, a faith grounded in the assurance of God’s grace and forgiveness – feel about these violent/punishment texts?

Isaiah 5:5-6
Now I will tell you
what I am going to do to my vineyard:
I will take away its hedge,
and it will be destroyed;
I will break down its wall,
and it will be trampled.
I will make it a wasteland,
neither pruned nor cultivated,
and briers and thorns will grow there.
I will command the clouds
not to rain on it.”

  • Do we need consequences today?
  • Is forgiveness enough?
  • This is a great parenting metaphor – very rarely do parents want to punish their children, but they are often left with no other choice. Children need to learn the difference between right and wrong – is the same true of the human race?
  • Discussion Question: Our faith is grounded in the forgiveness of sins – but is this the absence of consequences? Do we still need consequences in our lives today? What would our faith look like?

Isaiah 5:7
The vineyard of the Lord Almighty
is the nation of Israel,
and the people of Judah
are the vines he delighted in.
And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;
for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

  • This passage is quoted often, particularly when calling for justice
  • We need to be careful not to proof text this passage – it’s okay to quote it when fighting for justice, but understand the context that it is being spoken in
  • God was ANGRY in this passage – not just passively calling for justice

Isaiah 5:8-24

Isaiah 5:8-10
Woe to you who add house to house
and join field to field
till no space is left
and you live alone in the land.
The Lord Almighty has declared in my hearing:
“Surely the great houses will become desolate,
the fine mansions left without occupants.
A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath[a] of wine;
a homer[b] of seed will yield only an ephah[c] of grain.”

 

  • This gives me a vivid image of the housing crisis we went through so many years ago – we built and built and built and now a lot of those houses are foreclosed; they’ve been stripped and are empty
  • This is what happens when people buy what they cannot afford – we need to remember that all that we have is a gift from God; we do not constantly need more – look where it gets us?
  • Discussion Question: Does this passage strike a chord with you today? How hard is it to resist the “you need more” and “bigger is better” complex that society tends to drill into us?

Isaiah 5:12
They have harps and lyres at their banquets,
pipes and timbrels and wine,
but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord,
no respect for the work of his hands.

  • Don’t lose sight of what God is doing!
  • Discussion Question: Look around you – do the things that surround you glorify God? How can you let go of some of those things and embrace the things that God gives to us?

Isaiah 5:20
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.

  • We need to let ourselves see the bigger picture – we need to put ourselves in the presence of people who are shining God’s light in the world!

Have things changed?

  • Things have not really changed – people still want more, society still tells us we need more.
  • How are we part of the “woe”? The competition for more/bigger/better does effect us, even if we do not want it to. It makes a difference in our lives. BUT we need to be proud of the things that we have, of the things that make us happy, of the ways that God is present in our lives and the gifts that God is giving to us.
  • Discussion Question: How can we resist this culture?

Isaiah 5:25-30

The onslaught brought on by God

  • This is a challenging passage to stomach
  • Even if God is protecting his people from the bad things in the world, he is still harboring violence towards them
  • Discussion Question: When we read this today, how does this make us feel? How do we reconcile this passage with John 3:16?

Isaiah 6

Isaiah’s commission

  • This passage is full of some history, talking about Isaiah’s call to be a prophet

Isaiah 6:8
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!”

  • MEMORIZE THIS VERSE.
  • God may not be calling us all to be prophets, but God is calling us all to do SOMETHING. That includes you! Make sure you are confidence enough to answer, “Here am I. Send me!”
  • Discussion Question: What is God calling you to do? Where is God calling you to go?

Isaiah 6:9-10
He said, “Go and tell this people:
“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull
and close their eyes.[a]
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”

  • Not an easy commission
  • Do you ever feel badly for Isaiah? Poor guy just wanted to follow God and when he stepped up to do that, God really challenged him.
  • Discussion Question: Have you ever felt God calling you to do something that challenged you? Have you ever felt God calling you to do something that you knew that people would not receive well?

Necessary punishment

  • God thinks that the people need a punishment greater than simple forgiveness; that forgiveness would not be enough for them to be reconciled and truly turn back to God.
  • Discussion Question: Our faith is grounded in forgiveness – but have you ever been in a point in your life where YOU didn’t feel as though forgiveness was enough? That perhaps you needed to be punished in some way so that you could truly be reconciled with God?

Isaiah 7:1-9

Lots of history

  • This outlines the kingdoms in turmoil and the other nations going to war.
  • Trying reading this a few times just to let the history settle into your brain

Isaiah 7:4
Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah.

  • Do not let your hearts be troubled by the wars that are happening – stay focused on God

Isaiah 7:9
If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all.

  • It is clear what that the prophet is calling the people of Israel to turn towards their faith and let that strengthen them – nothing else will work.

Isaiah 7:10-25

Isaiah 7:11
“Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”

  • This is the sign that is supposed to move Ahaz into action
  • Discussion Question: How often do we need a sign from God in order to be moved into action?

Isaiah 7:13
Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also?

  • God’s patience is being tested.

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself will give you[c] a sign: The virgin[d] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[e] will call him Immanuel.

  • Prophecy of Christ
  • While this prophecy did come true in the birth of Christ, Ahaz was looking for a much more immediate sign. Are we still looking for this sign?

Isaiah 7:18
In that day the Lord will whistle for flies from the Nile delta in Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria.

  • The “flies” and “bees” are a metaphor for enemy troops.

Isaiah 7:20-25
In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria—to shave your head and private parts, and to cut off your beard also. In that day, a person will keep alive a young cow and two goats. And because of the abundance of the milk they give, there will be curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey. In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels,[g]there will be only briers and thorns. Hunters will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns. As for all the hills once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the briers and thorns; they will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run.

  • Absolute desolation and destruction

General Discussion Questions 

  • How does this challenge us in a way that the Gospel does not?
  • If we think back to earlier chapters – the prophet said twice so far that we have done this to ourselves (2:20, 3:9) – are we doing the same thing today? What does desolation and destruction look like in our lives? How can we turn back towards God?

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