Bible Study Recap Isaiah 51-55

We completed the second section of Isaiah on Tuesday!  We’ve got two more weeks left before my Bible Study breaks for the summer, so we’re pushing through and plan to finish the last section of Isaiah next week and the week after.  Here are my notes!

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Bible Study Weekly Recap
June 9, 2015
Isaiah Week 15 {Isaiah 51-55}

Isaiah 51

Look to Abraham and Sarah!

Covenantal language

Look at our history! Look at the ways that God has intervened in the past – there is hope (and TRUTH) in the assurance that God will intervene within our lives today as well.

Isaiah was currently calling just to Israel, but later will call to all nations.

Isaiah 51:12
“I, even I, am he who comforts you.

  • It’s almost like God is saying, “come on, guys, pay attention! I am God, I created you, I made a covenant with Abraham and I have not abandoned you.”

The confusing part of this chapter is that the voice constantly changes – from God to Isaiah and back.

Isaiah 52

Look at the first two verses on captivity

  • We are held captive by the things in our lives that pull us away from God.
  • We have to let go of those chains and fully surrender ourselves to God’s love.
  • This is a powerful image, but much easier said than done.
  • What are the chains in your life that are holding you down?

The chains in our lives

  • We all have these chains that hold on to us, that hold us in captivity – some on physical, some are mental/emotional, some are spiritual
  • These chains look difference to all of us
  • To release them is not a one-time thing, it is a CONSTANT process

Isaiah 52:7
How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”

  • This is positive, a call to live in righteousness
  • This call still extends to us today!

Isaiah 53

Isaiah 53:1
Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

  • When we talk about God in our lives, who will believe it? It’s unbelievable!
  • We need to believe the impossible, because from the outside looking in, it is hard to believe.
  • This is what makes our witness so powerful.

Isaiah 53:4-11

  • Read through a Christian lens, this certainly points to Jesus.
  • If we are not talking about Jesus, who are we talking about?
    • Isaiah?
    • Israel?
  • Could this describe the journeys that others have taken in the name of their faith and justice? Paul? Persecuted Christians? Martin Luther King, Jr.?
  • How does this describe the way our society often acts as an opposing force to OUR faith?

So why do we trust God? Hope? Eternal life? The promise that there is something better out there?

Do we trust God because we WANT to believe that there is something more?

Isaiah 54

Sing, barren woman (Isaiah 54:1-8)

  • We are the barren woman marrying God who is bringing us into his arms

Reference to Noah (Isaiah 54:9-17)

  • Has this happened again? God made a covenant with Noah that God would never again send a flood, but look at what has happened?
  • These are the challenging questions in our faith. It’s easy to say that the OT is full of violence and the NT is full of love, but that’s not entirely true. There are challenging issues we need to face in the entire bible and in our lives. Where is God in the midst of tragedy? What is the role of reconciliation, forgiveness and grace in the midst of our wrong-doing? I don’t have answers to these questions, unfortunately!

Isaiah 55

Invitation to the feast!

God is INVITING us into his presence

  • Think about an invitation. It makes us feel WELCOME. We are welcome in God’s presence. God has prepared for us. God is read for us.

God is making a covenant with ALL nations, calling them to be a witness to God’s work in the world.

Isaiah 55:10-11
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire

  • The rain does just come, it creates something
  • God’s word is like this – we don’t just hear it, it dwells within us and it creates something with us
  • We need to allow it to work within us!

Bible Study Recap Isaiah 48-50

I’m caught up and we have 16 chapters left to go in Isaiah!  Hard to believe we’ve made it this far.  I actually really like the lessons that we are puling out of Isaiah – the God will never abandon us, that we have the responsibility to turn TO God (yes, we have to take that responsibility!) and that nothing is irredeemable.

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Bible Study Weekly Recap
June 2, 2015
Isaiah Week 14 {Isaiah 48-50}

Isaiah 48

God speaking

A reminder that all of the things that were told long ago have come true!

Isaiah 48:3
I foretold the former things long ago,
my mouth announced them and I made them known;
then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.

This is very repetitive

I told you what was going to happen, you didn’t listen, it happened, now I am telling you again what will happen.

The responsibility is on Israel – Israel needs to turn themselves towards God, Israel needs to worship God. The same thing is happening today. The responsibility is on US to listen to God speaking!

Isaiah 48:12
“Listen to me, Jacob,
Israel, whom I have called:
I am he;
I am the first and I am the last.

  • Like other references in Isaiah, we see this in Revelation

Isaiah 49

The servant is speaking in this chapter – this is a big deal, because it shows that the servant has accepted his role!

As we read this, we should remember that in the same way that God called “the servant” God also calls US. Are we ready? How will we respond when God calls us to something?

Isaiah 49:5-6
And now the Lord says—
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
and gather Israel to himself,
for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord
and my God has been my strength—
he says:
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

  • We don’t know who, exactly, is being talking about here …
  • Read through a Christian lens, this is a prophecy for Jesus Christ
  • Not reading through a Christian lens … Isaiah? Christ? Us? Are we being called to be God’s light in the world?
  • The important things to take out of this is a reassurance that God will take care of us

Isaiah 49:13
Shout for joy, you heavens;
rejoice, you earth;
burst into song, you mountains!
For the Lord comforts his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

  • Divine comfort
  • Scriptural proof that God will NEVER abandon us

Vulnerability

  • Part of opening ourselves up to God means also opening ourselves up to others.
  • It is easy to ask for prayers for others, but how often do we ask for prayers for ourselves? We often think that we have to be perfect, but it is through our imperfections and our vulnerability that we truly open ourselves up to God’s grace

Isaiah 50

Cultural reference to divorce

Israel = wife
God = husband

The “husband” (God) did not send the “wife” (Israel) away – Israel can still come back to God

In the end, nothing is irredeemable.

Bible Study Recap Isaiah 45-47

More of Isaiah!  I know the recaps are getting shorter, but we do tend to get a little off topic in our discussions. :) Also – Isaiah tends to get very repetitive, so I feel like I’m writing a lot of the same stuff over and over again.  I’ll have one more today and then be caught up!

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Bible Study Weekly Recap
May 26, 2015
Isaiah Week 13 {Isaiah 45-47}

Isaiah 45

Isaiah speaking for the Lord

There is no other God

Isaiah 45:11
“This is what the Lord says—
the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
Concerning things to come,
do you question me about my children,
or give me orders about the work of my hands?

  • Why are you questioning God?
  • God created the earth for humans to live and thrive on – why are you questioning this?

Isaiah 45:20
“Gather together and come;
assemble, you fugitives from the nations.
Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood,
who pray to gods that cannot save.

  • The issues that people were facing are the same issues that we face today – people are searching for meaning in their lives
  • We need to conform our communities to what people need, not expect people to conform to our communities, because otherwise they might not find meaning in those community and seek meaning elsewhere.

Isaiah 46

Worshiping other Gods

Isaiah 46:6
Some pour out gold from their bags
and weigh out silver on the scales;
they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god,
and they bow down and worship it.

  • What does this remind us of? The Golden Calf in the Old Testament. Sale of indulgences in the reformation.

But nothing that we, as humans, create to worship can compare to what God can do for us

Isaiah 46:7
They lift it to their shoulders and carry it;
they set it up in its place, and there it stands.
From that spot it cannot move.
Even though someone cries out to it, it cannot answer;
it cannot save them from their troubles.

  • The idols that we create apart from God cannot help us the way that God can. God follows us, God speaks to us, God is with us during our times of need and God responds to us when we cry out. Idols do not do this!

Isaiah 46:9
Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.

Isaiah 47

Babylon will fall!