DISCOVERY for STUDENTS: Joel, Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Micah, Isaiah

Isaiah

Prophecies Regarding Judah and Israel

source for questions

Isaiah 1:1 through 12:6

key verse for memorization

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)

background

Isaiah, the son of Amoz, was reared in aristocratic surroundings in the land of Judah, and ministered during the reigns of: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh. Isaiah was called to be a prophet about 740 B.C., the year Uzziah died. His last dated ministry was in 701 B.C., although most of Isaiah 40-66 must have been written during the reign of Manasseh before Isaiah’s martyrdom around 680 B.C.

Isaiah is considered the most literary of the writing prophets, and he incorporated vivid word pictures in his prophecies. His writings contain both prose and poetry, and the beauty of his words has been an inspiration down through the ages. Isaiah’s primary message was to Judah, although he also wrote to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, which was taken into captivity during his ministry. Isaiah also directed a portion of his prophecy to nations that surrounded Israel and Judah at the time.

The main point of Isaiah’s writing in chapters 1-12 was to warn of judgment and to call the people of Judah and Israel back to God. In chapter 6, he described his personal call. Then, in chapters 7-11, he foretold of the Messiah and entreated the people to return to salvation and holiness. Isaiah promised a time of restoration for the Jewish people and also a time of peace for the world in the distant future.

King Ahaz of Judah (7th chapter) was informed that Rezin, King of Syria had joined with Israel to attack Judah in about 734 B.C. Isaiah was instructed by God to go with Shearjashub (his son whose name meant “a remnant will return” — a reminder of God’s mercy) to meet with King Ahaz. They were to meet the King “at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field.” The conduit of the upper pool refers to the Gihon Spring, which was east of Jerusalem and was the city’s main water source. The fuller’s field was used to lay fresh woven cloth or other clothing to dry and whiten in the sun.

When Isaiah and his son met with King Ahaz, the prophet told Ahaz that God would not allow Judah to be taken over at that time. Although Judah was at other times attacked during Isaiah’s ministry, the land did not fall into captivity during Isaiah’s lifetime.

As often happens, the people resented Isaiah’s message of admonition and judgment, and tradition tells us Isaiah suffered a martyr’s death at the hands of Manasseh, King of Judah around 680 B.C.

questions
  1. Isaiah’s ministry was largely warning of judgment for the sins of Judah and Israel, and pleading for the people to repent. How does this setting parallel today?
     
  2. One of the sins in Judah which displeased God was the people’s lack of mercy toward the poor, fatherless, and widows (Isaiah 1:23; 10:2). In what ways can we show kindness to those in need?
     
  3. God was angry over the sin of idolatry in both Israel and Judah, and he led Isaiah to expound about the King of Assyria who trusted in his own power (Isaiah 10:10-15). Why is God so displeased when people put anything in their lives ahead of Him?
     
  4. The people of Judah made a show of religion, but their hearts were far from wanting to please and obey the Lord (Isaiah 1:11-18). God pled for them to come and repent. How could we get absorbed in activities and works for the Lord but lack the full blessing of God on our lives?
     
  5. What joy rings in verses that speak of God being a God of salvation! How may we draw water out of the wells of salvation? 
     
  6. As a result of his vision of God’s glory, Isaiah was inspired to declare the holiness of the Most High (Isaiah 6:3-8). Because of God’s holiness, Isaiah felt awe, humility, and a need for deeper holiness himself. What did the seraphim do to Isaiah? What was the significance of this?
     
  7. Among the writings of Isaiah are wonderful prophecies of the coming Messiah (Isaiah 7:14; 9:2; 9:6-7; 11:1-5). List four of these prophecies.
     
  8. God promised restoration in Isaiah’s writings. There would be a return from bondage and restoration in the near future (Isaiah 1:26-27; 10:20-25, 27; 11:11-16). There was also a foretelling of the millennium of peace that will occur at the end times (Isaiah 11:6-10). Some of these verses undoubtedly refer to more than one time frame. God is a God of restoration. He promises to mend broken lives, broken spirits, broken hearts and broken families. What are some “broken” things in your life that the Lord has restored and made whole?
conclusion

God used Isaiah to expound upon judgment for sin; of salvation to the repentant; sanctification, a cleansing work; the promised Messiah; and restoration to the outcast.