Brief Overview of Isaiah
The prophet Isaiah spoke to the kingdom of Judah for at least forty years. He began “in the year that King Uzziah died” (around 740 B.C.) and continued until the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem in 701 B.C. Isaiah confronted the Israelites on their empty religious rituals, oppression of the poor, and dependence on foreign alliances, all of which were ruining them. The book can be divided into three significant sections. Chapters 1–39 cover events during Isaiah’s lifetime. Chapters 40–55 deal with the exiled Jewish people in Babylon. Chapters 56–66 describe a group of Isarealites exiles that return home to Jerusalem.
Small Group Discussion
Don’t be afraid to add to the content below, skip questions that don’t work for your group, or branch off with additional questions as discussion unfolds. Conversation is key! This is the time to work through the application of scripture and have group members figure things out together.
Read Isaiah 40:1–2.
- Notice that Isaiah opens this chapter with the word “comfort.”
- Isaiah shares that Israel’s “warfare has ended” and “iniquity is pardoned.” Make sure each person in your group knows what “iniquity” means (look up and define if necessary).
True comfort comes when we recognize our sinfulness yet receive forgiveness for our sins. It’s noteworthy that the very next verse (Isaiah 40:3) points to John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus, the one who would die for the sins of the world, offering a “pardon” for those who believe in Him.
- How does the reality of Jesus pardoning you from your sins bring comfort to you TODAY?
Read Isaiah 40:27–30.
- We often think we can hide things from God and that God doesn’t see us in our time of need. Verse 27 lets us know that there is nothing in our life hidden from God. Verse 28 lets us know that nothing is neglected by God and that the God of all creation makes a difference in our everyday lives. Discuss.
- Verses 29–30 remind us that God and His strength are greater than any situation or circumstance. It’s been said, “God is greater than our highest highs and our lowest lows.” How have you seen the truth of this statement play out in your life?
Read Isaiah 40:31. Pastor Anthony focused on three words in this verse. Discuss what God was teaching you as we walked through these:
- “Yet”… That even in the midst of difficulty, conflict, and hardship, God is faithful and working.
- “Wait”… Does not mean relax, do nothing, grin and bear it, nor does it represent an amount of time. It means to hope, to expect, to trust.
- “Strength”… Means refreshed, rehabilitated, to exchange one strength for another.
Verse 31 shows us what God’s strength looks like in our lives.
- Look up and discuss how the following verses support what we learned in Isaiah… 2 Corinthians 12:10, Matthew 11:29–30, and John 3:30.
Look at the three application bullet points in your notes.
- Share with the group how those impacted you and what you need to apply to your life.