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TEXT • ISAIAH 55
JV • SUMMARY & READING
To understand Isaiah 55, we need to summarize the chapter that comes right before it.
Please do a quick scan–reading of Isaiah 54, before continuing…
The Divine Romance in scripture is the story of God’s love toward His people. In the Old Testament, Israel is pictured as a bride, and God takes the role of a husband, but their relationship is a rocky one: Israel constantly turns her back on God, her Husband, and goes after the false gods and idols. God must correct and discipline Israel by allowing enemies to harass her, and even send her away into exile, but then He leads her into repentance, rescue, and revival. This is seen in Isaiah 49:1–10.
Read verses 7–8…
“For a brief moment I forsook you, But with great compassion I will gather you. In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,” Says the LORD your Redeemer.
Israel had to be sent into captivity to turn her back to God, which explains the “brief moment” and the “outburst of anger” when God had to forsake them and hide His face.
But realize this: Jesus, on the Cross, endured the “moment of anger” and the “hiding of God’s face” which sin required! And we, as a result, enjoy the reward of “everlasting kindness” and “compassion”! Hallelujah, what a Savior!
In Isaiah 49:11–17, God speaks directly to the city of Jerusalem, promising that Israel will be restored there and the city will once again flourish and be firmly established. This was fulfilled after the Jews return from captivity in Babylon! The temple and the walls were rebuilt and the city was restored from ruin, and they had security for hundreds of years, until after the time of Christ.
Now, look at this key verse that ends the chapter:
Isaiah 54:17 • “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.
Whose tongue accuses us in judgment? = Satan!
What weapon does He form against us? = Lies!
Why does Satan’s weapon fail again us? = We have the truth of Jesus’ gospel!
VARSITY • QUESTIONS & CROSS REFERENCES
Let’s now dig into Isaiah 55…
55:1 • Thirsty? Come and drink! For free! Doesn’t this sound familiar…!
John 4:10–14 • What are the 2 differences between physical water and the spiritual water Jesus offers?
John 7:37–39 • How does one receive the living water of Jesus? (List the 3 verbs…)
Romans 3:23–25 • Our salvation isn’t exactly free—it is actually very costly! How expensive is the “free” water Jesus offers?
Ephesians 2:8–9 • What should our response (or, attitude) be, about the free gift of God’s grace?
55:2 • Jeremiah put it this way: “For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)
What are some of the “broken cisterns” of this world, which can offer no true living water?
55:3–4 • Isaiah compares God’s promises toward us as being like the mercies He showed King David. What was the key to David’s success (look for the clue in vs 3!)?
55:5 • The “nation” that doesn’t know God, but comes running to Him are the Gentiles! As God saved Israel from exile, the surrounding nations were amazed, and many turned to God.
But this really describes a greater event—when the Gospel goes out to the Gentiles and wins them to Jesus!
Acts 13:42–49 • Why did Paul change the focus of his preaching from the Jews to the Gentiles?
What does this tell you about Israel’s spiritual condition?
55:6–9 • This is a very familiar passage—but have you considered the context?
In 55:7, the unrighteous are told to forsake their thoughts and ways and return to the Lord. In 55:8, we are told that God’s thoughts are higher than ours!
How much higher are God’s thoughts compared to our thoughts?
When we forsake our old way of thinking, what kind of thoughts will we have?
See Colossians 2:8 & 3:1—how does Paul describe the way a Christian should be thinking?
So, big question: Why is repenting (turning away) from our old way of thinking and living so important to salvation?
Hint: Some Christians believe we shouldn’t tell people to “repent” for salvation, since this would make salvation a result of a religious work, and create a barrier to keep people from coming to Jesus. But Isaiah says that repentance is critically important—and yet, he calls salvation “free,” and says we can’t ever buy it!
55:10–11 • What is God’s word compared to?
Look at vs 10—compare this to how God’s word works in us. Describe it!
What does God promise about His word?
Hebrews 4:12 • Which three adjectives does Hebrews use describe God’s word?
55:12–13 • This goes back to the theme of Israel returning from Exile.
What is the overall emotion of their return and salvation?
Instead of Israel being a desert waste land, how is it described?
But—according to vs 10–11, how does God ultimately bring spiritual life to dead places?