SOURCE FOR QUESTIONS
Isaiah 28:1 through 35:10
KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28:16)
Isaiah was a master of words, and a prophet who was used by God to reveal many of the mysteries of God’s plan, as well to warn of the judgments to come. Chapters 28 through 35 contain prophecies of woe, intermixed with prophecies of hope and salvation.
Of the eight chapters covered in this lesson, five of them begin with the words: “Woe to. . .” Chapter 28 says, “Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim. . .” Ephraim refers to the country of Israel. This was a warning to Judah and Israel that God was disgusted with their sin, and He likened them to drunken men, stumbling about in the midst of their uncleanness and vomit. He declared that their pride and beauty would be beaten down, and would be as a fading flower.
Chapter 29 begins with, “Woe to Ariel. . .” Ariel means “lion of God,” and was referring to Jerusalem. Although the people had a form of godliness and were observing religious festivals and talking about the Lord, they continued in their sin. God promised judgment upon them.
“Woe to the rebellious children. . .” begins the 30th chapter. Judah had rejected God’s counsel and His promise to protect them, seeking an alliance with Egypt to protect them from the Assyrians. In doing this, Judah was refusing to trust in the Lord and to obey Him. Chapter 31 continues with the same theme, “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help. . .” God wants His people to put their trust in Him, and to allow Him to fight their battles. It is only through Him that victory can be obtained.
Chapter 33 begins, “Woe to thee that spoilest. . .” This was directed to the Assyrians who were a distress to Judah at the time. God promises judgment to those who oppose His chosen people. This includes those that are His, whether they are Jew or Gentile. The righteous will go through a refiner’s fire, but a remnant shall be saved.
In contrast to those that open with “Woe. . .” Chapter 32 begins, “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness. . .” speaking of Jesus who will set up His worldwide reign. Chapter 34 starts, “Come near, ye nations, to hear. . .” and goes on to tell the people of judgment to come. Chapter 35 begins, “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad. . .” and describes the redemption and beauty and glory that will come to God’s people.
God is just. His judgment is tempered by His mercy. That is the message Isaiah was bringing to the people.
SUGGESTED RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS
- God said He would lay judgment to the line and righteousness to the plummet, and that He would sweep away the refuge of lies (Isaiah 28:17). What do you think is meant by this statement?
The plummet or plumb line is used by builders to establish a perpendicular point of reference so the building is true and square. (A suggestion would be to bring a plumb line to class and demonstrate how it is used.) Not only will the plumb line show that the wall is vertically straight, but it will also show whether the wall has bulges or not. God’s Word is our plumb line. If we measure every thought and action by His Word, we will have a spiritual temple that is true. We will not be deceived by lies from the enemy of our souls.
- God said that though the people approached Him with their mouths and honored Him with their lips, their hearts were far from Him (Isaiah 29:13). How is this verse applicable today?
There are many people who talk about God and who may pray or sing His praises on Sunday, but for the rest of the week, they live for their own pleasure without regard to the commands or will of the Lord. They say they love God, but it does not come from their hearts. True love from the heart can only occur after we have been redeemed through Jesus’ Blood. Then it is a daily walk of grace as we endeavor to please and obey the Lord. The praises will come from our hearts and the Lord will love to hear them.
- The Lord spoke of rebellious people who wanted to hear only “smooth things” (Isaiah 30:9-10). How could we be in danger of feeling the same way?
Most people do not like to hear criticism. Yet the Bible tells us that a true friend may at times correct us. Or, it may be a word spoken from the pulpit that fits our situation. Let us be open to suggestions for improvement. Let us not be easily offended, but thankful if we can learn something which will make us a better person. We need a full, spiritual “diet.” If we hear only about the love of God, and never about His judgment, or ways in which we can improve, we will have an unbalanced perspective of who God is, and we may not have the incentive to endeavor to grow spiritually.
- Judah did not trust in God, but looked to Egypt for protection (Isaiah 31:1). Why do you think this displeased the Lord so much? How can this apply to us?
God had promised that He would take care of Judah and protect her from her enemies if they would do what was right. Judah disregarded God’s promise and attempted to find help on her own.
There are many wonderful promises in the Word of God for us. We have the choice to ignore them and try to work out our lives using our own resources, or we may claim God’s promises for our own. Often, we must seek for these promises. If we are unwilling or too indifferent to seek, we will not find, and that is what displeases the Lord.
- In Isaiah 32:2, the prophet gives a promise of a hiding place and “the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” To whom is this promise given and how can we apply it?
The promise is to those who are righteous before the Lord. How many times we feel that we are in a “weary land”! How often do we feel we need a hiding place? In today’s ungodly society, God’s people can relate to these promises on a daily basis. When we need a helper, a friend, a refuge, a feeling of peace, the everlasting arms of love — whatever our need — we just “go to the Rock” as the song says. You may discuss with your class ways they “go to the Rock” in times of trial.
- God described those who are righteous — who have come through the fire and have stood true — and their reward (Isaiah 33:14-16). In your own words, describe a righteous person as portrayed in verse 15.
God describes a righteous person as one who walks according to God’s law, one who speaks truth and kindness, one who hates the getting of personal gain unjustly and at the expense of others, one who will not get involved with criminal violence, and one who will not look at wickedness with pleasure. Discuss with your class examples of each of these actions that are to be embraced or avoided.
- Chapter 34 speaks of a culmination of judgment at the end time. It predicts fearsome things to come and is a wrapping up of the section of “woes” from the last several chapters. What do you think God is trying to tell us in this chapter?
God is again warning of judgment for sin. He wants people to know that the price is never too large to pay to avoid the terrible things that will face those who are not right with God. He calls all men everywhere to repent of their sins and to find His great salvation. He warns us that we must stay close to Him and obey His commands. There will be no surprises at the judgment. Mankind has been properly warned, and those who ignore the warning will be speechless when they face God.
- Chapter 35 is the antithesis of chapter 34. It tells of the great redemption for the righteous, and it begins the consolation section of Isaiah which will continue, after a brief historical section, in the next four chapters. Verse 8 of chapter 35 tells who will partake of the glories of that great redemption day. Who are they?
Those who walk the highway of holiness will be partakers of the great heavenly rewards in the last day. All who walk that highway will be clean and blood-washed. There will be no sin or evil.
Just as we were warned to avoid judgment in the last chapter, we are beckoned to strive to walk the highway of holiness in this chapter. There is something to reach for. It will be worth every effort and every trial. We shall obtain everlasting joy forever and ever!
God promised judgment to those who rejected Him. Yet, in mercy He reached out with the promise of salvation for those who would take it. There are two clear choices: judgment or mercy. Let us choose mercy and we shall rejoice in the glories that await us!