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God of Restoration:
Poetry and Prophesy in Isaiah 40-55

Scroll down for older lessons in this study.

There will be no class on Feb. 27/28 for Service Day

Lesson 6 (Feb. 20/21): God’s Rescue through Cyrus

Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Isaiah 44:24-Isaiah 45
  1. What was meaningful to you out of last week’s lesson? What is God trying to convince the people of in God’s self-description of greatness? What are some futile things in which we might put our trust instead? What would this passage say about that?
  2. What title does Isaiah 44:28 give for Cyrus the Persian? What title is given in 45:1? Who is usually anointed in Old Testament history? How might the Jews have felt about that title being applied to a non-Israelite?
  3. Consider 45:9-10—What is the analogy in the lines about the clay and the potter, the baby and the parents? Who is supposed to be the “clay” who is objecting to the potter? What objection is implied?
  4. In 45:20-25, who does God predict will eventually draw near to God? Who does God call to be saved? How does this relate to Israel’s salvation?

You can watch the Tuesday Lesson 6 here, but participant comments may be hard to hear.

Key Verse: 22 “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
For I am God, and there is no other.
23 “I have sworn by Myself,
The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness
And will not turn back,
That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.”

Isaiah 45:22-23

Lesson 5 (Feb. 13/14): The Foolishness of Idols

Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Isaiah 43:22-44:23
  1. From last week’s lesson, what passage spoke to you? What was the Servant Israel’s job in 43:8-13? How might that apply to us?
  2. What have the people not done in 43:22-24? What change is God expecting of the people between the situation in 43:22-24 and the situation in 44:5?
  3. What job are God’s people supposed to take up again in 44:8? What do you think is so important about this role that the text keeps returning to it?
  4. What is the main point of 44:9-20? What are the arguments made in this passage?

You can also watch the Tuesday Lesson 5 video here though participant comments may be hard to hear.

Want to read more about the literary chiasm in Isaiah 44? Here’s a printable breakdown of this interesting poetic structure.

Key Verse: “For I will pour out water on the thirsty land
And streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring
And My blessing on your descendants”

Isaiah 44:3

Bonus video: Thinking about Isaiah 42:16

Some thoughts about a special verse in this week’s passage that didn’t fit into the main lesson!

Lesson 4 (Feb. 6/7): The New Exodus

Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Isaiah 42:14-43:21
  1. From last week’s lesson, what was meaningful to you? What questions did God put forward for judgment in the two courtroom sections (41:1-4 and 21-29)? How might a challenge like this relate to us?
  2. Read Isa. 6:8-13, what God tells Isaiah at his commissioning as a prophet in Isaiah’s vision of the throneroom of heaven. What are the people like? What will be the consequence to them? Where can you see parallels in today’s passage?
  3. In Isa. 43:10, who is to be God’s witness? Witness of what? Who are they supposed to witness to, or convince?
  4. What major event of Israel’s history, is the author referring to in Isa. 42:16-21? What allusions can you find in this section or in the whole passage for today? Why is this event being brought up now?

You can also watch the Tuesday Lesson 4 video here though participant comments may be hard to hear.

Key Verse: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
For I am the LORD your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”

Isaiah 43:2-3a

Lesson 3 (Jan. 23/24): The Servant of the LORD

Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Isaiah 41:1-42:13
  1. What were some main points of last week’s passage, Isa. 40:12-31? What were the comparisons? What did the Poet say about God? How do you relate to the question of whether God is still taking care of us when we’re suffering?
  2. Notice in Isa. 41:1 that God is calling a meeting “for judgment” or “at the place of judgment.” This is one of the “courtroom” type scenes (v. 1-4) in Isaiah. To what question does God demand an answer?
  3. In verse 8, who is God’s Servant? In verses 8-16, what will the role of the Servant be like?
  4. In verses 10, 13 and 14, what is God’s message to the people? Why shouldn’t they fear?

You can watch Tuesday Lesson 3 here though participant comments may be hard to hear.

Key Verse: I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness,
I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You,
And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the nations,
To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the dungeon
And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.

Isaiah 42:6-7

Lesson 2 (Jan. 16/17): The Great God Reigns

Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Isaiah 40:12-31
  1. What was meaningful to you about last week’s lesson over Isa. 40:1-11? What is the situation of the Israelites at the opening of Isaiah 40? What are some themes (deeper meanings) and motifs (repeated elements that convey those themes) in verses 1-11?
  2. Consider Isa. 40:12—what is the subject of this verse? Where else in the passage does the author return to the idea of creation? Why is it important?
  3. What are verses 18-20 about? How do these verses make idols sound silly?
  4. In verse 27, what is Israel saying? Why would they say that?

You can watch Tuesday’s Lesson 2 here though participant comments may be hard to hear.

Key Verse: Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

Isaiah 40:31

Lesson 1 (Jan. 9/10): Comfort My People

Reading Assignment and Study Questions for this lesson: Isaiah 40:1-11
    1. When does the book of Isaiah occur with respect to the larger story of Israel? If you are familiar with the Old Testament, try making a quick timeline (skip the dates unless you want to add some!) of the major events of Biblical history. Mark where the book of Isaiah fits (the following verses may help).
    2. When does the book of Isaiah occur with respect to the larger story of Israel? If you are familiar with the Old Testament, try making a quick timeline (skip the dates unless you want to add some!) of the major events of Biblical history. Mark where the book of Isaiah fits (the following verses may help).
    3. Isaiah is a long book with three sections. The first section, Isa. 1-39, is from the perspective of Isaiah son of Amoz. Read Isa. 1:1-17. What is a main message of this passage? Who seems to be writing this passage–Isaiah ben Amoz himself or someone else (or some of each)?
    4. The second section of Isaiah, chapters 40-55, concerns a later time, when the people of Israel have been in exile for many years. What main message do you hear in Isa. 40:1-11? What other passages or themes do you notice in Isa. 40:1-11? What stands out to you?

You can also watch Tuesday’s Lesson 1 here. In the Tuesday lessons, it can be hard to hear the participants’ comments and sometimes there is a glare on the board. I recommend watching the Wednesday video, above, to remedy these issues!

Key Verse: 1 “Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God.
2 “Speak kindly to Jerusalem;
And call out to her, that her  warfare has ended,
That her  iniquity has been removed,
That she has received of the LORD’S hand
Double for all her sins.”

Isaiah 40:1-2
About this 13-lesson study:

Beginning January 9th and 10th we will study God of Restoration: Poetry and Prophesy in Isaiah 40-55. These first fifteen chapters of the second section of Isaiah are an extended poem in which God speaks to and about Israel after the exile.

This poetry declares God’s rescue and restoration of the people of Israel who have been suffering in exile, but these passages also look forward to God’s plan for our rescue and salvation through God’s servant. Come join us as we study how these chapters celebrate God as creator, look forward to the Messiah, and point to the new creation God has designed for God’s servants and by them, all nations.

This will be an in-depth, discussion-based, weekly study, available in person or online via Zoom, beginning January 9 and 10.

Schedule: Spring 2024
DateLessonGod of Restoration: Poetry and Prophesy in Isaiah 40-55
Jan. 9/101Comfort My People—Introduction & Isaiah 40:1-11
Jan. 16/172The Great God Reigns—Isaiah 40:12-31
Jan. 23/243The Servant of the LORD—Isaiah 41:1-42:13
Jan. 30 / 31 – Service Day
Feb. 6/74The New Exodus—Isaiah 42:14-43:21
Feb. 13/145The Foolishness of Idols—Isaiah 43:22-44:23
Feb. 20/216God’s Rescue through Cyrus—Isaiah 44:24-Isaiah 45
Feb. 27 / 28 – Service Day
Mar. 5/67The Fate of Babylon—Isaiah 46-47
Mar. 12/13 – Off for Spring Break
Mar. 19/208Salvation to the End of the Earth—Isaiah 48-49
Mar. 26/27 – Service Day
Apr. 2/39Righteousness Forever—Isaiah 50-51
Apr. 9/1010Good News—Isaiah 52:1-12   
Apr. 16/1711The Suffering Servant—Isaiah 52:13-Isaiah 53
Apr. 23/2412Restoration of Israel—Isaiah 54
Apr. 30 / May 1 – Service Day
May. 7/813Delight in Abundance—Isaiah 55 & Conclusion
May. 14 – Planning Session
Spring Schedule
Sources for this Series:

I’m currently using a commentary and an online course to prepare this series.

Goldingjay, John (2001). Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: Isaiah (eBook Edition, 2012 ed.). (W. Ward Gasque, Robert L. Hubbard Jr., Robert K. Johnston, General Editors) Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Wright, N. T., Seemuth, David P., Loop, Jennifer. “The Servant King” Udemy, Inc.  Accessed Dec. 10, 2023 – May 7, 2024. https://www.udemy.com/course/the-servant-king/. 
In addition I use several technological tools in my writing, which increasingly employ smart / AI functionality. If you are curious or concerned about AI functionality and how it is used, I suggest the resources at www.CreativePenn.com/future (I have no affiliation with this site, I just find it educational).
• Bible Study by Olive Tree – I use the laptop (Windows) and phone (Apple) versions to access several versions of Scripture, in English, Greek and Hebrew; to access the UBC, cited above, several Greek and Hebrew dictionaries; and to perform cross-referencing. All notes, history, highlights and other content sync between my phone and laptop, even though they are not the same operating system.
• ChatGPT by Open AI – I use the laptop and phone versions to capture and expand my brainstorming and to organize content. I do not use it to generate finished content.
• ProWritingAid – I use this software in my editing process. It’s like a spelling and grammar checker, but it does more.

Maybe you have one of these Frequently Asked Questions:

Is there homework? I don’t have a lot of time. I provide a reading and a brief list of study questions each week, but they are optional! Many attendees don’t use them and that is perfectly fine. You won’t be behind in class!

Is there homework? I want to really get into this. Yes, there is a reading for each week plus a brief list of study questions that you can use to get into the material before class! It’s optional, but it’s a great way to go deeper. 

I might miss a week, or more, should I even bother? Yes! Nobody can attend every week, but you can still get a lot out the weeks you are there! And we benefit from your presence. If you want to watch what you missed, the videos will be online, but you don’t have to. 

Why are we studying something Old Testament? Shouldn’t we study Jesus? Yes, and the great thing about the Old Testament is that Jesus said it was all about him! These passages delve heavily into the character of God and the plan of God through Jesus. I’m so excited to get into them with you!

Do I have to talk? You don’t have to, but I hope you’ll want to! I won’t put you on the spot, so you can stay in the background. But our best classes happen when people ask questions, share, and puzzle through the Scriptures together.

What if I talk too much? This is a common concern, so you aren’t alone, but it’s really ok. This is a discussion-based study! No one has talked too much yet, even people who have worried about it. Please talk!

Do I need to know a lot about the Bible? You don’t, but please ask if I skim over some knowledge without realizing it. This is an in-depth study, but that doesn’t mean other people know a lot. We have people at all levels of Bible knowledge and someone else will appreciate your question! We’ll all study and learn together!

I don’t know anybody, are you sure I won’t feel awkward? I get it, we all feel awkward going into a new group. But these two groups–Tuesday morning and Wednesday night–are some of the most gracious people I’ve ever known. I could tell you about how kind and welcoming they are, but I’m sure I’d get choked up! Bring your awkward self, I’ll be there being my awkward self, let’s build our lovely community together!

I might have a friend who wants to come with me, what should I do? That’s great! Send them this link (it’s the link to the page you’re on now) if they’d like more information and of course I’d be happy to meet them and welcome them before hand or in class! Just let me know what I can do to help.

Love what you see?  Wish you could buy Deanna a coffee in support of this free content? Now you can!  buymeacoffee.com/deannamunger

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