BEFORE YOU GATHER
- Familiarize yourself with this Group Discussion Guide
- If you missed it, CLICK HERE to watch the weekend sermon
- Read Isaiah 40.
- Get a feel for the Book of Isaiah as a whole by WATCHING THIS VIDEO
- Sit in prayerful silence with God for a while, and ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything that he wants you to share during your group’s time together.
ISAIAH DEVOTIONAL: HAS GOD ABANDONED US?
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The voice of Isaiah is taking a different tone than before. Now, we begin to hear announcements of comfort and hope: the exile is over, you can return home, God’s Kingdom is coming!
But who is saying all of this? Whose voice is this? The perspective is of someone who is living after the exile, but Isaiah died 150 years before any of this. Whose voice is this? We have two options:
- It’s the voice of Isaiah speaking prophetically 200 years into the future. He lived in 720ish BC, and then there was the exile, and now his words are to people in 530 BC – to a future generation.
But something else is probably going on…
2. It’s the voice of Isaiah AND of his prophetic disciples. (Isaiah 8:16; 29:10-12; 30:8-9) We’re told that when Isaiah’s message was rejected, he wrote and sealed up his messages of judgment and hope, and passed them on to his disciples as a witness for days to come. Isaiah died, still waiting for God to vindicate his words. Isaiah is a true prophet – his words come true, even though not all of them came true in his own day. After the exile, his disciples opened up the scroll and began applying his words of hope to their day.
The prophet hopes that Israel will be his servant to the nations, but that’s not what happens. Instead of bearing witness, Israel is complaining and even accusing God – God is ignoring our trouble! The exile caused them to lose faith in God – maybe God is weaker than the gods of Babylon?
Read Isaiah 40 and Ask Yourself: What does God have to say as an answer to the accusations that he has abandoned his people, or that he is not strong enough to save them? When in your own life have you needed to be reminded that God is with you, even when the circumstances of your life seemed to say otherwise? How did God get through to you?
Text: edited from the Isaiah videos by the Bible Project (thebibleproject.com)
Opening Prayer: (1-5 minutes)
In light of what God is saying through this week’s message, here’s some suggestions of how your group can invite God into your time together.
Pray that God would use your time together to encourage each other in the circumstances, trials, and situations in which each of you may be struggling to wait on God. Pray that studying God’s word and sharing would renew your faith and hope in God.
Quick Connection: (5 minutes)
Have everyone take 30 seconds each to share a phrase or a moment from this weekend’s message that is still resonating with them. You also have the option to say “Pass.”
Large Group Discussion: (30 minutes)
This weekend’s message came from Isaiah 40. If everyone has a Bible, let’s go there together.
- Isaiah 40 is filled with descriptions of God’s character. Read Isaiah 40:10-25 together and be looking for a characteristic that is particularly meaningful to you today. Share what characteristic with the group and why (perhaps something from the past or the present).
- Have you ever had a situation that caused you to question God’s presence and make you feel disconnected from God?
- What are you currently waiting on God for? How are you experiencing the journey in this wait? How is God calling you to wait so you can learn to hope in Him?
- Being patient does not mean being passive, but it also does not mean to take control of areas God is calling us to wait in. Share with the group areas you might need to become more active in, and what may be areas where you need to let go?
- Share a time or experience when you’ve saw God’s faithfulness, provision and character. How does recalling that change how you view your current situation?
CLOSING PRAYER (5-15 minutes):
In light of what God is saying through this week’s message, here’s some suggestions of what your group could talk about with God in prayer.
Based on what was shared together, either generally or specifically, pray that God would teach us to wait in a way that would fill us with hope in Him. Pray that God would lead us, guide us, and move us into our future and continue to actively take our next step with Him. Pray that we would encourage each other to be patient in the waiting.