Isaiah 1-39: A Self-Study Guide
"Wait on the Lord, Renew Your Strength." This lesson booklet is meant for classes studying Isaiah 1-39. This booklet was originally designed for a class that met 25 times. Choose between docx, pages, and pdf file formats (pdf downloads usually preserve the cleanest layout).
PROSPECTUS (ISAIAH 1-39)
“You must pay close attention to what [the prophets] wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:19 NLT-SE)
The destruction of Israel (north) is certain, but Judah (south) still has hope if only they will trust in the Lord. But if they will not stand in faith, they will not stand at all. Through Isaiah, God begs his people to trust him - the true King - and all will be well. But they refuse. They are full of idols and social injustices. Worship is a weariness. Faith is non-existent. They will trust a stick or a nation, but not the Holy One of Israel. So, Isaiah declares God’s message: it is time to purge evil from Judah with fire.
“When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the Lord.” (Isaiah 26:9–10 NIV-11)
It is only through fire that God will have the righteous city he longs for. Therefore, Isaiah declares that God’s wrath will come against Jerusalem by the hand of the Chaldeans (i.e., Babylonians). But Judah is not the only one that needs to be reminded who the true king is - all the nations have become arrogant. So God will judge them as well. But there is hope for all who will bow to YWHH of Armies.
“In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.”” (Isaiah 19:24–25 ESV)
Isaiah frequently declares in the first 39 chapters that there is a future hope for Judah and the nations. This is a constant reminder of the aim of God’s wrath: one day, the peoples will know and fear him; one day, God will have his holy city.
The more we read the prophets, the more we will find that they lived and prophesied in a world similar to ours. Isaiah’s pictures of what angers the Lord aren’t foreign to our world. Furthermore, Isaiah’s pictures of hope are precisely what we need to hold onto until the day when Christ comes from heaven. Our aim will be to study Isaiah 1-39 in the fall and Isaiah 40-66 in the winter. Our goals for the class are below.
- Read in a way that respects both original and new covenant contexts.
- Wrestle with and apply Isaiah’s highly relevant pictures of what angers God.
- Appreciate Isaiah’s pictures of our current blessings in God’s kingdom.
- Emphasize Isaiah’s pictures of our future hope in the fullness of God’s kingdom.