Week 4 Isaiah

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Week Commencing: 
23 Nov 2008
Bible Base: 
Isaiah 45: 14-25

Background

This is in the middle of a fiercely monotheistic (monotheism is the belief that there is only one God) section of scripture. The fact that the Jews were in exile in Babylon with their home city of Jerusalem destroyed would have been a worrying thing for them Perhaps the gods of Babylon were stronger than their God. Note – the gods being challenged here are the idols that the people of Babylon worshipped; they were also inclined to worship the sun and the stars, giving astrologers great power in Babylon.
 
This is also a section of scripture which is referred to greatly by the New Testament, as we shall see.
 
Questions for discussion
 
1)      How would you answer from this passage any criticism of God that this passage is about God wanting to be “top God” for God’s own benefit?
2)      This passage is ultimately about whom should the people of God put their trust in. What things are we (as individuals, as a nation, as a church) tempted to put our trust in besides God? How does this passage help us when faced by these temptations?
3)      Have a look through chapters 43 to 45 to see how many times God says through the prophet that God is the only God. This is a very non PC passage! Is it arrogant to say that there is only one God and saviour?
4)      One passage which picks up this one in the New Testament is Philippians 2:5-11. Read the two passages alongside each other. Where does the NT passage echo this passage from Isaiah? Looking at the two passages together, what is Paul claiming about Jesus in the Philippians passage?
5)      There are several verses in this part of Isaiah in which God says ‘I am he, and there is no other’; for example:-
41:4    I, the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he.
43:10   You are my witnesses..and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be after me.
43:13    henceforth I am he.
46:4     even to your old age I am he,and to grey hairs I will carry you. I have made and I will bear; I will carry and I will save.
48:12   I am he: I am the first and the last
 
The language of these claims have very strong resemblances to the divine name Yahweh. With that in mind have a look at John 8:24-30; when does Jesus say that people will recognise him as ‘I am he’? What is he referring to? How might this connect with Isaiah 6:1?