Major Prophets – Isaiah 43-45

But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
    I will bring your children from the east
    and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
    and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”
Lead out those who have eyes but are blind,
    who have ears but are deaf.
All the nations gather together
    and the peoples assemble.
Which of their gods foretold this
    and proclaimed to us the former things?
Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right,
    so that others may hear and say, “It is true.”
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
    “and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
    and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
    nor will there be one after me.
I, even I, am the Lord,
    and apart from me there is no savior.
I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—
    I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.
    Yes, and from ancient days I am he.
No one can deliver out of my hand.
    When I act, who can reverse it?”
This is what the Lord says—
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“For your sake I will send to Babylon
    and bring down as fugitives all the Babylonians,
    in the ships in which they took pride.
I am the Lord, your Holy One,
    Israel’s Creator, your King.”
This is what the Lord says—
    he who made a way through the sea,
    a path through the mighty waters,
who drew out the chariots and horses,
    the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
    extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.
The wild animals honor me,
    the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
    the people I formed for myself
    that they may proclaim my praise.
“Yet you have not called on me, Jacob,
    you have not wearied yourselves for me, Israel.
You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings,
    nor honored me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with grain offerings
    nor wearied you with demands for incense.
You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me,
    or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices.
But you have burdened me with your sins
    and wearied me with your offenses.
“I, even I, am he who blots out
    your transgressions, for my own sake,
    and remembers your sins no more.
Review the past for me,
    let us argue the matter together;
    state the case for your innocence.
Your first father sinned;
    those I sent to teach you rebelled against me.
So I disgraced the dignitaries of your temple;
    I consigned Jacob to destruction
    and Israel to scorn.

  • Isaiah 43:1-28

To read Isaiah 44:1-28, click HERE.

“This is what the Lord says to his anointed,
    to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of
to subdue nations before him
    and to strip kings of their armor,
to open doors before him
    so that gates will not be shut:
I will go before you
    and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze
    and cut through bars of iron.
I will give you hidden treasures,
    riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
    the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
For the sake of Jacob my servant,
    of Israel my chosen,
I summon you by name
    and bestow on you a title of honor,
    though you do not acknowledge me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
    apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
    though you have not acknowledged me,
so that from the rising of the sun
    to the place of its setting
people may know there is none besides me.
    I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I form the light and create darkness,
    I bring prosperity and create disaster;
    I, the Lord, do all these things.
“You heavens above, rain down my righteousness;
    let the clouds shower it down.
Let the earth open wide,
    let salvation spring up,
let righteousness flourish with it;
    I, the Lord, have created it.
“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker,
    those who are nothing but potsherds
    among the potsherds on the ground.
Does the clay say to the potter,
    ‘What are you making?’
Does your work say,
    ‘The potter has no hands’?
Woe to the one who says to a father,
    ‘What have you begotten?’
or to a mother,
    ‘What have you brought to birth?’

“This is what the Lord says—
    the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
Concerning things to come,
    do you question me about my children,
    or give me orders about the work of my hands?
It is I who made the earth
    and created mankind on it.
My own hands stretched out the heavens;
    I marshaled their starry hosts.
I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness:
    I will make all his ways straight.
He will rebuild my city
    and set my exiles free,
but not for a price or reward,
    says the Lord Almighty.”
This is what the Lord says:
“The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush,
    and those tall Sabeans—
they will come over to you
    and will be yours;
they will trudge behind you,
    coming over to you in chains.
They will bow down before you
    and plead with you, saying,
‘Surely God is with you, and there is no other;
    there is no other god.’”
Truly you are a God who has been hiding himself,
    the God and Savior of Israel.
All the makers of idols will be put to shame and disgraced;
    they will go off into disgrace together.
But Israel will be saved by the Lord
    with an everlasting salvation;
you will never be put to shame or disgraced,
    to ages everlasting.
For this is what the Lord says—
he who created the heavens,
    he is God;
he who fashioned and made the earth,
    he founded it;
he did not create it to be empty,
    but formed it to be inhabited—
he says:
“I am the Lord,
    and there is no other.
I have not spoken in secret,
    from somewhere in a land of darkness;
I have not said to Jacob’s descendants,
    ‘Seek me in vain.’
I, the Lord, speak the truth;
    I declare what is right.
“Gather together and come;
    assemble, you fugitives from the nations.
Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood,
    who pray to gods that cannot save.
Declare what is to be, present it—
    let them take counsel together.
Who foretold this long ago,
    who declared it from the distant past?
Was it not I, the Lord?
    And there is no God apart from me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
    there is none but me.
“Turn to me and be saved,
    all you ends of the earth;
    for I am God, and there is no other.
By myself I have sworn,
    my mouth has uttered in all integrity
    a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow;
    by me every tongue will swear.
They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone
    are deliverance and strength.’”
All who have raged against him
    will come to him and be put to shame.
But all the descendants of Israel
    will find deliverance in the Lord
    and will make their boast in him.

  • Isaiah 45:1-25

Noted Biblical Scholars, Teachers, and Preachers Comments

Isaiah 43:2-3 ‘We are not made by chance,’: “God knows what is best. No struggle will come your way apart from his purpose, presence, and permission. What encouragement this brings!  You are never the victim of nature or the prey of fate. Chance is eliminated. You are more than a weather vane whipped about by the winds of fortune. Would God truly abandon you to the whims of drug-crazed thieves, greedy corporate raiders, or evil leaders? Perish the thought!
“We live beneath the protective palm of a sovereign King who superintends every circumstance of our lives and delights in doing us good.
“Nothing comes your way that has not first passed through the filter of his love.”

  • Max Lucado, Come Thirsty

Isaiah 43:5-7 ‘Regathering of Israel’: “Isaiah 43:5-7 emphasizes the magnitude of the regathering and restoration of Israel. Jews will come from all parts of the world, and all four points of the compass are mentioned here. The magnitude is illustrated by the usage of three words: ‘created,’ ‘formed,’ and ‘made.’ These three words are used interchangeably in the creation account in Genesis 1-2. Hence, from God’s perspective, the final regathering will be on the magnitude of the original creation.

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Isaiah 43:10 ‘Only God can see the future’: “In this passage we have before us a great assembly. All the nations of the earth are summoned to produce their rival gods, and the question to be decided is this: Which one of them is the living and true God? The test to answer this question is a most admirable one: Which of these gods has foretold the future? Among all these followers of various idols, which of them can claim that their deity possesses the gift of foresight? Let all the venerated blocks of wood and stone bring forward their witnesses. They could speak of sibylline oracles or of strange mysterious mutterings that contained doubtful declarations hidden under ambiguous terms. The Lord demanded that there should be presented before this court plain prophecies, distinct declarations of events that could not have been foreseen by human ability. In this respect the gods of the heathen failed, but then Jehovah summoned his people Israel and put them into the witness box and said to them, ‘You are my witnesses.’ And they were able clearly to prove that their God had foretold all the great events of their national history and that each had occurred precisely as he had foretold they would. Not one of Jehovah’s prophecies had failed, and not one word had dropped to the ground. This is the scene presented before us in the text: the whole assembly of nations and all the Jews were brought together to prove that in the sacred books of the Hebrew people they had distinct notification of future events, proving that Jehovah, the God of Israel, is God, since no heathen idols have been able to accurately predict events in the future. It is proper for the church to depart from the precise meaning of the text and to take it in another truthful sense, though not in the one originally intended. Believers in Christ Jesus take the place of Israel of old, and all of us are God’s witnesses this day. A great controversy is going on between God and the world. The world puts its witnesses forward to speak in its name; and we followers of Christ, the chosen ones of the Most High, are ordained to be testifiers and witnesses for our God and for his truth.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 43:12 ‘declared and saved … proclaimed’: “As in the deliverance from Egypt (Ex. 3, 4), God declared in advance how He would redeem Israel from their captivity. Then came the actual events of the saving process, followed by the Lord’s proclamation of that deliverance as a reminder. The people, on the basis of such omniscience and omnipotence, gave testimony to the true and only living God.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 43:14 ‘Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel’: “The former title characterizes the Lord’s role in the salvation of His people in chapters 40-66 (41:14; 43:14; 44:6, 24; 47:4; 48:17; 49:7, 26; 54:5, 8; 59:20; 60:16; 63:16). The latter title represents His holiness throughout the book (see note on 1:4). The Lord’s Servant retains His holiness in implementing His redemption of Israel. Chaldeans … their ships. When God sent a conqueror against Babylon (i.e., Cyrus, 45:1), the proud Babylonian fleet provided a means of flight for the country’s fugitives. Babylon was accessible by ship through the Persian Gulf and the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 43:22-28 ‘I am your Savior’: “Vv.22-28 serve as an explanation of Israel’s current status. They are in exile now because of their past sins. Prior to the destruction in 587 B.C., their prayers had been insincere (v.22), their worship empty (v.23), their devotion lacking (v.24), and their sins weighty (v.24). For these reasons, Yahweh brought destruction (v.28).”

  • Eugene E. Carpenter, Asbury Bible Commentary

Isaiah 43:26 ‘State your case’: “God gives the nation opportunity to come into the court and plead her case. The strongest plea is not to claim personal worthiness, but to confess their sin and repent, to plead for mercy and forgiveness based on God’s gracious promise in verse 25 and based on what Jesus Christ would do on the Cross (cf. 55:6, 7; Rom 3:21-26).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 44:1-5, 45:14-17 ‘Outpouring of the Spirit’: “A special outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Israel will result in Israel’s national salvation. The result of Israel’s salvation is that many Gentiles will align themselves with Israel because they can see that God is with His people. Thus, Israel’s spiritual rebirth will lead to the rebirth of Gentiles as well.

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Isaiah 44:6 ‘God’s authority’: “We’ve already discussed how God is infinite in His perfections, one of which is His absolute power. God is omnipotent—He has all the power there is. The next question is, does God have the authority? I think it is rather foolish even to discuss it. Can anyone imagine God having to ask permission? Can anybody imagine the great God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, having to send out a memo to a higher authority and ask, ‘Might I please roll this star over there, or do something with this galaxy?’ Can you imagine Him applying to a higher authority? To whom would God apply? Who is higher than the highest? Who was there before He was? Who is mightier than the Almighty? At whose throne would God kneel for authority? No, there is no one greater! ‘I am the first, and l am the last; and beside me there is no God.’ ”

  • A. W. Tozer, The Attributes of God II

Isaiah 44:9-20 ‘Yahweh is faithful, idols are foolish’: “In several translations vv.9-20 are in prose, an essay against idolatry. Vv.9-11 criticize the idea in principle. Vv.12-17 describe the craft of making idols. The mocking tone is obvious and effective. It is incredible to the prophet that anyone would consider a crafted object to be a god. But the practitioners are so blind that they cannot perceive their own foolishness (vv.18-20).”

  • Eugene E. Carpenter, Asbury Bible Commentary

Isaiah 44:22 ‘among the foolish is redemption’: “The Lord’s declaration here was not made to a pious and praying people who kept near their God but was spoken to idolatrous Israel. After drinking from the fountain of living waters, they turned aside to drink the drops that were to be found in broken and dirty cisterns. it was spoken to a people who, after they had tasted the good things of God and known the high privileges of true religion, still turned aside with the nations of the world, abandoned the God of Jacob, made for themselves graven images that were not gods, provoked the Lord to jealousy, and moved him to wrath against them on account of their sins. These words of wondrous mercy were not spoken to the nation of Israel while living near God—who would even then have had sins to mourn over and to be forgiven—but they were addressed to a brutish and foolish nation, to a harlot people who had committed wickedness with all the idols of the heathen. They had offered incense on their hills to false gods, made their children pass through the fire of Topheth in the Valley of Hinnom, were filled with abominable and loathsome sins, had committed the crimes of Sodom, and had bowed down to Baal and Ashtaroth. This promise was made to those who had wandered far from God not because they repented or because they believed but simply and entirely from the sovereign grace of God. The Lord did this because he had set his affection on them. He would not turn away from them because, having sworn to their father Abraham that he would bless his seed forever, he still remembered them. He did not forget them, even though they had forgotten him days without number, and even though he promised to provide them a Savior and also sent them, by the mouth of his prophet, this comfortable assurance that he had blotted out their sins and redeemed them.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 44:28 ‘Cyrus … My shepherd’: “The prophecy—given a century and a half before Cyrus lived and became king of Persia—predicted God’s use of the Persian king to gather the faithful remnant of Israel back to the land. In this role, Cyrus prefigured the Lord’s Servant, who will shepherd the sheep of Israel in their final regathering (Mic. 5:4). The title shepherd applied to kings as leaders of God’s people (2 Sam. 5:2; Jer. 3:15). In Acts 13:22, Paul compares David to the standard of Cyrus’s obedience. Jerusalem … the temple. In 538 B.C., Cyrus decreed the rebuilding of the temple (Ezra 1:1, 2; 6:3), thus fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy. The returning Jews completed the work in 516 B.C. (Ezra 6:15).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 45:1 ‘His anointed’: “This word is the one translated from the Hebrew by the transliteration—’Messiah.’ It is the word used for the messianic Redeemer King in Psalm 2:2 and Daniel 9:25, 26, but here refers to Cyrus, as the king set apart by God’s providence for divine purposes. Though not a worshiper of the Lord, the Persian monarch played an unusual role as Israel’s shepherd (44:28) and God’s anointed judge on nations.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 45:4 ‘God knows you’: “God even knows the unblessed man, the man without God. If I were speaking to an unsaved man, the first thing that I would say to him is, God knows you by name. Isaiah says, ‘I have even called thee by thy name … though thou hast not known me.’ God knows your name and He knows you fully. According to Psalm 139, He knows why you’re rejecting His Son. He knows your secret sins.
“You know, a person with a secret sin can get away with it for a long time. I read in the newspaper about men who for twenty years have been robbing banks. You can rob banks or juggle your books, but one person knows about it, and that’s God. God knows your excuses and your real reasons, those that you hardly know yourself. He knows your checkered past and your future.
“He knows the last place that you’re going to lie down. He knows the name of the driver of the hearse that’s going to drive you out to that last place. He knows all about it. He knows and sees what you don’t know or see. He knows why you’re not a Christian, why you’re not following His Son. So why not put yourself in His keeping now?”

  • A. W. Tozer, The Attributes of God II

Isaiah 45:9-10 ‘Woe … woe’: “Figures of the potter and the clay and of parent and child show how absurd it is to contend with God over His plans for the future. This anticipated the objections by the Jews against (1) their captivity and restoration by a pagan king, and (2) ultimately, God’s sovereign plan to redeem Gentiles, as well as Jews, worldwide (cf. Rom. 9:20-24).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 45:22 ‘be saved, all you ends of the earth!’: “When the Messiah sits on His throne in Jerusalem, all people will enjoy His temporal salvation in the physical blessings of the millennial earth and will have opportunity for spiritual salvation (49:6).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 45:24-25 ‘bow before God’: “There are two ways men will be made to bow the knee before God. Some of them will bow unwillingly when they feel the weight of his iron rod. Others will bow joyfully before him when they feel the power of his grace. I believe this text should be understood in that sweet and merciful manner. Here we see how God’s power over humanity is exerted in a way of grace, although it is also true that his power is demonstrated in a way of judgment toward those who reject his mercy. The expressions of this text should be seen as the decrees, determinations, promises, and declarations of the God of grace. There is no doubt about this great truth of God—Christ did not die in vain, and the gospel has not been sent into the world for nothing. There will be a people who are saved in the Lord Jesus Christ and who will enjoy eternal life. There will be a multitude that no man can number who will bow before Jesus as Lord and Savior. There will be an adequate reward for the pain he endured on the cross that will satisfy even the infinite heart of the great Son of God himself. I want to share five truths regarding this passage. First, there will be a people who will acknowledge the truth about God. Second, these people will not only acknowledge the truth about God, but they will act on it. Third, they will also come to be ashamed of their former opposition to the truth about God. Fourth, those who are the Lord’s people will be justified; that is, he will declare them to be righteous. Fifth, those who come to Christ by faith and are justified will glorify God.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes


My Thoughts

NOTE: Six days before my wife died, she collapsed in the bedroom, falling against the door.  The EMT had to break in through the window (easily, since we had a window air conditioner there).  She then spent three days in the hospital.  She was released, but we knew that within a month or two she would need the aortic valve replaced.  The next two days, I stayed with her, hardly writing anything.  She did not want me to leave her side, except when she went to dialysis.  Then that Saturday morning, she went to dialysis for the next session, knowing that her blood pressure was low.  The center already had a plan, but when she arrived, she went into cardiac arrest.  They revived her, but about 18 hours later she passed away.

I say all this because this Bible Study was the next thing to write when she had collapsed that Monday and the EMTs rescued her.  I was about two and a half weeks ahead of schedule.  Then after nearly a week of taking care of her, I was more than a week ahead of schedule when the grief process started.  Each time that I looked at this Bible Study, that week kept coming back to mind.  Thus, I skipped two weeks for the Thursday morning Bible Studies.  I am not even admitting that I am back in the saddle, but getting past the Bible study that was going through my mind while dealing with her last days, I might be over a major hump.  I will find out next week.  At present, I am less than a week ahead on posts even with skipping the Bible study two weeks and the quiz one week.

Even so, I will be short in my comments.  I wrote a half page of notes, but they all say roughly the same thing.

God is God and other gods are not god.

Okay, more details?  God provides prophecies.  Ask a hunk of clay, a piece of stone, or a stick to prophesy, and you will be waiting a long time.

God said that He revealed, saved, and proclaimed.  Rev. MacArthur reduces this to the Exodus, and that is mentioned, but God is saying that in all things, He can reveal because He created all things.  He only can save, as He saved the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, and He means that Jesus will come to save all who believe.  I think that the words at the beginning of Isaiah 44 refer to all Gentile Christians who will claim Jacob as their ancestor, but really in other prophecies on the subject, it is by faith that we are children of Abraham.  Abraham and Jacob are only two generations apart.  Yet, I think some might argue that point.

But Jesus saved us on the cross, for all who believe and trust in Him.

And the point God is making in these chapters is that only God proclaims through his prophets.  He even uses the analogy that the carpenter takes a piece of wood.  He burns some of that piece in the cook stove to cook food.  He takes another piece and burns it to provide heat.  Then he carves on the piece that is left, and then he worships his own creation, which is the leftover piece after getting warm and well fed.

That sounds insane, but look at the secular world today.  Everything seems upside down, and much of that is due to things we humans created being our gods instead of God.

The god makers shall be put to shame, but at the beginning of these three chapters, God is calling His people to gather.  They will return.  This may be millennial reign prophecy, but God speaks of the remnant throughout Scripture and this is another instance.

With Cyrus being named, hundreds of years before he is born, I was thinking that the name Cyrus had an “enthroned” type meaning.  In one online reference, it said that the Persian meaning meant “throne,” but the biblical meaning might be “miserable”.  It is thought that Abimelech was a name given to the king of that region of Canaan.  That might explain how Abraham and Isaac both used the ruse of their wife being their sister when staying in the royal city of Abimelech.  But in looking at the twelve great rulers of the Persian Empire, there was only one Cyrus.  There were three emperors named Darius.  There was one Xerxes and an Artaxerxes.  So, it does not follow that Isaiah would guess some Persian name that was given to all kings.  Cyrus the Great was unique, along with over half of the great Persian emperors.  Not only did God name him long before he was born, He put the burden in Cyrus’ heart to return a remnant of the exiled Jews back to Jerusalem.

Then Isaiah gives the prophecy that the Apostle Paul quotes in Philippians 2:10-11, that at the name of Jesus Christ every knee shall bow and every tongue confess.

Humanity may go down the toilet in creating gods out of manmade things, but when in the presence of God we will bow the knee.  As I read recently, either by force or willingly as we worship our Savior.

Some Serendipitous Reflections

“Isaiah 43:1-13 Israel’s Only Savior: 1. Compare 42:23 -43:2 with Romans 3:19-24 and Ephesians 2:11-13. What does the ‘but now’ in each of these passages emphasize about your relationship with God? Which side of the ‘but’ are you presently on?
“2. If you were to set these passages to music, what type of music would you use for the material before the ‘but now’? For the material afterwards?
“3. What ‘waters’ or ‘fire’ (v.2) seem to be fearfully close to you at the moment? What does it mean to you that God says he will be with his people through these things? How have you experienced that in the past? Why doesn’t he just let us avoid them?
“4. When has God worked good in your life despite your blindness and deafness? How would you explain to a non-Christian what God has done for you? What should be our motivation in witnessing to others of God’s grace in our lives?
43:14-28 God’s Mercy and Israel’s Unfaithfulness: 1. When has God seemed like a dusty memory to you? At those times, what helps you get in touch with him? How might recalling the acts of God in your past give you courage to face the present and future?
“2. What has God done in your past that you especially can look to as evidence of his presence with you? What ‘stream in the desert’ is bubbling up for you now?
“3. In your worship life, are you lavishly giving yourself to God? Or callously wearying him with meaningless rituals? When has it been different? What accounts for the change?
“4. In your service to God, are you wearying yourself for him? Or are you wearying him?
“5. What ‘new thing’ (v.19) has the Lord done in your life? What is he doing now?
“6. What ‘former things’ (v.18) from your past do you have difficulty forgetting? How might verse 25 help?
44:1-5 Israel the Chosen: 1. ls the ‘flower’ of your spiritual life still a seed? Breaking ground? In full bloom? How so?
“2. How do you typically let others know that you are a Christian? What new ‘show and tell’ idea does verse 5 suggest?
44:5-23 the Lord, not idols: 1. What ‘gods’ have people in our culture shaped for themselves? Why are people attracted to these false gods? With which ones do you struggle? How have you seen these false gods end up oppressing those who make them?
“2. Karl Marx said that ‘religion is the opiate of the people’ to drug them into ignoring reality. How might the prophet agree with him? How do the modern forms of idolatry do that? How might Christianity itself end up being an idol? How is true worship of God different?
“3. How is the irony of verses 15-17 reflected in the modern forms of idolatry? ln what way have you experienced that following these modern idols is nothing but ‘feeding on ashes’?
“4. ls your worship life more characterized by singing and joy, or ritual and dullness? Why? What helps you move towards joyful worship?
44:24-45:13 Jerusalem to be inhabited: 1. Do you think that God still shapes all of history around the purpose of saving his people? What are the implications of saying ‘yes’ to that? Of saying ‘no?’
“2. How might the purpose of God be traced in some recent world event? What current event especially disturbs you because you cannot see any sense in it? From this passage, what should be your response to that event?
“3. The continued existence of the Jews, despite their long history of persecution and oppression, even today—what does that show us of God?
“4. in what ways are the actions of Cyrus like the work of Christ? What other Christ-like figures today do you think God might be using to accomplish his purposes?
“5. Do you have any outstanding ‘quarrels’ with your ‘Maker’? What are they? What should you do to resolve them?
45:14-25 Jerusalem, part 2: 1. How do verses 22-25 form the backdrop for Philippians 2:10-11? Accordingly, who are the ‘descendants of Israel’ (see also Gal. 3:29)? What do these verses indicate about the ultimate purpose of God’s judgments and acts in history?
“2. God calls all types of people to come to him. How does that affect your prayers? Your priorities? Your sense of purpose? Your hope?
“3. Verse 15 should read, ‘God is hidden among you.’ If a non-believer visited your church or small group this past month, what evidence would show that God is in your midst? What types of evidence does God want us to show forth in our lives?”

  • Lyman Coleman, et al, The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups

These three chapters are divided into six sections as noted above.

Substitute whatever group for any reference to a small group or ask who could come to your aid.

If you like these Thursday morning Bible studies, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Thursday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.


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  1. I don’t know how I found your blog/substack, I’m just glad I did.



    Liked by 1 person

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