Lesson 9

To Serve and to Save

(Isaiah 43 & 44)
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Introduction: Each week we see the progress of God's people as He leads them on a journey back to Him. So far, the passage has been pretty rough. But God's people seem to be coming out of the difficult areas into more normal life. What should we consider to be "normal life?" How can we know when God is with us? How do we even know that God exists? Let's dive into the lesson and find out!

  1.         God With Us

  1.         Read Isaiah 43:1. We have often seen that God introduces Himself to us by saying that He is our Creator. We know what this says about our God, what does this say about us? (We are special to God. We are important to Him. It indicates He has a particular interest in us.)

  1.         What does God say in verse 1 that lets us know that He knows us? ("I have summoned you by name.")

  1.         When someone knows your name, what does that say to you? (You want important people to know your name, right? It means they know you. It means that you, too, are important!)

  1.         Read Isaiah 43:2. What are "waters," "rivers," "fire," and "flames?" (Times of trouble.)

  1.         Notice this text starts out with "when," instead of "if." What do you conclude from that? (We will have times when we are worried about our well-being, our survival.)

  1.         What, precisely, does God promise us in times of trouble?

                                

  1.         Does He promise to keep us from all trouble? (This is a very important point. God does not promise a lack of trouble. He promises that He will be with us in times of trouble. He will know our name.)

  1.         Will our troubles overcome us? (The rivers will not "sweep over" us and we will "not be burned" or "set ablaze" by the fire.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 43:3. How can we know the rivers and fires will not do us in? Haven’t we been burned? What about the future destruction of Jerusalem? (The first part of verse 3 is our guarantee: "For I am the Lord your God [and] your Savior." The Power of the Universe knows you and has made a promise to you. Trust Him for the ultimate solution.)

  1.         What does the reference to Egypt mean? (Egypt had the intellectual (and maybe the literal) wealth of the world. God says no price is too high for Me to redeem you. God is speaking about ultimate redemption.)

  1.         The Mission

  1.         Read Isaiah 43:5-6. What kind of fear is being discussed in these verses? (A fear that things will go badly wrong. God seems to be speaking about our children and us.)

  1.         Can our children hide from God? Can they go too far to be brought back? (God speaks of bringing them back from every point of the compass.)

  1.         Notice in verse 6 God refers to our children as "my sons" and "my daughters." What is the importance of this? (Our children are not simply ours, they are also God's children. He, too, has an interest in them. God is also calling us His children in this text.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 43:7. What is the purpose of our life? What is the purpose of the lives of our children? (To bring glory to God.)

  1.         How does your current life fit into that purpose?

  1.         How about at work? What about church?

  1.         Read Isaiah 43:8. God describes part of the work of bringing glory to Him in this verse. What kind of people have eyes but are blind, ears but are deaf? (Those who are not spiritually discerning.)

  1.         What is our job with regard to them? (To lead them out of that condition.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 43:9. How do we go about "leading out" the spiritually blind and deaf? (Show them who has been proven right in the past about the future.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 36:18. The Assyrian commander said his god would overpower the true God. Who told the truth there?

  1.         Go back and read Isaiah 43:4. When I taught the class two weeks ago one member asked about the 185,000 Assyrians who lost their lives at the hand of the angel of the Lord. Why did they die? (The Assyrian military challenged the true God and threatened to kill God’s people. God tells us that in this “exchange” He prefers us.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 43:11. Who does this predict will ultimately give up His life for all of us - even Assyrians? (Our Savior Jesus!)

  1.         Cyrus

  1.         Read Isaiah 44:24 & 27-28. What strikes you as being "odd" about this prophecy? (It mentions a specific person's name.)

  1.         Have you seen a prophecy before that mentions a person's name, as opposed to a name that serves as a description of the person? (This had happened before. King Josiah was mentioned by name 300 years before his time. See 1 Kings 13:2.)

  1.         What important reason did we discuss at the beginning of this lesson to believe that God cares about us? (He knows our name.)

  1.         What important tool did we discuss that we have to convince others our God is the true God? (That He accurately shares the future with us.)

  1.         How do these verses combine both of those lessons? (God not only predicts the future, but He does it by naming the specific individual! He knew Cyrus' name before he was born.)

  1.         If God knows your name long before you were born, what does it say about the importance of your life?

  1.         What does it say about abortion? (If this causes you guilt, remember that God forgives.)

  1.         What does Isaiah 44:28 tell us about this "Cyrus?" (He is a "shepherd.")

  1.         Is God telling us that he herds sheep? (I think God means he is a leader, a type of savior. See Ezekiel 34:23)

  1.         What else do we learn about Cyrus? (That he has authority to command the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple!)

  1.         Based on these clues, who is this Cyrus? Read Ezra 1:1-3. (This Cyrus is the King of Persia. He ordered the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple.)

  1.         What does this say regarding God's attitude about the state helping His work?

  1.         Notice Isaiah 44:27 makes reference to the "watery deep" and drying up streams. What has this to do with Cyrus? (The Bible Knowledge Commentary tells us that Cyrus laid siege to the city of Babylon. The people inside were not concerned because they had stored up supplies to last 20 years. However, the Persian army, led by Ugbaru, diverted the Euphrates River, which ran under the city of Babylon. When the water level dropped, his army entered the city by going under the gate in the river bed. Babylon fell to Cyrus.)

  1.         How long in advance did Isaiah, through the power of God, predict the rise of Cyrus? (The Critical and Explanatory Commentary on the Old and New Testaments says that was 150 years in advance!)

  1.         Friend, we have a God who not only knows the future, He knows even the details. Better yet, we have a God who knows you by name. Will you put your trust in Him in spite of trouble? Will you obey Him during the good times?

  1.         Next week: Doing the Unthinkable.

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Lessons on Isaiah

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