[Lifegroup Discussion] Prophetic Rewind

ancientJerusalem

Heads up!  Tonight we will be looking at a large portion of Scripture together… If you haven’t already, take a moment to read Isaiah 36-39 yourself, getting ready to make observations with your group later on. Make your own observations, highlight passages that stand out to you, and be ready to discuss.

Isaiah 36

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The Case For Christ

If your life group meets before Wednesday, I hope you will join us for The Orchard Movie Night at East Towne Cinemas. If your group is after Wednesday, I hope you did already!  What did you think of the movie?

The Case For Christ

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Group Discussion

At the end of 2 Kings, the northern tribes of Israel AND the southern remnant of Judah had been conquered and removed from their place in the Holy Land. We call this period “the exile,” and it is a painful and disorienting time for Israel.  The writers and the readers during this time period were devastated, feeling that Israel had failed, that God was done with them, and that they were permanently destroyed.  This was a catastrophic time for the nation.

Psalm 77 voices the questions that this downfall produced:

Psalm 77:7-9
Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?

Psalm 79 further expresses Israel’s bewilderment:

Psalm 79:1-6
O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple, they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble.
The have left the dead bodies of your servants as food for the birds of the sky, the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild.
They have poured out blood like water all around Jerusalem, and there is no one to bury the dead.
We are objects of contempt to our neighbors, Of scorn and derision to those around us.
How long, Lord? Will you be angry forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire?

What do you think it would have felt like to be part of Israel during this time?

Do you think any of this parallels the course our own nation is on? (note: America is not a “new Israel,” but many of the underlying principles can/do apply.)

Over the next few weeks, we will do sort of a “rewind” with the pre-exile prophets.  That means we will view the same events that we already read through in 1 & 2 Kings, but that we will see them through the eyes of the special men called by God to rebuke and exhort Israel on His behalf.  We will see that God gave them lots of warnings, and numerous chances to repent.

So, since we have already read the story, you will recognize a lot of the names and events… Just from a different perspective. In fact, some of these chapters are almost identical. (Isaiah 36-39 is almost the same as 2 Kings 18-20)

Did you read the above referenced passage, Isaiah 36-39? The next few chapters are about that.

When did Isaiah’s ministry take place? Where in the story are we when we read the first part of Isaiah? Who was he addressing and where?
What was the state of the nation (both kingdoms) at the time he was commissioned, and what important events did he witness?

In Isaiah 36 and 37, how did Isaiah’s relationship with King Hezekiah successfully thwart Judah’s destruction at the hands of Assyria?

In 2 Kings 17,  Why was the northern kingdom of Israel unable to avoid falling to Assyria in this way?

 

In the Jewish mind, there is a much stronger sense of social identity than we Americans have. Our identity is very individual, so we will ask questions like “What sin have I done, and what does God feel toward me?”  But as an Israelite, the sin of your people was also your sin, and you would have to take ownership and responsibility for how God felt toward not just you but also your community.

Understanding this, what does Israel’s history and the prophets teach us about the sins of our community, and our nation, and our personal responsibility?

Are there any sins or failures for which we as a church, or you as a small group should consider confessing?  If so, what would that look like for us?  For the church as a whole? For Christians in general?

Maybe as a group we need to spend some time in prayer.

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