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Isaiah 48

Talks for Growing Christians

Judah’s Return from their Babylonian Captivity

Isaiah 48

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Lesson Number 39

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God is great in His predictions for His people.
  2. God is great in His provisions for His people.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t let it be said, “If only!”

Questions

  1. During what time period was Isaiah prophesying? What world empire was in power at this time?
  2. Describe the eschatological aspect of these Babylon prophecies.
  3. What “new things” was Isaiah declaring (verse 6)?
  4. What is the emphasis of verses 17-19?
  5. Why does verse 21 refer to God’s provision for His people in the wilderness?

Answers

  1. Isaiah prophesied around 700 BC while the Assyrians were in power. Babylon was yet to arise on the scene as a world empire, and they would not take the Jewish people into captivity for another 100 years.
  2. Revelation 17-18 teaches that there will be an end-time Babylon that arises in the last days. Just as historical Babylon was judged and brought down because of her arrogance and defiance of God, so will the end-time godless Babylon be judged and destroyed.
  3. The new things that hadn’t been proclaimed before are details concerning the coming restoration of Israel. Israel’s ultimate restoration had been proclaimed generally in other passages. However, details concerning the Babylonian captivity and return, like the raising up of Cyrus the Persian by name, had not been revealed before Isaiah’s time.
  4. In these verses we see all the provisions of God for His people that they could have enjoyed more fully if they had obeyed the Lord and followed His law.
  5. In the first Exodus, God continually provided for His people even though they continually rebelled. Likewise when they would go back in a second exodus from the Babylonian captivity, God would provide for His people, even though they were not perfect.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Read Isaiah 48:16. Discuss how this is believed to be the clearest reference to the Trinity in the Old Testament. Where do you see the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit mentioned? It is also notable that the verb translated “have” in our Bibles is actually singular in Hebrew.
  2. The promises of the Abrahamic Covenant were unconditional and were not contingent on Israel’s obedience. But Israel’s enjoyment of these great provisions and their fellowship with the Lord did depend on their faithfulness. In the same way, God has made great spiritual provisions for His people today (see Ephesians 1). Discuss how our enjoyment of these spiritual blessings depends on our faithfulness and obedience.

Challenge

  1. The Lord said to His people in Isaiah 48:18, “Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” When you get to the end of your life as a believer, will you say, “If only I had done this? or If only I hadn’t done that!” Don’t let it be said, “If only”!

Key Verses

  • “Surely you did not hear, surely you did not know; surely from long ago your ear was not opened. For I knew that you would deal very treacherously, and were called a transgressor from the womb.” Isaiah 48:8
  • “Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, I was there. And now the Lord GOD and His Spirit have [has] sent Me.” Isaiah 48:16

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