Dec 4 – 2 Advent
The Peaceful Kingdom
Return of the Remnant of Israel and Judah
Background: The first 39 chapters of Isaiah are considered a unit, typically referred to as First Isaiah. In this section, Isaiah prophesies against the Israelites and lays out God’s complaint against God’s chosen people. The first five chapters primarily contain oracles or visions against the Israelites. In this, the prophet sets the stage for coming judgment against the people of Israel.
Theme: In this passage God promises that he will send someone to save and deliver Israel from their oppression. God’s promise is “a shoot shall come from the stock of Jesse.” The implication of God’s deliverer (messiah in some translations) will not only restore Israel but will make dramatic and world-changing differences.
Questions to Ponder:
* Read Isaiah 11:1-10.
* Briefly describe the political, social, and religious situation in Israel for this passage. To whom do you think the prophet speaking in this passage?
* Who is Jesse and why would “the one who is to come” would rise from the stock of Jesse?
* In verse 2 there are three sets of apparently contrasting pairs of traits bestowed by the spirit. What do you think the differences are between: (1) wisdom and understanding; (2) counsel and might; and (3) knowledge and fear of the Lord?
* Why might “counsel” and “might” be paired? How might “counsel” and “might” translate into our contemporary context?
* In verse 4, how might the chosen “king” judge the poor with righteousness? Do you think this means that God or God’s king is biased for the poor? Why or why not?
* In the latter portion of verse 4, what do you think it means when Isaiah says “he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked”?
* From verse 5, why do you think the king will have two belts, one on his waist and one around his loins?
* In verses 6-9, what is the implication of the unlike pairs coexisting together, i.e., the wolf and the lamb; the leopard and the kid; the calf and the lion and the fatling?
* In verse 7, it appears that certain animals will do things against their apparent nature, a bear grazing and a lion eating straw. Do you think Isaiah is prophesying a change in the nature of these animals or is there some other implication from these statements?
* How is the story of Isaiah in this passage seen as good news, especially given the social and political context of his time?
* What is the message of hope for our community and in our context?
* What is most troubling about the imagery in this passage and how do you rectify it with your current understanding of God’s providence?