BEFORE YOU GATHER
- Familiarize yourself with this Group Discussion Guide
- If you missed it,CLICK HEREto watch the weekend sermon
- Read Isaiah 49:14-16
- Get a feel for the Book of Isaiah as a whole byWATCHING THIS VIDEO
- Sit in prayerful silence with God for a while, and ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything that he wants you to share during your group's time together.
ISAIAH DEVOTIONAL: THIS ISN'T THE FIRST TIME WE'VE SEEN THIS
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Over the next remaining weeks, we will explore the different ways in which Isaiah points forward to the hope of the messianic King from the line of David. But, for the moment, let's remember that in the midst of all the previous doom and gloom, Isaiah is keeping the embers of hope lit. God has not lost His love for His covenant people, and He has not abandoned them.
We see God's faithfulness at work in the peculiar concluding story of 2 Kings. In chapter 25:27-30 of 2 Kings, the captive king from the line of David, Jehoiachin, is released from his Babylonian prison and exalted above all the other kings under Babylonian rule invited to sit and dine with the King of Babylon.
One might easily come away perplexed. What exactly is going on here? Why does 2 Kings end with this story? Think about the themes that we see in this final story:
- An imprisoned Israelite
- Taken into slavery in a foreign land
- They are suddenly released from prison by the king
- They are exalted high above the other rulers of that land
This isn't the first time that this kind of story has emerged in the Bible, we also see this in the book of Genesis. In that story, the prisoner was Joseph, and you might also recall that he had to change his clothes before seeing the king in person. The same thing happens in this short story about King Jehoiachin. His story is almost a play-by-play recap of the Joseph story, and so this final short story of 2 Kings invites us to see that a similar divine purpose is at work in the disaster of Jerusalem's destruction. Human evil will not have the day, and God's purposes will be fulfilled.
Check out 2 Kings 25:27-30 & Genesis 40-41 and Ask Yourself: When in my life have I wondered if God has abandoned and rejected me? Did God show Himself to be faithful? Where in my life do I need to be reminded that human evil will not have the day, but instead, God's purposes will be fulfilled?
Text: edited from the Bible Project blog (thebibleproject.com)
Opening Prayer: (1-5 minutes)
In light of what God is saying through this week's message, here's some suggestions of how your group can invite God into your time together.
Open your time together praying that God's presence would be known during your time together. Pray that each person would feel safe to share openly, and that your time together would be a time of encouragement, support and transparency. Pray that the truth of God would lead to heart transformation in truly knowing God is always with us and for us.
Quick Connection: (5 minutes)
Haveeveryone take 30 seconds each to share a phrase or a moment from this weekend's message that is still resonating with them. You also have the option to say "Pass."
Large Group Discussion: (30 minutes)
This weekend's message came from Isaiah 49:14-16. If everyone has a Bible, let's go there together.
- Was there a time in your life when you felt like God had forgotten about you? How (or when) did you realize that He had never stopped loving you?
- God uses chapter after chapter of Isaiah to remind the Babylonian Jews that He loves them and wants to be their God, not just the God that their ancestors had known. Depending on how you grew up, talk about a time when you realized that God was your God and not just your parents' God?
- How does understanding God from a mother's perspective – strong and feminine – broaden your understanding of God and His love for you?
- In which situations during the week would you say you feel most alone?
- Isaiah 49:14-16 compares the bond of a mother and nursing child to how much God loves us, which is why He could never abandon us. How does that reality impact you?
CLOSING PRAYER (5-15 minutes):
In light of what God is saying through this week's message, here's some suggestions of what your group could talk about with God in prayer.
Pray together that the truth of God's love would continue to bring real transformation in each of us and together as a group. Based on what was shared, pray for those of us who may be struggling with believing that God loves you and is always with you.