The Need for a Savior
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor
Overview: The Book of Isaiah is an eighth-century BC work that describes the looming threats from Assyria and Babylon as God’s instruments of judgment upon His people, Israel. The prophet Isaiah was sent to proclaim the Word of God to the people of God in order that they might repent and avoid judgment; but due to the hardness of their hearts judgement was not averted and the northern and southern kingdoms suffered the consequences. Throughout the book, however, God continued to point the faithful remnant to His salvation, the promised Messiah, who would not only bring salvation to Israel but also to the entire world.
1. God is the great Creator who calls heaven and earth to witness his indignation against the people He has called to be His own.
2. God is the righteous Judge who disrupts every path that dishonors Him and promises to destroy all who oppose Him.
3. God is the grieving Father who calls His people to come to their senses by turning away from their sins and turning to Him for salvation.
4. God is the only Savior who provides what He requires in order for people to be cleansed from their sin.
Questions for Discussion and Discovery
1. What do you know about Isaiah’s background? How familiar are you with this book? What famous or well-known passages can you find within its pages? What quotes or allusions from Isaiah can you find in the New Testament?
2. What have we lost in our understanding of humanity when we no longer recognize God as our creator? What moral standards can we aspire to when we have no objective standard, such as the holiness of God? How does our failure to recognize God as our creator and judge affect society today?
3. How many offers of repentance or invitations to salvation can you find in the first five chapters of Isaiah? What do these opportunities teach us about the character of God? Why do you think people reject such offers and persist in their sin instead?
4. In what ways do you find similarities with God’s plan of judgment and our current state of world affairs (see chapter 3)? How can the presence of conflict and injustice in our world point us to the need for a savior? Pray that you will maintain a positive attitude in times of societal upheaval, knowing that such times may be used by the Lord to draw people to Himself.
5. In what ways do you find that people are willing to pay God lip service (see 1:10-15) rather than offering true repentance (see 1:16-17)? What does God’s refusal to accept lip service in the place of true worship say about His holiness? What examples of repentance from these passages do you find present in your life?
For Further Reading: Alec Motyer, The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary (IVP, 1993)