What is the impression we get of God from the text of the week, Isaiah 48:3-8, and 17? That is, if we were to describe God based on our reading of this text, how would we describe the HOLY ONE of Israel? What personal qualities, what attributes, etc.? Can we tell what it is, in the text, or in our reading of it, that gives us that impression?
That’s always a central question for us. In this text, which seems to center on the character of God, that center may be larger than usual. Some notes on the text are here. Here are a few more questions we might want to reflect on, or discuss:
The audience for this divine speech is Israel, or more precisely the people of the former kingdom of Judah. When we read the text, do we feel ourselves as part of the audience – that is, as the people addressed by the text? Or, not? Why is that, do we think?
[A little more personal] Whatever our answer – does that seem to affect the way we feel about this text? How?
[A little more theoretical … maybe] Do we think this is telling us about “Judah” in particular – or about people in general? How different do those seem to us? What makes us think that?
In the passage as a whole, there is a lot of emphasis on “the former things” and then on “new things” that God has announced and is announcing. What do we understand these things to be? Or – do we understand them to be anything specific?
What difference does our answer make for the way we feel about this divine speech?
In v17, how does God seem to “teach” and “lead” God’s people? What are God’s teaching methods?
[More personal] How do we feel about these teaching methods? Positive, negative, neutral? Why?
Overall, looking more closely into how much we “see ourselves” in this text seems like one important avenue of investigation. And another one would be – how much do we want to see ourselves in this text? And why is that?
Image: “Figures in Conversation – Étaples,” Leslie Hunter, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons