Reflection Questions: “Truth Has Stumbled in the Streets” (Isaiah 59:14-15) (Father’s Day 2023)

Reflection Questions: “Truth Has Stumbled in the Streets” (Isaiah 59:14-15) (Father’s Day 2023)
  1. Isaiah spoke out for God against the people of his day who’d rebelled against Him. The warning was dire: one of national judgement. Read through Isaiah 59:1-15 section by section as a group. (The NIV, which I’m using here, does a nice good job of translating this clearly). What similarities do you see between the people of Isaiah’s day and that of our own? How have our iniquities separated us from God? (59:2a)? Do you think He’s hidden His face from us (59:2b)? How have our “lips spoken falsely” and how do our “tongues mutter wicked things” (59:3)? How do we “rely on empty arguments” and “utter lies” (59:4)? Are our “deeds evil, do we “rush into sin”? How? How is our generation “swift to shed innocent blood” (59:6-7)? (Hint: think the unborn). How are they blind & groping (59:10)?
  2. Isaiah said of his generation, the “way of peace they do not know” (59:8). What is the “way of peace”? How has our generation missed it? Isaiah’s generation averted disaster by repenting, starting with the King himself (Hezekiah). How do you think our generation will fare?
  3. Pay special attention to Isaiah 59:14-15: “justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey (59:14-15a). Discuss how truth has “stumbled in the street” and “is nowhere to be found” in our day? What do you think this means? Notice especially the last part: “whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.” Why does Isaiah use the word “prey”? How is this true in our day of cancel culture? Also, consider 2 Timothy 3:12–13 in this context. Are you seeing the persecution/harassment of those who choose to live godly in America today? What does Paul suggest we do about it in 2 Timothy 3:14-17?
  4. Consider our calling as believers. We rightly rejoice in the salvation the Lord has called us to. But the other side of our calling is that we’ve been “called” to endure undeserved suffering well. Read 1 Peter 2:19-23. How is enduring undeserved suffering as a Christian a “gracious” thing? What example has God given for us to follow in this regard? According to Philippians 1:29-30, Christians have been “granted” two amazing things. What are they? Do you see these two things as ‘privileges’ (which is the sense of “granted”1)? Why or why not? How does Jesus see it in Matthew 5:12? How do “rejoice” and “be glad” fit the context of persecution? Can you imagine yourself rejoicing and being glad when you are persecuted for the faith? How?
  5. Instead of acknowledging the absolute truth of God’s Word, like Israel in the time of the Judges, it seems that everyone today is encourage to do whatever isright in his or her own eyes (Judges 17:6b, 21:25b). How has this spirit of personal ‘autonomy’ effected the younger generation today? How has this impacted society as a whole?
  6. Our generation lies about marriage. It sees it a civil contract rather than as a sacred covenant. It argues that adults of any sex can be married together – and furthermore that ‘Jesus never spoke out against homosexuality.’ It also affirms that any number of genders exist. (ABC News identified 58 distinct genders in 2014!2) How do Jesus words in Matthew 19:4-6 explicitly define marriage? Where does Jesus look for His definition of marriage? How do these words limit the total number of genders to two? How do His words here explicitly exclude homosexuality? How does Jesus define marriage as a ‘God-thing’? Do you think Jesus is right?
  7. I think Proverbs 14:12 is a message that our generation should hear and heed. Do you? Can you think of others?

1 The NLT reflects the sense of this by translating the verse, “For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.”