Isaiah – Week 1

Teacher Outline

Isaiah 1–2:5

Main Point: Our sin demands punishment, and only in grace through the Messiah do we find forgiveness, cleansing and peace.

  1. Hook
    1. A recent study of bottled water published by the BBC discovered a shocking truth. Samples taken from every leading brand of bottled water contained alarming levels of plastic in the water. Without exception, the water branded and advertised as filtered and clean turned out to be anything but pure. We work very hard to make a good impression or overcome the sin in our hearts. Sadly, our lives are still marked by sin and only in the gracious mercy of Jesus Christ can we truly be clean.
  1. Isaiah 1:1–20: We cannot save ourselves or escape our sin. We must look to Christ to make us clean.
    1. V 1 Strong words and imagery make plain the magnitude of the people’s sinfulness and rebellion.
    2. V 2 Isaiah calls to the heavens and the earth to bear witness of just how far God’s people have fallen from God’s way of righteousness.
    3. V 4 The entire nation bears the burden of sin because such rebellion wasn’t limited to just one family, tribe, or generation.
    4. V 5 Judah is like a person who has been beaten and badly injured yet doesn’t have the sense to seek help where it can be found.
    5. V 8 Isaiah describes Judah as “ booth,” “lodge,” and “besieged city” to illustrate just how desperate the circumstances were.
      1. “both” and “lodge” shelters could not provide lasting protection or permanent shelter.
      2. Judah is like a “besieged city,” surrounded by enemies and totally overwhelmed.
    6. V 9 Judah is labeled as “Sodom” and Gomorrah”, this would be shocking for Judah to hear.
    7. VV 10–15 Judah should just quit offering sacrifices, quit observing the Sabbath, and quit honoring the required feast days. God would not honor their practices or answer their prayers.
    8. VV 16–20 Isaiah gives guidance to Judah.
      1. Go back to being fully committed to God’s ways.
      2. Return to walking in God’s righteousness by following God’s commands.
        1. Tangible acts of righteousness are not means of grace but indications of faith.
  • Protect and shelter the weak.
    1. God’s people could not expect to experience life and peace under divine blessing while they acted unjustly toward those who could not protect themselves.
  1. Seek cleansing from God alone and not from empty observance of rituals.

Reflection Questions:

  • What does it look like today for God’s people to practice “vain worship?”
  • What are practices of justice, mercy, and goodness that display a heart loyal to God alone?
  • Isaiah 1:21–31: Even our best intentions fall short of God’s holy demands.
    1. V 21 Isaiah begins this section with a reminder that Jerusalem, and all the people in it, were once faithful to God alone.
    2. VV 22–23 Isaiah laments Judah’s impurity.
      1. V 22 Judah should be pure like silver, have become a weaker, mixed metal.
      2. V 22 Should be pure wine, they have watered down the covenant practices.
  • V 23 Should have leaders defined by justice and mercy, they have become thieves open to follow the whims of the highest bidder.
  1. When we doubt God’s goodness, we seek power over others in our own way and for our own purposes.
  2. VV 23–26 Wickedness brings judgment but God still offers life to His people.
    1. Hope in judgment
      1. God works judgment for purification, not total destruction.
      2. God’s people will not be totally consumed, but returned to a fitter state of dependence.
    2. Jerusalem will once again be called “city of righteousness, the faithful city” (v. 26).
  3. VV 27–31 Judah is offered a choice between two ways: life or death.

Reflection Questions:

  • What indications in society do you see that God’s people have not heeded His call to live righteously and virtuously in this world?
  • How does God purify His people to seek Him wholeheartedly?
  • How should a deep understanding of God’s wrath against sin change how we live in our workplace, relationships, or daily pursuits?
  • How does the world today feel when Christians proclaim a God who is angry at sin? Does the church feel this same way or differently?
  1. Isaiah 2:1–4: But God will restore His children through His grace and mercy.
    1. VV 2–3 One day, God will finally reveal His grandeur and majesty to the whole world.
    2. VV 4–5 God’s wisdom is sufficient not simply for matters of Christian life and witness, but also for guidance in the things of this world, even disputes between entire nations.
      1. The peace promised by Isaiah is fulfilled by Christ and ought to rule our hearts (Col. 3:15).
      2. The prominence of God’s righteousness and wisdom that will one day draw all nations up to God’s mountain in worship and praise ought to be the message we proclaim to every tongue, tribe, and nation (Matt. 28:18–20).

Reflection Questions:

  • How have God’s future promises for peace and security been fulfilled in Christ?
  • Which promise from Isaiah 2 seems the most difficult to see coming to pass today?
  • How can believers live out the peace of Christ, and what affect might that have in our world today?


It’s easy to look at those companies that manufacture bottled water and criticize the way they shrug off the plastics floating in the water you and I drink. Yet, how often do we shrug off God’s warning to purify our life, to seek Him alone? Don’t be a person filled with uncleanness and unconfessed sin; don’t be like bottled water laced with impure plastics. Live a life totally loyal to your sovereign God. Take these steps to seek God today.


  • Repent of Sin

If you struggle to see your own sin, look to the Holy One of Israel. Look upon the glory and goodness of our God. When you begin to sense your sin, look to Christ to offer new life and peace. We do not need to continue in sin. We can live in righteousness through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Work each day to see your sin in the light of the Gospel, not in your power to change your own behavior.

  • Reject Idols

While we may not suffer the temptation to seek protection from surrounding nations, we often run to wealth, relationships or some other idol for protection and peace. Look to God alone to give your life meaning. Accept identity not in power or comfort, but in Christ alone. Pray for the Spirit’s wisdom and strength to love God alone and unseat the idols of your heart. 

  • Rest in God’s Promises

The peace of Isaiah 2 comes through Christ, and you don’t have to wait to feel His peace and joy flowing in your life. When life seems confusing, call out to God in prayer and seek His wisdom in Scripture. When you feel alone or discouraged, recall God’s promises to be near you and live with you. God’s promises do point to future realities, but also serve to shape our life today. We live today in the sure hope of God’s promises tomorrow.