Isaiah 46-54 • On the Other Side of Judgment


We will look at several passages in Isaiah that repeat a theme of teaching concerning the specific role of Israel in God’s overall plans for mankind, as well as the example that they have and continue to serve to everyone.

Read 46:1-2

Q: What is this a picture of and why?

A: This is a picture of the spiritual weight of idolatry on our lives, that the weight is as much as the real, physical weight of those idols on our shoulders. Note the words “bowed down”, “stoops over”, “burdensome”, “a load”, etc.

Read 46:3-4

Q: What is the contrast of the One True God to all the false gods?

A: God’s willingness to not be a spiritual burden on us, but in fact to actually bear the burden Himself. Note the words “borne”, “carried”, “I will bear you”, “I will carry you”, “I will deliver you.

Read Matthew 23:1-4

Q: To what does Jesus liken the Pharisees’ implementation of religion?

A: (v.4) “They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders...” It’s the same effect as idolatry.

Application: How do we free ourselves from the spiritual burdens that keep us from truly worshiping and serving Christ? [Hint: See verse 3]

Point: Only when we return to Him can the burdens of our life—our sin—be relieved so that we can be restored to Him.

Read 49:6

Q: What does the reference in v.6 to “My Servant” mean?

A: The work of God to be fulfilled through Israel will come through the Messiah.

Q: What are the 3 things to be fulfilled by the Messiah through Israel?

Q: Have these all been accomplished? Is God’s work through the Messiah completed?

A: No. Parts of these began with Jesus’ First Coming, but they are yet to be completed, particularly the “resurrection”, so to speak, of Israel.

Read 49:14-16

Q: During what times might Israel come to believe that God has forsaken them?

A: During the times of God’s judgment when they’ve been dispersed from the land of Israel, such as the Babylonian captivity and the dispersion that began during the Roman Empire and continues to this day.

Q: Why would they think like that? Is there any basis on which they would draw that conclusion?

A: If we study judgments rendered by God on other nations/peoples, they very rarely survive. For instance, during Israel’s 490 years of captivity in Egypt, God provided the nations of Canaan the opportunity to repent and reconcile with Him. But because they completely rejected Him for false gods, He devoted them to complete destruction. It’s a very common result of idolatry, which is the major crime for which Israel is being punished.

Q: What does the reference mean in v.16, “I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands”?

A: It’s probably a reference to Exodus 13:9:

“And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the Lord may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt.”

They were supposed to inscribe God’s Word on their own self as a reminder and act of faithfulness to Him. Here God is using their own terms to describe HIS faithfulness and remembrance of His own Word to restore them, a very powerful object lesson of God’s love and grace in contrast to their unfaithfulness

Read 49:22-26

Q: If Israel has been removed from the Promised Land and for so long been held in captivity that it has lost hope in God, what do they represent spiritually?

A: Israel is a type of resurrection.

Q: What is the stated purpose of this work?

A: (v.26) “And all flesh will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior and your Redeemer...” The power of the resurrection reveals the Source of the power.


Point: God’s repeated “resurrection” of Israel is a precursor as well as testimony to the resurrection of Christ, and the power and work of the resurrection in those who follow Him.

Read 52:7-10

Q: To what does this passage speak?

A: The restoration—or resurrection, if you will—of Israel.

Q: Why will God do this?

A: According to v.10, “That all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God.”

Read 52:13-15

Q: To what does this passage speak?

A: The resurrection of the Messiah

Q: Why will/did God do this?

A: (v.15) “...He will sprinkle many nations...”

Q: What does it mean to “sprinkle”?

A: It’s the Old Testament ritual of making something pure by the sprinkling of blood, in this case Christ’s blood.

Point: The Messiah came through Israel and initiated a work that is still to be completed through Israel. This is why we cannot simply dismiss God’s work in Israel and the associated prophecies; they are the very real and visible evidence of the existence of God and His work on this planet to this day and for the future.

Read 54:9-10

Q: What awaits God’s people on the other side of judgment when they return to Him?

A: Grace, peace, compassion.

Overall Application