Throughout the month of April, we went through Isaiah 40 together. The timing was perfect because Isaiah 40 opens with comfort and closes up with strength. Two things we desperately needed from God as the coronavirus pandemic began.
It’s not too late—you can still watch the teaching videos and join the group!
What to Expect: Isaiah 40
We gathered live inside the Facebook group each week and spent about 30 minutes studying Scripture together. If you’re just joining the group, no worries! The Isaiah 40 videos have been recorded for you to watch anytime inside the group. Just click on “Units” in the group for access anytime or follow the links below.
After you watch the Isaiah 40 teaching videos inside the group, use the Going Deeper questions below to further your study. I just know you’re going to love studying Isaiah 40 with us!
Let’s Go Deeper Together
After each teaching video, come back here for to go deeper into your study of Isaiah 40. I hope you’ll get alone with God, journal, be still with Him, and let Him speak to you.
Week 1: Isaiah 40:1-8
Just for Fun
Isaiah 40 opens with comfort. God wants to give us, His people, comfort. Beautiful, isn’t it? So, besides the comfort God gives, let’s get fun and practical. What else brings you comfort? It can be anything from an old blanket, a favorite book, or even snuggling by a fire to your Granny’s chicken and dumplings! I’ll share mine. I love to listen to throw-back Christian music from the 70’s! That is definitely a ‘go-to’ for me when I need comfort. I also love hot tea , the fragrance of a coffee candle, and wearing something I just pulled out of the warm dryer when I need a little comfort. So, how about you? Go!
Read Isaiah 35 and share how what is described in that passage shows up in your real life as you make your heart a “highway” (Isaiah 40:3) for your God. Isaiah 35 uses words in it like, glad, blossom, rejoice, strengthen, and bubbling spring, to name just a few. Pick some of your favorite words or phrases from that chapter and explain how they’re real in your life. Here’s mine: The phrase “the wilderness will rejoice and blossom” (Isaiah 35:1) is a reality for me right now because as I am sheltering in place, feeling so removed. I feel like there is tons of growth blossoming around me and in me. Blossoms represent health and beauty and growth. That is what I want, need and claim in Christ right now, and I am experiencing it in this group and in His Word. Now, your turn. Go!
Encourage One Another
Isaiah 40:8 tells us that God’s Word endures forever. Thank You, Lord! We talked about how we are so fragile and God’s Word is unstoppable. So, here’s my question for you today. When you feel like you will wither or fall apart, what Scripture holds you together and keeps you standing strong? Mine is 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Those verses remind me that what I experience here is just temporary and God is using it all to create a “far greater weight of glory!” That’s why I don’t give up, lose heart, or throw in the towel. So, you just saw mine. Now, share yours. It will be such an encouragement to all of us because through His Word, “the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all people will see it together!” (Isaiah 40:5) Okay, go!
Week 2: Isaiah 40:9-14
Just for Fun
We saw the utter supremacy of God through of all things … dust! (Isaiah 40:12) I was blown away to really try to fathom the unfathomable! All that talk about dust got me a little distracted—I couldn’t stop thinking of how much I should clean my house. So, just for fun … what’s your favorite household chore and what’s your least favorite. My favorite is organizing and cleaning out anything—drawers, closets, under beds. My least favorite? Everything else! Kidding. My least favorite is cleaning the shower. Okay, your turn, go!
Isaiah 40:11 reminds us that our God of great power is our Shepherd Who gently cares for us. “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Notice the verbs (action words) in that verse. How have you experienced God tending to your needs, gathering you to His flock, carrying you when you’re weak or leading you through life? Pick one and tell us about it!
Encourage One Another
Based on biblical examples and the opinions of many scholars, it seems that announcing and celebrating glad tidings belonged uniquely to the women. You are a part of that “mighty throng of women!” (Psalm 68:11). That means you have good news. In Isaiah 40, we learned that God gave the word to Isaiah—the good news that Zion would be restored and God’s presence would return to Jerusalem.
God has given you good news too and it’s as if He’s saying, “Tell the women to tell the world.” So, besides the good news of the gospel, what is some good news you can shout out this week? Share some ‘glad tidings’ that will encourage your bistro buddies. Base your good news on the truth of Scripture and the character of God.
Week 3: Isaiah 40:15-25
Just for Fun
Isaiah 40:18 and 25 are all about comparisons. “With whom will you compare God?” Obviously, there isnt anything or anyone we can compare God to. But, we try. In fact, we learned in week 2 about anthropomorphisms—attributing human traits or emotions to God. We see this in Scripture, like God being compared to a rock or a shepherd or a strong tower or a lion. So, with that in mind, think about something you can relate to, like a warm blanket or a lovely sunset—anything or anyone that conjures up thoughts of what God is like. Using the concept of anthropomorphism, what can you compare God to and why? He is like … get a little poetic here! (We want to be respectful but the point is to express our relationship with and emotion toward God, it’s not an exercise in theology!) Ready? Go!
We learned this week that God can never be compared to an idol. But, sometimes we slip into idolatry just like the Israelites did. Usually, our idolatry begins with wrong thinking. Moses had only been up the mountain for less than 40 days when the Israelites demanded another god. The faulty thinking was that they needed something they already had.
“When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make us a god who will go before us because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!’” (Exodus 32:1)
Do you have any wrong, misguided thinking in your life? Here’s a way to answer that question: Is there anything you already possess in God that you are seeking in someone or something else? I want you to be honest with your Bible Study Bistro Buddies so I’ll start. Affirmation. Yep, I seek affirmation and approval through performance, perfection, or just trying to please. I am seeking what I already have in God. So, what about you? Go!
Encourage One Another
We saw through Isaiah 40:15-25 that nothing—no great leader, no great nation—compares to our great God. This pandemic has exposed the fragility of our great leaders and great nations. So, how does the uncertainty and fragility of nations and leaders lead you to greater confidence in God? Go!
Week 4: Isaiah 40:26-31
Just for Fun
We talked a lot about growing weary, not growing weary, how God doesn’t get tired … all that talk of being tired made me sleepy and want a nap! Ha! So, just for fun, tell us in the comments if you’re a morning or a night person and what your favorite part of bedtime is at the end of a long day when you’re weary. Mine? I love a very cold bedroom, the fragrance of lavender, a weighted blanket, and a good audiobook. Your turn!
Paula read Psalm 139:7-10 and it reassured us that God always sees us no matter where we are or what we’re going through. In those verses, David uses poetic language to describe several places where God sees Him. If he is in the heavens or in the depths or if he settles on the far side of the sea—God sees him. The same is true for you, sister! God always sees us even when we don’t feel it.
So, think through the places, situations, or seasons when you feel the most ‘unseen’ or hidden from God. In the Bistro group, share what or where they are. For me, when I went through a hard season of depression several years ago, I felt hidden, invisible to God and everyone around me. So, share yours but go a step further by stating the truth with a hashtag. For example, I would write: Depression made me feel hidden from God. #GodSeesMeEvenInTheDark. Got it? Got it! Go!
Encourage One Another
Isaiah 40:29 promises that God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Weary and weak … that’s me! How about you? Share inside the Bistro group one area of your life where you need to experience God’s power and/or trade-in your weariness for His strength. As you share, it serves as a declaration of trust and lets your Bistro Bible Study Buddies pray for you and cheer you on. Mine? I need God’s strength for the stamina to keep recalibrating all the demands of our ministry during this pandemic and wisdom for managing the rescheduled events … and… and… well, that’s enough! So, that was mine. Now, share yours. Go!
Week 5: Review Isaiah 40
Free Download: 15 Reasons You Have Comfort
Click here to provide your email address and I’ll send you the beautiful Isaiah 40 summary, 15 Reasons You Have Comfort.
Isaiah 40 Playlist
I love how music reminds me of the promises of Scripture! Click here for my personal Isaiah 40 playlist. You’re going to love the songs here!
Michael O’Brien Music
Wasn’t it amazing to have Michael provide a concert just for us in the Bistro group?! He really is one of my favorites and I’m so glad he was able to join us. Here’s where you can find his music, including his newest album, Crown Him.
Additional Questions for Personal Study or Private Group Discussion
Looking for additional questions for personal study or private group discussion? We’ve got you covered! New questions will be added following the teaching season each week.
What’s next in the Bistro?