1. Read verse 1. Who is the "barren woman" to whom Isaiah speaks? Think about the meaning of barrenness from a Biblical viewpoint. (Ge 1:28; 11:30; 16:1,2; 21:6; 25:21; 29:31; 30:1,2; 1Sa 1:10-11) What is the contrast in this verse?
2. If the 70 years of Babylonian captivity of Israel has just ended, what would be the physical and mental state of the people of Israel? (Dan 1:1-2;Ne 1:3) What contrast do you see in this verse? What promise did the Lord give his people?
* ENLARGE THE PLACE OF YOUR TENT (2,3)
3. Read verse 2-3. What command did the Lord give? (2) What hope does this command plant? From God's viewpoint, what did this command mean to Israel? (Remember God's purpose for Israel [Ex 19:6]). How does this command fit God's purpose? What does it mean to God's people now?
4. Practically speaking, if a tent place is enlarged, why must the cords be lengthened and the stakes strengthened? What might be the spiritual meaning of this? How can we lengthen our cords and strengthen our stakes?
5. What does it mean to dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities? (Compare Ge 22:17-18; 24:60; Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15)
* YOUR MAKER IS YOUR HUSBAND (4-8)
6. Read verses 4-8. How had Israel experienced fear, shame and disgrace? To what did God compare their situation? (4,6,7) What is his good news for them? (5,8)
7. Read verse 5 again. What does it mean that our Maker is our husband? Our Redeemer? (5,8) How can a joyless, barren people be changed into a joyful, fruitful ones? Why was God angry with his people? How did he punish them? What was his promise? (7)