Isaiah 29 (The Message)

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1 Doom, Ariel, Ariel, the city where David set camp! Let the years add up, let the festivals run their cycles, 2 But I'm not letting up on Jerusalem. The moaning and groaning will continue. Jerusalem to me is an Ariel. 3 Like David, I'll set up camp against you. I'll set siege, build towers, bring in siege engines, build siege ramps. 4 Driven into the ground, you'll speak, you'll mumble words from the dirt - Your voice from the ground, like the muttering of a ghost. Your speech will whisper from the dust. 5 But it will be your enemies who are beaten to dust, the mob of tyrants who will be blown away like chaff. Because, surprise, as if out of nowhere, 6 a visit from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, With thunderclaps, earthquakes, and earsplitting noise, backed up by hurricanes, tornadoes, and lightning strikes, 7 And the mob of enemies at war with Ariel, all who trouble and hassle and torment her, will turn out to be a bad dream, a nightmare. 8 Like a hungry man dreaming he's eating steak and wakes up hungry as ever, Like a thirsty woman dreaming she's drinking iced tea and wakes up thirsty as ever, So that mob of nations at war against Mount Zion will wake up and find they haven't shot an arrow, haven't killed a single soul. 9 Drug yourselves so you feel nothing. Blind yourselves so you see nothing. Get drunk, but not on wine. Black out, but not from whiskey. 10 For God has rocked you into a deep, deep sleep, put the discerning prophets to sleep, put the farsighted seers to sleep. You Have Everything Backwards 11 What you've been shown here is somewhat like a letter in a sealed envelope. If you give it to someone who can read and tell her, "Read this," she'll say, "I can't. The envelope is sealed." 12 And if you give it to someone who can't read and tell him, "Read this," he'll say, "I can't read." 13 The Master said: "These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their hearts aren't in it. Because they act like they're worshiping me but don't mean it, 14 I'm going to step in and shock them awake, astonish them, stand them on their ears. The wise ones who had it all figured out will be exposed as fools. The smart people who thought they knew everything will turn out to know nothing." 15 Doom to you! You pretend to have the inside track. You shut God out and work behind the scenes, Plotting the future as if you knew everything, acting mysterious, never showing your hand. 16 You have everything backwards! You treat the potter as a lump of clay. Does a book say to its author, "He didn't write a word of me"? Does a meal say to the woman who cooked it, "She had nothing to do with this"? 17 And then before you know it, and without you having anything to do with it, Wasted Lebanon will be transformed into lush gardens, and Mount Carmel reforested. 18 At that time the deaf will hear word-for-word what's been written. After a lifetime in the dark, the blind will see. 19 The castoffs of society will be laughing and dancing in God, the down-and-outs shouting praise to The Holy of Israel. 20 For there'll be no more gangs on the street. Cynical scoffers will be an extinct species. Those who never missed a chance to hurt or demean will never be heard of again: 21 Gone the people who corrupted the courts, gone the people who cheated the poor, gone the people who victimized the innocent. 22 And finally this, God's Message for the family of Jacob, the same God who redeemed Abraham: "No longer will Jacob hang his head in shame, no longer grow gaunt and pale with waiting. 23 For he's going to see his children, my personal gift to him - lots of children. And these children will honor me by living holy lives. In holy worship they'll honor the Holy One of Jacob and stand in holy awe of the God of Israel. 24 Those who got off-track will get back on-track, and complainers and whiners learn gratitude."
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