But now, O Israel, the LORD who created you says: "Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt, Ethiopia, a and Seba as a ransom for your freedom.
Others died that you might live. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you."
"Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will gather you and your children from east and west
and from north and south. I will bring my sons and daughters back to Israel from the distant corners of the earth.
All who claim me as their God will come, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them."
Bring out the people who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf.
Gather the nations together! Which of their idols has ever foretold such things? Can any of them predict something even a single day in advance? Where are the witnesses of such predictions? Who can verify that they spoke the truth?
"But you are my witnesses, O Israel!" says the LORD. "And you are my servant. You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God. There is no other God; there never has been and never will be.
I am the LORD, and there is no other Savior.
First I predicted your deliverance; I declared what I would do, and then I did it -- I saved you. No foreign god has ever done this before. You are witnesses that I am the only God," says the LORD.
"From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can oppose what I do. No one can reverse my actions."
The LORD your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, says: "For your sakes I will send an invading army against Babylon. And the Babylonians b will be forced to flee in those ships they are so proud of.
I am the LORD, your Holy One, Israel's Creator and King.
I am the LORD, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea.
I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses. I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned, their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick."
"But forget all that -- it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness for my people to come home. I will create rivers for them in the desert!
The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and ostriches, too, for giving them water in the wilderness. Yes, I will make springs in the desert, so that my chosen people can be refreshed.
I have made Israel for myself, and they will someday honor me before the whole world."
"But, my dear people, you refuse to ask for my help. You have grown tired of me!
You have not brought me lambs for burnt offerings. You have not honored me with sacrifices, though I have not burdened and wearied you with my requests for grain offerings and incense.
You have not brought me fragrant incense or pleased me with the fat from sacrifices. Instead, you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your faults."
"I -- yes, I alone -- am the one who blots out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.
Let us review the situation together, and you can present your case if you have one.
From the very beginning, your ancestors sinned against me -- all your leaders broke my laws.
That is why I have disgraced your priests and assigned Israel a future of complete destruction c and shame."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)