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Isaiah 39; Isaiah 40; Colossians 4

1 At that time Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah since he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. 2 Hezekiah was pleased with them, and showed them his treasure house-the silver, the gold, the spices, and the precious oil-and all his armory, and everything that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his palace and in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. 3 Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and asked him, "What did these men say? The men who came to you-where were they from?" Hezekiah replied, "They came to me from a distant country, from Babylon." 4 And he asked, "What have they seen in your palace?" Hezekiah answered, "They have seen everything in my palace. There isn't anything in my storehouses that I didn't show them." 5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the Lord of Hosts: 6 'The time will certainly come when everything in your palace and all that your fathers have stored up until this day will be carried off to Babylon; nothing will be left,' says the Lord. 7 'Some of your descendants who come from you will be taken away, and they will be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.'" 8 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good." For he thought: There will be peace and security during my lifetime.
1 "Comfort, comfort My people," says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and announce to her that her time of servitude is over, her iniquity has been pardoned, and she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice of one crying out: Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert. 4 Every valley will be lifted up, and every mountain and hill will be leveled; the uneven ground will become smooth, and the rough places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord will appear, and all humanity will see [it] together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. 6 A voice was saying, "Cry out!" Another said, "What should I cry out?" "All humanity is grass, and all its goodness is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flowers fade when the breath of the Lord blows on them; indeed, the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever." 9 Zion, herald of good news, go up on a high mountain. Jerusalem, herald of good news, raise your voice loudly. Raise it, do not be afraid! Say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your God!" 10 See, the Lord God comes with strength, and His power establishes His rule. His reward is with Him, and His gifts accompany Him. 11 He protects His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries [them] in the fold of His [garment]. He gently leads those that are nursing. 12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand or marked off the heavens with the span [of his hand]? Who has gathered the dust of the earth in a measure or weighed the mountains in a balance and the hills in scales? 13 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or who gave Him His counsel? 14 Who did He consult with? Who gave Him understanding and taught Him the paths of justice? Who taught Him knowledge and showed Him the way of understanding? 15 Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are considered as a speck of dust on the scales; He lifts up the islands like fine dust. 16 Lebanon is not enough for fuel, or its animals enough for a burnt offering. 17 All the nations are as nothing before Him; they are considered by Him as nothingness and emptiness. 18 Who will you compare God with? What likeness will you compare Him to? 19 To an idol?-[something that] a smelter casts, and a metalworker plates with gold and makes silver welds [for it]? 20 To one who shapes a pedestal, choosing wood that does not rot? He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not fall over. 21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not considered the foundations of the earth? 22 God is enthroned above the circle of the earth; its inhabitants are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like thin cloth and spreads them out like a tent to live in. 23 He reduces princes to nothing and makes the judges of the earth to be irrational. 24 They are barely planted, barely sown, their stem hardly takes root in the ground when He blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind carries them away like stubble. 25 "Who will you compare Me to, or who is My equal?" asks the Holy One. 26 Look up and see: who created these? He brings out the starry host by number; He calls all of them by name. Because of His great power and strength, not one of them is missing. 27 Jacob, why do you say, and Israel, why do you assert: "My way is hidden from the Lord, and my claim is ignored by my God"? 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. 29 He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. 30 Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, 31 but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.
1 Masters, supply your slaves with what is right and fair, since you know that you too have a Master in heaven. 2 Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us that God may open a door to us for the message, to speak the mystery of the Messiah-for which I am in prison- 4 so that I may reveal it as I am required to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the time. 6 Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person. 7 Tychicus, a loved brother, a faithful servant, and a fellow slave in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. 8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know how we are, and so that he may encourage your hearts. 9 He is with Onesimus, a faithful and loved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here. 10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, greets you, as does Mark, Barnabas' cousin (concerning whom you have received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and so does Jesus who is called Justus. These alone of the circumcision are my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a slave of Christ Jesus, greets you. He is always contending for you in his prayers, so that you can stand mature and fully assured in everything God wills. 13 For I testify about him that he works hard for you, for those in Laodicea, and for those in Hierapolis. 14 Luke, the loved physician, and Demas greet you. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers in Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And tell Archippus, "Pay attention to the ministry you have received in the Lord, so that you can accomplish it." 18 This greeting is in my own hand-Paul. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.
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