Isaiah 14; Isaiah 15; Isaiah 16; Ephesians 5:1-16

1 The Lord will once again be merciful to his people Israel and choose them as his own. He will let them live in their own land again, and foreigners will come and live there with them. 2 Many nations will help the people of Israel return to the land which the Lord gave them, and there the nations will serve Israel as slaves. Those who once captured Israel will now be captured by Israel, and the people of Israel will rule over those who once oppressed them. 3 The Lord will give the people of Israel relief from their pain and suffering and from the hard work they were forced to do. 4 When he does this, they are to mock the king of Babylon and say: "The cruel king has fallen! He will never oppress anyone again! 5 The Lord has ended the power of the evil rulers 6 who angrily oppressed the peoples and never stopped persecuting the nations they had conquered. 7 Now at last the whole world enjoys rest and peace, and everyone sings for joy. 8 The cypress trees and the cedars of Lebanon rejoice over the fallen king, because there is no one to cut them down, now that he is gone! 9 "The world of the dead is getting ready to welcome the king of Babylon. The ghosts of those who were powerful on earth are stirring about. The ghosts of kings are rising from their thrones. 10 They all call out to him, "Now you are as weak as we are! You are one of us! 11 You used to be honored with the music of harps, but now here you are in the world of the dead. You lie on a bed of maggots and are covered with a blanket of worms.' " 12 King of Babylon, bright morning star, you have fallen from heaven! In the past you conquered nations, but now you have been thrown to the ground. 13 You were determined to climb up to heaven and to place your throne above the highest stars. You thought you would sit like a king on that mountain in the north where the gods assemble. 14 You said you would climb to the tops of the clouds and be like the Almighty. 15 But instead, you have been brought down to the deepest part of the world of the dead. 16 The dead will stare and gape at you. They will ask, "Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble? 17 Is this the man who destroyed cities and turned the world into a desert? Is this the man who never freed his prisoners or let them go home?" 18 All the kings of the earth lie in their magnificent tombs, 19 but you have no tomb, and your corpse is thrown out to rot. It is covered by the bodies of soldiers killed in battle, thrown with them into a rocky pit, and trampled down. 20 Because you ruined your country and killed your own people, you will not be buried like other kings. None of your evil family will survive. 21 Let the slaughter begin! The sons of this king will die because of their ancestors' sins. None of them will ever rule the earth or cover it with cities. 22 The Lord Almighty says, "I will attack Babylon and bring it to ruin. I will leave nothing - no children, no survivors at all. I, the Lord, have spoken. 23 I will turn Babylon into a marsh, and owls will live there. I will sweep Babylon with a broom that will sweep everything away. I, the Lord Almighty, have spoken." 24 The Lord Almighty has sworn an oath: "What I have planned will happen. What I have determined to do will be done. 25 I will destroy the Assyrians in my land of Israel and trample them on my mountains. I will free my people from the Assyrian yoke and from the burdens they have had to bear. 26 This is my plan for the world, and my arm is stretched out to punish the nations." 27 The Lord Almighty is determined to do this; he has stretched out his arm to punish, and no one can stop him. 28 This is a message that was proclaimed in the year that King Ahaz died. 29 People of Philistia, the rod that beat you is broken, but you have no reason to be glad. When one snake dies, a worse one comes in its place. A snake's egg hatches a flying dragon. 30 The Lord will be a shepherd to the poor of his people and will let them live in safety. But he will send a terrible famine on you Philistines, and it will not leave any of you alive. 31 Howl and cry for help, all you Philistine cities! Be terrified, all of you! A cloud of dust is coming from the north - it is an army with no cowards in its ranks. 32 How shall we answer the messengers that come to us from Philistia? We will tell them that the Lord has established Zion and that his suffering people will find safety there.
1 This is a message about Moab. The cities of Ar and Kir are destroyed in a single night, and silence covers the land of Moab. 2 The people of Dibon climb the hill to weep at the shrine. The people of Moab wail in grief over the cities of Nebo and Medeba; they have shaved their heads and their beards in grief. 3 The people in the streets are dressed in sackcloth; in the city squares and on the rooftops people mourn and cry. 4 The people of Heshbon and Elealeh cry out, and their cry can be heard as far away as Jahaz. Even the soldiers tremble; their courage is gone. 5 My heart cries out for Moab! The people have fled to the town of Zoar, and to Eglath Shelishiyah. Some climb the road to Luhith, weeping as they go; some escape to Horonaim, grieving loudly. 6 Nimrim Brook is dry, the grass beside it has withered, and nothing green is left. 7 The people go across the Valley of Willows, trying to escape with all their possessions. 8 Everywhere at Moab's borders the sound of crying is heard. It is heard at the towns of Eglaim and Beerelim. 9 At the town of Dibon the river is red with blood, and God has something even worse in store for the people there. Yes, there will be a bloody slaughter of everyone left in Moab.
1 From the city of Sela in the desert the people of Moab send a lamb as a present to the one who rules in Jerusalem. 2 They wait on the banks of the Arnon River and move aimlessly back and forth, like birds driven from their nest. 3 They say to the people of Judah, "Tell us what to do. Protect us like a tree that casts a cool shadow in the heat of noon, and let us rest in your shade. We are refugees; hide us where no one can find us. 4 Let us stay in your land. Protect us from those who want to destroy us." (Oppression and destruction will end, and those who are devastating the country will be gone. 5 Then one of David's descendants will be king, and he will rule the people with faithfulness and love. He will be quick to do what is right, and he will see that justice is done.) 6 The people of Judah say, "We have heard how proud the people of Moab are. We know that they are arrogant and conceited, but their boasts are empty." 7 The people of Moab will weep because of the troubles they suffer. They will all weep when they remember the fine food they used to eat in the city of Kir Heres. They will be driven to despair. 8 The farms near Heshbon and the vineyards of Sibmah are destroyed - those vineyards whose wine used to make the rulers of the nations drunk. At one time the vines spread as far as the city of Jazer, and eastward into the desert, and westward to the other side of the Dead Sea. 9 Now I weep for Sibmah's vines as I weep for Jazer. My tears fall for Heshbon and Elealeh, because there is no harvest to make the people glad. 10 No one is happy now in the fertile fields. No one shouts or sings in the vineyards. No one tramples grapes to make wine; the shouts of joy are ended. 11 I groan with sadness for Moab, with grief for Kir Heres. 12 The people of Moab wear themselves out going to their mountain shrines and to their temples to pray, but it will do them no good. 13 That is the message the Lord gave earlier about Moab. 14 And now the Lord says, "In exactly three years Moab's great wealth will disappear. Of its many people, only a few will survive, and they will be weak."
1 Since you are God's dear children, you must try to be like him. 2 Your life must be controlled by love, just as Christ loved us and gave his life for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice that pleases God. 3 Since you are God's people, it is not right that any matters of sexual immorality or indecency or greed should even be mentioned among you. 4 Nor is it fitting for you to use language which is obscene, profane, or vulgar. Rather you should give thanks to God. 5 You may be sure that no one who is immoral, indecent, or greedy (for greed is a form of idolatry) will ever receive a share in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Do not let anyone deceive you with foolish words; it is because of these very things that God's anger will come upon those who do not obey him. 7 So have nothing at all to do with such people. 8 You yourselves used to be in the darkness, but since you have become the Lord's people, you are in the light. So you must live like people who belong to the light, 9 for it is the light that brings a rich harvest of every kind of goodness, righteousness, and truth. 10 Try to learn what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the worthless things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light 12 (It is really too shameful even to talk about the things they do in secret.) 13 And when all things are brought out to the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed; 14 for anything that is clearly revealed becomes light. That is why it is said, "Wake up, sleeper, and rise from death, and Christ will shine on you." 15 So be careful how you live. Don't live like ignorant people, but like wise people. 16 Make good use of every opportunity you have, because these are evil days.
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