Isaiah 20; Isaiah 21; Isaiah 22; Ephesians 6

1 Under the orders of Emperor Sargon of Assyria, the commander-in-chief of the Assyrian army attacked the Philistine city of Ashdod. 2 Three years earlier the Lord had told Isaiah son of Amoz to take off his sandals and the sackcloth he was wearing. He obeyed and went around naked and barefoot. 3 When Ashdod was captured, the Lord said, "My servant Isaiah has been going around naked and barefoot for three years. This is a sign of what will happen to Egypt and Ethiopia. 4 The emperor of Assyria will lead away naked the prisoners he captures from those two countries. Young and old, they will walk barefoot and naked, with their buttocks exposed, bringing shame on Egypt. 5 Those who have put their trust in Ethiopia and have boasted about Egypt will be disillusioned, their hopes shattered. 6 When that time comes, the people who live along the coast of Philistia will say, "Look at what has happened to the people we relied on to protect us from the emperor of Assyria! How will we ever survive?' "
1 This is a message about Babylonia. Like a whirlwind sweeping across the desert, disaster will come from a terrifying land. 2 I have seen a vision of cruel events, a vision of betrayal and destruction. Army of Elam, attack! Army of Media, lay siege to the cities! God will put an end to the suffering which Babylon has caused. 3 What I saw and heard in the vision has filled me with terror and pain, pain like that of a woman in labor. 4 My head is spinning, and I am trembling with fear. I had been longing for evening to come, but it has brought me nothing but terror. 5 In the vision a banquet is ready; rugs are spread for the guests to sit on. They are eating and drinking. Suddenly the command rings out: "Officers! Prepare your shields!" 6 Then the Lord said to me, "Go and post a sentry, and tell him to report what he sees. 7 If he sees riders coming on horseback, two by two, and riders on donkeys and camels, he is to observe them carefully." 8 The sentry calls out, "Sir, I have been standing guard at my post day and night." 9 Suddenly, here they come! Riders on horseback, two by two. The sentry gives the news, "Babylon has fallen! All the idols they worshiped lie shattered on the ground." 10 My people Israel, you have been threshed like wheat, but now I have announced to you the good news that I have heard from the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel. 11 This is a message about Edom. Someone calls to me from Edom, "Sentry, how soon will the night be over? Tell me how soon it will end." 12 I answer, "Morning is coming, but night will come again. If you want to ask again, come back and ask." 13 This is a message about Arabia. People of Dedan, you whose caravans camp in the barren country of Arabia, 14 give water to the thirsty people who come to you. You people of the land of Tema, give food to the refugees. 15 People are fleeing to escape from swords that are ready to kill them, from bows that are ready to shoot, from all the dangers of war. 16 Then the Lord said to me, "In exactly one year the greatness of the tribes of Kedar will be at an end. 17 The archers are the bravest warriors of Kedar, but few of them will be left. I, the Lord God of Israel, have spoken."
1 This is a message about the Valley of Vision. What is happening? Why are all the people of the city celebrating on the roofs of the houses? 2 The whole city is in an uproar, filled with noise and excitement. Your people who died in this war did not die fighting. 3 All your leaders ran away and were captured before they shot a single arrow. 4 Now leave me alone to weep bitterly over all those of my people who have died. Don't try to comfort me. 5 This is a time of panic, defeat, and confusion in the Valley of Vision, and the Sovereign Lord Almighty has sent it on us. The walls of our city have been battered down, and cries for help have echoed among the hills. 6 The soldiers from the land of Elam came riding on horseback, armed with bows and arrows. Soldiers from the land of Kir had their shields ready. 7 The fertile valleys of Judah were filled with chariots; soldiers on horseback stood in front of Jerusalem's gates. 8 All of Judah's defenses crumbled. When that happened, you brought weapons out of the arsenal. 9 You found the places where the walls of Jerusalem needed repair. You inspected all the houses in Jerusalem and tore some of them down to get stones to repair the city walls. In order to store water, 11 you built a reservoir inside the city to hold the water flowing down from the old pool. But you paid no attention to God, who planned all this long ago and who caused it to happen. 12 The Sovereign Lord Almighty was calling you then to weep and mourn, to shave your heads and wear sackcloth. 13 Instead, you laughed and celebrated. You killed sheep and cattle to eat, and you drank wine. You said, "We might as well eat and drink! Tomorrow we'll be dead." 14 The Sovereign Lord Almighty himself spoke to me and said, "This evil will never be forgiven them as long as they live. I, the Sovereign Lord Almighty, have spoken." 15 The Sovereign Lord Almighty told me to go to Shebna, the manager of the royal household, and say to him, 16 "Who do you think you are? What right do you have to carve a tomb for yourself out of the rocky hillside? 17 You may be important, but the Lord will pick you up and throw you away. 18 He will pick you up like a ball and throw you into a much larger country. You will die there beside the chariots you were so proud of. You are a disgrace to your master's household. 19 The Lord will remove you from office and bring you down from your high position." 20 The Lord said to Shebna, "When that happens, I will send for my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah. 21 I will put your official robe and belt on him and give him all the authority you have had. He will be like a father to the people of Jerusalem and Judah. 22 I will give him complete authority under the king, the descendant of David. He will have the keys of office; what he opens, no one will shut, and what he shuts, no one will open. 23 I will fasten him firmly in place like a peg, and he will be a source of honor to his whole family. 24 "But all his relatives and dependents will become a burden to him. They will hang on him like pots and bowls hanging from a peg! 25 When that happens, the peg that was firmly fastened will pull loose and fall. And that will be the end of everything that was hanging on it." The Lord has spoken.
1 Children, it is your Christian duty to obey your parents, for this is the right thing to do. 2 "Respect your father and mother" is the first commandment that has a promise added: 3 "so that all may go well with you, and you may live a long time in the land." 4 Parents, do not treat your children in such a way as to make them angry. Instead, raise them with Christian discipline and instruction. 5 Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling; and do it with a sincere heart, as though you were serving Christ. 6 Do this not only when they are watching you, because you want to gain their approval; but with all your heart do what God wants, as slaves of Christ. 7 Do your work as slaves cheerfully, as though you served the Lord, and not merely human beings. 8 Remember that the Lord will reward each of us, whether slave or free, for the good work we do. 9 Masters, behave in the same way toward your slaves and stop using threats. Remember that you and your slaves belong to the same Master in heaven, who judges everyone by the same standard. 10 Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power. 11 Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil's evil tricks. 12 For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. 13 So put on God's armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy's attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground. 14 So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, 15 and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. 16 At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. 17 And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. 18 Do all this in prayer, asking for God's help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God's people. 19 And pray also for me, that God will give me a message when I am ready to speak, so that I may speak boldly and make known the gospel's secret. 20 For the sake of this gospel I am an ambassador, though now I am in prison. Pray that I may be bold in speaking about the gospel as I should. 21 Tychicus, our dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord's work, will give you all the news about me, so that you may know how I am getting along. 22 That is why I am sending him to you - to tell you how all of us are getting along and to encourage you. 23 May God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give to all Christians peace and love with faith. 24 May God's grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with undying love.
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