1 About that same time the king of Babylonia, Merodach Baladan, son of Baladan, heard that King Hezekiah had been sick, so he sent him a letter and a present. 2 Hezekiah welcomed the messengers and showed them his wealth - his silver and gold, his spices and perfumes, and all his military equipment. There was nothing in his storerooms or anywhere in his kingdom that he did not show them. 3 Then the prophet Isaiah went to King Hezekiah and asked, "Where did these messengers come from and what did they say to you?" Hezekiah answered, "They came from a very distant country, from Babylonia." 4 "What did they see in the palace?" "They saw everything. There is nothing in the storerooms that I didn't show them." 5 Isaiah then told the king, "The Lord Almighty says that 6 a time is coming when everything in your palace, everything that your ancestors have stored up to this day, will be carried off to Babylonia. Nothing will be left. 7 Some of your own direct descendants will be taken away and made eunuchs to serve in the palace of the king of Babylonia." 8 King Hezekiah understood this to mean that there would be peace and security during his lifetime, so he replied, "The message you have given me from the Lord is good."
1 "Comfort my people," says our God. "Comfort them! 2 Encourage the people of Jerusalem. Tell them they have suffered long enough and their sins are now forgiven. I have punished them in full for all their sins." 3 A voice cries out, "Prepare in the wilderness a road for the Lord! Clear the way in the desert for our God! 4 Fill every valley; level every mountain. The hills will become a plain, and the rough country will be made smooth. 5 Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it. The Lord himself has promised this." 6 A voice cries out, "Proclaim a message!" "What message shall I proclaim?" I ask. "Proclaim that all human beings are like grass; they last no longer than wild flowers. 7 Grass withers and flowers fade when the Lord sends the wind blowing over them. People are no more enduring than grass. 8 Yes, grass withers and flowers fade, but the word of our God endures forever." 9 Jerusalem, go up on a high mountain and proclaim the good news! Call out with a loud voice, Zion; announce the good news! Speak out and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah that their God is coming! 10 The Sovereign Lord is coming to rule with power, bringing with him the people he has rescued. 11 He will take care of his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs together and carry them in his arms; he will gently lead their mothers. 12 Can anyone measure the ocean by handfuls or measure the sky with his hands? Can anyone hold the soil of the earth in a cup or weigh the mountains and hills on scales? 13 Can anyone tell the Lord what to do? Who can teach him or give him advice? 14 With whom does God consult in order to know and understand and to learn how things should be done? 15 To the Lord the nations are nothing, no more than a drop of water; the distant islands are as light as dust. 16 All the animals in the forests of Lebanon are not enough for a sacrifice to our God, and its trees are too few to kindle the fire. 17 The nations are nothing at all to him. 18 To whom can God be compared? How can you describe what he is like? 19 He is not like an idol that workers make, that metalworkers cover with gold and set in a base of silver. 20 Anyone who cannot afford silver or gold chooses wood that will not rot. He finds a skillful worker to make an image that won't fall down. 21 Do you not know? Were you not told long ago? Have you not heard how the world began? 22 It was made by the one who sits on his throne above the earth and beyond the sky; the people below look as tiny as ants. He stretched out the sky like a curtain, like a tent in which to live. 23 He brings down powerful rulers and reduces them to nothing. 24 They are like young plants, just set out and barely rooted. When the Lord sends a wind, they dry up and blow away like straw. 25 To whom can the holy God be compared? Is there anyone else like him? 26 Look up at the sky! Who created the stars you see? The one who leads them out like an army, he knows how many there are and calls each one by name! His power is so great - not one of them is ever missing! 27 Israel, why then do you complain that the Lord doesn't know your troubles or care if you suffer injustice? 28 Don't you know? Haven't you heard? The Lord is the everlasting God; he created all the world. He never grows tired or weary. No one understands his thoughts. 29 He strengthens those who are weak and tired. 30 Even those who are young grow weak; young people can fall exhausted. 31 But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.
1 Masters, be fair and just in the way you treat your slaves. Remember that you too have a Master in heaven. 2 Be persistent in prayer, and keep alert as you pray, giving thanks to God. 3 At the same time pray also for us, so that God will give us a good opportunity to preach his message about the secret of Christ. For that is why I am now in prison. 4 Pray, then, that I may speak, as I should, in such a way as to make it clear. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward those who are not believers, making good use of every opportunity you have. 6 Your speech should always be pleasant and interesting, and you should know how to give the right answer to everyone. 7 Our dear friend Tychicus, who is a faithful worker and fellow servant in the Lord's work, will give you all the news about me. 8 That is why I am sending him to you, in order to cheer you up by telling you how all of us are getting along. 9 With him goes Onesimus, that dear and faithful friend, who belongs to your group. They will tell you everything that is happening here. 10 Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have already received instructions to welcome Mark if he comes your way.) 11 Joshua, also called Justus, sends greetings too. These three are the only Jewish believers who work with me for the Kingdom of God, and they have been a great help to me. 12 Greetings from Epaphras, another member of your group and a servant of Christ Jesus. He always prays fervently for you, asking God to make you stand firm, as mature and fully convinced Christians, in complete obedience to God's will. 13 I can personally testify to his hard work for you and for the people in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Luke, our dear doctor, and Demas send you their greetings. 15 Give our best wishes to the believers in Laodicea and to Nympha and the church that meets in her house. 16 After you read this letter, make sure that it is read also in the church at Laodicea. At the same time, you are to read the letter that the believers in Laodicea will send you. 17 And tell Archippus, "Be sure to finish the task you were given in the Lord's service." 18 With my own hand I write this: [Greetings from Paul.] Do not forget my chains! May God's grace be with you.