1 The Lord says, "Here is my servant, whom I strengthen - the one I have chosen, with whom I am pleased. I have filled him with my Spirit, and he will bring justice to every nation. 2 He will not shout or raise his voice or make loud speeches in the streets. 3 He will not break off a bent reed nor put out a flickering lamp. He will bring lasting justice to all. 4 He will not lose hope or courage; he will establish justice on the earth. Distant lands eagerly wait for his teaching." 5 God created the heavens and stretched them out; he fashioned the earth and all that lives there; he gave life and breath to all its people. And now the Lord God says to his servant, 6 "I, the Lord, have called you and given you power to see that justice is done on earth. Through you I will make a covenant with all peoples; through you I will bring light to the nations. 7 You will open the eyes of the blind and set free those who sit in dark prisons. 8 "I alone am the Lord your God. No other god may share my glory; I will not let idols share my praise. 9 The things I predicted have now come true. Now I will tell you of new things even before they begin to happen." 10 Sing a new song to the Lord; sing his praise, all the world! Praise him, you that sail the sea; praise him, all creatures of the sea! Sing, distant lands and all who live there! 11 Let the desert and its towns praise God; let the people of Kedar praise him! Let those who live in the city of Sela shout for joy from the tops of the mountains! 12 Let those who live in distant lands give praise and glory to the Lord! 13 The Lord goes out to fight like a warrior; he is ready and eager for battle. He gives a war cry, a battle shout; he shows his power against his enemies. 14 God says, "For a long time I kept silent; I did not answer my people. But now the time to act has come; I cry out like a woman in labor. 15 I will destroy the hills and mountains and dry up the grass and trees. I will turn the river valleys into deserts and dry up the pools of water. 16 "I will lead my blind people by roads they have never traveled. I will turn their darkness into light and make rough country smooth before them. These are my promises, and I will keep them without fail. 17 All who trust in idols, who call images their gods, will be humiliated and disgraced." 18 The Lord says, "Listen, you deaf people! Look closely, you that are blind! 19 Is anyone more blind than my servant, more deaf than the messenger I send? 20 Israel, you have seen so much, but what has it meant to you? You have ears to hear with, but what have you really heard?" 21 The Lord is a God who is eager to save, so he exalted his laws and teachings, and he wanted his people to honor them. 22 But now his people have been plundered; they are locked up in dungeons and hidden away in prisons. They were robbed and plundered, with no one to come to their rescue. 23 Will any of you listen to this? From now on will you listen with care? 24 Who gave Israel up to the looters? It was the Lord himself, against whom we sinned! We would not live as he wanted us to live or obey the teachings he gave us. 25 So he made us feel the force of his anger and suffer the violence of war. Like fire his anger burned throughout Israel, but we never knew what was happening; we learned nothing at all from it.
1 Israel, the Lord who created you says, "Do not be afraid - I will save you. I have called you by name - you are mine. 2 When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, the holy God of Israel, who saves you. I will give up Egypt to set you free; I will give up Ethiopia and Seba. 4 I will give up whole nations to save your life, because you are precious to me and because I love you and give you honor. 5 Do not be afraid - I am with you! "From the distant east and the farthest west I will bring your people home. 6 I will tell the north to let them go and the south not to hold them back. Let my people return from distant lands, from every part of the world. 7 They are my own people, and I created them to bring me glory." 8 God says, "Summon my people to court. They have eyes, but they are blind; they have ears, but they are deaf! 9 Summon the nations to come to the trial. Which of their gods can predict the future? Which of them foretold what is happening now? Let these gods bring in their witnesses to prove that they are right, to testify to the truth of their words. 10 "People of Israel, you are my witnesses; I chose you to be my servant, so that you would know me and believe in me and understand that I am the only God. Besides me there is no other god; there never was and never will be. 11 "I alone am the Lord, the only one who can save you. 12 I predicted what would happen, and then I came to your aid. No foreign god has ever done this; you are my witnesses. 13 I am God and always will be. No one can escape from my power; no one can change what I do." 14 Israel's holy God, the Lord who saves you, says, "To save you, I will send an army against Babylon; I will break down the city gates, and the shouts of her people will turn into crying. 15 I am the Lord, your holy God. I created you, Israel, and I am your king." 16 Long ago the Lord made a road through the sea, a path through the swirling waters. 17 He led a mighty army to destruction, an army of chariots and horses. Down they fell, never to rise, snuffed out like the flame of a lamp! 18 But the Lord says, "Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. 19 Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already - you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there. 20 Even the wild animals will honor me; jackals and ostriches will praise me when I make rivers flow in the desert to give water to my chosen people. 21 They are the people I made for myself, and they will sing my praises!" 22 The Lord says, "But you were tired of me, Israel; you did not worship me. 23 You did not bring me your burnt offerings of sheep; you did not honor me with your sacrifices. I did not burden you by demanding offerings or wear you out by asking for incense. 24 You didn't buy incense for me or satisfy me with the fat of your animals. Instead you burdened me with your sins; you wore me out with the wrongs you have committed. 25 And yet, I am the God who forgives your sins, and I do this because of who I am. I will not hold your sins against you. 26 "Let us go to court; bring your accusation! Present your case to prove you are in the right! 27 Your earliest ancestor sinned; your leaders sinned against me, 28 and your rulers profaned my sanctuary. So I brought destruction on Israel; I let my own people be insulted."
1 The Lord says, "Listen now, Israel, my servant, my chosen people, the descendants of Jacob. 2 I am the Lord who created you; from the time you were born, I have helped you. Do not be afraid; you are my servant, my chosen people whom I love. 3 "I will give water to the thirsty land and make streams flow on the dry ground. I will pour out my spirit on your children and my blessing on your descendants. 4 They will thrive like well-watered grass, like willows by streams of running water. 5 "One by one, people will say, "I am the Lord's.' They will come to join the people of Israel. They each will mark the name of the Lord on their arms and call themselves one of God's people." 6 The Lord, who rules and protects Israel, the Lord Almighty, has this to say: "I am the first, the last, the only God; there is no other god but me. 7 Could anyone else have done what I did? Who could have predicted all that would happen from the very beginning to the end of time? 8 Do not be afraid, my people! You know that from ancient times until now I have predicted all that would happen, and you are my witnesses. Is there any other god? Is there some powerful god I never heard of?" 9 All those who make idols are worthless, and the gods they prize so highly are useless. Those who worship these gods are blind and ignorant - and they will be disgraced. 10 It does no good to make a metal image to worship as a god! 11 Everyone who worships it will be humiliated. The people who make idols are human beings and nothing more. Let them come and stand trial - they will be terrified and will suffer disgrace. 12 The metalworker takes a piece of metal and works with it over a fire. His strong arm swings a hammer to pound the metal into shape. As he works, he gets hungry, thirsty, and tired. 13 The carpenter measures the wood. He outlines a figure with chalk, carves it out with his tools, and makes it in the form of a man, a handsome human figure, to be placed in his house. 14 He might cut down cedars to use, or choose oak or cypress wood from the forest. Or he might plant a laurel tree and wait for the rain to make it grow. 15 A person uses part of a tree for fuel and part of it for making an idol. With one part he builds a fire to warm himself and bake bread; with the other part he makes a god and worships it. 16 With some of the wood he makes a fire; he roasts meat, eats it, and is satisfied. He warms himself and says, "How nice and warm! What a beautiful fire!" 17 The rest of the wood he makes into an idol, and then he bows down and worships it. He prays to it and says, "You are my god - save me!" 18 Such people are too stupid to know what they are doing. They close their eyes and their minds to the truth. 19 The maker of idols hasn't the wit or the sense to say, "Some of the wood I burned up. I baked some bread on the coals, and I roasted meat and ate it. And the rest of the wood I made into an idol. Here I am bowing down to a block of wood!" 20 It makes as much sense as eating ashes. His foolish ideas have so misled him that he is beyond help. He won't admit to himself that the idol he holds in his hand is not a god at all. 21 The Lord says, "Israel, remember this; remember that you are my servant. I created you to be my servant, and I will never forget you. 22 I have swept your sins away like a cloud. Come back to me; I am the one who saves you." 23 Shout for joy, you heavens! Shout, deep places of the earth! Shout for joy, mountains, and every tree of the forest! The Lord has shown his greatness by saving his people Israel. 24 "I am the Lord, your savior; I am the one who created you. I am the Lord, the Creator of all things. I alone stretched out the heavens; when I made the earth, no one helped me. 25 I make fools of fortunetellers and frustrate the predictions of astrologers. The words of the wise I refute and show that their wisdom is foolishness. 26 But when my servant makes a prediction, when I send a messenger to reveal my plans, I make those plans and predictions come true. I tell Jerusalem that people will live there again, and the cities of Judah that they will be rebuilt. Those cities will rise from the ruins. 27 With a word of command I dry up the ocean. 28 I say to Cyrus, "You are the one who will rule for me; you will do what I want you to do: you will order that Jerusalem be rebuilt and that the foundations of the Temple be laid.' "