Isaiah 5; Isaiah 6; Ephesians 1

1 Listen while I sing you this song, a song of my friend and his vineyard: My friend had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. 2 He dug the soil and cleared it of stones; he planted the finest vines. He built a tower to guard them, dug a pit for treading the grapes. He waited for the grapes to ripen, but every grape was sour. 3 So now my friend says, "You people who live in Jerusalem and Judah, judge between my vineyard and me. 4 Is there anything I failed to do for it? Then why did it produce sour grapes and not the good grapes I expected? 5 "Here is what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge around it, break down the wall that protects it, and let wild animals eat it and trample it down. 6 I will let it be overgrown with weeds. I will not trim the vines or hoe the ground; instead, I will let briers and thorns cover it. I will even forbid the clouds to let rain fall on it." 7 Israel is the vineyard of the Lord Almighty; the people of Judah are the vines he planted. He expected them to do what was good, but instead they committed murder. He expected them to do what was right, but their victims cried out for justice. 8 You are doomed! You buy more houses and fields to add to those you already have. Soon there will be no place for anyone else to live, and you alone will live in the land. 9 I have heard the Lord Almighty say, "All these big, fine houses will be empty ruins. 10 The grapevines growing on five acres of land will yield only five gallons of wine. Ten bushels of seed will produce only one bushel of grain." 11 You are doomed! You get up early in the morning to start drinking, and you spend long evenings getting drunk. 12 At your feasts you have harps and tambourines and flutes - and wine. But you don't understand what the Lord is doing, 13 and so you will be carried away as prisoners. Your leaders will starve to death, and the common people will die of thirst. 14 The world of the dead is hungry for them, and it opens its mouth wide. It gulps down the nobles of Jerusalem along with the noisy crowd of common people. 15 Everyone will be disgraced, and all who are proud will be humbled. 16 But the Lord Almighty shows his greatness by doing what is right, and he reveals his holiness by judging his people. 17 In the ruins of the cities lambs will eat grass and young goats will find pasture. 18 You are doomed! You are unable to break free from your sins. 19 You say, "Let the Lord hurry up and do what he says he will, so that we can see it. Let Israel's holy God carry out his plans; let's see what he has in mind." 20 You are doomed! You call evil good and call good evil. You turn darkness into light and light into darkness. You make what is bitter sweet, and what is sweet you make bitter. 21 You are doomed! You think you are wise, so very clever. 22 You are doomed! Heroes of the wine bottle! Brave and fearless when it comes to mixing drinks! 23 But for just a bribe you let the guilty go free, and you keep the innocent from getting justice. 24 So now, just as straw and dry grass shrivel and burn in the fire, your roots will rot and your blossoms will dry up and blow away, because you have rejected what the Lord Almighty, Israel's holy God, has taught us. 25 The Lord is angry with his people and has stretched out his hand to punish them. The mountains will shake, and the bodies of those who die will be left in the streets like rubbish. Yet even then the Lord's anger will not be ended, but his hand will still be stretched out to punish. 26 The Lord gives a signal to call for a distant nation. He whistles for them to come from the ends of the earth. And here they come, swiftly, quickly! 27 None of them grow tired; none of them stumble. They never doze or sleep. Not a belt is loose; not a sandal strap is broken. 28 Their arrows are sharp, and their bows are ready to shoot. Their horses' hoofs are as hard as flint, and their chariot wheels turn like a whirlwind. 29 The soldiers roar like lions that have killed an animal and are carrying it off where no one can take it away from them. 30 When that day comes, they will roar over Israel as loudly as the sea. Look at this country! Darkness and distress! The light is swallowed by darkness.
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. He was sitting on his throne, high and exalted, and his robe filled the whole Temple. 2 Around him flaming creatures were standing, each of which had six wings. Each creature covered its face with two wings, and its body with two, and used the other two for flying. 3 They were calling out to each other: "Holy, holy, holy! The Lord Almighty is holy! His glory fills the world." 4 The sound of their voices made the foundation of the Temple shake, and the Temple itself became filled with smoke. 5 I said, "There is no hope for me! I am doomed because every word that passes my lips is sinful, and I live among a people whose every word is sinful. And yet, with my own eyes I have seen the King, the Lord Almighty." 6 Then one of the creatures flew down to me, carrying a burning coal that he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7 He touched my lips with the burning coal and said, "This has touched your lips, and now your guilt is gone, and your sins are forgiven." 8 Then I heard the Lord say, "Whom shall I send? Who will be our messenger?" I answered, "I will go! Send me!" 9 So he told me to go and give the people this message: "No matter how much you listen, you will not understand. No matter how much you look, you will not know what is happening." 10 Then he said to me, "Make the minds of these people dull, their ears deaf, and their eyes blind, so that they cannot see or hear or understand. If they did, they might turn to me and be healed." 11 I asked, "How long will it be like this, Lord?" He answered, "Until the cities are ruined and empty - until the houses are uninhabited - until the land itself is a desolate wasteland. 12 I will send the people far away and make the whole land desolate. 13 Even if one person out of ten remains in the land, he too will be destroyed; he will be like the stump of an oak tree that has been cut down." (The stump represents a new beginning for God's people.)
1 From Paul, who by God's will is an apostle of Christ Jesus - To God's people in Ephesus, who are faithful in their life in union with Christ Jesus: 2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 3 Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! For in our union with Christ he has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. 4 Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him. Because of his love 5 God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would make us his children - this was his pleasure and purpose. 6 Let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift he gave us in his dear Son! 7 For by the blood of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. How great is the grace of God, 8 which he gave to us in such large measure! In all his wisdom and insight 9 God did what he had purposed, and made known to us the secret plan he had already decided to complete by means of Christ. 10 This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head. 11 All things are done according to God's plan and decision; and God chose us to be his own people in union with Christ because of his own purpose, based on what he had decided from the very beginning. 12 Let us, then, who were the first to hope in Christ, praise God's glory! 13 And you also became God's people when you heard the true message, the Good News that brought you salvation. You believed in Christ, and God put his stamp of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit he had promised. 14 The Spirit is the guarantee that we shall receive what God has promised his people, and this assures us that God will give complete freedom to those who are his. Let us praise his glory! 15 For this reason, ever since I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God's people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks to God for you. I remember you in my prayers 17 and ask the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you the Spirit, who will make you wise and reveal God to you, so that you will know him. 18 I ask that your minds may be opened to see his light, so that you will know what is the hope to which he has called you, how rich are the wonderful blessings he promises his people, 19 and how very great is his power at work in us who believe. This power working in us is the same as the mighty strength 20 which he used when he raised Christ from death and seated him at his right side in the heavenly world. 21 Christ rules there above all heavenly rulers, authorities, powers, and lords; he has a title superior to all titles of authority in this world and in the next. 22 God put all things under Christ's feet and gave him to the church as supreme Lord over all things. 23 The church is Christ's body, the completion of him who himself completes all things everywhere.
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