Isaiah 7; Isaiah 8; Ephesians 2

1 When King Ahaz, the son of Jotham and grandson of Uzziah, ruled Judah, war broke out. Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, attacked Jerusalem, but were unable to capture it. 2 When word reached the king of Judah that the armies of Syria were already in the territory of Israel, he and all his people were so terrified that they trembled like trees shaking in the wind. 3 The Lord said to Isaiah, "Take your son Shear Jashub, and go to meet King Ahaz. You will find him on the road where the cloth makers work, at the end of the ditch that brings water from the upper pool. 4 Tell him to keep alert, to stay calm, and not to be frightened or disturbed. The anger of King Rezin and his Syrians and of King Pekah is no more dangerous than the smoke from two smoldering sticks of wood. 5 Syria, together with Israel and its king, has made a plot. 6 They intend to invade Judah, terrify the people into joining their side, and then put Tabeel's son on the throne. 7 "But I, the Lord, declare that this will never happen. 8 Why? Because Syria is no stronger than Damascus, its capital city, and Damascus is no stronger than King Rezin. As for Israel, within sixty-five years it will be too shattered to survive as a nation. 9 Israel is no stronger than Samaria, its capital city, and Samaria is no stronger than King Pekah. "If your faith is not enduring, you will not endure." 10 The Lord sent another message to Ahaz: 11 "Ask the Lord your God to give you a sign. It can be from deep in the world of the dead or from high up in heaven." 12 Ahaz answered, "I will not ask for a sign. I refuse to put the Lord to the test." 13 To that Isaiah replied, "Listen, now, descendants of King David. It's bad enough for you to wear out the patience of people - do you have to wear out God's patience too? 14 Well then, the Lord himself will give you a sign: a young woman who is pregnant will have a son and will name him "Immanuel.' 15 By the time he is old enough to make his own decisions, people will be drinking milk and eating honey. 16 Even before that time comes, the lands of those two kings who terrify you will be deserted. 17 "The Lord is going to bring on you, on your people, and on the whole royal family, days of trouble worse than any that have come since the kingdom of Israel separated from Judah - he is going to bring the king of Assyria. 18 "When that time comes, the Lord will whistle as a signal for the Egyptians to come like flies from the farthest branches of the Nile, and for the Assyrians to come from their land like bees. 19 They will swarm in the rugged valleys and in the caves in the rocks, and they will cover every thorn bush and every pasture. 20 "When that time comes, the Lord will hire a barber from across the Euphrates - the emperor of Assyria! - and he will shave off your beards and the hair on your heads and your bodies. 21 "When that time comes, even if a farmer has been able to save only one young cow and two goats, 22 they will give so much milk that he will have all he needs. Yes, the few survivors left in the land will have milk and honey to eat. 23 "When that time comes, the fine vineyards, each with a thousand vines and each worth a thousand pieces of silver, will be overgrown with thorn bushes and briers. 24 People will go hunting there with bows and arrows. Yes, the whole country will be full of briers and thorn bushes. 25 All the hills where crops were once planted will be so overgrown with thorns that no one will go there. It will be a place where cattle and sheep graze."
1 The Lord said to me, "Take a large piece of writing material and write on it in large letters: "Quick Loot, Fast Plunder.' 2 Get two reliable men, the priest Uriah and Zechariah son of Jeberechiah, to serve as witnesses." 3 Some time later my wife became pregnant. When our son was born, the Lord said to me, "Name him "Quick-Loot-Fast-Plunder.' 4 Before the boy is old enough to say "Mamma' and "Daddy,' all the wealth of Damascus and all the loot of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria." 5 The Lord spoke to me again. 6 He said, "Because these people have rejected the quiet waters of Shiloah Brook and tremble before King Rezin and King Pekah, 7 I, the Lord, will bring the emperor of Assyria and all his forces to attack Judah. They will advance like the flood waters of the Euphrates River, overflowing all its banks. 8 They will sweep through Judah in a flood, rising shoulder high and covering everything." God is with us! His outspread wings protect the land. 9 Gather together in fear, you nations! Listen, you distant parts of the earth. Get ready to fight, but be afraid! Yes, get ready, but be afraid! 10 Make your plans! But they will never succeed. Talk all you want to! But it is all useless, because God is with us. 11 With his great power the Lord warned me not to follow the road which the people were following. He said, 12 "Do not join in the schemes of the people and do not be afraid of the things that they fear. 13 Remember that I, the Lord Almighty, am holy; I am the one you must fear. 14 Because of my awesome holiness I am like a stone that people stumble over; I am like a trap that will catch the people of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel and the people of Jerusalem. 15 Many will stumble; they will fall and be crushed. They will be caught in a trap." 16 You, my disciples, are to guard and preserve the messages that God has given me. 17 The Lord has hidden himself from his people, but I trust him and place my hope in him. 18 Here I am with the children the Lord has given me. The Lord Almighty, whose throne is on Mount Zion, has sent us as living messages to the people of Israel. 19 But people will tell you to ask for messages from fortunetellers and mediums, who chirp and mutter. They will say, "After all, people should ask for messages from the spirits and consult the dead on behalf of the living." 20 You are to answer them, "Listen to what the Lord is teaching you! Don't listen to mediums - what they tell you cannot keep trouble away." 21 The people will wander through the land, discouraged and hungry. In their hunger and their anger they will curse their king and their God. They may look up to the sky 22 or stare at the ground, but they will see nothing but trouble and darkness, terrifying darkness into which they are being driven.
1 In the past you were spiritually dead because of your disobedience and sins. 2 At that time you followed the world's evil way; you obeyed the ruler of the spiritual powers in space, the spirit who now controls the people who disobey God. 3 Actually all of us were like them and lived according to our natural desires, doing whatever suited the wishes of our own bodies and minds. In our natural condition we, like everyone else, were destined to suffer God's anger. 4 But God's mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great, 5 that while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience he brought us to life with Christ. It is by God's grace that you have been saved. 6 In our union with Christ Jesus he raised us up with him to rule with him in the heavenly world. 7 He did this to demonstrate for all time to come the extraordinary greatness of his grace in the love he showed us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by God's grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, 9 but God's gift, so that no one can boast about it. 10 God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do. 11 You Gentiles by birth - called "the uncircumcised" by the Jews, who call themselves the circumcised (which refers to what men do to their bodies) - remember what you were in the past. 12 At that time you were apart from Christ. You were foreigners and did not belong to God's chosen people. You had no part in the covenants, which were based on God's promises to his people, and you lived in this world without hope and without God. 13 But now, in union with Christ Jesus you, who used to be far away, have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For Christ himself has brought us peace by making Jews and Gentiles one people. With his own body he broke down the wall that separated them and kept them enemies. 15 He abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace. 16 By his death on the cross Christ destroyed their enmity; by means of the cross he united both races into one body and brought them back to God. 17 So Christ came and preached the Good News of peace to all - to you Gentiles, who were far away from God, and to the Jews, who were near to him. 18 It is through Christ that all of us, Jews and Gentiles, are able to come in the one Spirit into the presence of the Father. 19 So then, you Gentiles are not foreigners or strangers any longer; you are now citizens together with God's people and members of the family of God. 20 You, too, are built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, the cornerstone being Christ Jesus himself. 21 He is the one who holds the whole building together and makes it grow into a sacred temple dedicated to the Lord. 22 In union with him you too are being built together with all the others into a place where God lives through his Spirit.
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