Isaiah 28; Isaiah 29; Philippians 3

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Isaiah 28

1 How horrible it will be for the arrogant drunks of Ephraim. Their glorious beauty is [like] a withered flower. They are at the entrance to a fertile valley where they lie drunk from wine.
2 The Lord has one who is strong and powerful. He is like a hailstorm, a destructive wind. He is like a thunderstorm, an overwhelming flood. He will throw them to the ground forcefully.
3 The arrogant drunks of Ephraim will be trampled underfoot.
4 Their glorious beauty is [like] a withered flower. They are at the entrance to a fertile valley. They will be like figs that ripened early. As soon as someone sees them, they will be taken and eaten.
5 When that day comes, the LORD of Armies will be like a glorious crown for his few remaining people.
6 He will give a spirit of justice to those who judge. He will give strength to those who defend the city gates in battle.
7 Priests and prophets stagger from wine and wobble from too much liquor. They stagger from too much liquor and become confused from too much wine. They wobble because of their liquor. They stagger when they see visions. They swerve as they judge.
8 All the tables are covered with vomit and excrement. There isn't a clean place left.
9 To whom will they make the message understood? To whom will they explain this message? To children just weaned from milk? To those just taken from their [mother's] breasts?
10 They speak utter nonsense.
11 The LORD will speak to these people. He will mock them by speaking in a foreign language.
12 He will say to them, "This is a place for comfort. This is a place of rest for those who are tired. This is a place for them to rest." But they weren't willing to listen.
13 The LORD speaks utter nonsense to them. That is why they will fall backwards. That is why they will be hurt, trapped, and captured.
14 So hear the word of the LORD, you foolish talkers who rule the people in Jerusalem.
15 You say, "We made a treaty with death and an agreement with the grave. When the overwhelming disaster passes by, it won't matter to us, because we have taken refuge in our lies, and falsehood is our hiding place."
16 This is what the Almighty LORD says: I am going to lay a rock in Zion, a rock that has been tested, a precious cornerstone, a solid foundation. Whoever believes [in him] will not worry.
17 I will make justice a measuring line and righteousness a plumb line. Hail will sweep away your refuge of lies, and floodwaters will wash away your hiding place.
18 Your treaty with death will be wiped away. Your agreement with the grave will not stand. When the overwhelming disaster passes by, you will be trampled by it.
19 Each time it passes by it will take you. It will pass by morning after morning, during the day and during the night. Understanding this message brings only terror.
20 The bed is too short to stretch out on. The blanket is too narrow to serve as a cover.
21 The LORD will rise as he did on Mount Perazim. He will wake up as he did in Gibeon Valley. He will do his work, his unexpected work, and perform his deeds, his mysterious deeds.
22 Now stop laughing, or your chains will be tightened, because I have heard that the Almighty LORD of Armies has finally determined to destroy the whole land.
23 Open your ears, and listen to me! Pay attention, and hear me!
24 Does a farmer go on plowing every day so he can plant? Does he continue to break up the soil and make furrows in the ground?
25 When he has smoothed its surface, doesn't he scatter black cumin seed and plant cumin? Doesn't he plant wild wheat in rows? Doesn't he put barley in its own area and winter wheat at its borders?
26 God will guide him in judgment, and his God will teach him.
27 Black cumin isn't threshed with a sledge, and wagon wheels aren't rolled over cumin. Black cumin is beaten with a rod and cumin with a stick.
28 Grain is ground into flour, but the grinding eventually stops. It will be threshed. The wheels of his cart will roll over it, but his horses won't crush it.
29 All of this has come from the LORD of Armies. His counsel is wonderful, and his wisdom is great.

Isaiah 29

1 How horrible it will be for you Ariel, Ariel, the city where David camped. Let year after year go by. Let your annual festivals go on.
2 I will torment Ariel, and the city will be filled with people grieving and mourning. The city will become like Ariel.
3 I will set up war camps all around you. I will blockade you with towers. I will put up mounds of dirt around you.
4 When you have fallen, you will speak as you lie on the ground. Your words will be muffled by the dust. Your voice will come out of the ground like that of a ghost. Your words will be whispered from the dust.
5 Your many enemies will be like fine dust. Your many foes will be like husks blown by the wind. All of this will happen suddenly, unexpectedly.
6 The LORD of Armies will punish you with thunder, earthquakes, and loud noises, with windstorms, rainstorms, and fire storms.
7 The armies from all the nations will go to war against Ariel. They will go to war against it, blockade it, and torment it. All of this will be like a dream, like a vision in the night.
8 They will be like hungry people who dream that they're eating and wake up to find they're hungry. They will be like thirsty people who dream that they're drinking and wake up to find they're lightheaded and parched with thirst. This is what will happen to the armies from all the nations that fight against Mount Zion.
9 If you confuse yourselves, you will be confused. If you blind yourselves, you will be blinded. You are drunk, but not from wine. You stagger, but not from liquor.
10 The LORD has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep. He will shut your eyes. (Your eyes are the prophets.) He will cover your heads. (Your heads are the seers. )
11 To you all these visions will be like words in a book that is closed and sealed. You give this book to someone who can read, saying, "Please read this." He answers, "I can't read it. It's sealed."
12 Then you give the book to someone who can't read, saying, "Please read this." He answers, "I can't read."
13 The Lord says, "These people worship me with their mouths and honor me with their lips. But their hearts are far from me, and their worship of me is [based on] rules made by humans.
14 That is why I am going to do something completely amazing for these people once again. The wisdom of their wise people will disappear. The intelligence of their intelligent people will be hidden."
15 How horrible it will be for those who try to hide their plans from the LORD. Their deeds are done in the dark, and they say, "No one can see us" and "No one can recognize us."
16 You turn things upside down! Is the potter no better than his clay? Can something that has been made say about its maker, "He didn't make me"? Can a piece of pottery say about the potter, "He doesn't understand"?
17 In a very short time Lebanon will be turned into a fertile field and the fertile field will be considered a forest.
18 When that day comes, the deaf will hear the words written in the book. The blind will see out of their gloom and darkness.
19 Humble people again will find joy in the LORD. The poorest of people will find joy in the Holy One of Israel.
20 Tyrants will be gone. Mockers will be finished. All who look for ways to do wrong will come to an end:
21 those who make people sin with words, those who lay traps for judges, those who, without any reason, deny justice to people who are in the right.
22 This is what the LORD, who saved Abraham, says about the descendants of Jacob: Jacob will no longer be ashamed. Jacob's face will no longer turn pale.
23 When they see all their children, the children I made with my hands, they will acknowledge my name as holy. They will treat the Holy One of Jacob as holy. They will stand in terror of the God of Israel.
24 Then those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding, and those who complain will accept instruction.

Philippians 3

1 Now then, brothers and sisters, be joyful in the Lord. It's no trouble for me to write the same things to you, and it's for your safety.
2 Beware of dogs! Beware of those who do evil things. Beware of those who insist on circumcision.
3 We are the [true] circumcised people [of God] because we serve God's Spirit and take pride in Christ Jesus. We don't place any confidence in physical things,
4 although I could have confidence in my physical qualifications. If anyone else thinks that he can trust in something physical, I can claim even more.
5 I was circumcised on the eighth day. I'm a descendant of Israel. I'm from the tribe of Benjamin. I'm a pure-blooded Hebrew. When it comes to living up to standards, I was a Pharisee.
6 When it comes to being enthusiastic, I was a persecutor of the church. When it comes to winning God's approval by keeping Jewish laws, I was perfect.
7 These things that I once considered valuable, I now consider worthless for Christ.
8 It's far more than that! I consider everything else worthless because I'm much better off knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. It's because of him that I think of everything as worthless. I threw it all away in order to gain Christ
9 and to have a relationship with him. This means that I didn't receive God's approval by obeying his laws. The opposite is true! I have God's approval through faith in Christ. This is the approval that comes from God and is based on faith
10 that knows Christ. Faith knows the power that his coming back to life gives and what it means to share his suffering. In this way I'm becoming like him in his death,
11 with the confidence that I'll come back to life from the dead.
12 It's not that I've already reached the goal or have already completed the course. But I run to win that which Jesus Christ has already won for me.
13 Brothers and sisters, I can't consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don't look back, I lengthen my stride, and
14 I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God's heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus.
15 Whoever has a mature faith should think this way. And if you think differently, God will show you how to think.
16 However, we should be guided by what we have learned so far.
17 Brothers and sisters, imitate me, and pay attention to those who live by the example we have given you.
18 I have often told you, and now tell you with tears in my eyes, that many live as the enemies of the cross of Christ.
19 In the end they will be destroyed. Their own emotions are their god, and they take pride in the shameful things they do. Their minds are set on worldly things.
20 We, however, are citizens of heaven. We look forward to the Lord Jesus Christ coming from heaven as our Savior.
21 Through his power to bring everything under his authority, he will change our humble bodies and make them like his glorified body.