Isaiah 39; Isaiah 40; Colossians 4

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Isaiah 39

1 At that time Baladan's son, King Merodach Baladan of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah. He had heard that Hezekiah had been sick and had recovered.
2 Hezekiah was so happy with them that he showed the messengers his warehouse: the silver, gold, balsam, fine olive oil, his entire armory, and everything in his treasury. Hezekiah showed them everything in his palace and every corner of his kingdom.
3 Then the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah and asked, "What did these men say? And where did they come from?" Hezekiah answered, "They came to me from the distant country of Babylon."
4 Isaiah asked, "What did they see in your palace?" Hezekiah answered, "They saw everything in my palace, and I showed them everything in my treasury."
5 Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the LORD of Armies!
6 The LORD says, 'The days are going to come when everything in your palace, everything your ancestors have stored up to this day, will be taken away to Babylon. Nothing will be left.
7 Some of your own descendants will be taken away. They will become officials in the palace of the king of Babylon.'"
8 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "The LORD's word that you have spoken is good." He added, "Just let there be peace and security as long as I live."

Isaiah 40

1 "Comfort my people! Comfort them!" says your God.
2 "Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and announce to it that its time of hard labor is over and its wrongs have been paid for. It has received from the LORD double for all its sins."
3 A voice cries out in the desert: "Clear a way for the LORD. Make a straight highway in the wilderness for our God.
4 Every valley will be raised. Every mountain and hill will be lowered. Steep places will be made level. Rough places will be made smooth.
5 Then the LORD's glory will be revealed and all people will see it together. The LORD has spoken."
6 A voice called, "Call out!" I asked, "What should I call out?" "Call out: All people are like grass, and all their beauty is like a flower in the field.
7 Grass dries up, and flowers wither when the LORD's breath blows on them. Yes, people are like grass.
8 Grass dries up, and flowers wither, but the word of our God will last forever."
9 Go up a high mountain, Zion. Tell the good news! Call out with a loud voice, Jerusalem. Tell the good news! Raise your voice without fear. Tell the cities of Judah: "Here is your God!"
10 The Almighty LORD is coming with power to rule with authority. His reward is with him, and the people he has won arrive ahead of him.
11 Like a shepherd he takes care of his flock. He gathers the lambs in his arms. He carries them in his arms. He gently helps the sheep and their lambs.
12 Who has measured the water of the sea with the palm of his hand or measured the sky with the length of his hand? Who has held the dust of the earth in a bushel basket or weighed the mountains on a scale and the hills on a balance?
13 Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD or instructed him as his adviser?
14 Whom did he consult? Who gave him understanding? Who taught him the right way? Who taught him knowledge? Who informed him about the way to understanding?
15 The nations are like a drop in a bucket and are considered to be like dust on a scale. The weight of the islands is like fine dust.
16 All the trees in Lebanon are not enough to burn an offering. Its wild animals are not enough for a single burnt offering.
17 All the nations amount to nothing in his presence. He considers them less than nothing and worthless.
18 To whom, then, can you compare God? To what statue can you compare him?
19 Craftsmen make idols. Goldsmiths cover them with gold. Silversmiths make silver chains for them.
20 The poorest people choose wood that will not rot and search out skillful craftsmen to set up idols that will not fall over.
21 Don't you know? Haven't you heard? Haven't you been told from the beginning? Don't you understand the foundations of the earth?
22 God is enthroned above the earth, and those who live on it are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the sky like a canopy and spreads it out like a tent to live in.
23 He makes rulers unimportant and makes earthly judges worth nothing.
24 They have hardly been planted. They have hardly been sown. They have hardly taken root in the ground. Then he blows on them and they wither, and a windstorm sweeps them away like straw.
25 "To whom, then, can you compare me? Who is my equal?" asks the Holy One.
26 Look at the sky and see. Who created these things? Who brings out the stars one by one? He calls them all by name. Because of the greatness of his might and the strength of his power, not one of them is missing.
27 Jacob, why do you complain? Israel, why do you say, "My way is hidden from the LORD, and my rights are ignored by my God"?
28 Don't you know? Haven't you heard? The eternal God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, doesn't grow tired or become weary. His understanding is beyond reach.
29 He gives strength to those who grow tired and increases the strength of those who are weak.
30 Even young people grow tired and become weary, and young men will stumble and fall.
31 Yet, the strength of those who wait with hope in the LORD will be renewed. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and won't become weary. They will walk and won't grow tired.

Colossians 4

1 Masters, be just and fair to your slaves because you know that you also have a master in heaven.
2 Keep praying. Pay attention when you offer prayers of thanksgiving.
3 At the same time also pray for us. Pray that God will give us an opportunity to speak the word so that we may tell the mystery about Christ. It is because of this mystery that I am a prisoner.
4 Pray that I may make this mystery as clear as possible. This is what I have to do.
5 Be wise in the way you act toward those who are outside [the Christian faith]. Make the most of your opportunities.
6 Everything you say should be kind and well thought out so that you know how to answer everyone.
7 I'm sending Tychicus to you. He is our dear brother, trustworthy deacon, and partner in the Lord's work. He will tell you everything that is happening to me.
8 I'm sending him to you so that you may know how we are doing and so that he may encourage you.
9 I'm sending Onesimus with him. Onesimus is from your city and is our faithful and dear brother. They will tell you about everything that's happening here.
10 Aristarchus, who is a prisoner like me, sends greetings. So does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. You have received instructions about Mark. If he comes to you, welcome him.
11 Jesus, called Justus, also greets you. They are the only converts from the Jewish religion who are working with me for God's kingdom. They have provided me with comfort.
12 Epaphras, a servant of Christ Jesus from your city, greets you. He always prays intensely for you. He prays that you will continue to be mature and completely convinced of everything that God wants.
13 I assure you that he works hard for you and the people in Laodicea and Hierapolis.
14 My dear friend Luke, the physician, and Demas greet you.
15 Greet our brothers and sisters in Laodicea, especially Nympha and the church that meets in her house.
16 After you have read this letter, read it in the church at Laodicea. Make sure that you also read the letter from Laodicea.
17 Tell Archippus to complete all the work that he started as the Lord's servant.
18 I, Paul, am writing this greeting with my own hand. Remember that I'm a prisoner. God's good will be with you.