Isaiah 50; Isaiah 51; Isaiah 52; 1 Thessalonians 5

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Isaiah 50

1 This is what the LORD says: Where are your mother's divorce papers? Did I give her any to get rid of her? To which of my creditors did I sell you? You were sold because of your sins. I got rid of your mother because of your rebellion.
2 Why was no one here when I came? Why was no one here to answer when I called? Am I too weak to reclaim you? Don't I have the power to rescue you? I dry up the sea with my command, and I turn rivers into deserts. Their fish stink because there is no water, and people die of thirst.
3 I clothe the heavens in darkness and cover them with sackcloth.
4 The Almighty LORD will teach me what to say, so I will know how to encourage weary people. Morning after morning he will wake me to listen like a student.
5 The Almighty LORD will open my ears. I will not rebel, nor will I turn away [from him].
6 I will offer my back to those who whip me and my cheeks to those who pluck hairs out of my beard. I will not turn my face away from those who humiliate me and spit on me.
7 The Almighty LORD helps me. That is why I will not be ashamed. I have set my face like a flint. I know that I will not be put to shame.
8 The one who pronounces me innocent is near. Who will bring a case against me? Let us confront each other! Who accuses me? Let him confront me!
9 The Almighty LORD helps me. Who will find me guilty? They will all wear out like a garment. Moths will eat them.
10 Who among you fears the LORD and obeys his servant? Let those who walk in darkness and have no light trust the name of the LORD and depend upon their God.
11 But all of you light fires and arm yourselves with flaming torches. So walk in your own light and among the torches you have lit. This is what you will receive from me: You will be tormented.

Isaiah 51

1 Listen to me, you people who pursue what is right and seek the LORD. Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were dug.
2 Look to Abraham, your ancestor, and to Sarah, from whom you are descended. When I called Abraham, he was childless. I blessed him and gave him many descendants.
3 So the LORD will comfort Zion. He will comfort all those who live among its ruins. He will make its desert like Eden. He will make its wilderness like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in it, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
4 Pay attention to me, my people. Open your ears to hear me, my nation. My teachings will go out from me. My justice will become a light for the people.
5 My righteousness is near. My salvation is on the way. I will bring justice to people. The coastlands put their hope in me, and they wait eagerly for me.
6 Look at the sky. Look at the earth below. The sky will vanish like smoke. The earth will wear out like clothing, and those who live there will die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, and my righteousness will never fail.
7 Listen to me, you people who know righteousness, you people who have my teachings in your hearts. Don't be afraid of being insulted by people. Don't be discouraged by their ridicule.
8 Moths will eat them like clothing. Worms will devour them like wool. But my righteousness will last forever, and my salvation will last throughout every generation.
9 Wake up! Wake up! Clothe yourself with strength, O LORD! Wake up as you did in days long past, as in generations long ago. Didn't you cut Rahab into pieces and stab the serpent?
10 Didn't you dry up the sea, the water of the great ocean? You made a road in the depths of the sea so that the people reclaimed [by the LORD] might pass through it.
11 The people ransomed by the LORD will return. They will come to Zion singing with joy. Everlasting happiness will be on their heads [as a crown]. They will be glad and joyful. They will have no sorrow or grief.
12 I alone am the one who comforts you. Why, then, are you afraid of mortals, who must die, of humans, who are like grass?
13 Why have you forgotten the LORD, your Creator? He stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth. Why should you live in constant fear of the fury of those who oppress you, of those who are ready to destroy you? Where is the fury of those who oppress you?
14 Chained prisoners will be set free. They will not die in prison. They will not go without food.
15 I am the LORD your God who stirs up the sea and makes its waves roar. My name is the LORD of Armies.
16 I put my words in your mouth and sheltered you in the palm of my hand. I stretched out the heavens, laid the foundations of the earth, and said to Zion, "You are my people."
17 Wake up! Wake up! Stand up, Jerusalem! You drank from the cup in the LORD's hand. That cup was filled with his anger. You drank from the bowl, the cup that makes people stagger, and you drained it!
18 From all the children she gave birth to, there was no one to guide her. From all the children she raised, there was no one to take her by the hand.
19 Twice as many disasters have happened to you. Who will feel sorry for you? Violence, destruction, famine, and war have happened to you. Who will comfort you?
20 Your children have fainted. They lie sleeping at every street corner. They are like an antelope caught in a net. They experience the anger of the LORD, the fury of your God.
21 Listen to this, you humble people who are drunk but not from wine.
22 The LORD your God defends his people. This is what your master says: I'm taking from your hand the cup that makes people stagger, the bowl, the cup of my fury. You will never drink from it again.
23 I will put it in the hands of those who made you suffer. They said to you, "Lie down so that we can walk over you." So you made your back like the ground and like a street for them to cross.

Isaiah 52

1 Wake up! Wake up! Clothe yourself with strength, Zion! Put on your beautiful clothes, holy city of Jerusalem. Godless and evil people will no longer come to you.
2 Shake the dust from yourselves. Get up, captive Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains around your neck, captive people of Zion.
3 This is what the LORD says: You were sold, but no price was paid. You will be bought back, but without money.
4 This is what the Almighty LORD says: In the beginning my people went to Egypt to live there as foreigners. Later the Assyrians oppressed them for no reason.
5 So what do I find here? asks the LORD. My people are taken away for no reason. Their rulers are screaming, declares the LORD. And my name is cursed all day long.
6 Now my people will know my name. When that day comes, [they will know] that I am the one who says, "Here I am!"
7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces the good news, "All is well." He brings the good news, announces salvation, and tells Zion that its God rules as king.
8 Listen! Your watchmen raise their voices and shout together joyfully. When the LORD brings Zion back, they will see it with their own eyes.
9 Break out into shouts of joy, ruins of Jerusalem. The LORD will comfort his people. He will reclaim Jerusalem.
10 The LORD will show his holy power to all the nations. All the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.
11 Run away! Run away! Get away from there! Do not touch anything unclean. Get away from it! Make yourselves pure, you Levites who carry the utensils for the LORD's temple.
12 You will not go away in a hurry, nor will you go away quickly. The LORD will go ahead of you. The God of Israel will guard you from behind.
13 My servant will be successful. He will be respected, praised, and highly honored.
14 Many will be shocked by him. His appearance will be so disfigured that he won't look like any other man. His looks will be so disfigured that he will hardly look like a human.
15 He will cleanse many nations [with his blood]. Kings will shut their mouths because of him. They will see things that they had never been told. They will understand things that they had never heard.

1 Thessalonians 5

1 Brothers and sisters, you don't need anyone to write to you about times and dates.
2 You know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
3 When people say, "Everything is safe and sound!" destruction will suddenly strike them. It will be as sudden as labor pains come to a pregnant woman. They won't be able to escape.
4 But, brothers and sisters, you don't live in the dark. That day won't take you by surprise as a thief would.
5 You belong to the day and the light not to the night and the dark.
6 Therefore, we must not fall asleep like other people, but we must stay awake and be sober.
7 People who sleep, sleep at night; people who get drunk, get drunk at night.
8 Since we belong to the day, we must be sober. We must put on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
9 It was not God's intention that we experience his anger but that we obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake in this life or asleep in death, we will live together with him.
11 Therefore, encourage each other and strengthen one another as you are doing.
12 Brothers and sisters, we ask you to show your appreciation for those leaders who work among you and instruct you.
13 We ask you to love them and think very highly of them because of the work they are doing. Live in peace with each other.
14 We encourage you, brothers and sisters, to instruct those who are not living right, cheer up those who are discouraged, help the weak, and be patient with everyone.
15 Make sure that no one ever pays back one wrong with another wrong. Instead, always try to do what is good for each other and everyone else.
16 Always be joyful.
17 Never stop praying.
18 Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God's will in Christ Jesus that you do this.
19 Don't put out the Spirit's fire.
20 Don't despise what God has revealed.
21 Instead, test everything. Hold on to what is good.
22 Keep away from every kind of evil.
23 May the God who gives peace make you holy in every way. May he keep your whole being--spirit, soul, and body--blameless when our Lord Jesus Christ comes.
24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us.
26 Greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss.
27 In the Lord's name, I order you to read this letter to all the brothers and sisters.
28 The good will of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.