Isaiah 7; Isaiah 8; Ephesians 2

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Isaiah 7

1 When Ahaz, son of Jotham and grandson of Uzziah, was king of Judah, Aram's King Rezin and Israel's King Pekah, son of Remaliah, went to Jerusalem to attack it, but they couldn't defeat it.
2 When word reached David's family that the Arameans had made an alliance with Ephraim, the hearts of the king and his people were shaken as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.
3 Then the LORD said to Isaiah, "Go out with your son Shear Jashub to meet Ahaz at the end of the ditch of the Upper Pool on the road to the Laundryman's Field.
4 Say to him, 'Be careful, stay calm, and don't be afraid. Don't lose heart because of the fierce anger of Rezin from Aram and Remaliah's son. These two are smoldering logs.'
5 Aram, Ephraim, and Remaliah's son have planned evil against you, saying,
6 'Let's march against Judah, tear it apart, divide it among ourselves, and set up Tabeel's son as its king.'
7 This is what the Almighty LORD says: It won't take place; it won't happen.
8 The capital of Aram is Damascus, and the leader of Damascus is Rezin. Ephraim will be shattered within 65 years so that it will no longer be a nation.
9 The capital of Ephraim is Samaria, and the leader of Samaria is Remaliah's son. If you don't remain faithful, you won't remain standing.
10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz,
11 "Ask the LORD your God for a sign. It can be anything you want."
12 But Ahaz answered, "I won't ask; I wouldn't think of testing the LORD."
13 "Listen now, descendants of David," Isaiah said. "Isn't it enough that you try the patience of mortals? Must you also try the patience of my God?
14 So the Lord himself will give you this sign: A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and she will name him Immanuel [God Is With Us].
15 He will eat cheese and honey until he knows how to reject evil and choose good.
16 Indeed, before the boy knows how to reject evil and choose good, the land of the two kings who terrify you will be deserted.
17 "The LORD will bring on you, your people, and your ancestor's family a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah. [He will bring] the king of Assyria.
18 On that day the LORD will whistle for the flies that are at the distant branches of the Nile River in Egypt and for the bees that are in Assyria.
19 All of them will come and settle in the deep valleys, in the cracks in the cliffs, on all the thornbushes, and at all the water holes.
20 "On that day the Lord will hire the king of Assyria from beyond the Euphrates River to be a razor to shave the hair on your head, the hair on your legs, and even your beard.
21 On that day a person will keep alive a young cow and two sheep.
22 That person will eat cheese, because they will produce so much milk. Everyone who is left in the land will eat cheese and honey.
23 On that day, in every place where there were 1,000 vines (worth 1,000 pieces of silver), there will be briars and thorns.
24 People will come there with bows and arrows [to hunt] because the whole land will be filled with briars and thorns.
25 And you will no longer be able to go to all the hills which used to be cultivated because they will be filled with briars and thorns. It will be a place for turning oxen loose and letting sheep run."

Isaiah 8

1 The LORD said to me, "Take a large writing tablet, and write on it with a pen: 'Maher Shalal Hash Baz' [The Looting Will Come Quickly; the Prey Will Be Easy].
2 I will have these dependable witnesses testify: the priest Uriah and Zechariah (son of Jeberechiah)."
3 I slept with the prophet. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. The LORD told me, "Name him Maher Shalal Hash Baz.
4 Before the boy knows how to say 'Daddy' or 'Mommy,' the wealth of Damascus and the loot from Samaria will be carried away to the king of Assyria."
5 The LORD spoke to me again. He said,
6 "These people have rejected the gently flowing water of Shiloah and find joy in Rezin and Remaliah's son."
7 That is why the Lord is going to bring against them the raging and powerful floodwaters of the Euphrates River-- the king of Assyria with all his power. It will overflow all its channels and go over all its banks.
8 It will sweep through Judah. It will overflow and pass through; it will be neck-high. Its outspread wings will extend over your whole country, O Immanuel.
9 Be broken, you people. Be terrified. Listen, all you distant parts of the earth. Prepare for battle, but be terrified. Prepare for battle, but be terrified.
10 Make plans for battle, but they will never succeed. Give orders, but they won't be carried out, because God is with us!
11 This is what the LORD said with his powerful hand on me. He warned me not to follow the ways of these people:
12 "Don't say that everything these people call a conspiracy is a conspiracy. Don't fear what they fear. Don't let it terrify you."
13 Remember that the LORD of Armies is holy. He is the one you should fear and the one you should be terrified of.
14 He will be a place of safety for you. But he will be a rock that makes people trip and a stumbling block for both kingdoms of Israel. He will be a trap and a snare for those who live in Jerusalem.
15 Many will stumble. They will fall and be broken. They will be trapped and caught.
16 Tie up the written instructions. Seal the teachings among my disciples.
17 I will wait for the LORD, who hides his face from the descendants of Jacob. I will hope in him.
18 I am here with the children that the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD of Armies, who lives on Mount Zion.
19 People will say to you, "Ask for help from the mediums and the fortunetellers, who whisper and mutter." Shouldn't people ask their God for help instead? Why should they ask the dead to help the living?
20 They should go to the teachings and to the written instructions. If people don't speak these words, it is because it doesn't dawn on them.
21 They will pass through the land when they are hard-pressed and hungry. When they are hungry, they will be furious. Then they will look up, cursing their king and God.
22 They will look at the earth and see only distress and gloom. They will go in anguish and be forced into darkness.

Ephesians 2

1 You were once dead because of your failures and sins.
2 You followed the ways of this present world and its spiritual ruler. This ruler continues to work in people who refuse to obey God.
3 All of us once lived among these people, and followed the desires of our corrupt nature. We did what our corrupt desires and thoughts wanted us to do. So, because of our nature, we deserved God's anger just like everyone else.
4 But God is rich in mercy because of his great love for us.
5 We were dead because of our failures, but he made us alive together with Christ. (It is God's kindness that saved you.)
6 God has brought us back to life together with Christ Jesus and has given us a position in heaven with him.
7 He did this through Christ Jesus out of his generosity to us in order to show his extremely rich kindness in the world to come.
8 God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God.
9 It's not the result of anything you've done, so no one can brag about it.
10 God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.
11 Remember that once you were not Jewish physically. Those who called themselves "the circumcised" because of what they had done to their bodies called you "the uncircumcised."
12 Also, at that time you were without Christ. You were excluded from citizenship in Israel, and the pledges [God made in his] promise were foreign to you. You had no hope and were in the world without God.
13 But now through Christ Jesus you, who were once far away, have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 So he is our peace. In his body he has made Jewish and non-Jewish people one by breaking down the wall of hostility that kept them apart.
15 He brought an end to the commandments and demands found in Moses' Teachings so that he could take Jewish and non-Jewish people and create one new humanity in himself. So he made peace.
16 He also brought them back to God in one body by his cross, on which he killed the hostility.
17 He came with the Good News of peace for you who were far away and for those who were near.
18 So Jewish and non-Jewish people can go to the Father in one Spirit.
19 That is why you are no longer foreigners and outsiders but citizens together with God's people and members of God's family.
20 You are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Christ Jesus himself is the cornerstone.
21 In him all the parts of the building fit together and grow into a holy temple in the Lord.
22 Through him you, also, are being built in the Spirit together with others into a place where God lives.