Isaiah 42; Isaiah 43; Isaiah 44

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Isaiah 42

1 "Here is my servant. I take good care of him. I have chosen him. I am very pleased with him. I will put my Spirit on him. He will make everything right among the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out. He will not raise his voice in the streets.
3 He will not break a bent twig. He will not put out a dimly burning flame. He will be faithful and make everything right.
4 He will not grow weak or lose hope. He will not give up until he makes everything right on the earth. The islands will put their hope in his law."
5 God created the heavens and spread them out. The LORD made the earth and everything that grows on it. He gives breath to its people. He gives life to those who walk on it. He says to his servant,
6 "I, the LORD, have chosen you to do what is right. I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you safe. You will put my covenant with the people of Israel into effect. And you will be a light for the other nations.
7 You will open eyes that can't see. You will set prisoners free. Those who sit in darkness will come out of their cells.
8 "I am the Lord. That is my name! I will not let any other god share my glory. I will not let statues of gods share my praise.
9 What I said would happen has taken place. Now I announce new things to you. Before they even begin to happen, I announce them to you."
10 Sing a new song to the Lord. Sing praise to him from one end of the earth to the other. Sing, you who sail out on the ocean. Sing, all of you creatures in it. Sing, you islands. Sing, all of you who live there.
11 Let the desert and its towns raise their voices. Let those who live in the settlements of Kedar be glad. Let the people of Sela sing with joy. Let them shout from the tops of the mountains.
12 Let them give glory to the Lord. Let them praise him in the islands.
13 The LORD will march out like a mighty warrior. He will stir up his anger like a soldier getting ready to fight. He will shout the battle cry. And he will win the battle over his enemies.
14 The LORD says, "For a long time I have kept silent. I have been calm and quiet. But now, like a woman having a baby, I cry out. I am struggling to breathe.
15 I will completely destroy the mountains and hills. I will dry up everything that grows there. I will turn rivers into dry land. I will dry up the pools.
16 Israel is blind. So I will lead them along paths they had not known before. I will guide them on roads they are not familiar with. I will turn the darkness into light as they travel. I will make the rough places smooth. Those are the things I will do. I will not desert my people.
17 Some people trust in statues of gods. They say to them, 'You are our gods.' But they will be dishonored. They will be put to shame.
18 "Israel, listen to me! You can hear, but you do not understand. Look to me! You can see, but you do not know what you are seeing.
19 The people of Israel serve me. But who is more blind than they are? Who is more deaf than the messengers I send? Who is more blind than those who have committed themselves to be faithful to me? Who is more blind than my servants?
20 Israel, you have seen many things. But you have not paid any attention to me. Your ears are open. But you do not hear anything I say."
21 The LORD wanted his people to see how great and glorious his law is. He wanted to show them that he always does what is right.
22 Enemies have carried off everything they own. All of my people are trapped in pits or hidden away in prisons. They themselves have become like stolen goods. No one can save them. They have been carried off. And there is no one who will say, "Send them back."
23 Family of Jacob, who among you will listen to what I'm saying? People of Israel, which one of you will pay close attention in days to come?
24 Who allowed you to be carried off like stolen goods? Who handed you over to robbers? The LORD did it! We have sinned against him. Israel, you wouldn't follow his ways. You didn't obey his law.
25 So he poured his burning anger out on you. He had many of you killed off in battle. You were surrounded by flames. But you didn't realize what was happening. Many of you were destroyed. But you didn't learn anything from it.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Isaiah 43

1 Family of Jacob, the LORD created you. People of Israel, he formed you. He says, "Do not be afraid. I will set you free. I will send for you by name. You belong to me.
2 You will pass through deep waters. But I will be with you. You will pass through the rivers. But their waters will not sweep over you. You will walk through fire. But you will not be burned. The flames will not harm you.
3 I am the LORD your God. I am the Holy One of Israel. I am the one who saves you. I will give up Egypt to set you free. I will give up Cush and Seba for you.
4 You are priceless to me. I love you and honor you. So I will trade other people for you. I will give up other nations to save your lives.
5 Do not be afraid. I am with you. I will bring your people back from the east. I will gather you from the west.
6 I will say to the north, 'Let them go!' And I will say to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from far away. Bring my daughters from the farthest places on earth.
7 Bring back everyone who belongs to me. I created them to bring glory to me. I formed them and made them."
8 Lead my people into court. They have eyes but can't see. Bring those who have ears but can't hear.
9 All of the nations are gathering together. All of them are coming. Which one of their gods said ahead of time that the people of Israel would return? Which of them told us anything at all about the past? Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right. Then others will hear them. And they will say, "What they said is true."
10 "People of Israel, you are my witnesses," announces the Lord. "I have chosen you to be my servants. I wanted you to know me and believe in me. I wanted you to understand that I am the one and only God. Before me, there was no other god at all. And there will not be any god after me.
11 I am the one and only Lord. I am the only one who can save you.
12 I have made known what would happen. I told you about it. And I saved you. I did it. It was not some other god you worship. You are my witnesses that I am God," announces the Lord.
13 "And that is not all! I have always been God, and I always will be. No one can save people from my powerful hand. When I do something, who can undo it?"
14 The LORD sets his people free. He is the Holy One of Israel. He says, "People of Israel, I will send an army to Babylon to save you. I will cause all of the Babylonians to run away. They will try to escape in the ships they were so proud of.
15 I am your LORD and King. I am your Holy One. I created you."
16 Long ago the LORD opened a way for his people to go through the Red Sea. He made a path through the mighty waters.
17 He caused Egypt to send out its chariots and horses. He sent its entire army to its death. Its soldiers lay down there. They never got up again. They were destroyed. They were blown out like a dimly burning flame. But the LORD says,
18 "Forget the things that happened in the past. Do not keep on thinking about them.
19 I am about to do something new. It is beginning to happen even now. Don't you see it coming? I am going to make a way for you to go through the desert. I will make streams of water in the dry and empty land.
20 Even wild dogs and owls honor me. That is because I provide water in the desert for my people to drink. I cause streams to flow in the dry and empty land for my chosen ones.
21 I do it for the people I made for myself. I want them to sing praise to me.
22 "Family of Jacob, you have not prayed to me as you should. People of Israel, you have not even begun to get tired while doing it.
23 You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings. You have not honored me with your sacrifices. I have not loaded you down by requiring grain offerings. I have not made you tired by requiring you to burn incense.
24 But you have not bought any sweet-smelling cane for me. You have not given me the fattest parts of your animal sacrifices. Instead, you have loaded me down with your sins. You have made me tired with the wrong things you have done.
25 "I am the one who wipes out your lawless acts. I do it because of who I am. I will not remember your sins anymore.
26 But let us go to court together. Remind me of what you have done. State your case. Prove to me that you are not guilty.
27 Your father Jacob sinned. Your priests and prophets refused to obey me.
28 So I will put the high officials of your temple to shame. I will let Jacob's family be totally destroyed. And I will let people make fun of Israel.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Isaiah 44

1 "Family of Jacob, listen to me. You are my servants. People of Israel, I have chosen you.
2 I made you. I formed you when you were born as a nation. I will help you. So listen to what I am saying. Family of Jacob, do not be afraid. You are my servants. People of Israel, I have chosen you.
3 I will pour water out on the thirsty land. I will make streams flow on the dry ground. I will pour out my Spirit on your children. I will pour out my blessing on their children after them.
4 They will spring up like grass in a meadow. They will grow like poplar trees near flowing streams.
5 Some will say, 'We belong to the Lord.' Others will call themselves by Jacob's name. Still others will write on their hands, 'We belong to the Lord.' And they will be called by the name of Israel.
6 "I am Israel's King. I set them free. I am the LORD who rules over all. So listen to what I am saying. I am the First and the Last. I am the one and only God.
7 Who is like me? Let him come forward and speak boldly. Let him tell me everything that has happened since I created my people long ago. And let him tell me what has not happened yet. Let him announce ahead of time what is going to take place.
8 Do not tremble with fear. Do not be afraid. Didn't I announce everything that has happened? Didn't I tell you about it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any other God but me? No! There is no other Rock. I do not know even one."
9 Those who make statues of gods don't amount to anything. And the statues they think so much of are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind. They don't know anything. So they will be put to shame.
10 People make statues of gods. But those gods can't do them any good.
11 People like that will be put to shame. Those who make statues of gods are mere men. Let all of them come together and state their case. They will be terrified and put to shame.
12 A blacksmith gets his tool. He uses it to shape metal over the burning coals. He uses his hammers to make a statue of a god. He forms it with his powerful arm. He gets hungry and loses his strength. He doesn't drink any water. He gets weaker and weaker.
13 A carpenter measures a piece of wood with a line. He draws a pattern on it with a marker. He cuts out a statue with sharp tools. He marks it with compasses. He shapes it into the form of a handsome man. He does all of that so he can put it in a temple.
14 He cuts down a cedar tree. Or perhaps he takes a cypress or an oak tree. It might be a tree that grew in the forest. Or it might be a pine tree he planted. And the rain made it grow.
15 Man gets wood from trees for fuel. He uses some of it to warm himself. He starts a fire and bakes bread. But he also uses some of it to make a god and worship it. He makes a statue of a god and bows down to it.
16 He burns half of the wood in the fire. He prepares a meal over it. He cooks meat over it. He eats until he is full. He also warms himself. He says, "Good! I'm getting warm. The fire is nice and hot."
17 From the rest of the wood he makes a statue. It becomes his god. He bows down and worships it. He prays to it. He says, "Save me. You are my god."
18 People like that don't even know what they are doing. Their eyes are shut so that they can't see the truth. Their minds are closed so that they can't understand it.
19 No one even stops to think about this. No one has any sense or understanding. If anyone did, he would say, "I used half of the wood for fuel. I even baked bread over the fire. I cooked meat. Then I ate it. Should I now make a statue of a god out of the wood that's left over? Should I bow down to a block of wood? The LORD would hate that."
20 That's as foolish as eating ashes! The mind of someone like that has led him down the wrong path. He can't save himself. He can't bring himself to say, "This thing I'm holding in my right hand isn't really a god at all."
21 The LORD says, "Family of Jacob, remember those things. People of Israel, you are my servants. I have made you. You are my servants. Israel, I will not forget you.
22 I will sweep your sins away as if they were a cloud. I will blow them away as if they were the morning mist. Return to me. Then I will set you free."
23 Sing with joy, you heavens! The LORD does wonderful things. Shout out loud, you earth! Burst into song, you mountains! Sing, you forests and all of your trees! The LORD sets the family of Jacob free. He shows his glory in Israel.
24 The LORD says, "People of Israel, I set you free. I formed you when you were born as a nation. "I am the Lord. I have made everything. I alone spread out the heavens. I formed the earth by myself.
25 "Some prophets are not really prophets at all. I show that their miraculous signs are fake. I make those who practice evil magic look foolish. I destroy the learning of those who think they are wise. Their knowledge does not make any sense at all.
26 I make the words of my servants the prophets come true. I carry out what my messengers say will happen. "I say about Jerusalem, 'My people will live there again.' I say about the towns of Judah, 'They will be rebuilt.' I say about their broken-down buildings, 'I will make them like new again.'
27 I say to the deep waters, 'Dry up. Let your streams become dry.'
28 I say about Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd. He will accomplish everything I want him to. He will say about Jerusalem, "Let it be rebuilt." And he will say about the temple, "Let its foundations be laid." '
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.