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Thursday, April 25th, 2019

Isaiah 49-51

Chapter 49

Listen to me, you coastlands!
Pay attention, you people who live far away!
The Lord summoned me from birth;
he commissioned me when my mother brought me into the world.

2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword,
he hid me in the hollow of his hand;
he made me like a sharpened arrow,
he hid me in his quiver.

3 He said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, through whom I will reveal my splendor.”

4 But I thought, “I have worked in vain;
I have expended my energy for absolutely nothing.”
But the Lord will vindicate me;
my God will reward me.

5 So now the Lord says,
the one who formed me from birth to be his servant –
he did this to restore Jacob to himself,
so that Israel might be gathered to him;
and I will be honored in the Lord’s sight,
for my God is my source of strength –

6 he says, “Is it too insignificant a task for you to be my servant,
to reestablish the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the remnant of Israel?
I will make you a light to the nations,
so you can bring my deliverance to the remote regions of the earth.”

7 This is what the Lord,
the protector of Israel, their Holy One, says
to the one who is despised and rejected by nations,
a servant of rulers:
“Kings will see and rise in respect,
princes will bow down,
because of the faithful Lord,
the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.”

8 This is what the Lord says:
“At the time I decide to show my favor, I will respond to you;
in the day of deliverance I will help you;
I will protect you and make you a covenant mediator for people,
to rebuild the land
and to reassign the desolate property.

9 You will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’
and to those who are in dark dungeons, ‘Emerge.’
They will graze beside the roads;
on all the slopes they will find pasture.

10 They will not be hungry or thirsty;
the sun’s oppressive heat will not beat down on them,
for one who has compassion on them will guide them;
he will lead them to springs of water.

11 I will make all my mountains into a road;
I will construct my roadways.”

12 Look, they come from far away!
Look, some come from the north and west,
and others from the land of Sinim!

13 Shout for joy, O sky!
Rejoice, O earth!
Let the mountains give a joyful shout!
For the Lord consoles his people
and shows compassion to the oppressed.

14 “Zion said, ‘The Lord has abandoned me,
the sovereign master has forgotten me.’

15 Can a woman forget her baby who nurses at her breast?
Can she withhold compassion from the child she has borne?
Even if mothers were to forget,
I could never forget you!

16 Look, I have inscribed your name on my palms;
your walls are constantly before me.

17 Your children hurry back,
while those who destroyed and devastated you depart.

18 Look all around you!
All of them gather to you.
As surely as I live,” says the Lord,
“you will certainly wear all of them like jewelry;
you will put them on as if you were a bride.

19 Yes, your land lies in ruins;
it is desolate and devastated.
But now you will be too small to hold your residents,
and those who devoured you will be far away.

20 Yet the children born during your time of bereavement
will say within your hearing,
‘This place is too cramped for us,
make room for us so we can live here.’

21 Then you will think to yourself,
‘Who bore these children for me?
I was bereaved and barren,
dismissed and divorced.
Who raised these children?
Look, I was left all alone;
where did these children come from?’”

22 This is what the sovereign Lord says:
“Look I will raise my hand to the nations;
I will raise my signal flag to the peoples.
They will bring your sons in their arms
and carry your daughters on their shoulders.

23 Kings will be your children’s guardians;
their princesses will nurse your children.
With their faces to the ground they will bow down to you
and they will lick the dirt on your feet.
Then you will recognize that I am the Lord;
those who wait patiently for me are not put to shame.

24 Can spoils be taken from a warrior,
or captives be rescued from a conqueror?

25 Indeed,” says the Lord,
“captives will be taken from a warrior;
spoils will be rescued from a conqueror.
I will oppose your adversary
and I will rescue your children.

26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh;
they will get drunk on their own blood, as if it were wine.
Then all humankind will recognize that
I am the Lord, your deliverer,
your protector, the powerful ruler of Jacob.”

Chapter 50

This is what the Lord says:
“Where is your mother’s divorce certificate
by which I divorced her?
Or to which of my creditors did I sell you?
Look, you were sold because of your sins;
because of your rebellious acts I divorced your mother.

2 Why does no one challenge me when I come?
Why does no one respond when I call?
Is my hand too weak to deliver you?
Do I lack the power to rescue you?
Look, with a mere shout I can dry up the sea;
I can turn streams into a desert,
so the fish rot away and die
from lack of water.

3 I can clothe the sky in darkness;
I can cover it with sackcloth.”

4 The sovereign Lord has given me the capacity to be his spokesman,
so that I know how to help the weary.
He wakes me up every morning;
he makes me alert so I can listen attentively as disciples do.

5 The sovereign Lord has spoken to me clearly;
I have not rebelled,
I have not turned back.

6 I offered my back to those who attacked,
my jaws to those who tore out my beard;
I did not hide my face
from insults and spitting.

7 But the sovereign Lord helps me,
so I am not humiliated.
For that reason I am steadfastly resolved;
I know I will not be put to shame.

8 The one who vindicates me is close by.
Who dares to argue with me? Let us confront each other!
Who is my accuser? Let him challenge me!

9 Look, the sovereign Lord helps me.
Who dares to condemn me?
Look, all of them will wear out like clothes;
a moth will eat away at them.

10 Who among you fears the Lord?
Who obeys his servant?
Whoever walks in deep darkness,
without light,
should trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on his God.

11 Look, all of you who start a fire
and who equip yourselves with flaming arrows,
walk in the light of the fire you started
and among the flaming arrows you ignited!
This is what you will receive from me:
you will lie down in a place of pain.

Chapter 51

“Listen to me, you who pursue godliness,
who seek the Lord!
Look at the rock from which you were chiseled,
at the quarry from which you were dug!

2 Look at Abraham, your father,
and Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I summoned him, he was a lone individual,
but I blessed him and gave him numerous descendants.

3 Certainly the Lord will console Zion;
he will console all her ruins.
He will make her wilderness like Eden,
her desert like the Garden of the Lord.
Happiness and joy will be restored to her,
thanksgiving and the sound of music.

4 Pay attention to me, my people!
Listen to me, my people!
For I will issue a decree,
I will make my justice a light to the nations.

5 I am ready to vindicate,
I am ready to deliver,
I will establish justice among the nations.
The coastlands wait patiently for me;
they wait in anticipation for the revelation of my power.

6 Look up at the sky!
Look at the earth below!
For the sky will dissipate like smoke,
and the earth will wear out like clothes;
its residents will die like gnats.
But the deliverance I give is permanent;
the vindication I provide will not disappear.

7 Listen to me, you who know what is right,
you people who are aware of my law!
Don’t be afraid of the insults of men;
don’t be discouraged because of their abuse!

8 For a moth will eat away at them like clothes;
a clothes moth will devour them like wool.
But the vindication I provide will be permanent;
the deliverance I give will last.”

9 Wake up! Wake up!
Clothe yourself with strength, O arm of the Lord!
Wake up as in former times, as in antiquity!
Did you not smash the Proud One?
Did you not wound the sea monster?

10 Did you not dry up the sea,
the waters of the great deep?
Did you not make a path through the depths of the sea,
so those delivered from bondage could cross over?

11 Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return;
they will enter Zion with a happy shout.
Unending joy will crown them,
happiness and joy will overwhelm them;
grief and suffering will disappear.

12 “I, I am the one who consoles you.
Why are you afraid of mortal men,
of mere human beings who are as short-lived as grass?

13 Why do you forget the Lord, who made you,
who stretched out the sky
and founded the earth?
Why do you constantly tremble all day long
at the anger of the oppressor,
when he makes plans to destroy?
Where is the anger of the oppressor?

14 The one who suffers will soon be released;
he will not die in prison,
he will not go hungry.

15 I am the Lord your God,
who churns up the sea so that its waves surge.
The Lord who commands armies is his name!

16 I commission you as my spokesman;
I cover you with the palm of my hand,
to establish the sky and to found the earth,
to say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”

17 Wake up! Wake up!
Get up, O Jerusalem!
You drank from the cup the Lord passed to you,
which was full of his anger!
You drained dry
the goblet full of intoxicating wine.

18 There was no one to lead her
among all the children she bore;
there was no one to take her by the hand
among all the children she raised.

19 These double disasters confronted you.
But who feels sorry for you?
Destruction and devastation,
famine and sword.
But who consoles you?

20 Your children faint;
they lie at the head of every street
like an antelope in a snare.
They are left in a stupor by the Lord’s anger,
by the battle cry of your God.

21 So listen to this, oppressed one,
who is drunk, but not from wine!

22 This is what your sovereign master, the Lord your God, says:
“Look, I have removed from your hand
the cup of intoxicating wine,
the goblet full of my anger.
You will no longer have to drink it.

23 I will put it into the hand of your tormentors
who said to you, ‘Lie down, so we can walk over you.’
You made your back like the ground,
and like the street for those who walked over you.”