Friday, July 23, 2010

July Twenty Three

~Good Morning~

  • Whom's lives??
4 Others were given in exchange for you.
      I traded their lives for yours
   because you are precious to me.
      You are honored, and I love you.


Today's Scripture:
Isaiah 40-44:5 (New Living Translation)
Isaiah 40
Comfort for God's People
1 "Comfort, comfort my people,"
      says your God.
 2 "Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.
   Tell her that her sad days are gone
      and her sins are pardoned.
   Yes, the Lord has punished her twice over
      for all her sins."
3 Listen! It's the voice of someone shouting,
   "Clear the way through the wilderness
      for the Lord!
   Make a straight highway through the wasteland
      for our God!
 4 Fill in the valleys,
      and level the mountains and hills.
   Straighten the curves,
      and smooth out the rough places.
 5 Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
      and all people will see it together.
      The Lord has spoken!"
6 A voice said, "Shout!"
      I asked, "What should I shout?"
"Shout that people are like the grass.
      Their beauty fades as quickly
      as the flowers in a field.
 7 The grass withers and the flowers fade
      beneath the breath of the Lord.
      And so it is with people.
 8 The grass withers and the flowers fade,
      but the word of our God stands forever."
9 O Zion, messenger of good news,
      shout from the mountaintops!
   Shout it louder, O Jerusalem.
      Shout, and do not be afraid.
   Tell the towns of Judah,
      "Your God is coming!"
 10 Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power.
      He will rule with a powerful arm.
      See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.
 11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
      He will carry the lambs in his arms,
   holding them close to his heart.
      He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.
The Lord Has No Equal
12 Who else has held the oceans in his hand?
      Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers?
   Who else knows the weight of the earth
      or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?
 13 Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord?
      Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?
 14 Has the Lord ever needed anyone's advice?
      Does he need instruction about what is good?
   Did someone teach him what is right
      or show him the path of justice?
15 No, for all the nations of the world
      are but a drop in the bucket.
   They are nothing more
      than dust on the scales.
   He picks up the whole earth
      as though it were a grain of sand.
 16 All the wood in Lebanon's forests
      and all Lebanon's animals would not be enough
      to make a burnt offering worthy of our God.
 17 The nations of the world are worth nothing to him.
      In his eyes they count for less than nothing—
      mere emptiness and froth.
18 To whom can you compare God?
      What image can you find to resemble him?
 19 Can he be compared to an idol formed in a mold,
      overlaid with gold, and decorated with silver chains?
 20 Or if people are too poor for that,
      they might at least choose wood that won't decay
   and a skilled craftsman
      to carve an image that won't fall down!
21 Haven't you heard? Don't you understand?
      Are you deaf to the words of God—
   the words he gave before the world began?
      Are you so ignorant?
 22 God sits above the circle of the earth.
      The people below seem like grasshoppers to him!
   He spreads out the heavens like a curtain
      and makes his tent from them.
 23 He judges the great people of the world
      and brings them all to nothing.
 24 They hardly get started, barely taking root,
      when he blows on them and they wither.
      The wind carries them off like chaff.
25 "To whom will you compare me?
      Who is my equal?" asks the Holy One.
26 Look up into the heavens.
      Who created all the stars?
   He brings them out like an army, one after another,
      calling each by its name.
   Because of his great power and incomparable strength,
      not a single one is missing.
 27 O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?
      O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?
 28 Have you never heard?
      Have you never understood?
   The Lord is the everlasting God,
      the Creator of all the earth.
   He never grows weak or weary.
      No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
 29 He gives power to the weak
      and strength to the powerless.
 30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
      and young men will fall in exhaustion.
 31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
      They will soar high on wings like eagles.
   They will run and not grow weary.
      They will walk and not faint.
Isaiah 41
God's Help for Israel
1 "Listen in silence before me, you lands beyond the sea.
      Bring your strongest arguments.
   Come now and speak.
      The court is ready for your case.
2 "Who has stirred up this king from the east,
      rightly calling him to God's service?
   Who gives this man victory over many nations
      and permits him to trample their kings underfoot?
   With his sword, he reduces armies to dust.
      With his bow, he scatters them like chaff before the wind.
 3 He chases them away and goes on safely,
      though he is walking over unfamiliar ground.
 4 Who has done such mighty deeds,
      summoning each new generation from the beginning of time?
   It is I, the Lord, the First and the Last.
      I alone am he."
5 The lands beyond the sea watch in fear.
      Remote lands tremble and mobilize for war.
 6 The idol makers encourage one another,
      saying to each other, "Be strong!"
 7 The carver encourages the goldsmith,
      and the molder helps at the anvil.
      "Good," they say. "It's coming along fine."
   Carefully they join the parts together,
      then fasten the thing in place so it won't fall over.
8 "But as for you, Israel my servant,
      Jacob my chosen one,
      descended from Abraham my friend,
 9 I have called you back from the ends of the earth,
      saying, 'You are my servant.'
   For I have chosen you
      and will not throw you away.
 10 Don't be afraid, for I am with you.
      Don't be discouraged, for I am your God.
   I will strengthen you and help you.
      I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
11 "See, all your angry enemies lie there,
      confused and humiliated.
   Anyone who opposes you will die
      and come to nothing.
 12 You will look in vain
      for those who tried to conquer you.
   Those who attack you
      will come to nothing.
 13 For I hold you by your right hand—
      I, the Lord your God.
   And I say to you,
      'Don't be afraid. I am here to help you.
 14 Though you are a lowly worm, O Jacob,
      don't be afraid, people of Israel, for I will help you.
   I am the Lord, your Redeemer.
      I am the Holy One of Israel.'
 15 You will be a new threshing instrument
      with many sharp teeth.
   You will tear your enemies apart,
      making chaff of mountains.
 16 You will toss them into the air,
      and the wind will blow them all away;
      a whirlwind will scatter them.
   Then you will rejoice in the Lord.
      You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17 "When the poor and needy search for water and there is none,
      and their tongues are parched from thirst,
   then I, the Lord, will answer them.
      I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them.
 18 I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus.
      I will give them fountains of water in the valleys.
   I will fill the desert with pools of water.
      Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground.
 19 I will plant trees in the barren desert—
      cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and pine.
 20 I am doing this so all who see this miracle
      will understand what it means—
   that it is the Lord who has done this,
      the Holy One of Israel who created it.
21 "Present the case for your idols,"
      says the Lord.
   "Let them show what they can do,"
      says the King of Israel.
 22 "Let them try to tell us what happened long ago
      so that we may consider the evidence.
   Or let them tell us what the future holds,
      so we can know what's going to happen.
 23 Yes, tell us what will occur in the days ahead.
      Then we will know you are gods.
   In fact, do anything—good or bad!
      Do something that will amaze and frighten us.
 24 But no! You are less than nothing and can do nothing at all.
      Those who choose you pollute themselves.
25 "But I have stirred up a leader who will come from the north.
      I have called him by name from the east.
   I will give him victory over kings and princes.
      He will trample them as a potter treads on clay.
26 "Who told you from the beginning
      that this would happen?
   Who predicted this,
      making you admit that he was right?
      No one said a word!
 27 I was the first to tell Zion,
      'Look! Help is on the way!'
      I will send Jerusalem a messenger with good news.
 28 Not one of your idols told you this.
      Not one gave any answer when I asked.
 29 See, they are all foolish, worthless things.
      All your idols are as empty as the wind.
Isaiah 42
The Lord's Chosen Servant
1 "Look at my servant, whom I strengthen.
      He is my chosen one, who pleases me.
   I have put my Spirit upon him.
      He will bring justice to the nations.
 2 He will not shout
      or raise his voice in public.
 3 He will not crush the weakest reed
      or put out a flickering candle.
      He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.
 4 He will not falter or lose heart
      until justice prevails throughout the earth.
      Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction."
5 God, the Lord, created the heavens and stretched them out.
      He created the earth and everything in it.
   He gives breath to everyone,
      life to everyone who walks the earth.
   And it is he who says,
 6 "I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness.
      I will take you by the hand and guard you,
   and I will give you to my people, Israel,
      as a symbol of my covenant with them.
   And you will be a light to guide the nations.
    7 You will open the eyes of the blind.
   You will free the captives from prison,
      releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.
8 "I am the Lord; that is my name!
      I will not give my glory to anyone else,
      nor share my praise with carved idols.
 9 Everything I prophesied has come true,
      and now I will prophesy again.
   I will tell you the future before it happens."
A Song of Praise to the Lord
10 Sing a new song to the Lord!
      Sing his praises from the ends of the earth!
   Sing, all you who sail the seas,
      all you who live in distant coastlands.
 11 Join in the chorus, you desert towns;
      let the villages of Kedar rejoice!
   Let the people of Sela sing for joy;
      shout praises from the mountaintops!
 12 Let the whole world glorify the Lord;
      let it sing his praise.
 13 The Lord will march forth like a mighty hero;
      he will come out like a warrior, full of fury.
   He will shout his battle cry
      and crush all his enemies.
14 He will say, "I have long been silent;
      yes, I have restrained myself.
   But now, like a woman in labor,
      I will cry and groan and pant.
 15 I will level the mountains and hills
      and blight all their greenery.
   I will turn the rivers into dry land
      and will dry up all the pools.
 16 I will lead blind Israel down a new path,
      guiding them along an unfamiliar way.
   I will brighten the darkness before them
      and smooth out the road ahead of them.
   Yes, I will indeed do these things;
      I will not forsake them.
 17 But those who trust in idols,
      who say, 'You are our gods,'
      will be turned away in shame.
Israel's Failure to Listen and See
18 "Listen, you who are deaf!
      Look and see, you blind!
 19 Who is as blind as my own people, my servant?
      Who is as deaf as my messenger?
   Who is as blind as my chosen people,
      the servant of the Lord?
 20 You see and recognize what is right
      but refuse to act on it.
   You hear with your ears,
      but you don't really listen."
21 Because he is righteous,
      the Lord has exalted his glorious law.
 22 But his own people have been robbed and plundered,
      enslaved, imprisoned, and trapped.
   They are fair game for anyone
      and have no one to protect them,
      no one to take them back home.
23 Who will hear these lessons from the past
      and see the ruin that awaits you in the future?
 24 Who allowed Israel to be robbed and hurt?
      It was the Lord, against whom we sinned,
   for the people would not walk in his path,
      nor would they obey his law.
 25 Therefore, he poured out his fury on them
      and destroyed them in battle.
   They were enveloped in flames,
      but they still refused to understand.
   They were consumed by fire,
      but they did not learn their lesson.
Isaiah 43
The Savior of Israel
1 But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
      O Israel, the one who formed you says,
   "Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
      I have called you by name; you are mine.
 2 When you go through deep waters,
      I will be with you.
   When you go through rivers of difficulty,
      you will not drown.
   When you walk through the fire of oppression,
      you will not be burned up;
      the flames will not consume you.
 3 For I am the Lord, your God,
      the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
   I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom;
      I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
 4 Others were given in exchange for you.
      I traded their lives for yours
   because you are precious to me.
      You are honored, and I love you.

5 "Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
      I will gather you and your children from east and west.
 6 I will say to the north and south,
      'Bring my sons and daughters back to Israel
      from the distant corners of the earth.
 7 Bring all who claim me as their God,
      for I have made them for my glory.
      It was I who created them.'"
8 Bring out the people who have eyes but are blind,
      who have ears but are deaf.
 9 Gather the nations together!
      Assemble the peoples of the world!
   Which of their idols has ever foretold such things?
      Which can predict what will happen tomorrow?
   Where are the witnesses of such predictions?
      Who can verify that they spoke the truth?
10 "But you are my witnesses, O Israel!" says the Lord.
      "You are my servant.
   You have been chosen to know me, believe in me,
      and understand that I alone am God.
   There is no other God—
      there never has been, and there never will be.
 11 I, yes I, am the Lord,
      and there is no other Savior.
 12 First I predicted your rescue,
      then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world.
   No foreign god has ever done this.
      You are witnesses that I am the only God,"
      says the Lord.
 13 "From eternity to eternity I am God.
      No one can snatch anyone out of my hand.
      No one can undo what I have done."
The Lord's Promise of Victory
14 This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
"For your sakes I will send an army against Babylon,
      forcing the Babylonians to flee in those ships they are so proud of.
 15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,
      Israel's Creator and King.
 16 I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters,
      making a dry path through the sea.
 17 I called forth the mighty army of Egypt
      with all its chariots and horses.
   I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned,
      their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick.
18 "But forget all that—
      it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
 19 For I am about to do something new.
      See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
   I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
      I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
 20 The wild animals in the fields will thank me,
      the jackals and owls, too,
      for giving them water in the desert.
   Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland
      so my chosen people can be refreshed.
 21 I have made Israel for myself,
      and they will someday honor me before the whole world.
22 "But, dear family of Jacob, you refuse to ask for my help.
      You have grown tired of me, O Israel!
 23 You have not brought me sheep or goats for burnt offerings.
      You have not honored me with sacrifices,
   though I have not burdened and wearied you
      with requests for grain offerings and frankincense.
 24 You have not brought me fragrant calamus
      or pleased me with the fat from sacrifices.
   Instead, you have burdened me with your sins
      and wearied me with your faults.
25 "I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake
      and will never think of them again.
 26 Let us review the situation together,
      and you can present your case to prove your innocence.
 27 From the very beginning, your first ancestor sinned against me;
      all your leaders broke my laws.
 28 That is why I have disgraced your priests;
      I have decreed complete destruction for Jacob
      and shame for Israel.
Isaiah 44
1 "But now, listen to me, Jacob my servant,
      Israel my chosen one.
 2 The Lord who made you and helps you says:
   Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant,
      O dear Israel, my chosen one.
 3 For I will pour out water to quench your thirst
      and to irrigate your parched fields.
   And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants,
      and my blessing on your children.
 4 They will thrive like watered grass,
      like willows on a riverbank.
 5 Some will proudly claim, 'I belong to the Lord.'
      Others will say, 'I am a descendant of Jacob.'
   Some will write the Lord's name on their hands
      and will take the name of Israel as their own."



All comments welcome!! It is how I get my questions answered.