44 The Lord says, “·People of Jacob, you are my servants [L Jacob, my servant]. Listen to me! ·People of Israel, I chose you [L Israel, my chosen; 41:8].” 2 This is what the Lord says, who made you, who formed you in ·your mother’s body [L the womb], who will help you: “·People of Jacob, my servants [L Jacob, my servant], don’t be afraid. ·Israel [L Jeshurun; C the location of the Temple; Deut. 32:15; 33:5, 26], I chose you. 3 I will pour out water for the thirsty land and make streams flow on dry land. I will pour out my Spirit ·into your children [on your descendants/offspring/seed] and my blessing on your ·descendants [offspring]. 4 ·Your children [L They] will ·grow [sprout up] like a tree in the grass, like ·poplar trees [or willows] growing beside streams of water. 5 One person will say, ‘I belong to the Lord,’ and another will use the name Jacob. Another will ·sign his name [or write on his hand] ‘I am the Lord’s,’ and another will ·use [call himself by] the name Israel.”
6 The Lord, the king of Israel, is the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts], who saves Israel. This is what he says: “I am the ·beginning and the end [L first and the last]. ·I am the only God [There is no god but me]. 7 Who is like me? Let him ·come and prove [proclaim; claim] it. Let him tell and explain all that has happened since I ·set up [established] my ancient people. He should also tell what will happen in the future. 8 Don’t be afraid! Don’t ·worry [fear]! ·I have always told you what will happen [Have I not proclaimed it long ago?]. You are my witnesses. ·There is no other [L Is there another…?] God but me. I know of no other Rock; I am the only One.”
Idols Are Useless
9 Some people make idols, but they are ·worth nothing [nothing; void]. People treasure them, but they are ·useless [worthless]. Those people are witnesses for the statues, but those people cannot see. They know nothing, so they will be ·ashamed [put to shame; C idolmakers are as ignorant as their idols]. 10 Who makes a god or ·shapes [casts; molds] an idol that can do nothing for him? 11 [L Look; T Behold] ·The workmen who made them [L All his compansions] will be ·ashamed [put to shame], because ·they [L the craftsmen] are only human. If they all would come together to stand against me, they would all be ·afraid [terrified] and ·ashamed [put to shame].
12 One ·workman [blacksmith] uses tools to heat iron, and he works over hot coals. With his hammer he beats the metal and makes a statue, using his powerful arms. But when he becomes hungry, he loses his ·power [strength]. If he does not drink water, he becomes tired.
13 ·Another workman [A carpenter/craftsman] ·uses a line and a compass [L stretches a line] to draw on the wood. Then he uses his chisels to cut a statue and his ·calipers [compass] to measure the statue. In this way, the workman makes the wood ·look exactly like a person [like the pattern of a man], and this statue of a person ·sits [or dwells] in ·the house [or a shrine]. 14 He cuts down cedars or cypress or oak trees. ·Those trees grew by their own power in [or He secures it for himself from] the forest. Or he plants a pine tree, and the rain makes it grow. 15 Then he burns the tree. He uses some of the wood for a fire to keep himself warm. He also starts a fire to bake his bread. But he uses part of the wood to make a god, and then he worships it! He makes the idol and bows down to it [C showing the absurdity of worshiping an idol made from the same material he burns]! 16 The man burns half of the wood in the fire. He uses the fire to cook his meat, and he eats the meat until he is full. He also burns the wood to keep himself warm. He says, “Good! Now I am warm. ·I can see because of the fire’s light [or …as I watch the fire; L I have seen the fire].” 17 But he makes a statue from the wood that is left and calls it his god. He bows down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “You are my god. ·Save [Rescue] me!” 18 Those people ·don’t know what they are doing [or know nothing]. They ·don’t understand [are ignorant]! ·It is as if their eyes are covered [or They shut their eyes] so they can’t see. Their minds don’t understand. 19 ·They have not thought about these things [No one considers]; they don’t understand. They have never thought to themselves, “I burned half of the wood in the fire and used the hot coals to bake my bread. I cooked and ate my meat. ·And I used the wood that [or Should I use what…?] was left to make this ·hateful [abominable; detestable] thing. ·I am worshiping [or Should I bow down to…?] a block of wood!” 20 He ·doesn’t know what he is doing [L feeds on ashes; or eats on a pile of ashes]; his ·confused mind [deluded/deceived heart] leads him ·the wrong way [astray]. He cannot ·save [rescue; T deliver] himself or say, “·This statue I am holding is a false god [L Is there not a lie in my right hand?].”
The Lord Is the True God
21 “·People of Jacob [L Jacob], remember these things! ·People of Israel [L Israel], remember you are my servants. I ·made [shaped; formed] you, and you are my servants. So Israel, I will not forget you. 22 I have ·swept away [removed; or blotted out] your ·sins [offenses; transgressions] like a big cloud; I have removed your sins like a ·cloud that disappears into the air [mist]. Come back to me because I ·saved [redeemed] you.”
23 ·Skies [or Heavens], sing for joy because the Lord ·did great things [or acts; intervenes; L has done this]! Earth, shout for joy, even in your deepest parts! ·Sing [Break into song], you mountains, with thanks to God. Sing, too, you forests and all your trees! The Lord ·saved [redeemed] ·the people of Jacob [L Jacob]! He ·showed his glory when he saved [L is glorified in] Israel. 24 This is what the Lord ·who saved you [your redeemer] says, the one who formed you in ·your mother’s body [L the womb]: “I, the Lord, made everything, stretching out the skies by myself and spreading out the earth all alone. 25 I ·show that the signs of the lying prophets are false [L frustrate the signs of babblers/or empty talkers]; I make fools of ·those who do magic [diviners]. I ·confuse even [reverse what is said by] the wise; they think they know much, but I make ·them look foolish [their knowledge into foolishness]. 26 I ·make the messages of my servants come true [confirm my servants’ words]; I make the ·advice [or prophecies] of my messengers come true. I say to Jerusalem, ‘·People will live in you again [L It will be inhabited]!’ I say to the towns of Judah, ‘You will be built again!’ I say to Jerusalem’s ruins, ‘I will ·repair you [raise you up].’ 27 I tell the deep waters, ‘Become dry! I will make your streams become dry!’ 28 I say of Cyrus [C the Persian king (ruled 550–530 bc) who allowed Israel to return from exile; 41:2; 44:28—45:6; 46:11; 48:14–16], ‘He is my shepherd and will ·do [fulfill] all that I want him to do. He will say to Jerusalem, “You will be built again!” He will tell the Temple, “Your foundations will be rebuilt.”’”
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