44 “But now listen, Jacob my servant and Israel whom I have chosen: 2 This what the Lord says, the one who made you, formed you from the womb, and who will help[a] you: “Don’t be afraid, Jacob my servant, and Jeshurun,[b] whom I have chosen. 3 For I’ll pour water upon thirsty ground and streams on parched land. So[c] will I pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing upon your descendants. 4 They’ll[d] spring up as among[e] the green grass, like willows by flowing streams. 5 One will say, ‘I belong to the Lord,’ and another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will have written on his hand, ‘the Lord’s,’ and will adopt the name of Israel.”
I am the First and the Last
6 This is what the Lord says, the King of Israel and its Redeemer— the Lord of the Heavenly Armies is his name—[f] “I am the first and I am the last, and apart from me there is no God. 7 Who is like me? Let him proclaim and declare it, and lay it out for himself—[g] since he made[h] an ancient people. And let him speak[i] future events; let them tell him what[j] will happen. 8 Don’t tremble, and don’t be afraid.[k] Didn’t I tell you and announce it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? There is no other Rock— I don’t know of any.”
A Rebuke to Idol Worship
9 Now,[l] all the forming of[m] images means nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Their own witnesses cannot see, and they[n] know nothing. So they will be put to shame.
10 Who would shape a god or cast an image that profits nothing? 11 To be sure, all who associate with it will be put to shame; and as for the craftsmen, they are only human. Let them all gather together and[o] take their stand. Then[p] let them be terrified—they will be humiliated together.
12 The blacksmith prepares a tool and works in the coals, then[q] fashions an idol with hammers, working by the strength of his arm. He even becomes hungry and loses his strength; he drinks no water and grows faint.
13 The carpenter measures it[r] with a line; he traces its shape with a stylus, then fashions it with planes and shapes it with a compass. He makes the idol like a human figure, with human beauty, to be at home[s] in a shrine. 14 He cuts down cedars, or chooses a cypress tree or an oak, and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. Or he plants a cedar, and the rain makes it grow. 15 He divides it up[t] for people to burn. Taking part of it, he warms himself, makes a fire, and bakes bread. Or perhaps[u] he constructs a god and worships it. He makes it an idol and bows down to it. 16 Half the wood he burns in the fire, and[v] over[w] that half he places[x] meat so he can eat. He sits by its coals, warms himself,[y] and says, “Ah! I am warm in front of[z] the fire.” 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god. To blocks[aa] of wood he bows down, worships, prays, and says, “Save me, since you are my god.”
18 They don’t realize; they don’t understand, because their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds, too, so they cannot understand. 19 No one stops to think. No one has the knowledge or understanding to think—yes to think!—[ab]“Half of it I burned in the fire. I even baked bread on its coals, and[ac] I roasted meat and ate it. And[ad] am I about to make detestable things[ae] from what is left? Am I about to bow down to blocks[af] of wood?” 20 He tends ashes. A deceived mind has lead him astray. It cannot be his life,[ag] nor can he say, “There’s a lie in my right hand.”[ah]
A Call to Remembrance and Joy
21 “Remember these things, Jacob, Israel,[ai] for you are my servant. I have formed you; you are a servant to me. Israel,[aj] you must not mislead me.[ak] 22 I’ve wiped away your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist. Return to me; because I’ve redeemed you.
23 “Shout for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done it! Shout aloud, you depths of the earth! Burst out with singing, you mountains, you forest, and all your trees! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob and will display his glory in Israel.
24 “This is what the Lord says, your Redeemer and the one who formed you in the womb: ‘I am the Lord, who has made everything, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth— Who was with me at that time?—[al] 25 who frustrates the omens of idle talkers, and drives diviners mad, who turns back the wise, and makes their knowledge foolish;[am] 26 who carries out the words of his servants, and fulfills the predictions of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, “It will be inhabited,” and of Judah’s cities, “They will be rebuilt,” and of her ruins, “I’ll raise them up”; 27 who says to the watery deep, “Be dry— I will dry up your rivers;” 28 who says about Cyrus, “He’s my shepherd, and he’ll carry out everything that I please: He’ll say of Jerusalem, ‘Let it be rebuilt,’ and of my[an] Temple, ‘Let its foundations be laid again.’”’”
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