The Lord Will Refine His People Before He Rescues Them from Babylon
Listen to this, descendants of Jacob! You are given the name of Israel. You are descended from Judah.[a] You take oaths by the name of the Lord. You acknowledge the God of Israel, but you are not honest or sincere. 2 You call yourselves citizens of the holy city. You depend on the God of Israel. His name is the Lord of Armies.
3 From the beginning I revealed to you what would happen. These words came out of my mouth, and I made them known. Suddenly, I acted, and they happened. 4 I know that you are stubborn. Like iron, you are hardheaded. Like bronze, nothing gets through your thick skull. 5 That is why I revealed to you what would happen long ago. I told you about them before they happened. I did this so you couldn’t say, “My gods have done these things. My carved idols and my metal idols have commanded them to happen.” 6 You’ve heard these words. Now look at all this. Won’t you admit it?
From now on I will reveal to you new things, hidden things that you do not know. 7 They are created now, not in the past. You haven’t heard about them before today, so you can’t say that you already knew about them. 8 You have never heard about them. You have never known about them. Your ears have never been open to hear them before. I know that you’ve acted very treacherously and that you have been called a rebel since you were born. 9 For my name’s sake I’ll be patient. For my glory’s sake I’ll hold my anger back from you, rather than destroy you. 10 I have refined you, but not like silver. I have tested you in the furnace of suffering. 11 I am doing this for myself, only for myself. Why should my name be dishonored? I will not give my glory to anyone else.
12 Listen to me, Jacob, Israel, whom I have called. I am the one. I am the first and the last. 13 My hand laid the foundation of the earth. My right hand stretched out the heavens. When I call for them, they both stand. 14 Gather together, all of you, and listen. What idol has revealed such things? The Lord loves Cyrus. He will carry out the Lord’s plan against Babylon. He will use his strength against the Babylonians. 15 I alone have spoken. I have called him. I will bring him here, and he will succeed.
16 Come here. Listen to this: From the beginning I have spoken nothing in private. From the time it took place, I was there.
Now the Almighty Lord has sent me and his Spirit.
17 This is what the Lord, your Defender, the Holy One of Israel, says:
I am the Lord your God. I teach you what is best for you. I lead you where you should go. 18 If only you had listened to my commands! Your peace would be like a river that never runs dry. Your righteousness would be like waves on the sea. 19 Your descendants would be like sand. Your children would be like its grains. Their names would not be cut off or wiped out in my presence. 20 Leave Babylon; flee from the Babylonians! Shout for joy as you tell it and announce it. Shout it out to the ends of the earth. Say that the Lord has reclaimed his servant Jacob. 21 They weren’t thirsty when he led them through the deserts. He made water flow from a rock for them. He split a rock, and water gushed out.
22 “There is no peace for the wicked,” says the Lord.
Isaiah 48:1Dead Sea Scrolls; Masoretic Text “the fountain of Judah.”
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