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These are the visions that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. He saw these visions during the years when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah.[a]

A Message for Rebellious Judah

Listen, O heavens! Pay attention, earth!
    This is what the Lord says:
“The children I raised and cared for
    have rebelled against me.
Even an ox knows its owner,
    and a donkey recognizes its master’s care—
but Israel doesn’t know its master.
    My people don’t recognize my care for them.”
Oh, what a sinful nation they are—
    loaded down with a burden of guilt.
They are evil people,
    corrupt children who have rejected the Lord.
They have despised the Holy One of Israel
    and turned their backs on him.

Why do you continue to invite punishment?
    Must you rebel forever?
Your head is injured,
    and your heart is sick.
You are battered from head to foot—
    covered with bruises, welts, and infected wounds—
    without any soothing ointments or bandages.
Your country lies in ruins,
    and your towns are burned.
Foreigners plunder your fields before your eyes
    and destroy everything they see.
Beautiful Jerusalem[b] stands abandoned
    like a watchman’s shelter in a vineyard,
like a lean-to in a cucumber field after the harvest,
    like a helpless city under siege.
If the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
    had not spared a few of us,[c]
we would have been wiped out like Sodom,
    destroyed like Gomorrah.

10 Listen to the Lord, you leaders of “Sodom.”
    Listen to the law of our God, people of “Gomorrah.”
11 “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?”
    says the Lord.
“I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams
    and the fat of fattened cattle.
I get no pleasure from the blood
    of bulls and lambs and goats.
12 When you come to worship me,
    who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?
13 Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts;
    the incense of your offerings disgusts me!
As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath
    and your special days for fasting—
they are all sinful and false.
    I want no more of your pious meetings.
14 I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals.
    They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!
15 When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look.
    Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen,
    for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.
16 Wash yourselves and be clean!
    Get your sins out of my sight.
    Give up your evil ways.
17 Learn to do good.
    Seek justice.
Help the oppressed.
    Defend the cause of orphans.
    Fight for the rights of widows.

18 “Come now, let’s settle this,”
    says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
    I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
    I will make them as white as wool.
19 If you will only obey me,
    you will have plenty to eat.
20 But if you turn away and refuse to listen,
    you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Unfaithful Jerusalem

21 See how Jerusalem, once so faithful,
    has become a prostitute.
Once the home of justice and righteousness,
    she is now filled with murderers.
22 Once like pure silver,
    you have become like worthless slag.
Once so pure,
    you are now like watered-down wine.
23 Your leaders are rebels,
    the companions of thieves.
All of them love bribes
    and demand payoffs,
but they refuse to defend the cause of orphans
    or fight for the rights of widows.

24 Therefore, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
    the Mighty One of Israel, says,
“I will take revenge on my enemies
    and pay back my foes!
25 I will raise my fist against you.
    I will melt you down and skim off your slag.
    I will remove all your impurities.
26 Then I will give you good judges again
    and wise counselors like you used to have.
Then Jerusalem will again be called the Home of Justice
    and the Faithful City.”

27 Zion will be restored by justice;
    those who repent will be revived by righteousness.
28 But rebels and sinners will be completely destroyed,
    and those who desert the Lord will be consumed.

29 You will be ashamed of your idol worship
    in groves of sacred oaks.
You will blush because you worshiped
    in gardens dedicated to idols.
30 You will be like a great tree with withered leaves,
    like a garden without water.
31 The strongest among you will disappear like straw;
    their evil deeds will be the spark that sets it on fire.
They and their evil works will burn up together,
    and no one will be able to put out the fire.

The Lord’s Future Reign

This is a vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house
    will be the highest of all—
    the most important place on earth.
It will be raised above the other hills,
    and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.
People from many nations will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the house of Jacob’s God.
There he will teach us his ways,
    and we will walk in his paths.”
For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion;
    his word will go out from Jerusalem.
The Lord will mediate between nations
    and will settle international disputes.
They will hammer their swords into plowshares
    and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will no longer fight against nation,
    nor train for war anymore.

A Warning of Judgment

Come, descendants of Jacob,
    let us walk in the light of the Lord!
For the Lord has rejected his people,
    the descendants of Jacob,
because they have filled their land with practices from the East
    and with sorcerers, as the Philistines do.
    They have made alliances with pagans.
Israel is full of silver and gold;
    there is no end to its treasures.
Their land is full of warhorses;
    there is no end to its chariots.
Their land is full of idols;
    the people worship things they have made
    with their own hands.
So now they will be humbled,
    and all will be brought low—
    do not forgive them.
10 Crawl into caves in the rocks.
    Hide in the dust
from the terror of the Lord
    and the glory of his majesty.
11 Human pride will be brought down,
    and human arrogance will be humbled.
Only the Lord will be exalted
    on that day of judgment.

12 For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
    has a day of reckoning.
He will punish the proud and mighty
    and bring down everything that is exalted.
13 He will cut down the tall cedars of Lebanon
    and all the mighty oaks of Bashan.
14 He will level all the high mountains
    and all the lofty hills.
15 He will break down every high tower
    and every fortified wall.
16 He will destroy all the great trading ships[d]
    and every magnificent vessel.
17 Human pride will be humbled,
    and human arrogance will be brought down.
Only the Lord will be exalted
    on that day of judgment.

18 Idols will completely disappear.
19 When the Lord rises to shake the earth,
    his enemies will crawl into holes in the ground.
They will hide in caves in the rocks
    from the terror of the Lord
    and the glory of his majesty.
20 On that day of judgment they will abandon the gold and silver idols
    they made for themselves to worship.
They will leave their gods to the rodents and bats,
21     while they crawl away into caverns
    and hide among the jagged rocks in the cliffs.
They will try to escape the terror of the Lord
    and the glory of his majesty
    as he rises to shake the earth.
22 Don’t put your trust in mere humans.
    They are as frail as breath.
    What good are they?

Footnotes

  1. 1:1 These kings reigned from 792 to 686 B.c.
  2. 1:8 Hebrew The daughter of Zion.
  3. 1:9 Greek version reads a few of our children. Compare Rom 9:29.
  4. 2:16 Hebrew every ship of Tarshish.

Paul Defends His Authority

10 Now I, Paul, appeal to you with the gentleness and kindness of Christ—though I realize you think I am timid in person and bold only when I write from far away. Well, I am begging you now so that when I come I won’t have to be bold with those who think we act from human motives.

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. [a]We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient.

Look at the obvious facts.[b] Those who say they belong to Christ must recognize that we belong to Christ as much as they do. I may seem to be boasting too much about the authority given to us by the Lord. But our authority builds you up; it doesn’t tear you down. So I will not be ashamed of using my authority.

I’m not trying to frighten you by my letters. 10 For some say, “Paul’s letters are demanding and forceful, but in person he is weak, and his speeches are worthless!” 11 Those people should realize that our actions when we arrive in person will be as forceful as what we say in our letters from far away.

12 Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!

13 We will not boast about things done outside our area of authority. We will boast only about what has happened within the boundaries of the work God has given us, which includes our working with you. 14 We are not reaching beyond these boundaries when we claim authority over you, as if we had never visited you. For we were the first to travel all the way to Corinth with the Good News of Christ.

15 Nor do we boast and claim credit for the work someone else has done. Instead, we hope that your faith will grow so that the boundaries of our work among you will be extended. 16 Then we will be able to go and preach the Good News in other places far beyond you, where no one else is working. Then there will be no question of our boasting about work done in someone else’s territory. 17 As the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”[c]

18 When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them.

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Footnotes

  1. 10:4 English translations divide verses 4 and 5 in various ways.
  2. 10:7 Or You look at things only on the basis of appearance.
  3. 10:17 Jer 9:24.

Psalm 52

For the choir director: A psalm[a] of David, regarding the time Doeg the Edomite said to Saul, “David has gone to see Ahimelech.”

Why do you boast about your crimes, great warrior?
    Don’t you realize God’s justice continues forever?
All day long you plot destruction.
    Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor;
    you’re an expert at telling lies.
You love evil more than good
    and lies more than truth. Interlude

You love to destroy others with your words,
    you liar!
But God will strike you down once and for all.
    He will pull you from your home
    and uproot you from the land of the living. Interlude

The righteous will see it and be amazed.
    They will laugh and say,
“Look what happens to mighty warriors
    who do not trust in God.
They trust their wealth instead
    and grow more and more bold in their wickedness.”

But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God.
    I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.
I will praise you forever, O God,
    for what you have done.
I will trust in your good name
    in the presence of your faithful people.

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Footnotes

  1. 52:Title Hebrew maskil. This may be a literary or musical term.

26 Don’t agree to guarantee another person’s debt
    or put up security for someone else.
27 If you can’t pay it,
    even your bed will be snatched from under you.

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