6 O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord. 7 Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth. 8 The Lord has sworn to Jerusalem by his own strength: “I will never again hand you over to your enemies. Never again will foreign warriors come and take away your grain and new wine. 9 You raised the grain, and you will eat it, praising the Lord. Within the courtyards of the Temple, you yourselves will drink the wine you have pressed.”
10 Go out through the gates! Prepare the highway for my people to return! Smooth out the road; pull out the boulders; raise a flag for all the nations to see. 11 The Lord has sent this message to every land: “Tell the people of Israel,[a] ‘Look, your Savior is coming. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.’” 12 They will be called “The Holy People” and “The People Redeemed by the Lord.” And Jerusalem will be known as “The Desirable Place” and “The City No Longer Forsaken.”
Judgment against the Lord’s Enemies
63 Who is this who comes from Edom, from the city of Bozrah, with his clothing stained red? Who is this in royal robes, marching in his great strength?
“It is I, the Lord, announcing your salvation! It is I, the Lord, who has the power to save!”
2 Why are your clothes so red, as if you have been treading out grapes?
3 “I have been treading the winepress alone; no one was there to help me. In my anger I have trampled my enemies as if they were grapes. In my fury I have trampled my foes. Their blood has stained my clothes. 4 For the time has come for me to avenge my people, to ransom them from their oppressors. 5 I was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So I myself stepped in to save them with my strong arm, and my wrath sustained me. 6 I crushed the nations in my anger and made them stagger and fall to the ground, spilling their blood upon the earth.”
Praise for Deliverance
7 I will tell of the Lord’s unfailing love. I will praise the Lord for all he has done. I will rejoice in his great goodness to Israel, which he has granted according to his mercy and love. 8 He said, “They are my very own people. Surely they will not betray me again.” And he became their Savior. 9 In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally[b] rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years. 10 But they rebelled against him and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he became their enemy and fought against them.
11 Then they remembered those days of old when Moses led his people out of Egypt. They cried out, “Where is the one who brought Israel through the sea, with Moses as their shepherd? Where is the one who sent his Holy Spirit to be among his people? 12 Where is the one whose power was displayed when Moses lifted up his hand— the one who divided the sea before them, making himself famous forever? 13 Where is the one who led them through the bottom of the sea? They were like fine stallions racing through the desert, never stumbling. 14 As with cattle going down into a peaceful valley, the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest. You led your people, Lord, and gained a magnificent reputation.”
Prayer for Mercy and Pardon
15 Lord, look down from heaven; look from your holy, glorious home, and see us. Where is the passion and the might you used to show on our behalf? Where are your mercy and compassion now? 16 Surely you are still our Father! Even if Abraham and Jacob[c] would disown us, Lord, you would still be our Father. You are our Redeemer from ages past. 17 Lord, why have you allowed us to turn from your path? Why have you given us stubborn hearts so we no longer fear you? Return and help us, for we are your servants, the tribes that are your special possession. 18 How briefly your holy people possessed your holy place, and now our enemies have destroyed it. 19 Sometimes it seems as though we never belonged to you, as though we had never been known as your people.
64 [d]Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down! How the mountains would quake in your presence! 2 [e]As fire causes wood to burn and water to boil, your coming would make the nations tremble. Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame! 3 When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations. And oh, how the mountains quaked! 4 For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him! 5 You welcome those who gladly do good, who follow godly ways. But you have been very angry with us, for we are not godly. We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved? 6 We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind. 7 Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy. Therefore, you have turned away from us and turned us over[f] to our sins.
8 And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. 9 Don’t be so angry with us, Lord. Please don’t remember our sins forever. Look at us, we pray, and see that we are all your people. 10 Your holy cities are destroyed. Zion is a wilderness; yes, Jerusalem is a desolate ruin. 11 The holy and beautiful Temple where our ancestors praised you has been burned down, and all the things of beauty are destroyed. 12 After all this, Lord, must you still refuse to help us? Will you continue to be silent and punish us?
Judgment and Final Salvation
65 The Lord says,
“I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name.[g] 2 All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people.[h] But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes. 3 All day long they insult me to my face by worshiping idols in their sacred gardens. They burn incense on pagan altars. 4 At night they go out among the graves, worshiping the dead. They eat the flesh of pigs and make stews with other forbidden foods. 5 Yet they say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away.
6 “Look, my decree is written out[i] in front of me: I will not stand silent; I will repay them in full! Yes, I will repay them— 7 both for their own sins and for those of their ancestors,” says the Lord. “For they also burned incense on the mountains and insulted me on the hills. I will pay them back in full!
8 “But I will not destroy them all,” says the Lord. “For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones (and someone will say, ‘Don’t throw them all away— some of those grapes are good!’), so I will not destroy all Israel. For I still have true servants there. 9 I will preserve a remnant of the people of Israel[j] and of Judah to possess my land. Those I choose will inherit it, and my servants will live there. 10 The plain of Sharon will again be filled with flocks for my people who have searched for me, and the valley of Achor will be a place to pasture herds.
11 “But because the rest of you have forsaken the Lord and have forgotten his Temple, and because you have prepared feasts to honor the god of Fate and have offered mixed wine to the god of Destiny, 12 now I will ‘destine’ you for the sword. All of you will bow down before the executioner. For when I called, you did not answer. When I spoke, you did not listen. You deliberately sinned—before my very eyes— and chose to do what you know I despise.”
13 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “My servants will eat, but you will starve. My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty. My servants will rejoice, but you will be sad and ashamed. 14 My servants will sing for joy, but you will cry in sorrow and despair. 15 Your name will be a curse word among my people, for the Sovereign Lord will destroy you and will call his true servants by another name. 16 All who invoke a blessing or take an oath will do so by the God of truth. For I will put aside my anger and forget the evil of earlier days.
17 “Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. 18 Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy. 19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and delight in my people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard in it no more.
20 “No longer will babies die when only a few days old. No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life. No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only the cursed will die that young! 21 In those days people will live in the houses they build and eat the fruit of their own vineyards. 22 Unlike the past, invaders will not take their houses and confiscate their vineyards. For my people will live as long as trees, and my chosen ones will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains. 23 They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the Lord, and their children, too, will be blessed. 24 I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! 25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. But the snakes will eat dust. In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
65:1-2Greek version reads I was found by people who were not looking for me. / I showed myself to those who were not asking for me. / All day long I opened my arms to them, / but they were disobedient and rebellious. Compare Rom 10:20-21.
65:6Or their sins are written out; Hebrew reads it stands written.
19 If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon for a visit. Then he can cheer me up by telling me how you are getting along.20 I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare.21 All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ.22 But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has served with me in preaching the Good News.23 I hope to send him to you just as soon as I find out what is going to happen to me here.24 And I have confidence from the Lord that I myself will come to see you soon.
Paul Commends Epaphroditus
25 Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need.26 I am sending him because he has been longing to see you, and he was very distressed that you heard he was ill.27 And he certainly was ill; in fact, he almost died. But God had mercy on him—and also on me, so that I would not have one sorrow after another.
28 So I am all the more anxious to send him back to you, for I know you will be glad to see him, and then I will not be so worried about you.29 Welcome him in the Lord’s love[a] and with great joy, and give him the honor that people like him deserve.30 For he risked his life for the work of Christ, and he was at the point of death while doing for me what you couldn’t do from far away.
The Priceless Value of Knowing Christ
3 Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters,[b] rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.
2 Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved.3 For we who worship by the Spirit of God[c] are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort,
1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure. 2 But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. 3 For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. 4 They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. 5 They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. 6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty. 7 These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! 8 They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others. 9 They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. 10 And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. 11 “What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?” 12 Look at these wicked people— enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.
13 Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? 14 I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.
15 If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people. 16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is! 17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked. 18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. 19 In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors. 20 When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.
21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. 22 I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. 23 Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. 26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.
27 Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you. 28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.
13 My child,[a] eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste. 14 In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.
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