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66 This is what the Lord says:

“Heaven is my throne,
    and the earth is my footstool.
Could you build me a temple as good as that?
    Could you build me such a resting place?
My hands have made both heaven and earth;
    they and everything in them are mine.[a]
    I, the Lord, have spoken!

“I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts,
    who tremble at my word.
But those who choose their own ways—
    delighting in their detestable sins—
    will not have their offerings accepted.
When such people sacrifice a bull,
    it is no more acceptable than a human sacrifice.
When they sacrifice a lamb,
    it’s as though they had sacrificed a dog!
When they bring an offering of grain,
    they might as well offer the blood of a pig.
When they burn frankincense,
    it’s as if they had blessed an idol.
I will send them great trouble—
    all the things they feared.
For when I called, they did not answer.
    When I spoke, they did not listen.
They deliberately sinned before my very eyes
    and chose to do what they know I despise.”

Hear this message from the Lord,
    all you who tremble at his words:
“Your own people hate you
    and throw you out for being loyal to my name.
‘Let the Lord be honored!’ they scoff.
    ‘Be joyful in him!’
    But they will be put to shame.
What is all the commotion in the city?
    What is that terrible noise from the Temple?
It is the voice of the Lord
    taking vengeance against his enemies.

“Before the birth pains even begin,
    Jerusalem gives birth to a son.
Who has ever seen anything as strange as this?
    Who ever heard of such a thing?
Has a nation ever been born in a single day?
    Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment?
But by the time Jerusalem’s[b] birth pains begin,
    her children will be born.
Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth
    and then not deliver it?” asks the Lord.
“No! I would never keep this nation from being born,”
    says your God.

10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem!
    Be glad with her, all you who love her
    and all you who mourn for her.
11 Drink deeply of her glory
    even as an infant drinks at its mother’s comforting breasts.”

12 This is what the Lord says:
“I will give Jerusalem a river of peace and prosperity.
    The wealth of the nations will flow to her.
Her children will be nursed at her breasts,
    carried in her arms, and held on her lap.
13 I will comfort you there in Jerusalem
    as a mother comforts her child.”

14 When you see these things, your heart will rejoice.
    You will flourish like the grass!
Everyone will see the Lord’s hand of blessing on his servants—
    and his anger against his enemies.
15 See, the Lord is coming with fire,
    and his swift chariots roar like a whirlwind.
He will bring punishment with the fury of his anger
    and the flaming fire of his hot rebuke.
16 The Lord will punish the world by fire
    and by his sword.
He will judge the earth,
    and many will be killed by him.

17 “Those who ‘consecrate’ and ‘purify’ themselves in a sacred garden with its idol in the center—feasting on pork and rats and other detestable meats—will come to a terrible end,” says the Lord.

18 “I can see what they are doing, and I know what they are thinking. So I will gather all nations and peoples together, and they will see my glory. 19 I will perform a sign among them. And I will send those who survive to be messengers to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans[c] and Lydians[d] (who are famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece,[e] and to all the lands beyond the sea that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. There they will declare my glory to the nations. 20 They will bring the remnant of your people back from every nation. They will bring them to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord. They will ride on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the Lord. 21 “And I will appoint some of them to be my priests and Levites. I, the Lord, have spoken!

22 “As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain,
    so will you always be my people,
with a name that will never disappear,”
    says the Lord.
23 “All humanity will come to worship me
    from week to week
    and from month to month.
24 And as they go out, they will see
    the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me.
For the worms that devour them will never die,
    and the fire that burns them will never go out.
All who pass by
    will view them with utter horror.”

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Footnotes

  1. 66:2 As in Greek, Latin, and Syriac versions; Hebrew reads these things are.
  2. 66:8 Hebrew Zion’s.
  3. 66:19a As in some Greek manuscripts, which read Put [that is, Libya]; Hebrew reads Pul.
  4. 66:19b Hebrew Lud.
  5. 66:19c Hebrew Javan.

though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more!

I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.[a] For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

Pressing toward the Goal

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[b] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.

17 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.

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Footnotes

  1. 3:9 Or through the faithfulness of Christ.
  2. 3:13 Some manuscripts read not yet achieved it.

Psalm 74

A psalm[a] of Asaph.

O God, why have you rejected us so long?
    Why is your anger so intense against the sheep of your own pasture?
Remember that we are the people you chose long ago,
    the tribe you redeemed as your own special possession!
    And remember Jerusalem,[b] your home here on earth.
Walk through the awful ruins of the city;
    see how the enemy has destroyed your sanctuary.

There your enemies shouted their victorious battle cries;
    there they set up their battle standards.
They swung their axes
    like woodcutters in a forest.
With axes and picks,
    they smashed the carved paneling.
They burned your sanctuary to the ground.
    They defiled the place that bears your name.
Then they thought, “Let’s destroy everything!”
    So they burned down all the places where God was worshiped.

We no longer see your miraculous signs.
    All the prophets are gone,
    and no one can tell us when it will end.
10 How long, O God, will you allow our enemies to insult you?
    Will you let them dishonor your name forever?
11 Why do you hold back your strong right hand?
    Unleash your powerful fist and destroy them.

12 You, O God, are my king from ages past,
    bringing salvation to the earth.
13 You split the sea by your strength
    and smashed the heads of the sea monsters.
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan[c]
    and let the desert animals eat him.
15 You caused the springs and streams to gush forth,
    and you dried up rivers that never run dry.
16 Both day and night belong to you;
    you made the starlight[d] and the sun.
17 You set the boundaries of the earth,
    and you made both summer and winter.

18 See how these enemies insult you, Lord.
    A foolish nation has dishonored your name.
19 Don’t let these wild beasts destroy your turtledoves.
    Don’t forget your suffering people forever.

20 Remember your covenant promises,
    for the land is full of darkness and violence!
21 Don’t let the downtrodden be humiliated again.
    Instead, let the poor and needy praise your name.

22 Arise, O God, and defend your cause.
    Remember how these fools insult you all day long.
23 Don’t overlook what your enemies have said
    or their growing uproar.

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Footnotes

  1. 74:Title Hebrew maskil. This may be a literary or musical term.
  2. 74:2 Hebrew Mount Zion.
  3. 74:14 The identification of Leviathan is disputed, ranging from an earthly creature to a mythical sea monster in ancient literature.
  4. 74:16 Or moon; Hebrew reads light.

15 Don’t wait in ambush at the home of the godly,
    and don’t raid the house where the godly live.
16 The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.
    But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.

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