41 Be silent and listen, every island in the sea. Have courage and come near, every one of you nations. Let’s settle this matter! 2 Who appointed this ruler from the east?[a] Who puts nations and kings in his power?[b] His sword and his arrows turn them to dust blown by the wind. 3 He goes after them so quickly that his feet barely touch the ground— he doesn’t even get hurt.
4 Who makes these things happen? Who controls human events? I do! I am the Lord. I was there at the beginning; I will be there at the end. 5 Islands and foreign nations saw what I did and trembled as they came near.
What Can Idols Do?
6 Worshipers of idols comfort each other, saying, “Don’t worry!” 7 Woodcarvers, goldsmiths, and other workers[c] encourage one another and say, “We’ve done a great job!” Then they nail the idol down, so it won’t fall over.
The Lord’s Chosen Servant
8 Israel, you are my servant. I chose you, the family of my friend Abraham. 9 From far across the earth I brought you here and said, “You are my chosen servant. I haven’t forgotten you.”
10 Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong, as I protect you with my arm and give you victories. 11 Everyone who hates you will be terribly disgraced; those who attack will vanish into thin air. 12 You will look around for those brutal enemies, but you won’t find them because they will be gone.
13 I am the Lord your God. I am holding your hand, so don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.
14 People of Israel, don’t worry, though others may say, “Israel is only a worm!” I am the holy God of Israel, who saves and protects you. 15 I will let you be like a log covered with sharp spikes.[d] You will grind and crush every mountain and hill[e] until they turn to dust. 16 A strong wind will scatter them in all directions. Then you will celebrate and praise me, your Lord, the holy God of Israel.
The Lord Helps the Poor
17 When the poor and needy are dying of thirst and cannot find water, I, the Lord God of Israel, will come to their rescue. I won’t forget them. 18 I will make rivers flow on mountain peaks. I will send streams to fill the valleys. Dry and barren land will flow with springs and become a lake. 19 I will fill the desert with all kinds of trees— cedars, acacias, and myrtles; olive and cypress trees; fir trees and pines. 20 Everyone will see this and know that I, the holy Lord God of Israel, created it all.
Idols Are Useless
21 I am the Lord, the King of Israel! Come argue your case with me. Present your evidence. 22 Come near me, you idols.[f] Tell us about the past, and we will think about it. Tell us about the future, so we will know what is going to happen. 23 Prove that you are gods by making your predictions come true. Do something good or evil, so we can be amazed and terrified.[g] 24 You idols are nothing, and you are powerless.[h] To worship you would be disgusting.
25 I, the Lord, appointed a ruler in the north; now he comes from the east to honor my name. He tramples[i] kings like mud, as potters trample clay.[j] 26 Did any of you idols predict what would happen? Did any of you get it right? None of you told about this or even spoke a word. 27 I was the first to tell the people of Jerusalem, “Look, it’s happening!”[k] I was the one who announced this good news to Zion.
28 None of these idols are able to give advice or answer questions. 29 They are nothing,[l] and they can do nothing— they are less than a passing breeze.
The Lord’s Servant
42 Here is my servant!
I have made him strong. He is my chosen one; I am pleased with him. I have given him my Spirit, and he will bring justice to the nations. 2 He won’t shout or yell or call out in the streets. 3 He won’t break off a bent reed or put out a dying flame, but he will make sure that justice is done. 4 He won’t quit or give up until he brings justice everywhere on earth, and people in foreign nations long for his teaching.
5 I am the Lord God. I created the heavens like an open tent above. I made the earth and everything that grows on it. I am the source of life for all who live on this earth, so listen to what I say. 6 I chose you to bring justice, and I am here at your side. I selected and sent you[m] to bring light and my promise of hope to the nations. 7 You will give sight to the blind; you will set prisoners free from dark dungeons.
8 My name is the Lord! I won’t let idols or humans share my glory and praise. 9 Everything has happened just as I said it would; now I will announce what will happen next.
Sing Praises to the Lord
10 Tell the whole world to sing a new song to the Lord! Tell those who sail the ocean and those who live far away to join in the praise. 11 Tell the tribes of the desert and everyone in the mountains[n] to celebrate and sing. 12 Let them announce his praises everywhere. 13 The Lord is marching out like an angry soldier, shouting with all his might while attacking his enemies.
The Lord Will Help His People
14 For a long time, I, the Lord, have held my temper; now I will scream and groan like a woman giving birth. 15 I will destroy the mountains and what grows on them; I will dry up rivers and ponds.
16 I will lead the blind on roads they have never known; I will guide them on paths they have never traveled. Their road is dark and rough, but I will give light to keep them from stumbling. This is my solemn promise.
17 Everyone who worships idols as though they were gods will be terribly ashamed.
God’s People Won’t Obey
18 You people are deaf and blind, but the Lord commands you to listen and to see. 19 No one is as blind or deaf as his messenger, his chosen servant, 20 who sees and hears so much, but pays no attention.
21 The Lord always does right, and so he wanted his Law to be greatly praised.[o] 22 But his people were trapped and imprisoned in holes with no one to rescue them. All they owned had been taken, and no one was willing to give it back. 23 Why won’t his people ever learn to listen?
24 Israel sinned and refused to obey the Lord or follow his instructions. So the Lord let them be robbed of everything they owned. 25 He was furious with them and punished their nation with the fires of war. Still they paid no attention. They didn’t even care when they were surrounded and scorched by flames.
41.2ruler from the east: Probably Cyrus (see 44.28; 45.1; 48.14).
41.2Who puts. . . power: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
41.7and other workers: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
41.15I will let. . . sharp spikes: In ancient times a heavy object was sometimes dragged over wheat or barley to separate the grain from the husk. This was called threshing.
41.15mountain and hill: These stand for the power and pride of Israel’s enemies.
41.22Come near. . . idols: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
To the church in Thessalonica, the people of God the Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I pray that God will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!
2 We thank God for you and always mention you in our prayers. Each time we pray, 3 we tell God our Father about your faith and loving work and about your firm hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Thessalonians' Faith and Example
4 My dear friends, God loves you, and we know he has chosen you to be his people. 5 When we told you the good news, it was with the power and assurance that come from the Holy Spirit, and not simply with words. You knew what kind of people we were and how we helped you. 6 So, when you accepted the message, you followed our example and the example of the Lord. You suffered, but the Holy Spirit made you glad.
7 You became an example for all the Lord’s followers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 And because of you, the Lord’s message has spread everywhere in those regions. Now the news of your faith in God is known all over the world, and we don’t have to say a thing about it. 9 Everyone is talking about how you welcomed us and how you turned away from idols to serve the true and living God. 10 They also tell how you are waiting for his Son Jesus to come from heaven. God raised him from death, and on the day of judgment Jesus will save us from God’s anger.
1.1Silas: The Greek text has “Silvanus,” another form of the name Silas.
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