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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.
He won’t shout or yell
    or call out in the streets.
He won’t break off a bent reed
    or put out a dying flame,
but he will make sure
    that justice is done.
He won’t quit or give up
until he brings justice
    everywhere on earth,
and people in foreign nations
    long for his teaching.

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.
I chose you to bring justice,
    and I am here at your side.
I selected and sent you[a]
    to bring light
and my promise of hope
    to the nations.
You will give sight
    to the blind;
you will set prisoners free
    from dark dungeons.

My name is the Lord!
I won’t let idols or humans
    share my glory and praise.
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[b]
    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.[c]
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.

The Lord Has Rescued His People

43 Descendants of Jacob,
I, the Lord, created you
    and formed your nation.
Israel, don’t be afraid.
    I have rescued you.
I have called you by name;
    now you belong to me.
When you cross deep rivers,
I will be with you,
    and you won’t drown.
When you walk through fire,
you won’t be burned
    or scorched by the flames.

I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
    the God who saves you.
I gave up Egypt, Ethiopia,[d]
and the region of Seba[e]
    in exchange for you.
To me, you are very dear,
    and I love you.
That’s why I gave up nations
    and people to rescue you.

Don’t be afraid! I am with you.
From both east and west
    I will bring you together.
I will say to the north
    and to the south,
“Free my sons and daughters!
Let them return
    from distant lands.
They are my people—
I created each of them
    to bring honor to me.”

The Lord Alone Is God

The Lord said:

Bring my people together.
They have eyes and ears,
    but they can’t see or hear.
Tell everyone of every nation
    to gather around.
None of them can honestly say,
    “We told you so!”
If someone heard them say this,
    then tell us about it now.

10 My people, you are my witnesses
    and my chosen servant.
I want you to know me,
to trust me,
and understand
    that I alone am God.
I have always been God;
    there can be no others.

11 I alone am the Lord;
    only I can rescue you.
12 I promised to save you,
    and I kept my promise.
You are my witnesses
that no other god did this.
    I, the Lord, have spoken.
13 I am God now and forever.
No one can snatch you from me
    or stand in my way.

The Lord Will Prepare the Way

14 I, the Lord, will rescue you!
I am Israel’s holy God,
    and this is my promise:
For your sake, I will send
    an army against Babylon
to drag its people away,
    crying as they go.[f]

15 I am the Lord, your holy God,
    Israel’s Creator and King.
16 I am the one who cut a path
    through the mighty ocean.
17 I sent an army to chase you
    with chariots and horses;
now they lie dead,
    unable to move.
They are like an oil lamp
    with the flame snuffed out.

Forget the Past

The Lord said:

18 Forget what happened long ago!
    Don’t think about the past.
19 I am creating something new.
    There it is! Do you see it?
I have put roads in deserts,
    streams[g] in thirsty lands.
20 Every wild animal honors me,
    even jackals[h] and owls.
I provide water in deserts—
streams in thirsty lands
    for my chosen people.
21 I made them my own nation,
    so they would praise me.

22 I, the Lord, said to Israel:
You have become weary,
    but not from worshiping me.
23 You have not honored me
by sacrificing sheep
    or other animals.
And I have not burdened you
with demands for sacrifices
    or sweet-smelling incense.

24 You have not brought
    delicious spices for me
or given me the best part
    of your sacrificed animals.
Instead, you burden me down
    with your terrible sins.
25 But I wipe away your sins
    because of who I am.
And so, I will forget
    the wrongs you have done.

26 Meet me in court!
State your case
and prove
    that you are right.
27 Your earliest ancestor[i]
and all of your leaders[j]
    rebelled against me.
28 That’s why I don’t allow
    your priests to serve me;
I let Israel be destroyed
    and your people disgraced.

The Lord’s Promise to Israel

44 People of Israel,
I have chosen you
    as my servant.
I am your Creator.
You were in my care
    even before you were born.
Israel, don’t be terrified!
You are my chosen servant,
    my very favorite.[k]

I will bless the thirsty land
    by sending streams of water;
I will bless your descendants
    by giving them my Spirit.
They will spring up like grass[l]
or like willow trees
    near flowing streams.
They will worship me
    and become my people.
They will write my name
    on the back of their hands.[m]

I am the Lord All-Powerful,
the first and the last,
    the one and only God.
Israel, I have rescued you!
    I am your King.
Can anyone compare with me?
If so, let them speak up
    and tell me now.
Let them say what has happened
since I made my nation
    long ago,
and let them tell
    what is going to happen.[n]
Don’t tremble with fear!
Didn’t I tell you long ago?
    Didn’t you hear me?
I alone am God—
no one else is a mighty rock.[o]

Idols Can’t Do a Thing

The Lord said:

Those people who make idols
    are nothing themselves,
and the idols they treasure
    are just as worthless.
Worshipers of idols are blind,
    stupid, and foolish.
10 Why make an idol or an image
    that can’t do a thing?
11 Everyone who makes idols
and all who worship them
    are mere humans,
who will end up
    sadly disappointed.
Let them face me in court
    and be terrified.

Idols and Firewood

12 A metalworker shapes an idol
by using a hammer[p]
    and heat from the fire.
In his powerful hand
    he holds a hammer,
as he pounds the metal
    into the proper shape.
But he gets hungry and thirsty
    and loses his strength.

13 Some woodcarver measures
a piece of wood,
    then draws an outline.
The idol is carefully carved
    with each detail exact.
At last it looks like a person
    and is placed in a temple.
14 Either cedar, cypress, oak,
or any tree from the forest
    may be chosen.
Or even a pine tree planted
by the woodcarver
    and watered by the rain.

15 Some of the wood is used
to make a fire for heating
    or for cooking.
One piece is made into an idol,
then the woodcarver bows down
    and worships it.
16 He enjoys the warm fire
and the meat that was roasted
    over the burning coals.
17 Afterwards, he bows down
    to worship the wooden idol.
“Protect me!” he says.
    “You are my god.”

18 Those who worship idols are stupid and blind! 19 They don’t have enough sense to say to themselves, “I made a fire with half of the wood and cooked my bread and meat on it. Then I made something worthless with the other half. Why worship a block of wood?”

20 How can anyone be stupid enough to trust something that can be burned to ashes?[q] No one can save themselves like that. Don’t they realize that the idols they hold in their hands are not really gods?

The Lord Won’t Forget His People

21 People of Israel,
you are my servant,
    so remember all of this.
Israel, I created you,
and you are my servant.
    I won’t forget you.[r]
22 Turn back to me!
    I have rescued you
and swept away your sins
    as though they were clouds.

Sing Praises to the Lord

23 Tell the heavens and the earth
    to start singing!
Tell the mountains
and every tree in the forest
    to join in the song!
The Lord has rescued his people;
    now they will worship him.

The Lord Created Everything

24 Israel, I am your Lord.
I am your source of life,
    and I have rescued you.
I created everything
from the sky above
    to the earth below.

25 I make liars of false prophets
    and fools of fortunetellers.
I take human wisdom
    and turn it into nonsense.
26 I will make the message
    of my prophets come true.
They are saying, “Jerusalem
    will be filled with people,
and the Lord will rebuild
    the towns of Judah.”

27 I am the one who commands
the sea and its streams
    to run dry.
28 I am also the one who says,
“Cyrus will lead my people
    and obey my orders.
Jerusalem and the temple
    will be rebuilt.”

Footnotes

  1. 42.6 I selected. . . you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 42.11 desert. . . mountains: The Hebrew text includes the place names of Kedar in the desert and Sela in the mountains.
  3. 42.21 greatly praised: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 21.
  4. 43.3 Ethiopia: See the note at 11.11.
  5. 43.3 Seba: A region in southwest Arabia. Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba probably stood for all that was known of Africa in biblical times.
  6. 43.14 crying as they go: Or “in their glorious ships.”
  7. 43.19 streams: The Standard Hebrew Text; the Dead Sea Scrolls “paths.”
  8. 43.20 jackals: Desert animals related to wolves, but smaller.
  9. 43.27 earliest ancestor: Jacob, also known as Israel.
  10. 43.27 leaders: Probably prophets, but perhaps also priests and kings.
  11. 44.2 my very favorite: Or “Jeshurun.”
  12. 44.4 like grass: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  13. 44.5 write. . . hands: To show that they belong to the Lord and to Israel.
  14. 44.7 Let them say. . . happen: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  15. 44.8 mighty rock: See the note at 17.10.
  16. 44.12 by using a hammer: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  17. 44.20 How. . . ashes: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  18. 44.21 I won’t forget you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.