Be honest and fair! Soon I will come to save you; my saving power will be seen everywhere on earth.
2 I will bless everyone who respects the Sabbath and refuses to do wrong.
3 Foreigners who worship me must not say, “The Lord won’t let us be part of his people.” Men who are unable to become fathers must no longer say, “We are dried-up trees.”
4 To them, I, the Lord, say: Respect the Sabbath, obey me completely, and keep our agreement. 5 Then I will set up monuments in my temple with your names written on them. This will be much better than having children, because these monuments will stand there forever.
6 Foreigners will follow me. They will love me and worship in my name; they will respect the Sabbath and keep our agreement. 7 I will bring them to my holy mountain, where they will celebrate in my house of worship. Their sacrifices and offerings will always be welcome on my altar. Then my house will be known as a house of worship for all nations. 8 I, the Lord, promise to bring together my people who were taken away, and let them join the others.
God Promises To Punish Israel’s Leaders
9 Come from the forest, you wild animals! Attack and gobble down your victims. 10 You leaders of Israel should be watchdogs, protecting my people. But you can’t see a thing, and you never warn them. Dozing and daydreaming are all you ever do. 11 You stupid leaders are a pack of hungry and greedy dogs that never get enough. You are shepherds who mistreat your own sheep for selfish gain. 12 You say to each other, “Let’s drink till we’re drunk! Tomorrow we’ll do it again. We’ll really enjoy ourselves.”
God’s Faithful People Suffer
57 God’s faithful people are dragged off and killed, and no one even cares. Evil sweeps them away, 2 but in death they find peace for obeying God.[a]
The Lord Condemns Idolatry
3 You people are unfaithful! You go to fortunetellers, and you worship idols. Now pay close attention! 4 Who are you making fun of? Who are you sneering at? Look how your sins have made fools of you.
5 All you think about is sex under those green trees where idols are worshiped. You sacrifice your children on altars built in valleys under rocky slopes. 6 You have chosen to worship idols made of stone;[b] you have given them offerings of wine and grain. Should I be pleased?
7 You have spread out your beds on the tops of high mountains, where you sacrifice to idols. 8 Even in your homes you have placed pagan symbols all around your huge beds. Yes, you have rejected me, sold yourselves to your lovers, and gone to bed with them.[c]
9 You smear on olive oil and all kinds of perfume to worship the god Molech.[d] You even seek advice from spirits of the dead. 10 Though you tired yourself out by running after idols, you refused to stop. Your desires were so strong that they kept you going.
11 Did you forget about me and become unfaithful because you were more afraid of someone else? Have I been silent so long[e] that you no longer fear me? 12 You think you’re so good, but I’ll point out the truth. 13 Ask your idols to save you when you are in trouble. Be careful though— it takes only a faint breath to blow them over. But if you come to me for protection, this land and my holy mountain will always belong to you.
The Lord Helps the Helpless
14 The Lord says, “Clear the road! Get it ready for my people.”
15 Our holy God lives forever in the highest heavens, and this is what he says: Though I live high above in the holy place, I am here to help those who are humble and depend only on me.
16 My people, I won’t stay angry and keep on accusing you. After all, I am your Creator. I don’t want you to give up in complete despair. 17 Your greed made me furious. That’s why I punished you and refused to be found, while you kept returning to your old sinful ways.
18 I know what you are like! But I will heal you, lead you, and give you comfort, until those who are mourning 19 start singing my praises.[f] No matter where you are, I, the Lord, will heal you[g] and give you peace.
20 The wicked are a restless sea tossing up mud. 21 But I, the Lord, have promised that none who are evil will live in peace.
58 Shout the message! Don’t hold back. Say to my people Israel: You’ve sinned! You’ve turned against the Lord. 2 Day after day, you worship him and seem eager to learn his teachings. You act like a nation that wants to do right by obeying his laws. You ask him about justice, and say you enjoy worshiping the Lord.
3 You wonder why the Lord pays no attention when you go without eating and act humble. But on those same days that you give up eating, you think only of yourselves[h] and abuse your workers. 4 You even get angry and ready to fight. No wonder God won’t listen to your prayers!
5 Do you think the Lord wants you to give up eating and to act as humble as a bent-over bush? Or to dress in sackcloth and sit in ashes? Is this really what he wants on a day of worship?
6 I’ll tell you what it really means to worship the Lord. Remove the chains of prisoners who are chained unjustly. Free those who are abused! 7 Share your food with everyone who is hungry; share your home with the poor and homeless. Give clothes to those in need; don’t turn away your relatives.
8 Then your light will shine like the dawning sun, and you will quickly be healed. Your honesty[i] will protect you as you advance, and the glory of the Lord will defend you from behind. 9 When you beg the Lord for help, he will answer, “Here I am!”
Don’t mistreat others or falsely accuse them or say something cruel. 10 Give your food to the hungry and care for the homeless. Then your light will shine in the dark; your darkest hour will be like the noonday sun.
11 The Lord will always guide you and provide good things to eat when you are in the desert. He will make you healthy. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water or like a stream that never runs dry. 12 You will rebuild those houses left in ruins for years; you will be known as a builder and repairer of city walls and streets.
13 But first, you must start respecting the Sabbath as a joyful day of worship. You must stop doing and saying whatever you please on this special day. 14 Then you will truly enjoy knowing the Lord. He will let you rule from the highest mountains and bless you with the land of your ancestor Jacob. The Lord has spoken!
57.1,2Evil. . . God: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
57.6You have. . . stone: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
57.8them: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 8.
57.9the god Molech: Or “the king.” In Hebrew “Molech” and “king” sound alike.
57.11so long: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
57.18,19until. . . praises: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
57.19heal you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
58.3you think. . . yourselves: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
2 Thessalonians 2Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Lord’s Return
2 When our Lord Jesus returns, we will be gathered up to meet him. So I ask you, my friends, 2 not to be easily upset or disturbed by people who claim that the Lord[a] has already come. They may say that they heard this directly from the Holy Spirit, or from someone else, or even that they read it in one of our letters. 3 But don’t be fooled! People will rebel against God. Then before the Lord returns, the wicked[b] one who is doomed to be destroyed will appear. 4 He will brag and oppose everything that is holy or sacred. He will even sit in God’s temple and claim to be God. 5 Don’t you remember that I told you this while I was still with you?
6 You already know what is holding this wicked one back until it is time for him to come. 7 His mysterious power is already at work, but someone is holding him back. And the wicked one won’t appear until that someone is out of the way. 8 Then he will appear, but the Lord Jesus will kill him simply by breathing on him. He will be completely destroyed by the Lord’s glorious return.
9 When the wicked one appears, Satan will pretend to work all kinds of miracles, wonders, and signs. 10 Lost people will be fooled by his evil deeds. They could be saved, but they will refuse to love the truth and accept it. 11 So God will make sure that they are fooled into believing a lie. 12 All of them will be punished, because they would rather do evil than believe the truth.
13 My friends, the Lord loves you, and it is only natural for us to thank God for you. God chose you to be the first ones to be saved.[c] His Spirit made you holy, and you put your faith in the truth. 14 God used our preaching as his way of inviting you to share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 My friends, that’s why you must remain faithful and follow closely what we taught you in person and by our letters.
16 God our Father loves us. He is kind and has given us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope. We pray that our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father 17 will encourage you and help you always to do and say the right thing.
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