Isaiah 7-8 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Isaiah Offers Hope to King Ahaz
7 Ahaz, the son of Jotham and the grandson of Uzziah, was king of Judah when King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel went to attack Jerusalem. But they were not able to do what they had planned.[a] 2 When news reached the royal palace that Syria had joined forces with Israel, King Ahaz and everyone in Judah were so terrified that they shook like trees in a windstorm.
3 Then the Lord said to me:
Take your son Shearjashub[b] and go see King Ahaz. You will find him on the road near the cloth makers' shops at the end of the canal that brings water from the upper pool. 4 Tell Ahaz to stop worrying. There’s no need for him to be afraid of King Rezin and King Pekah. They are very angry, but they are nothing more than a dying fire. Ahaz doesn’t need to fear 5 their evil threats 6 to invade and defeat Judah and Jerusalem and to let the son of Tabeel be king in his place.
7 I, the Lord, promise that this will never happen. 8-9 Damascus is just the capital of Syria, and King Rezin rules only in Damascus. Samaria is just the capital of Israel, and King Pekah rules only in Samaria. But in less than sixty-five years, Israel will be destroyed. And if Ahaz and his officials don’t trust me, they will be defeated.
A Son Named Immanuel
10 Once again the Lord God spoke to King Ahaz. This time he said, 11 “Ask me for proof that my promise will come true. Ask for something to happen deep in the world of the dead or high in the heavens above.”
12 “No, Lord,” Ahaz answered. “I won’t test you!”
13 Then I said:
Listen, every one of you in the royal family of David. You have already tried my patience. Now you are trying God’s patience by refusing to ask for proof. 14 But the Lord will still give you proof. A virgin[c] is pregnant; she will have a son and will name him Immanuel.[d] 15-16 Even before the boy is old enough to know how to choose between right and wrong, he will eat yogurt and honey,[e] and the countries of the two kings you fear will be destroyed. 17 But the Lord will make more trouble for your people and your kingdom than any of you have known since Israel broke away from Judah. He will even bring the king of Assyria to attack you.
The Threat of an Invasion
18 When that time comes, the Lord will whistle, and armies will come from Egypt like flies and from Assyria like bees. 19 They will settle everywhere—in the deep valleys and between the rocks, on every bush and all over the pastureland.
20 The Lord will pay the king of Assyria to bring a razor from across the Euphrates River and shave your head and every hair on your body, including your beard.[f]
21 No one will have more than one young cow and two sheep, 22 but those who do will have enough milk to make yogurt. In fact, everyone left in the land will eat yogurt and honey.[g]
23 Vineyards that had a thousand vines and were worth a thousand pieces of silver will turn into thorn patches. 24 You will go there to hunt with your bow and arrows, because the whole country will be covered with thornbushes. 25 The hills where you once planted crops will be overgrown with thorns and thistles. You will be afraid to go there, and your cattle, sheep, and goats will be turned loose on those hills.
A Warning and a Hope
8 The Lord said, “Isaiah, get something to write on. Then write in big clear letters[h] the name, MAHER-SHALAL-HASH-BAZ.[i] 2 I will have Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberechiah serve as witnesses to this.”
3 Sometime later, my wife and I had a son, and the Lord said, “Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. 4 Because before he can say ‘Mommy’ or ‘Daddy’, the king of Assyria will attack and take everything of value from Damascus and Samaria.”
5 The Lord spoke to me again and said:
6 These people have refused the gentle waters of Shiloah[j] and have gladly gone over to the side of King Rezin and King Pekah. 7 Now I will send the king of Assyria against them with his powerful army, which will attack like the mighty Euphrates River overflowing its banks. 8 Enemy soldiers will cover Judah like a flood reaching up to your neck.
But God is with us.[k]
11 The Lord took hold of me with his powerful hand and said:
I’m warning you! Don’t act like these people. 12 Don’t call something a rebellious plot, just because they do, and don’t be afraid of something, just because they are. 13 I am the one you should fear and respect. I am the holy God, the Lord All-Powerful! 14-15 Run to me for protection. I am a rock that will make both Judah and Israel stumble and break their bones. I am a trap that will catch the people of Jerusalem—they will be captured and dragged away.
Isaiah and His Followers
16 My message and my teachings are to be sealed and given to my followers. 17 Meanwhile, I patiently trust the Lord, even though he is no longer pleased with Israel. 18 My children and I are warning signs to Israel from the Lord All-Powerful, who lives on Mount Zion.
19 Someone may say to you, “Go to the fortunetellers who make soft chirping sounds or ask the spirits of the dead. After all, a nation ought to be able to ask its own gods 20 what it should do.”
None of those who talk like that will live to see the light of day! 21 They will go around in great pain and will become so hungry that they will angrily curse their king and their gods. And when they try to find help in heaven 22 and on earth, they will find only trouble and darkness, terrible trouble and deepest darkness.
Ephesians 2 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
From Death to Life
2 In the past you were dead because you sinned and fought against God. 2 You followed the ways of this world and obeyed the devil. He rules the world, and his spirit has power over everyone who doesn’t obey God. 3 Once we were also ruled by the selfish desires of our bodies and minds. We had made God angry, and we were going to be punished like everyone else.
4-5 But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you. 6 God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and he has given us a place beside Christ in heaven. 7 God did this so that in the future world he could show how truly good and kind he is to us because of what Christ Jesus has done. 8 You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve.[a] This is God’s gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. 9 It isn’t something you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about. 10 God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. That’s why he sent Christ to make us what we are.
United by Christ
11 Don’t forget that you are Gentiles. In fact, you used to be called “uncircumcised” by those who take pride in being circumcised. 12 At that time you did not know about Christ. You were foreigners to the people of Israel, and you had no part in the promises that God had made to them. You were living in this world without hope and without God, 13 and you were far from God. But Christ offered his life’s blood as a sacrifice and brought you near God.
14 Christ has made peace between Jews and Gentiles, and he has united us by breaking down the wall of hatred that separated us. Christ gave his own body 15 to destroy the Law of Moses with all its rules and commands. He even brought Jews and Gentiles together as though we were only one person, when he united us in peace. 16 On the cross Christ did away with our hatred for each other. He also made peace[b] between us and God by uniting Jews and Gentiles in one body. 17 Christ came and preached peace to you Gentiles, who were far from God, and peace to us Jews, who were near God. 18 And because of Christ, all of us can come to the Father by the same Spirit.
19 You Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens with everyone else who belongs to the family of God. 20 You are like a building with the apostles and prophets as the foundation and with Christ as the most important stone. 21 Christ is the one who holds the building together and makes it grow into a holy temple for the Lord. 22 And you are part of that building Christ has built as a place for God’s own Spirit to live.
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