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Isaiah 43-44New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Restoration and Protection Promised

43 But now thus says the Lord,
    he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
    Ethiopia[a] and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my sight,
    and honored, and I love you,
I give people in return for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
    I will bring your offspring from the east,
    and from the west I will gather you;
I will say to the north, “Give them up,”
    and to the south, “Do not withhold;
bring my sons from far away
    and my daughters from the end of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”

Bring forth the people who are blind, yet have eyes,
    who are deaf, yet have ears!
Let all the nations gather together,
    and let the peoples assemble.
Who among them declared this,
    and foretold to us the former things?
Let them bring their witnesses to justify them,
    and let them hear and say, “It is true.”
10 You are my witnesses, says the Lord,
    and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
    and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
    nor shall there be any after me.
11 I, I am the Lord,
    and besides me there is no savior.
12 I declared and saved and proclaimed,
    when there was no strange god among you;
    and you are my witnesses, says the Lord.
13 I am God, and also henceforth I am He;
    there is no one who can deliver from my hand;
    I work and who can hinder it?

14 Thus says the Lord,
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
For your sake I will send to Babylon
    and break down all the bars,
    and the shouting of the Chaldeans will be turned to lamentation.[b]
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,
    the Creator of Israel, your King.
16 Thus says the Lord,
    who makes a way in the sea,
    a path in the mighty waters,
17 who brings out chariot and horse,
    army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
    they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
18 Do not remember the former things,
    or consider the things of old.
19 I am about to do a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.
20 The wild animals will honor me,
    the jackals and the ostriches;
for I give water in the wilderness,
    rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
21     the people whom I formed for myself
so that they might declare my praise.

22 Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob;
    but you have been weary of me, O Israel!
23 You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings,
    or honored me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with offerings,
    or wearied you with frankincense.
24 You have not bought me sweet cane with money,
    or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.
But you have burdened me with your sins;
    you have wearied me with your iniquities.

25 I, I am He
    who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
    and I will not remember your sins.
26 Accuse me, let us go to trial;
    set forth your case, so that you may be proved right.
27 Your first ancestor sinned,
    and your interpreters transgressed against me.
28 Therefore I profaned the princes of the sanctuary,
    I delivered Jacob to utter destruction,
    and Israel to reviling.

God’s Blessing on Israel

44 But now hear, O Jacob my servant,
    Israel whom I have chosen!
Thus says the Lord who made you,
    who formed you in the womb and will help you:
Do not fear, O Jacob my servant,
    Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
    and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my spirit upon your descendants,
    and my blessing on your offspring.
They shall spring up like a green tamarisk,
    like willows by flowing streams.
This one will say, “I am the Lord’s,”
    another will be called by the name of Jacob,
yet another will write on the hand, “The Lord’s,”
    and adopt the name of Israel.

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,
    and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
I am the first and I am the last;
    besides me there is no god.
Who is like me? Let them proclaim it,
    let them declare and set it forth before me.
Who has announced from of old the things to come?[c]
    Let them tell us[d] what is yet to be.
Do not fear, or be afraid;
    have I not told you from of old and declared it?
    You are my witnesses!
Is there any god besides me?
    There is no other rock; I know not one.

The Absurdity of Idol Worship

All who make idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit; their witnesses neither see nor know. And so they will be put to shame. 10 Who would fashion a god or cast an image that can do no good? 11 Look, all its devotees shall be put to shame; the artisans too are merely human. Let them all assemble, let them stand up; they shall be terrified, they shall all be put to shame.

12 The ironsmith fashions it[e] and works it over the coals, shaping it with hammers, and forging it with his strong arm; he becomes hungry and his strength fails, he drinks no water and is faint. 13 The carpenter stretches a line, marks it out with a stylus, fashions it with planes, and marks it with a compass; he makes it in human form, with human beauty, to be set up in a shrine. 14 He cuts down cedars or chooses a holm tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it can be used as fuel. Part of it he takes and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Then he makes a god and worships it, makes it a carved image and bows down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire; over this half he roasts meat, eats it and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, “Ah, I am warm, I can feel the fire!” 17 The rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, bows down to it and worships it; he prays to it and says, “Save me, for you are my god!”

18 They do not know, nor do they comprehend; for their eyes are shut, so that they cannot see, and their minds as well, so that they cannot understand. 19 No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals, I roasted meat and have eaten. Now shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” 20 He feeds on ashes; a deluded mind has led him astray, and he cannot save himself or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a fraud?”

Israel Is Not Forgotten

21 Remember these things, O Jacob,
    and Israel, for you are my servant;
I formed you, you are my servant;
    O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
22 I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud,
    and your sins like mist;
return to me, for I have redeemed you.

23 Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it;
    shout, O depths of the earth;
break forth into singing, O mountains,
    O forest, and every tree in it!
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
    and will be glorified in Israel.

24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
    who formed you in the womb:
I am the Lord, who made all things,
    who alone stretched out the heavens,
    who by myself spread out the earth;
25 who frustrates the omens of liars,
    and makes fools of diviners;
who turns back the wise,
    and makes their knowledge foolish;
26 who confirms the word of his servant,
    and fulfills the prediction of his messengers;
who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be inhabited,”
    and of the cities of Judah, “They shall be rebuilt,
    and I will raise up their ruins”;
27 who says to the deep, “Be dry—
    I will dry up your rivers”;
28 who says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd,
    and he shall carry out all my purpose”;
and who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be rebuilt,”
    and of the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 43:3 Or Nubia; Heb Cush
  2. Isaiah 43:14 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  3. Isaiah 44:7 Cn: Heb from my placing an eternal people and things to come
  4. Isaiah 44:7 Tg: Heb them
  5. Isaiah 44:12 Cn: Heb an ax
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1 Thessalonians 2New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Paul’s Ministry in Thessalonica

You yourselves know, brothers and sisters,[a] that our coming to you was not in vain, but though we had already suffered and been shamefully mistreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle[b] among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.

You remember our labor and toil, brothers and sisters;[c] we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was toward you believers. 11 As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, 12 urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

13 We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers. 14 For you, brothers and sisters,[d] became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets,[e] and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone 16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins; but God’s wrath has overtaken them at last.[f]

Paul’s Desire to Visit the Thessalonians Again

17 As for us, brothers and sisters,[g] when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you—in person, not in heart—we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face. 18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, wanted to again and again—but Satan blocked our way. 19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20 Yes, you are our glory and joy!

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Thessalonians 2:1 Gk brothers
  2. 1 Thessalonians 2:7 Other ancient authorities read infants
  3. 1 Thessalonians 2:9 Gk brothers
  4. 1 Thessalonians 2:14 Gk brothers
  5. 1 Thessalonians 2:15 Other ancient authorities read their own prophets
  6. 1 Thessalonians 2:16 Or completely or forever
  7. 1 Thessalonians 2:17 Gk brothers
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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