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Isaiah 22-24; Galatians 2:17-3:9; Psalm 60; Proverbs 23:15-16 (Contemporary English Version)

Isaiah 22-24

Trouble in Vision Valley

22 This is a message
    about Vision Valley:[a]
Why are you celebrating
on the flat roofs[b]
    of your houses?
Your city is filled
    with noisy shouts.
Those who lie drunk
in your streets
    were not killed in battle.
Your leaders ran away,
but they were captured
    without a fight.
No matter how far they ran,
    they were found and caught.[c]

Then I said, “Leave me alone!
    Let me cry bitter tears.
My people have been destroyed,
    so don’t try to comfort me.”

The Lord All-Powerful
    had chosen a time
for noisy shouts and confusion
    to fill Vision Valley,
and for everyone to beg
    the mountains for help.[d]
The people of Elam and Kir[e]
attacked with chariots[f]
    and carried shields.
Your most beautiful valleys
    were covered with chariots;
your cities were surrounded
by cavalry troops.
    Judah was left defenseless.

At that time you trusted in the weapons you had stored in Forest Palace.[g] You saw the holes in the outer wall of Jerusalem, and you brought water from the lower pool.[h] 10 You counted the houses in Jerusalem and tore down some of them, so you could get stones to repair the city wall. 11 Then you built a large tank between the walls[i] to store the water. But you refused to trust the God who planned this long ago and made it happen.

A Time To Weep

12 When all of this happened,
the Lord All-Powerful told you
    to weep and mourn,
    to shave your heads,
    and wear sackcloth.
13 But instead, you celebrated
by feasting on beef and lamb
    and by drinking wine,
because you said,
“Let’s eat and drink!
    Tomorrow we may die.”

14 The Lord All-Powerful
has spoken to me
    this solemn promise:
“I won’t forgive them for this,
    not as long as they live.”

Selfish Officials Are Doomed

15 The Lord All-Powerful is sending you with this message for Shebna, the prime minister:

16 Shebna, what gives you the right to have a tomb carved out of rock in this burial place of royalty? None of your relatives are buried here. 17 You may be powerful, but the Lord is about to snatch you up and throw you away. 18 He will roll you into a ball and throw you into a wide open country, where you will die and your chariots will be destroyed. You’re a disgrace to those you serve.

19 The Lord is going to take away your job! 20-21 He will give your official robes and your authority to his servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah.

Eliakim will be like a father to the people of Jerusalem and to the royal family of Judah. 22 The Lord will put him in charge of the key that belongs to King David’s family. No one will be able to unlock what he locks, and no one will be able to lock what he unlocks. 23 The Lord will make him as firm in his position as a tent peg hammered in the ground, and Eliakim will bring honor to his family.

24 His children and relatives will be supported by him, like pans hanging from a peg on the wall. 25 That peg is fastened firmly now, but someday it will be shaken loose and fall down. Then everything that was hanging on it will be destroyed. This is what the Lord All-Powerful has promised.

The City of Tyre Will Be Punished

23 This is a message
from distant islands
    about the city of Tyre:[j]
Cry, you seagoing ships![k]
Tyre and its houses
    lie in ruins.[l]
Mourn in silence,
you shop owners of Sidon,[m]
    you people on the coast.
Your sailors crossed oceans,
    making your city rich.
Your merchants sailed the seas,
making you wealthy
by trading
    with nation after nation.
They brought back grain
    that grew along the Nile.[n]
Sidon, you are a mighty fortress
    built along the sea.
But you will be disgraced
like a married woman
    who never had children.[o]

When Egypt hears about Tyre,
    it will tremble.
All of you along the coast
had better cry
and sail
    far across the ocean.[p]
Can this be the happy city
    that has stood for centuries?
Its people have spread
    to distant lands;
its merchants were kings
    honored all over the world.
Who planned to destroy Tyre?
The Lord All-Powerful planned it
    to bring shame and disgrace
to those
who are honored
    by everyone on earth.
10 People of Tyre,[q]
    your harbor is destroyed!
You will have to become farmers
    just like the Egyptians.[r]

Tyre Will Be Forgotten

11 The Lord’s hand has reached
across the sea,
    upsetting the nations.
He has given a command
to destroy fortresses
    in the land of Canaan.
12 The Lord has said
    to the people of Sidon,
“Your celebrating is over—
    you are crushed.
Even if you escape to Cyprus,
    you won’t find peace.”

13 Look what the Assyrians have done to Babylonia! They have attacked, destroying every palace in the land. Now wild animals live among the ruins.[s] 14 Not a fortress will be left standing, so tell all the seagoing ships[t] to mourn.

15 The city of Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, which is the lifetime of a king. Then Tyre will be like that evil woman in the song:

16 You’re gone and forgotten,
    you evil woman!
So strut through the town,
    singing and playing
your favorite tune
    to be remembered again.

17 At the end of those seventy years, the Lord will let Tyre get back into business. The city will be like a woman who sells her body to everyone of every nation on earth, 18 but none of what is earned will be kept in the city. That money will belong to the Lord, and it will be used to buy more than enough food and good clothes for those who worship the Lord.

The Earth Will Be Punished

24 The Lord is going to twist the earth out of shape and turn it into a desert. Everyone will be scattered, including ordinary people and priests, slaves and slave owners, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, the rich and the poor. The earth will be stripped bare and left that way. This is what the Lord has promised.

The earth wilts away;
its mighty leaders melt
    to nothing.[u]
The earth is polluted
    because its people
disobeyed the laws of God,
breaking their agreement
    that was to last forever.

The earth is under a curse;
its people are dying out
    because of their sins.
Grapevines have dried up:
    wine is almost gone—
mournful sounds are heard
    instead of joyful shouts.

No one plays tambourines
    or stringed instruments;
all noisy celebrating
    has come to an end.
They no longer sing
as they drink their wine,
    and it tastes sour.

10 Towns are crushed and in chaos;
    houses are locked tight.
11 Happy times have disappeared
    from the earth,
and people shout in the streets,
    “We’re out of wine!”
12 Cities are destroyed;
    their gates are torn down.
13 Nations will be stripped bare,
like olive trees
or vineyards
    after the harvest season.

Praise the God of Justice

14 People in the west shout;
they joyfully praise
    the majesty of the Lord.
15 And so, everyone in the east
    and those on the islands
should praise the Lord,
    the God of Israel.
16 From all over the world
songs of praise are heard
    for the God of justice.[v]
But I feel awful,
    terribly miserable.
Can anyone be trusted?
    So many are treacherous!

There’s No Escape

17 Terror, traps, and pits
    are waiting for everyone.
18 If you are terrified and run,
    you will fall into a pit;
if you crawl out of the pit,
    you will get caught in a trap.

The sky has split apart
    like a window thrown open.
The foundations of the earth
    have been shaken;
19 the earth is shattered,
    ripped to pieces.
20 It staggers and shakes
like a drunkard
    or a hut in a windstorm.
It is burdened down with sin;
the earth will fall,
    never again to get up.

21 On that day the Lord
    will punish
the powers
in the heavens[w]
    and the kings of the earth.
22 He will put them in a pit
    and keep them prisoner.
Then later on,
    he will punish them.
23 The moon and sun will both
    be embarrassed and ashamed.
The Lord All-Powerful will rule
    on Mount Zion in Jerusalem,
where he will show its rulers
    his wonderful glory.

Footnotes:

  1. 22.1 Vision Valley: The exact location is not known. In Hebrew the name sounds something like “Hinnom Valley,” where the people of Jerusalem sometimes offered human sacrifices to the gods of Canaan.
  2. 22.1 flat roofs: In Palestine the houses usually had a flat roof. Stairs on the outside led up to the roof, which was made of beams and boards covered with packed earth.
  3. 22.3 No matter. . . caught: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. 22.5 and for. . . help: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  5. 22.6 Elam and Kir: Regions in the Iranian highlands.
  6. 22.6 chariots: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. 22.8 Forest Palace: Built by Solomon (1 Kings 7.2) and used as a place for storing weapons.
  8. 22.9 the lower pool: Mentioned only here; probably in the southern part of the Central Valley (Tyropoean Valley) of Jerusalem.
  9. 22.11 between the walls: Some cities had two walls with a space between them. If the enemy broke through the outer wall, the city was still protected by the inner wall. The houses that were torn down to repair the outer wall were probably squatters' huts that had been built between the two walls.
  10. 23.1 Tyre: A fortress city built on an island in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of what is now Lebanon.
  11. 23.1 seagoing ships: See the note at 2.16.
  12. 23.1 Tyre. . . ruins: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  13. 23.2 Sidon: A coastal city just north of Tyre.
  14. 23.3 along the Nile: The Hebrew text has “grain of Shihor, the harvest of the Nile,” but Shihor is probably a name for a region near the lower part of the Nile.
  15. 23.4 children: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  16. 23.6 far across the ocean: The Hebrew text has “to Tarshish,” probably meaning a long distance.
  17. 23.10 People of Tyre: The Hebrew text has “the people of Tarshish,” which stands for the colonies of Tyre.
  18. 23.10 Egyptians: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 10.
  19. 23.13 ruins: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 13.
  20. 23.14 seagoing ships: See the note at 2.16.
  21. 24.4 its. . . to nothing: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  22. 24.16 God of justice: Or “people who do right.”
  23. 24.21 the powers in the heavens: In ancient times the stars were thought of as powerful spiritual beings, and sometimes they stood for pagan gods.
Read More
Galatians 2:17-3:9

17 When we Jews started looking for a way to please God, we discovered that we are sinners too. Does this mean that Christ is the one who makes us sinners? No, it doesn’t! 18 But if I tear down something and then build it again, I prove that I was wrong at first. 19 It was the Law itself that killed me and freed me from its power, so that I could live for God.

I have been nailed to the cross with Christ. 20 I have died, but Christ lives in me. And I now live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me. 21 I don’t turn my back on God’s undeserved kindness. If we can be acceptable to God by obeying the Law, it was useless for Christ to die.

Faith Is the Only Way

You stupid Galatians! I told you exactly how Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross. Has someone now put an evil spell on you? I want to know only one thing. How were you given God’s Spirit? Was it by obeying the Law of Moses or by hearing about Christ and having faith in him? How can you be so stupid? Do you think that by yourself you can complete what God’s Spirit started in you? Have you gone through all of this for nothing? Is it all really for nothing? God gives you his Spirit and works miracles in you. But does he do this because you obey the Law of Moses or because you have heard about Christ and have faith in him?

The Scriptures say that God accepted Abraham because Abraham had faith. And so, you should understand that everyone who has faith is a child of Abraham.[a] Long ago the Scriptures said that God would accept the Gentiles because of their faith. That’s why God told Abraham the good news that all nations would be blessed because of him. This means that everyone who has faith will share in the blessings that were given to Abraham because of his faith.

Footnotes:

  1. 3.7 a child of Abraham: God chose Abraham, and so it was believed that anyone who was a child of Abraham was also a child of God (see the note at 3.29).
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Psalm 60

(For the music leader. To the tune “Lily of the Promise.” A special psalm by David for teaching. He wrote it during his wars with the Arameans of northern Syria,[a] when Joab came back and killed twelve thousand Edomites[b] in Salt Valley.)

You Can Depend on God

60 You, God, are angry with us!
    We are rejected and crushed.
    Make us strong again!
You made the earth shake
    and split wide open;
    now heal its wounds
    and stop its trembling.
You brought hard times
    on your people,
    and you gave us wine
    that made us stagger.

You gave a signal to those
    who worship you,
    so they could escape
    from enemy arrows.[c]
Answer our prayers!
Use your powerful arm
    and give us victory.
    Then the people you love
    will be safe.

Our God, you solemnly promised,
“I would gladly divide up
    the city of Shechem
    and give away Succoth Valley
    piece by piece.
The lands of Gilead
    and Manasseh are mine.
Ephraim is my war helmet,
    and Judah is the symbol
    of my royal power.
Moab is merely my washbasin.
    Edom belongs to me,
    and I shout in triumph
    over the Philistines.”

Our God, who will bring me
to the fortress,
    or lead me to Edom?
10 Have you rejected us
    and deserted our armies?
11 Help us defeat our enemies!
    No one else can rescue us.
12     You will give us victory
    and crush our enemies.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 60 wars. . . Syria: See 2 Samuel 8.3-8; 10.16-18; 1 Chronicles 18.3-11; 19.6-19.
  2. Psalm 60 killed. . . Edomites: See 2 Samuel 8.13; 1 Chronicles 18.12.
  3. 60.4 so. . . arrows: Some ancient translations and one possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Read More
Proverbs 23:15-16

-13-

15 My children,
if you show good sense,
    I will be happy,
16     and if you are truthful,
    I will really be glad.

Read More
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