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Isaiah 30:12-33:9

12 Now this is the answer
    of the holy God of Israel:
“You rejected my message,
and you trust in violence
    and lies.
13 This sin is like a crack
    that makes a high wall
quickly crumble 14 and shatter
    like a crushed bowl.
There’s not a piece left
big enough to carry hot coals
    or to dip out water.”

Trust the Lord

15 The holy Lord God of Israel
    had told all of you,
“I will keep you safe
if you turn back to me
    and calm down.
I will make you strong
    if you quietly trust me.”

Then you stubbornly 16 said,
“No! We will safely escape
    on speedy horses.”

But those who chase you
    will be even faster.
17 As few as five of them,
or even one,
will be enough
    to chase a thousand of you.
Finally, all that will be left
    will be a few survivors
as lonely as a flag pole
    on a barren hill.

The Lord Will Show Mercy

18 The Lord God is waiting
to show how kind he is
    and to have pity on you.
The Lord always does right;
he blesses those who trust him.

19 People of Jerusalem, you don’t need to cry anymore. The Lord is kind, and as soon as he hears your cries for help, he will come. 20 The Lord has given you trouble and sorrow as your food and drink. But now you will again see the Lord, your teacher, and he will guide you. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice saying, “This is the road! Now follow it.” 22 Then you will treat your idols of silver and gold like garbage; you will throw them away like filthy rags.

23 The Lord will send rain to water the seeds you have planted—your fields will produce more crops than you need, and your cattle will graze in open pastures. 24 Even the oxen and donkeys that plow your fields will be fed the finest grain.[a]

25 On that day people will be slaughtered and towers destroyed, but streams of water will flow from high hills and towering mountains. 26 Then the Lord will bandage his people’s injuries and heal the wounds he has caused. The moon will shine as bright as the sun, and the sun will shine seven times brighter than usual. It will be like the light of seven days all at once.

Assyria Will Be Punished

27 The Lord is coming
    from far away
with his fiery anger
    and thick clouds of smoke.[b]
His angry words flame up
    like a destructive fire;
28 he breathes out a flood
    that comes up to the neck.
He sifts the nations
    and destroys them.
Then he puts a bridle
in every foreigner’s mouth
    and leads them to doom.

29 The Lord’s people will sing as they do when they celebrate a religious festival[c] at night. The Lord is Israel’s mighty rock,[d] and his people will be as happy as they are when they follow the sound of flutes to the mountain where he is worshiped.

30 The Lord will get furious. His fearsome voice will be heard, his arm will be seen ready to strike, and his anger will be like a destructive fire, followed by thunderstorms and hailstones. 31 When the Assyrians hear the Lord’s voice and see him striking with his iron rod, they will be terrified. 32 He will attack them in battle, and each time he strikes them, it will be to the music of tambourines and harps.

33 Long ago the Lord got a place ready for burning the body of the dead king.[e] The place for the fire is deep and wide, the wood is piled high, and the Lord will start the fire by breathing out flaming sulfur.

Don’t Trust the Power of Egypt

31 You are in for trouble
    if you go to Egypt for help,
or if you depend on
an army of chariots
    or a powerful cavalry.
Instead you should depend on
and trust
the holy Lord God
    of Israel.
The Lord isn’t stupid!
He does what he promises,
    and he can bring doom.
If you are cruel yourself,
or help those who are evil,
    you will be destroyed.

The Egyptians are mere humans.
    They aren’t God.
Their horses are made of flesh;
    they can’t live forever.
When the Lord shows his power,
he will destroy the Egyptians
    and all who depend on them.
Together they will fall.

The Lord All-Powerful
    said to me,
“I will roar and attack
    like a fearless lion
not frightened by the shouts
of shepherds
trying to protect
    their sheep.
That’s how I will come down
    and fight on Mount Zion.
I, the Lord All-Powerful,
    will protect Jerusalem
like a mother bird circling
    over her nest.”

Come Back to the Lord

People of Israel, come back!
You have completely turned
    from the Lord.
The time is coming
    when you will throw away
your idols of silver and gold,
    made by your sinful hands.

The Assyrians will be killed,
but not by the swords
    of humans.
Their young men will try
    to escape,
but they will be captured
    and forced into slavery.
Their fortress[f] will fall
    when terror strikes;
their army officers
will be frightened
    and run from the battle.
This is what the Lord has said,
the Lord whose fiery furnace
    is built on Mount Zion.

Justice Will Rule

32 A king and his leaders
    will rule with justice.
They will be a place of safety
    from stormy winds,
a stream in the desert,
and a rock that gives shade
    from the heat of the sun.
Then everyone who has eyes
    will open them and see,
and those who have ears
    will pay attention.
All who are impatient
    will take time to think;
everyone who stutters
    will talk clearly.

Fools will no longer
    be highly respected,
and crooks won’t be given
    positions of honor.
Fools talk foolishness.
They always make plans
    to do sinful things,
    to lie about the Lord,
    to let the hungry starve,
and to keep water
from those
    who are thirsty.
Cruel people tell lies—
they do evil things,
    and make cruel plans
to destroy the poor and needy,
even when they beg
    for justice.
But helpful people
can always be trusted
    to make helpful plans.

Punishment for the Women of Jerusalem

Listen to what I say,
you women
who are carefree
    and careless!
10 You may not have worries now,
    but in about a year,
the grape harvest will fail,
    and you will tremble.

11 Shake and shudder,
    you women without a care!
Strip off your clothes—
    put on sackcloth.
12 Slap your breasts in sorrow
    because of what happened
to the fruitful fields
    and vineyards,
13 and to the happy homes
    in Jerusalem.
The land of my people
    is covered with thorns.

14 The palace will be deserted,
    the crowded city empty.
Fortresses and towers
    will forever become
playgrounds for wild donkeys
    and pastures for sheep.

God’s Spirit Makes the Difference

15 When the Spirit is given to us
    from heaven,
deserts will become orchards
    thick as fertile forests.
16 Honesty and justice
    will prosper there,
17 and justice will produce
    lasting peace and security.

18 You, the Lord’s people,
will live in peace,
    calm and secure,
19 even if hailstones
    forests and cities.
20 You will have God’s blessing,
as you plant your crops
    beside streams,
while your donkeys and cattle
    roam freely about.

Jerusalem Will Be Safe

33 You defeated my people.

    Now you’re in for trouble!
You’ve never been destroyed,
    but you will be destroyed;
you’ve never been betrayed,
    but you will be betrayed.
When you have finished
    destroying and betraying,
you will be destroyed
    and betrayed in return.

Please, Lord, be kind to us!
    We depend on you.
Make us strong each morning,
and come to save us
    when we are in trouble.
Nations scatter when you roar
    and show your greatness.[g]
We attack our enemies
    like swarms of locusts;[h]
we take everything
    that belongs to them.[i]

You, Lord, are above all others,
    and you live in the heavens.
You have brought justice
    and fairness to Jerusalem;
you are the foundation
    on which we stand today.
You always save us and give
    true wisdom and knowledge.
Nothing means more to us[j]
    than obeying you.

The Lord Will Do Something

Listen! Our bravest soldiers
are running through the streets,
    screaming for help.[k]
Our messengers hoped for peace,
    but came home crying.
No one travels anymore;
    every road is empty.
Treaties are broken,
and no respect is shown
    to any who keep promises.[l]
Fields are dry and barren;
Mount Lebanon wilts
    with shame.
Sharon Valley is a desert;
the forests of Bashan and Carmel
    have lost their leaves.


  1. 30.24 the finest grain: The Hebrew text refers to grain with the husks removed.
  2. 30.27 with. . . smoke: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 30.29 a religious festival: Probably Passover.
  4. 30.29 mighty rock: See the note at 17.10.
  5. 30.33 burning. . . king: Or “sacrificing the king” or “sacrificing to Molech.” Human sacrifices were sometimes offered to Molech, a god whose name sounds like the Hebrew word for “king” (see 2 Kings 23.10; Jeremiah 32.35).
  6. 31.9 fortress: The Hebrew text has “rock,” which may refer to the Assyrian god or king, or to their army.
  7. 33.3 greatness: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 3.
  8. 33.4 locusts: Insects like grasshoppers that travel in swarms and cause great damage to crops.
  9. 33.4 them: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 4.
  10. 33.6 Nothing. . . us: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  11. 33.7 Listen. . . help: Or “The Lord heard our shouts and will come to help us.”
  12. 33.8 to any. . . promises: The Dead Sea Scrolls; the Standard Hebrew Text “to those in the cities.”
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Galatians 5:1-12

Christ Gives Freedom

Christ has set us free! This means we are really free. Now hold on to your freedom and don’t ever become slaves of the Law again.

I, Paul, promise you that Christ won’t do you any good if you get circumcised. If you do, you must obey the whole Law. And if you try to please God by obeying the Law, you have cut yourself off from Christ and his wonderful kindness. But the Spirit makes us sure that God will accept us because of our faith in Christ. If you are a follower of Christ Jesus, it makes no difference whether you are circumcised or not. All that matters is your faith that makes you love others.

You were doing so well until someone made you turn from the truth. And that person was certainly not sent by the one who chose you. A little yeast can change a whole batch of dough, 10 but you belong to the Lord. That makes me certain that you will do what I say, instead of what someone else tells you to do. Whoever is causing trouble for you will be punished.

11 My friends, if I still preach that people need to be circumcised, why am I in so much trouble? The message about the cross would no longer be a problem, if I told people to be circumcised. 12 I wish that everyone who is upsetting you would not only get circumcised, but would cut off much more!

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Psalm 63

(A psalm by David when he was in the desert of Judah.)

God’s Love Means More than Life

63 You are my God. I worship you.
    In my heart, I long for you,
    as I would long for a stream
    in a scorching desert.

I have seen your power
and your glory
    in the place of worship.
Your love means more
than life to me,
    and I praise you.
As long as I live,
    I will pray to you.
I will sing joyful praises
and be filled with excitement
    like a guest at a banquet.

I think about you
    before I go to sleep,
    and my thoughts turn to you
    during the night.
You have helped me,
    and I sing happy songs
    in the shadow of your wings.
I stay close to you,
    and your powerful arm
    supports me.

All who want to kill me
    will end up in the ground.
10 Swords will run them through,
    and wild dogs will eat them.

11 Because of you, our God,
    the king will celebrate
with your faithful followers,
    but liars will be silent.

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Proverbs 23:22


22 Pay attention to your father,
    and don’t neglect your mother
    when she grows old.

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