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Isaiah 45:11-48:11; Ephesians 4:1-16; Psalms 68:19-35; Proverbs 24:3-4 (Common English Bible)

Isaiah 45:11-48

11 The Lord, the holy one of Israel and its maker,[a] says:
Are you questioning me[b] about my own children?
    Are you telling me what to do with the work of my hands?
12 I myself made the earth,
    and created humans upon it.
    My own hands stretched out the heavens.
    I commanded all their forces.
13 I have a right to awaken Cyrus;
    I will smooth all his paths.
He will build my city
    and set my exiles free,
    not for a price and not for a bribe,
    says the Lord of heavenly forces.

14 The Lord says:
Egypt will grow weary, Cush will be sold,[c]
    and the tall Sabeans will cross over to you.
They will be yours, and after you they will go.
    In chains they will come;
    to you they will bow down.
    They will plead with you:
“Truly God is with you;
    there’s no other, no other God.”
15 Surely you are a god who hides himself,
    Israel’s God and savior.

Idols contrasted with God

16 They will all be shamed and disgraced;
    the makers of idols will end up disgraced together.
17 Israel has been saved by the Lord of everlasting salvation.
You won’t be shamed,
    and you won’t be disgraced forever and always.
18 For this is what the Lord said, who created the heavens,
    who is God,
    who formed the earth and made it,
    who established it,
    who didn’t create it a wasteland but formed it as a habitation:
    I, the Lord, and none other!
19 I didn’t speak in secret
    or in some land of darkness;
I didn’t say to the offspring of Jacob,
    “Seek me in chaos.”
I am the Lord, the one who speaks truth,
    who announces what is correct.
20 Gather and come,
    draw near together,
    fugitives of the nations!
Those who carry their wooden idols don’t know;
    those who pray to a god who won’t save.
21 Announce! Approach! Confer together!
    Who proclaimed this from the beginning, announced it from long ago?
Wasn’t it I, the Lord?
    There’s no other God except me,
    a righteous God and a savior;
    there’s none besides me!
22 Turn to me and be saved,
    all you ends of the earth,
    for I am God, and there’s no other.
23 I have sworn a solemn pledge;
    a word has left my mouth;
    it is reliable and won’t fail.
Surely every knee will bow
and every tongue will confess;
24     they will say, “Righteousness and strength come only from the Lord.
    All who are angry with him will come to shame.
25 All the Israelites
    will be victorious and rejoice.”

Babylon’s idols can’t compare

46 Bel crouches down; Nebo cowers.
    Their idols sit on animals, on beasts.
The objects you once carried about
    are now borne as burdens by the weary animals.
They crouch down and cower together.
They aren’t able to rescue the burden,
    but they themselves go into captivity.
Listen to me, house of Jacob,
    all that remains from the house of Israel
    who have been borne by me since pregnancy,
    whom I carried from the womb
    until you grow old. I am the one,
    and until you turn gray I will support you.
I have done it, and I will continue to bear it;
    I will support and I will rescue.
To whom will you liken me and count me equal
    and compare me so that we are alike?
Those who pour out gold from a bag
    and weigh silver with a balance
    hire a metalworker; then he makes a god.
They bow down; they worship;
    they carry the idol[d] on their shoulders and support it;
    they set it down, and it stands still,
    unable to move from its place.
If one cries out to it, it doesn’t answer.
    It can’t save people from their distress.

Remember past events

Remember this and take courage;
    take it to heart, you rebels.
Remember the prior things—from long ago;
    I am God, and there’s no other.
I am God! There’s none like me,
10     who tells the end at the beginning,
    from ancient times things not yet done,
    saying, “My plan will stand;
    all that I decide I will do,”
11 I call a bird of prey from the east,
    a man from a distant land for my plan.
As surely as I have spoken, I’ll make it happen;
    I have planned, and yes, I’ll do it.
12 Listen to me, you bullheaded people
    who are far from victory:
13 I’m bringing my victory near—it isn’t far,
    and my salvation—it won’t delay.
I will establish salvation in Zion
    and grant my splendor to Israel.

Daughter Babylon dethroned

47 Go down and sit in the dust,
    virgin Daughter Babylon!
Sit on the ground without a throne,
    Daughter Chaldea,
    because they will no longer call you tender and pampered.
Take the millstones and grind flour!
Remove your veil, strip off your robe,
    expose your thighs, wade through the rivers!
Your nakedness will be exposed,
    and your disgrace will be seen.
I will take vengeance;
    no one will intervene.[e]
Our redeemer has spoken;
    the Lord of heavenly forces is his name,
    the holy one of Israel.

Sit silent and go into darkness, Daughter Chaldea,
    because they will no longer call you Queen of Kingdoms.
I was enraged with my people;
    I made my inheritance impure
    and put them under your power.
You took no pity on them.
    You made your yoke heavy even on the elderly.
    You said, “I’m forever; I’m the eternal mistress.”
    You didn’t stop and think;
    you didn’t consider the outcome.
So listen to this,
luxuriant one who sits secure,
    who says in her heart,
    I’m utterly unique;
    I’ll never sit as a widow;
    I’ll never know childlessness:
Both of these will happen to you at once, on a single day:
    childlessness and widowhood
    will envelop you in full measure,
    despite your many sorceries,
    despite your very powerful spells.
10 You felt secure in your evil;
    you said, “No one sees me.”
Your wisdom and knowledge spun you around.
    You thought to yourself, I and no one else.
11 Now evil will come against you,
    something you won’t anticipate.
A curse will fall upon you,
    something you won’t be able to dispel.
Destruction will come upon you suddenly,
    something you won’t foresee.

12 Continue with your enchantments,
    and with your many spells,
    which you have practiced since childhood.
Maybe you will be able to succeed.
    Maybe you will inspire terror.
13 You are weary from all your consultations;
    let the astrologers stand up and save you,
    those who gaze at the stars,
    and predict what will happen to you at each new moon.
14 They are just like stubble;
    the fire burns them.
They won’t save themselves from the powerful flames.
    This is no warming ember or fire to sit beside.
15 Those with whom you have wearied yourself are like this,
    those with whom you were in business from your youth:
    each has wandered off on their own way;
    none will save you.

New things from now on

48 Listen to this, house of Jacob,
    who are known by the name of Israel,
        descendants of Judah,[f]
    who swear by the Lord’s name
        and invoke Israel’s God dishonestly and unrighteously.

    They are known as residents of the holy city,
        those who depend upon the God of Israel—
        the Lord of heavenly forces is his name.
Past things I announced long ago;
    from my mouth I proclaimed them.
    I acted suddenly, and they came about.
Because I know that you are stubborn,
    your neck is made of iron,
    and your forehead is bronze.
I informed you long ago;
    before they came about I proclaimed them to you
    so you wouldn’t say, “My idol did them;
    my wood statue and metal god commanded them.”
You’ve heard and seen all this—
    won’t you admit it?
From now on I’ll tell you new things,
    guarded secrets that you don’t know.
They are created now, not long ago;
    before today you hadn’t heard of them,
    so you won’t say, “I already knew them.”
You haven’t heard, nor have you known;
    as in ages past your ears are closed,
    because I knew what a traitor you were;
    you were known as a rebel from birth.
For the sake of my reputation I control my anger;
    for your sake I restrain my powerful radiance
    so as to not destroy you.
10 See, I have refined you, but not like silver;
    I have tested you[g] in the furnace of misery.
11 For the sake of my reputation, for my own sake, I will act,
    for why will my name be made impure?
    I won’t give my glory to another.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 45:11 Or potter
  2. Isaiah 45:11 Or about future things ask me
  3. Isaiah 45:14 Heb uncertain
  4. Isaiah 46:7 Or it
  5. Isaiah 47:3 Syr, cf Vulg; MT I won’t meet a man
  6. Isaiah 48:1 Or came out from the waters of Judah
  7. Isaiah 48:10 Or I have chosen
Read More
Ephesians 4:1-16

Unity of the body of Christ

Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all.

God has given his grace to each one of us measured out by the gift that is given by Christ. That’s why scripture says, When he climbed up to the heights, he captured prisoners, and he gave gifts to people.[a]

What does the phrase “he climbed up” mean if it doesn’t mean that he had first gone down into the lower regions, the earth? 10 The one who went down is the same one who climbed up above all the heavens so that he might fill everything.

11 He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. 12 His purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ 13 until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we aren’t supposed to be infants any longer who can be tossed and blown around by every wind that comes from teaching with deceitful scheming and the tricks people play to deliberately mislead others. 15 Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ, 16 who is the head. The whole body grows from him, as it is joined and held together by all the supporting ligaments. The body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does its part.

Read More
Psalm 68:19-35

19 Bless the Lord!
    The God of our salvation
    supports us day after day! Selah
20 Our God is the God of salvation,
    and escape from certain death comes through God my Lord.

21 Yes, God will shatter the heads of his enemies—
    the very skulls of those who walk in guilt.
22 My Lord has spoken:
    “From Bashan I will bring those people back.
    I will bring them back from the ocean’s depths
23         so that you can wash your feet in their blood,
        so that your dogs’ tongues
        can lap up their share of your enemies.”

24 They saw your procession, God—
    the procession of my God,
    my king, into the sanctuary.
25 First came the singers,
    then the musicians;
    between them the young women
        were playing hand drums:
26 “Bless God in the great congregation;
    bless the Lord from Israel’s fountain!”
27 There’s Benjamin leading them,
    though he’s little;
    then the princes of Judah,
    their speaker;
    then the princes of Zebulun
    and the princes of Naphtali.

28 Summon your strength, God!
    Show how strong you are, God,
        just as you’ve done for us before,
29         from your temple above Jerusalem,
        where kings bring you gifts.
30 Rebuke the wild animals of the marshland,
    the herd of bulls among the calves of the peoples.
Trample those who delight in money;
    scatter the peoples who take pleasure in battles.
31 Let ambassadors come from Egypt;
    let Cush stretch out its hands to God.

32 Sing to God, all kingdoms of the earth!
    Sing praises to my Lord. Selah
33 Sing to the one who rides through heaven,
    the most ancient heaven.
    Look! God sends forth his voice,
        his mighty voice.
34 Recognize how strong God is!
    His majesty extends over Israel;
    his strength is in the clouds.
35 You are awesome, God, in your sanctuaries—
    the God of Israel who gives strength and power to his people!

Bless God!

Read More
Proverbs 24:3-4

By wisdom a house is built;
    by understanding it is established.
By knowledge rooms are filled
    with all precious and pleasant wealth.

Read More
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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