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Old Testament:  Isaiah 50-52

Isaiah 50

 1  This is what the LORD says:

"Was your mother sent away because I divorced her?
  Did I sell you as slaves to my creditors?
No, you were sold because of your sins.
  And your mother, too, was taken because of your sins.
 2  Why was no one there when I came?
  Why didn't anyone answer when I called?
Is it because I have no power to rescue?
  No, that is not the reason!
For I can speak to the sea and make it dry up!
  I can turn rivers into deserts covered with dying fish.
 3  I dress the skies in darkness,
  covering them with clothes of mourning."

The LORD's Obedient Servant
 4  The Sovereign LORD has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will.  5  The Sovereign LORD has spoken to me,
  and I have listened.
  I have not rebelled or turned away.
 6  I offered my back to those who beat me
  and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard.
I did not hide my face
  from mockery and spitting.

 7  Because the Sovereign LORD helps me,
  I will not be disgraced.
Therefore, I have set my face like a stone,
  determined to do his will.
  And I know that I will not be put to shame.
 8  He who gives me justice is near.
  Who will dare to bring charges against me now?
Where are my accusers?
  Let them appear!
 9  See, the Sovereign LORD is on my side!
  Who will declare me guilty?
All my enemies will be destroyed
  like old clothes that have been eaten by moths!

 10  Who among you fears the LORD
  and obeys his servant?
If you are walking in darkness,
  without a ray of light,
trust in the LORD
  and rely on your God.
 11  But watch out, you who live in your own light
  and warm yourselves by your own fires.
This is the reward you will receive from me:
  You will soon fall down in great torment.

Isaiah 51

A Call to Trust the LORD
 1  "Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance—
  all who seek the LORD!
Consider the rock from which you were cut,
  the quarry from which you were mined.
 2  Yes, think about Abraham, your ancestor,
  and Sarah, who gave birth to your nation.
Abraham was only one man when I called him.
  But when I blessed him, he became a great nation."

 3  The LORD will comfort Israel [3]  again
  and have pity on her ruins.
Her desert will blossom like Eden,
  her barren wilderness like the garden of the LORD.
Joy and gladness will be found there.
  Songs of thanksgiving will fill the air.

 4  "Listen to me, my people.
  Hear me, Israel,
for my law will be proclaimed,
  and my justice will become a light to the nations.
 5  My mercy and justice are coming soon.
  My salvation is on the way.
  My strong arm will bring justice to the nations.
All distant lands will look to me
  and wait in hope for my powerful arm.
 6  Look up to the skies above,
  and gaze down on the earth below.
For the skies will disappear like smoke,
  and the earth will wear out like a piece of clothing.
The people of the earth will die like flies,
  but my salvation lasts forever.
  My righteous rule will never end!

 7  "Listen to me, you who know right from wrong
  you who cherish my law in your hearts.
Do not be afraid of people's scorn,
  nor fear their insults.
 8  For the moth will devour them as it devours clothing.
  The worm will eat at them as it eats wool.
But my righteousness will last forever.
  My salvation will continue from generation to generation."

 9  Wake up, wake up, O LORD! Clothe yourself with strength!
  Flex your mighty right arm!
Rouse yourself as in the days of old
  when you slew Egypt, the dragon of the Nile. [9] 
 10  Are you not the same today,
  the one who dried up the sea,
making a path of escape through the depths
  so that your people could cross over?
 11  Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return.
  They will enter Jerusalem [11]  singing,
  crowned with everlasting joy.
Sorrow and mourning will disappear,
  and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

 12  "I, yes I, am the one who comforts you.
  So why are you afraid of mere humans,
  who wither like the grass and disappear?
 13  Yet you have forgotten the LORD, your Creator,
  the one who stretched out the sky like a canopy
  and laid the foundations of the earth.
Will you remain in constant dread of human oppressors?
  Will you continue to fear the anger of your enemies?
Where is their fury and anger now?
  It is gone!
 14  Soon all you captives will be released!
  Imprisonment, starvation, and death will not be your fate!
 15  For I am the LORD your God,
  who stirs up the sea, causing its waves to roar.
  My name is the LORD of Heaven's Armies.
 16  "And I have put my words in your mouth and hidden you safely in my hand. I stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth. I am the one who says to Israel, 'You are my people!'"  17  Wake up, wake up, O Jerusalem!
  You have drunk the cup of the LORD's fury.
You have drunk the cup of terror,
  tipping out its last drops.
 18  Not one of your children is left alive
  to take your hand and guide you.
 19  These two calamities have fallen on you:
  desolation and destruction, famine and war.
And who is left to sympathize with you?
  Who is left to comfort you? [19] 
 20  For your children have fainted and lie in the streets,
  helpless as antelopes caught in a net.
The LORD has poured out his fury;
  God has rebuked them.

 21  But now listen to this, you afflicted ones
  who sit in a drunken stupor,
  though not from drinking wine.
 22  This is what the Sovereign LORD,
  your God and Defender, says:
"See, I have taken the terrible cup from your hands.
  You will drink no more of my fury.
 23  Instead, I will hand that cup to your tormentors,
  those who said, `We will trample you into the dust
  and walk on your backs.'"

Isaiah 52

Deliverance for Jerusalem
 1  Wake up, wake up, O Zion!
  Clothe yourself with strength.
Put on your beautiful clothes, O holy city of Jerusalem,
  for unclean and godless people will enter your gates no longer.
 2  Rise from the dust, O Jerusalem.
  Sit in a place of honor.
Remove the chains of slavery from your neck,
  O captive daughter of Zion.
 3  For this is what the LORD says:
"When I sold you into exile,
  I received no payment.
Now I can redeem you
  without having to pay for you."

   4  This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "Long ago my people chose to live in Egypt. Now they are oppressed by Assyria.  5  What is this?" asks the LORD. "Why are my people enslaved again? Those who rule them shout in exultation. My name is blasphemed all day long. [5]   6  But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them."

 7  How beautiful on the mountains
  are the feet of the messenger who brings good news,
the good news of peace and salvation,
  the news that the God of Israel [7]  reigns!
 8  The watchmen shout and sing with joy,
  for before their very eyes
  they see the LORD returning to Jerusalem. [8] 
 9  Let the ruins of Jerusalem break into joyful song,
  for the LORD has comforted his people.
  He has redeemed Jerusalem.
 10  The LORD has demonstrated his holy power
  before the eyes of all the nations.
All the ends of the earth will see
  the victory of our God.

 11  Get out! Get out and leave your captivity,
  where everything you touch is unclean.
Get out of there and purify yourselves,
  you who carry home the sacred objects of the LORD.
 12  You will not leave in a hurry,
  running for your lives.
For the LORD will go ahead of you;
  yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind.

The LORD's Suffering Servant
 13  See, my servant will prosper;
  he will be highly exalted.
 14  But many were amazed when they saw him. [14] 
  His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human,
  and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.
 15  And he will startle [15]  many nations.
  Kings will stand speechless in his presence.
For they will see what they had not been told;
  they will understand what they had not heard about. [15] 
<<  51:3 Hebrew Zion; also in 51:16.
<<  51:9 Hebrew You slew Rahab; you pierced the dragon. Rahab is the name of a mythical sea monster that represents chaos in ancient literature. The name is used here as a poetic name for Egypt.
<<  51:11 Hebrew Zion.
<<  51:16 As in Syriac version (see also 51:13); Hebrew reads planted.
<<  51:19 As in Dead Sea Scrolls and Greek, Latin, and Syriac versions; Masoretic Text reads How can I comfort you?
<<  52:5 Greek version reads The Gentiles continually blaspheme my name because of you. Compare Rom 2:24.
<<  52:7 Hebrew of Zion.
<<  52:8 Hebrew to Zion.
<<  52:14 As in Syriac version; Hebrew reads you.
<<  52:15a Or cleanse. 52:15b Greek version reads Those who have never been told about him will see, / and those who have never heard of him will understand. Compare Rom 15:21.

New Testament:  1 Thessalonians 5

1 Thessalonians 5

 1  Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, [1]  we don't really need to write you.  2  For you know quite well that the day of the Lord's return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.  3  When people are saying, "Everything is peaceful and secure," then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman's labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.
   4  But you aren't in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won't be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. [4]   5  For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don't belong to darkness and night.  6  So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.  7  Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk.  8  But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.    9  For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us.  10  Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever.  11  So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

Paul's Final Advice
 12  Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord's work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance.  13  Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.
   14  Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
   15  See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
   16  Always be joyful.  17  Never stop praying.  18  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.    19  Do not stifle the Holy Spirit.  20  Do not scoff at prophecies,  21  but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.  22  Stay away from every kind of evil.

Paul's Final Greetings
 23  Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.  24  God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.
   25  Dear brothers and sisters, pray for us.
   26  Greet all the brothers and sisters with Christian love. [26] 
   27  I command you in the name of the Lord to read this letter to all the brothers and sisters.
   28  May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
<<  5:1 Greek brothers; also in 5:4, 12, 14, 25, 26, 27.
<<  5:4 Some manuscripts read comes upon you as if you were thieves.
<<  5:26 Greek with a holy kiss.

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