July 28, Isaiah 45-48

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The Lord says this to Cyrus, his anointed,
whose right hand I have grasped
to subdue nations before him
and disarm[a] kings,
to open doors before him,
and even city gates will not be shut:
“I will go before you
and level the uneven places;[b]
I will shatter the bronze doors
and cut the iron bars in two.
I will give you the treasures of darkness
and riches from secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord.
I am the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.
I call you by your name,
for the sake of my servant Jacob
and Israel my chosen one.
I give a name to you,
though you do not know me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
there is no God but me.
I will strengthen[c] you,
though you do not know me,
so that all may know from the rising of the sun to its setting
that there is no one but me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I form light and create darkness,
I make success and create disaster;
I am the Lord, who does all these things.

“Heavens, sprinkle from above,
and let the skies shower righteousness.
Let the earth open up
so that salvation will sprout
and righteousness will spring up with it.
I, the Lord, have created it.

“Woe to the one who argues with his Maker—
one clay pot among many.[d]
Does clay say to the one forming it,
‘What are you making?’
Or does your work say,
‘He has no hands’?[e]
10 Woe to the one who says to his father,
‘What are you fathering?’
or to his mother,[f]
‘What are you giving birth to?’”
11 This is what the Lord,
the Holy One of Israel and its Maker, says:
“Ask me what is to happen to[g] my sons,
and instruct me about the work of my hands.
12 I made the earth,
and created humans on it.
It was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
and I commanded everything in them.
13 I have stirred him up in righteousness,
and will level all roads for him.
He will rebuild my city,
and set my exiles free,
not for a price or a bribe,”
says the Lord of Armies.

God Alone Is the Savior

14 This is what the Lord says:

“The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush
and the Sabeans, men of stature,
will come over to you
and will be yours;
they will follow you,
they will come over in chains
and bow down to you.
They will confess[h] to you,
‘God is indeed with you, and there is no other;
there is no other God.’”

15 Yes, you are a God who hides,
God of Israel, Savior.
16 All of them are put to shame, even humiliated;
the makers of idols go in humiliation together.
17 Israel will be saved by the Lord
with an everlasting salvation;
you will not be put to shame or humiliated
for all eternity.

18 For this is what the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens,
the God who formed the earth and made it,
the one who established it
(he did not create it to be a wasteland,
but formed it to be inhabited)—
he says, “I am the Lord,
and there is no other.
19 I have not spoken in secret,
somewhere in a land of darkness.
I did not say to the descendants of Jacob:
Seek me in a wasteland.
I am the Lord, who speaks righteously,
who declares what is right.

20 “Come, gather together,
and approach, you fugitives of the nations.
Those who carry their wooden idols
and pray to a god who cannot save
have no knowledge.
21 Speak up and present your case[i]
yes, let them consult each other.
Who predicted this long ago?
Who announced it from ancient times?
Was it not I, the Lord?
There is no other God but me,
a righteous God and Savior;
there is no one except me.
22 Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth.
For I am God,
and there is no other.
23 By myself I have sworn;
truth has gone from my mouth,
a word that will not be revoked:
Every knee will bow to me,
every tongue will swear allegiance.
24 It will be said about me, ‘Righteousness and strength
are found only in the Lord.’”
All who are enraged against him
will come to him and be put to shame.
25 All the descendants of Israel
will be justified and boast in the Lord.

There Is No One Like God

46 Bel crouches; Nebo cowers.
Idols depicting them are consigned to beasts and cattle.
The images you carry are loaded,
as a burden for the weary animal.
The gods cower; they crouch together;
they are not able to rescue the burden,
but they themselves go into captivity.

“Listen to me, house of Jacob,
all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been sustained from the womb,
carried along since birth.
I will be the same until your old age,
and I will bear you up when you turn gray.
I have made you, and I will carry you;
I will bear and rescue you.

“To whom will you compare me or make me equal?
Who will you measure me with,
so that we should be like each other?
Those who pour out their bags of gold
and weigh out silver on scales—
they hire a goldsmith and he makes it into a god.
Then they kneel and bow down to it.
They lift it to their shoulder and bear it along;
they set it in its place, and there it stands;
it does not budge from its place.
They cry out to it but it doesn’t answer;
it saves no one from his trouble.

“Remember this and be brave;[j]
take it to heart, you transgressors!
Remember what happened long ago,
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and no one is like me.
10 I declare the end from the beginning,
and from long ago what is not yet done,
saying: my plan will take place,
and I will do all my will.
11 I call a bird of prey[k] from the east,
a man for my purpose from a far country.
Yes, I have spoken; so I will also bring it about.
I have planned it; I will also do it.
12 Listen to me, you hardhearted,
far removed from justice:
13 I am bringing my justice near;
it is not far away,
and my salvation will not delay.
I will put salvation in Zion,
my splendor in Israel.

The Fall of Babylon

47 “Go down and sit in the dust,
Virgin Daughter Babylon.
Sit on the ground without a throne,
Daughter Chaldea!
For you will no longer be called pampered and spoiled.
Take millstones and grind flour;
remove your veil,
strip off your skirt, bare your thigh,
wade through the streams.
Your nakedness will be uncovered,
and your disgrace will be exposed.
I will take vengeance;
I will spare no one.”[l]
The Holy One of Israel is our Redeemer;
The Lord of Armies is his name.

“Daughter Chaldea,
sit in silence and go into darkness.
For you will no longer be called mistress of kingdoms.
I was angry with my people;
I profaned my possession,
and I handed them over to you.
You showed them no mercy;
you made your yoke very heavy on the elderly.
You said, ‘I will be the queen forever.’
You did not take these things to heart
or think about their outcome.

“So now hear this, lover of luxury,
who sits securely,
who says to herself,
‘I am, and there is no one else.
I will never be a widow
or know the loss of children.’
These two things will happen to you
suddenly, in one day:
loss of children and widowhood.
They will happen to you in their entirety,
in spite of your many sorceries
and the potency of your spells.
10 You were secure in your wickedness;
you said, ‘No one sees me.’
Your wisdom and knowledge
led you astray.
You said to yourself,
‘I am, and there is no one else.’
11 But disaster will happen to you;
you will not know how to avert it.
And it will fall on you,
but you will be unable to ward it off.[m]
Devastation will happen to you suddenly
and unexpectedly.

12 So take your stand with your spells
and your many sorceries,
which you have wearied yourself with from your youth.
Perhaps you will be able to succeed;
perhaps you will inspire terror!
13 You are worn out with your many consultations.
So let the astrologers stand and save you—
those who observe the stars,
those who predict monthly
what will happen to you.
14 Look, they are like stubble;
fire burns them.
They cannot rescue themselves
from the power of the flame.
This is not a coal for warming themselves,
or a fire to sit beside!
15 This is what they are to you—
those who have wearied you
and have traded with you from your youth—
each wanders on his own way;
no one can save you.

Israel Must Leave Babylon

48 “Listen to this, house of Jacob—
those who are called by the name Israel
and have descended from[n] Judah,
who swear by the name of the Lord
and declare the God of Israel,
but not in truth or righteousness.
For they are named after the holy city,
and lean on the God of Israel;
his name is the Lord of Armies.
I declared the past events long ago;
they came out of my mouth; I proclaimed them.
Suddenly I acted, and they occurred.
Because I know that you are stubborn,
and your neck is iron[o]
and your forehead bronze,
therefore I declared to you long ago.
I announced it to you before it occurred,
so you could not claim, ‘My idol caused them;
my carved image and cast idol control them.’
You have heard it. Observe it all.
Will you not acknowledge it?
From now on I will announce new things to you,
hidden things that you have not known.
They have been created now, and not long ago;
you have not heard of them before today,
so you could not claim, ‘I already knew them!’
You have never heard; you have never known;
for a long time your ears have not been open.
For I knew that you were very treacherous,
and were known as a rebel from birth.
I will delay my anger for the sake of my name,
and I will restrain myself for your benefit and for my praise,
so that you will not be destroyed.
10 Look, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested[p] you in the furnace of affliction.
11 I will act for my own sake, indeed, my own,
for how can I[q] be defiled?
I will not give my glory to another.
12 “Listen to me, Jacob,
and Israel, the one called by me:
I am he; I am the first,
I am also the last.
13 My own hand founded the earth,
and my right hand spread out the heavens;
when I summoned them,
they stood up together.
14 All of you, assemble and listen!
Who among the idols[r] has declared these things?
The Lord loves him;[s]
he will accomplish his will against Babylon,
and his arm will be against the Chaldeans.
15 I—I have spoken;
yes, I have called him;
I have brought him,
and he will succeed in his mission.
16 Approach me and listen to this.
From the beginning I have not spoken in secret;
from the time anything existed, I was there.”
And now the Lord God
has sent me and his Spirit.

17 This is what the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says:

I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you for your benefit,
who leads you in the way you should go.
18 If only you had paid attention to my commands.
Then your peace would have been like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
19 Your descendants would have been as countless as the sand,
and the offspring of your body like its grains;
their name would not be cut off
or eliminated from my presence.

20 Leave Babylon,
flee from the Chaldeans!
Declare with a shout of joy,
proclaim this,
let it go out to the end of the earth;
announce,
“The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!”
21 They did not thirst
when he led them through the deserts;
he made water flow from the rock for them;
he split the rock, and water gushed out.
22 “There is no peace for the wicked,” says the Lord.

“Woe to the one who argues with his Maker— one clay pot among many.[d]. Does clay say to the one forming it, ‘What are you making?’ Or does your work say, ‘He has no hands’?[e]. Wow. How many times do I argue with God? How many times do I act as if I know more than God? God here says…who can argue with his maker? What clay can argue with the potter? For you and for me, we must have a healthy understanding of who God is. We must have a healthy understanding that God is our maker and he has directed our paths. It takes a lot of stress off of us when we simply trust in him and his word.

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