Daily Bible Reading
Today's reading: Isaiah 39-41
Look for the promises in God’s word. As you read and find them, write them in your journal along with the scripture reference.
Messengers from Babylon Visit Hezekiah
1. At that time Merodach-Baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been ill and had recovered.
2. Hezekiah welcomed them and showed them his storehouse with its silver, gold, spices, and high-quality olive oil, as well as his whole armory and everything in his treasuries. Hezekiah showed them everything in his palace and in his whole kingdom.
3. Isaiah the prophet visited King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did these men say? Where do they come from?” Hezekiah replied, “They come from the distant land of Babylon.”
4. Isaiah asked, “What have they seen in your palace?” Hezekiah replied, “They have seen everything in my palace. I showed them everything in my treasuries.”
5. Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to the word of the Lord who commands armies:
6. ‘Look, a time is coming when everything in your palace and the things your ancestors have accumulated to this day will be carried away to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the Lord.
7. ‘Some of your very own descendants whom you father will be taken away and will be made eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’”
8. Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The Lord’s word which you have announced is appropriate.” Then he thought, “For there will be peace and stability during my lifetime.”
The Lord Returns to Jerusalem
1. “Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God.
2. “Speak kindly to Jerusalem, and tell her that her time of warfare is over, that her punishment is completed. For the Lord has made her pay double for all her sins.”
3. A voice cries out, “In the wilderness clear a way for the Lord; construct in the desert a road for our God.
4. Every valley must be elevated, and every mountain and hill leveled. The rough terrain will become a level plain, the rugged landscape a wide valley.
5. The splendor of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it at the same time. For the Lord has decreed it.”
6. A voice says, “Cry out!” Another asks, “What should I cry out?” The first voice responds: “All people are like grass, and all their promises are like the flowers in the field.
7. The grass dries up, the flowers wither, when the wind sent by the Lord blows on them. Surely humanity is like grass.
8. The grass dries up, the flowers wither, but the decree of our God is forever reliable.”
9. Go up on a high mountain, O herald Zion! Shout out loudly, O herald Jerusalem! Shout, don’t be afraid! Say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!”
10. Look, the sovereign Lord comes as a victorious warrior; his military power establishes his rule. Look, his reward is with him; his prize goes before him.
11. Like a shepherd he tends his flock; he gathers up the lambs with his arm; he carries them close to his heart; he leads the ewes along.
The Lord is Incomparable
12. Who has measured out the waters in the hollow of his hand, or carefully measured the sky, or carefully weighed the soil of the earth, or weighed the mountains in a balance, or the hills on scales?
13. Who comprehends the mind of the Lord, or gives him instruction as his counselor?
14. From whom does he receive directions? Who teaches him the correct way to do things, or imparts knowledge to him, or instructs him in skillful design?
15. Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales. He lifts the coastlands as if they were dust.
16. Not even Lebanon could supply enough firewood for a sacrifice; its wild animals would not provide enough burnt offerings.
17. All the nations are insignificant before him; they are regarded as absolutely nothing.
18. To whom can you compare God? To what image can you liken him?
19. A craftsman casts an idol; a metalsmith overlays it with gold and forges silver chains for it.
20. To make a contribution one selects wood that will not rot; he then seeks a skilled craftsman to make an idol that will not fall over.
21. Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told to you since the very beginning? Have you not understood from the time the earth’s foundations were made?
22. He is the one who sits on the earth’s horizon; its inhabitants are like grasshoppers before him. He is the one who stretches out the sky like a thin curtain, and spreads it out like a pitched tent.
23. He is the one who reduces rulers to nothing; he makes the earth’s leaders insignificant.
24. Indeed, they are barely planted; yes, they are barely sown; yes, they barely take root in the earth, and then he blows on them, causing them to dry up, and the wind carries them away like straw.
25. “To whom can you compare me? Whom do I resemble?” says the Holy One.
26. Look up at the sky! Who created all these heavenly lights? He is the one who leads out their ranks; he calls them all by name. Because of his absolute power and awesome strength, not one of them is missing.
27. Why do you say, Jacob, Why do you say, Israel, “The Lord is not aware of what is happening to me, My God is not concerned with my vindication”?
28. Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is an eternal God, the creator of the whole earth. He does not get tired or weary; there is no limit to his wisdom.
29. He gives strength to those who are tired; to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy.
30. Even youths get tired and weary; even strong young men clumsily stumble.
31. But those who wait for the Lord’s help find renewed strength; they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings, they run without growing weary, they walk without getting tired.
The Lord Challenges the Nations
1. “Listen to me in silence, you coastlands! Let the nations find renewed strength! Let them approach and then speak; let us come together for debate!
2. Who stirs up this one from the east? Who officially commissions him for service? He hands nations over to him, and enables him to subdue kings. He makes them like dust with his sword, like windblown straw with his bow.
3. He pursues them and passes by unharmed; he advances with great speed.
4. Who acts and carries out decrees? Who summons the successive generations from the beginning? I, the Lord, am present at the very beginning, and at the very end – I am the one.
5. The coastlands see and are afraid; the whole earth trembles; they approach and come.
6. They help one another; one says to the other, ‘Be strong!’
7. The craftsman encourages the metalsmith, the one who wields the hammer encourages the one who pounds on the anvil. He approves the quality of the welding, and nails it down so it won’t fall over.”
The Lord Encourages His People
8. “You, my servant Israel, Jacob whom I have chosen, offspring of Abraham my friend,
9. you whom I am bringing back from the earth’s extremities, and have summoned from the remote regions – I told you, “You are my servant.” I have chosen you and not rejected you.
10. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you! Don’t be frightened, for I am your God! I strengthen you – yes, I help you – yes, I uphold you with my saving right hand!
11. Look, all who were angry at you will be ashamed and humiliated; your adversaries will be reduced to nothing and perish.
12. When you will look for your opponents, you will not find them; your enemies will be reduced to absolutely nothing.
13. For I am the Lord your God, the one who takes hold of your right hand, who says to you, ‘Don’t be afraid, I am helping you.’
14. Don’t be afraid, despised insignificant Jacob, men of Israel. I am helping you,” says the Lord, your protector, the Holy One of Israel.
15. “Look, I am making you like a sharp threshing sledge, new and double-edged. You will thresh the mountains and crush them; you will make the hills like straw.
16. You will winnow them and the wind will blow them away; the wind will scatter them. You will rejoice in the Lord; you will boast in the Holy One of Israel.
17. The oppressed and the poor look for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched from thirst. I, the Lord, will respond to their prayers; I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them.
18. I will make streams flow down the slopes and produce springs in the middle of the valleys. I will turn the desert into a pool of water and the arid land into springs.
19. I will make cedars, acacias, myrtles, and olive trees grow in the wilderness; I will make evergreens, firs, and cypresses grow together in the desert.
20. I will do this so people will observe and recognize, so they will pay attention and understand that the Lord’s power has accomplished this, and that the Holy One of Israel has brought it into being.”
The Lord Challenges the Pagan Gods
21. “Present your argument,” says the Lord. “Produce your evidence,” says Jacob’s king.
22. “Let them produce evidence! Let them tell us what will happen! Tell us about your earlier predictive oracles, so we may examine them and see how they were fulfilled. Or decree for us some future events!
23. Predict how future events will turn out, so we might know you are gods. Yes, do something good or bad, so we might be frightened and in awe.
24. Look, you are nothing, and your accomplishments are nonexistent; the one who chooses to worship you is disgusting.
25. I have stirred up one out of the north and he advances, one from the eastern horizon who prays in my name. He steps on rulers as if they were clay, like a potter treading the clay.
26. Who decreed this from the beginning, so we could know? Who announced it ahead of time, so we could say, ‘He’s correct’? Indeed, none of them decreed it! Indeed, none of them announced it! Indeed, no one heard you say anything!
27. I first decreed to Zion, ‘Look, here’s what will happen!’ I sent a herald to Jerusalem.
28. I look, but there is no one, among them there is no one who serves as an adviser, that I might ask questions and receive answers.
29. Look, all of them are nothing, their accomplishments are nonexistent; their metal images lack any real substance.