Daily Bible Reading
Today's reading: Isaiah 42-44
Look for the promises in God’s word. As you read and find them, write them in your journal along with the scripture reference.
The Lord Commissions His Special Servant
1. “Here is my servant whom I support, my chosen one in whom I take pleasure. I have placed my spirit on him; he will make just decrees for the nations.
2. He will not cry out or shout; he will not publicize himself in the streets.
3. A crushed reed he will not break, a dim wick he will not extinguish; he will faithfully make just decrees.
4. He will not grow dim or be crushed before establishing justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait in anticipation for his decrees.”
5. This is what the true God, the Lord, says – the one who created the sky and stretched it out, the one who fashioned the earth and everything that lives on it, the one who gives breath to the people on it, and life to those who live on it:
6. “I, the Lord, officially commission you; I take hold of your hand. I protect you and make you a covenant mediator for people, and a light to the nations,
7. to open blind eyes, to release prisoners from dungeons, those who live in darkness from prisons.
The Lord Intervenes
8. I am the Lord! That is my name! I will not share my glory with anyone else, or the praise due me with idols.
9. Look, my earlier predictive oracles have come to pass; now I announce new events. Before they begin to occur, I reveal them to you.”
10. Sing to the Lord a brand new song! Praise him from the horizon of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and everything that lives in it, you coastlands and those who live there!
11. Let the desert and its cities shout out, the towns where the nomads of Kedar live! Let the residents of Sela shout joyfully; let them shout loudly from the mountaintops.
12. Let them give the Lord the honor he deserves; let them praise his deeds in the coastlands.
13. The Lord emerges like a hero, like a warrior he inspires himself for battle; he shouts, yes, he yells, he shows his enemies his power.
14. “I have been inactive for a long time; I kept quiet and held back. Like a woman in labor I groan; I pant and gasp.
15. I will make the trees on the mountains and hills wither up; I will dry up all their vegetation. I will turn streams into islands, and dry up pools of water.
16. I will lead the blind along an unfamiliar way; I will guide them down paths they have never traveled. I will turn the darkness in front of them into light, and level out the rough ground. This is what I will do for them. I will not abandon them.
17. Those who trust in idols will turn back and be utterly humiliated, those who say to metal images, ‘You are our gods.’”
The Lord Reasons with His People
18. “Listen, you deaf ones! Take notice, you blind ones!
19. My servant is truly blind, my messenger is truly deaf. My covenant partner, the servant of the Lord, is truly blind.
20. You see many things, but don’t comprehend; their ears are open, but do not hear.”
21. The Lord wanted to exhibit his justice by magnifying his law and displaying it.
22. But these people are looted and plundered; all of them are trapped in pits and held captive in prisons. They were carried away as loot with no one to rescue them; they were carried away as plunder, and no one says, “Bring that back!”
23. Who among you will pay attention to this? Who will listen attentively in the future?
24. Who handed Jacob over to the robber? Who handed Israel over to the looters? Was it not the Lord, against whom we sinned? They refused to follow his commands; they disobeyed his law.
25. So he poured out his fierce anger on them, along with the devastation of war. Its flames encircled them, but they did not realize it; it burned against them, but they did notice.
The Lord Will Rescue His People
1. Now, this is what the Lord says, the one who created you, O Jacob, and formed you, O Israel: “Don’t be afraid, for I will protect you. I call you by name, you are mine.
2. When you pass through the waters, I am with you; when you pass through the streams, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not harm you.
3. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your deliverer. I have handed over Egypt as a ransom price, Ethiopia and Seba in place of you.
4. Since you are precious and special in my sight, and I love you, I will hand over people in place of you, nations in place of your life.
5. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. From the east I will bring your descendants; from the west I will gather you.
6. I will say to the north, ‘Hand them over!’ and to the south, ‘Don’t hold any back!’ Bring my sons from distant lands, and my daughters from the remote regions of the earth,
7. everyone who belongs to me, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed – yes, whom I made!
The Lord Declares His Sovereignty
8. Bring out the people who are blind, even though they have eyes, those who are deaf, even though they have ears!
9. All nations gather together, the peoples assemble. Who among them announced this? Who predicted earlier events for us? Let them produce their witnesses to testify they were right; let them listen and affirm, ‘It is true.’
10. You are my witnesses,” says the Lord, “my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may consider and believe in me, and understand that I am he. No god was formed before me, and none will outlive me.
11. I, I am the Lord, and there is no deliverer besides me.
12. I decreed and delivered and proclaimed, and there was no other god among you. You are my witnesses,” says the Lord, “that I am God.
13. From this day forward I am he; no one can deliver from my power; I will act, and who can prevent it?”
The Lord Will Do Something New
14. This is what the Lord says, your protector, the Holy One of Israel: “For your sake I send to Babylon and make them all fugitives, turning the Babylonians’ joyful shouts into mourning songs.
15. I am the Lord, your Holy One, the one who created Israel, your king.”
16. This is what the Lord says, the one who made a road through the sea, a pathway through the surging waters,
17. the one who led chariots and horses to destruction, together with a mighty army. They fell down, never to rise again; they were extinguished, put out like a burning wick:
18. “Don’t remember these earlier events; don’t recall these former events.
19. “Look, I am about to do something new. Now it begins to happen! Do you not recognize it? Yes, I will make a road in the desert and paths in the wilderness.
20. The wild animals of the desert honor me, the jackals and ostriches, because I put water in the desert and streams in the wilderness, to quench the thirst of my chosen people,
21. the people whom I formed for myself, so they might praise me.”
The Lord Rebukes His People
22. “But you did not call for me, O Jacob; you did not long for me, O Israel.
23. You did not bring me lambs for your burnt offerings; you did not honor me with your sacrifices. I did not burden you with offerings; I did not make you weary by demanding incense.
24. You did not buy me aromatic reeds; you did not present to me the fat of your sacrifices. Yet you burdened me with your sins; you made me weary with your evil deeds.
25. I, I am the one who blots out your rebellious deeds for my sake; your sins I do not remember.
26. Remind me of what happened! Let’s debate! You, prove to me that you are right!
27. The father of your nation sinned; your spokesmen rebelled against me.
28. So I defiled your holy princes, and handed Jacob over to destruction, and subjected Israel to humiliating abuse.”
The Lord Will Renew Israel
1. “Now, listen, Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen!”
2. This is what the Lord, the one who made you, says – the one who formed you in the womb and helps you: “Don’t be afraid, my servant Jacob, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen!
3. For I will pour water on the parched ground and cause streams to flow on the dry land. I will pour my spirit on your offspring and my blessing on your children.
4. They will sprout up like a tree in the grass, like poplars beside channels of water.
5. One will say, ‘I belong to the Lord,’ and another will use the name ‘Jacob.’ One will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and use the name ‘Israel.’”
The Absurdity of Idolatry
6. This is what the Lord, Israel’s king, says, their protector, the Lord who commands armies: “I am the first and I am the last, there is no God but me.
7. Who is like me? Let him make his claim! Let him announce it and explain it to me – since I established an ancient people – let them announce future events!
8. Don’t panic! Don’t be afraid! Did I not tell you beforehand and decree it? You are my witnesses! Is there any God but me? There is no other sheltering rock; I know of none.
9. All who form idols are nothing; the things in which they delight are worthless. Their witnesses cannot see; they recognize nothing, so they are put to shame.
10. Who forms a god and casts an idol that will prove worthless?
11. Look, all his associates will be put to shame; the craftsmen are mere humans. Let them all assemble and take their stand! They will panic and be put to shame.
12. A blacksmith works with his tool and forges metal over the coals. He forms it with hammers; he makes it with his strong arm. He gets hungry and loses his energy; he drinks no water and gets tired.
13. A carpenter takes measurements; he marks out an outline of its form; he scrapes it with chisels, and marks it with a compass. He patterns it after the human form, like a well-built human being, and puts it in a shrine.
14. He cuts down cedars and acquires a cypress or an oak. He gets trees from the forest; he plants a cedar and the rain makes it grow.
15. A man uses it to make a fire; he takes some of it and warms himself. Yes, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Then he makes a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it.
16. Half of it he burns in the fire – over that half he cooks meat; he roasts a meal and fills himself. Yes, he warms himself and says, ‘Ah! I am warm as I look at the fire.’
17. With the rest of it he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships it. He prays to it, saying, ‘Rescue me, for you are my god!’
18. They do not comprehend or understand, for their eyes are blind and cannot see; their minds do not discern.
19. No one thinks to himself, nor do they comprehend or understand and say to themselves: ‘I burned half of it in the fire – yes, I baked bread over the coals; I roasted meat and ate it. With the rest of it should I make a disgusting idol? Should I bow down to dry wood?’
20. He feeds on ashes; his deceived mind misleads him. He cannot rescue himself, nor does he say, ‘Is this not a false god I hold in my right hand?’
21. Remember these things, O Jacob, O Israel, for you are my servant. I formed you to be my servant; O Israel, I will not forget you!
22. I remove the guilt of your rebellious deeds as if they were a cloud, the guilt of your sins as if they were a cloud. Come back to me, for I protect you.”
23. Shout for joy, O sky, for the Lord intervenes; shout out, you subterranean regions of the earth. O mountains, give a joyful shout; you too, O forest and all your trees! For the Lord protects Jacob; he reveals his splendor through Israel.
The Lord Empowers Cyrus
24. This is what the Lord, your protector, says, the one who formed you in the womb: “I am the Lord, who made everything, who alone stretched out the sky, who fashioned the earth all by myself,
25. who frustrates the omens of the empty talkers and humiliates the omen readers, who overturns the counsel of the wise men and makes their advice seem foolish,
26. who fulfills the oracles of his prophetic servants and brings to pass the announcements of his messengers, who says about Jerusalem, ‘She will be inhabited,’ and about the towns of Judah, ‘They will be rebuilt, her ruins I will raise up,’
27. who says to the deep sea, ‘Be dry! I will dry up your sea currents,’
28. who commissions Cyrus, the one I appointed as shepherd to carry out all my wishes and to decree concerning Jerusalem, ‘She will be rebuilt,’ and concerning the temple, ‘It will be reconstructed.’”