Daily Bible Reading
Today's reading: Isaiah 56,59-61
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 Invites Outsiders to Enter
1. This is what the Lord says, “Promote justice! Do what is right! For I am ready to deliver you; I am ready to vindicate you openly.
2. The people who do this will be blessed, the people who commit themselves to obedience, who observe the Sabbath and do not defile it, who refrain from doing anything that is wrong.
3. No foreigner who becomes a follower of the Lord should say, ‘The Lord will certainly exclude me from his people.’ The eunuch should not say, ‘Look, I am like a dried-up tree.’”
4. For this is what the Lord says: “For the eunuchs who observe my Sabbaths and choose what pleases me and are faithful to my covenant,
5. I will set up within my temple and my walls a monument that will be better than sons and daughters. I will set up a permanent monument for them that will remain.
6. As for foreigners who become followers of the Lord and serve him, who love the name of the Lord and want to be his servants – all who observe the Sabbath and do not defile it, and who are faithful to my covenant –
7. I will bring them to my holy mountain; I will make them happy in the temple where people pray to me. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my temple will be known as a temple where all nations may pray.”
8. The sovereign Lord says this, the one who gathers the dispersed of Israel: “I will still gather them up.”
The Lord Denounces Israel’s Paganism
9. All you wild animals in the fields, come and devour, all you wild animals in the forest!
10. All their watchmen are blind, they are unaware. All of them are like mute dogs, unable to bark. They pant, lie down, and love to snooze.
11. The dogs have big appetites; they are never full. They are shepherds who have no understanding; they all go their own way, each one looking for monetary gain.
12. Each one says, ‘Come on, I’ll get some wine! Let’s guzzle some beer! Tomorrow will be just like today! We’ll have everything we want!’
Injustice Brings Alienation from God
1. Look, the Lord’s hand is not too weak to deliver you; his ear is not too deaf to hear you.
2. But your sinful acts have alienated you from your God; your sins have caused him to reject you and not listen to your prayers.
3. For your hands are stained with blood and your fingers with sin; your lips speak lies, your tongue utters malicious words.
4. No one is concerned about justice; no one sets forth his case truthfully. They depend on false words and tell lies; they conceive of oppression and give birth to sin.
5. They hatch the eggs of a poisonous snake and spin a spider’s web. Whoever eats their eggs will die, a poisonous snake is hatched.
6. Their webs cannot be used for clothing; they cannot cover themselves with what they make. Their deeds are sinful; they commit violent crimes.
7. They are eager to do evil, quick to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are sinful; they crush and destroy.
8. They are unfamiliar with peace; their deeds are unjust. They use deceitful methods, and whoever deals with them is unfamiliar with peace.
Israel Confesses its Sin
9. For this reason deliverance is far from us and salvation does not reach us. We wait for light, but see only darkness; we wait for a bright light, but live in deep darkness.
10. We grope along the wall like the blind, we grope like those who cannot see; we stumble at noontime as if it were evening. Though others are strong, we are like dead men.
11. We all growl like bears, we coo mournfully like doves; we wait for deliverance, but there is none, for salvation, but it is far from us.
12. For you are aware of our many rebellious deeds, and our sins testify against us; indeed, we are aware of our rebellious deeds; we know our sins all too well.
13. We have rebelled and tried to deceive the Lord; we turned back from following our God. We stir up oppression and rebellion; we tell lies we concocted in our minds.
14. Justice is driven back; godliness stands far off. Indeed, honesty stumbles in the city square and morality is not even able to enter.
15. Honesty has disappeared; the one who tries to avoid evil is robbed. The Lord watches and is displeased, for there is no justice.
The Lord Intervenes
16. He sees there is no advocate; he is shocked that no one intervenes. So he takes matters into his own hands; his desire for justice drives him on.
17. He wears his desire for justice like body armor, and his desire to deliver is like a helmet on his head. He puts on the garments of vengeance and wears zeal like a robe.
18. He repays them for what they have done, dispensing angry judgment to his adversaries and punishing his enemies. He repays the coastlands.
19. In the west, people respect the Lord’s reputation; in the east they recognize his splendor. For he comes like a rushing stream driven on by wind sent from the Lord.
20. “A protector comes to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their rebellious deeds,” says the Lord.
21. “As for me, this is my promise to them,” says the Lord. “My spirit, who is upon you, and my words, which I have placed in your mouth, will not depart from your mouth or from the mouths of your children and descendants from this time forward,” says the Lord.
Zion’s Future Splendor
1. “Arise! Shine! For your light arrives! The splendor of the Lord shines on you!
2. For, look, darkness covers the earth and deep darkness covers the nations, but the Lord shines on you; his splendor appears over you.
3. Nations come to your light, kings to your bright light.
4. Look all around you! They all gather and come to you – your sons come from far away and your daughters are escorted by guardians.
5. Then you will look and smile, you will be excited and your heart will swell with pride. For the riches of distant lands will belong to you and the wealth of nations will come to you.
6. Camel caravans will cover your roads, young camels from Midian and Ephah. All the merchants of Sheba will come, bringing gold and incense and singing praises to the Lord.
7. All the sheep of Kedar will be gathered to you; the rams of Nebaioth will be available to you as sacrifices. They will go up on my altar acceptably, and I will bestow honor on my majestic temple.
8. Who are these who float along like a cloud, who fly like doves to their shelters?
9. Indeed, the coastlands look eagerly for me, the large ships are in the lead, bringing your sons from far away, along with their silver and gold, to honor the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has bestowed honor on you.
10. Foreigners will rebuild your walls; their kings will serve you. Even though I struck you down in my anger, I will restore my favor and have compassion on you.
11. Your gates will remain open at all times; they will not be shut during the day or at night, so that the wealth of nations may be delivered, with their kings leading the way.
12. Indeed, nations or kingdoms that do not serve you will perish; such nations will be totally destroyed.
13. The splendor of Lebanon will come to you, its evergreens, firs, and cypresses together, to beautify my palace; I will bestow honor on my throne room.
14. The children of your oppressors will come bowing to you; all who treated you with disrespect will bow down at your feet. They will call you, ‘The City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.’
15. You were once abandoned and despised, with no one passing through, but I will make you a permanent source of pride and joy to coming generations.
16. You will drink the milk of nations; you will nurse at the breasts of kings. Then you will recognize that I, the Lord, am your deliverer, your protector, the powerful ruler of Jacob.
17. Instead of bronze, I will bring you gold, instead of iron, I will bring you silver, instead of wood, I will bring you bronze, instead of stones, I will bring you iron. I will make prosperity your overseer, and vindication your sovereign ruler.
18. Sounds of violence will no longer be heard in your land, or the sounds of destruction and devastation within your borders. You will name your walls, ‘Deliverance,’ and your gates, ‘Praise.’
19. The sun will no longer supply light for you by day, nor will the moon’s brightness shine on you; the Lord will be your permanent source of light – the splendor of your God will shine upon you.
20. Your sun will no longer set; your moon will not disappear; the Lord will be your permanent source of light; your time of sorrow will be over.
21. All of your people will be godly; they will possess the land permanently. I will plant them like a shoot; they will be the product of my labor, through whom I reveal my splendor.
22. The least of you will multiply into a thousand; the smallest of you will become a large nation. When the right time comes, I the Lord will quickly do this!”
The Lord Will Rejuvenate His People
1. The spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has chosen me. He has commissioned me to encourage the poor, to help the brokenhearted, to decree the release of captives, and the freeing of prisoners,
2. to announce the year when the Lord will show his favor, the day when our God will seek vengeance, to console all who mourn,
3. to strengthen those who mourn in Zion, by giving them a turban, instead of ashes, oil symbolizing joy, instead of mourning, a garment symbolizing praise, instead of discouragement. They will be called oaks of righteousness, trees planted by the Lord to reveal his splendor.
4. They will rebuild the perpetual ruins and restore the places that were desolate; they will reestablish the ruined cities, the places that have been desolate since ancient times.
5. “Foreigners will take care of your sheep; foreigners will work in your fields and vineyards.
6. You will be called, ‘the Lord’s priests, servants of our God.’ You will enjoy the wealth of nations and boast about the riches you receive from them.
7. Instead of shame, you will get a double portion; instead of humiliation, they will rejoice over the land they receive. Yes, they will possess a double portion in their land and experience lasting joy.
8. For I, the Lord, love justice and hate robbery and sin. I will repay them because of my faithfulness; I will make a permanent covenant with them.
9. Their descendants will be known among the nations, their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will recognize that the Lord has blessed them.”
10. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; I will be overjoyed because of my God. For he clothes me in garments of deliverance; he puts on me a robe symbolizing vindication. I look like a bridegroom when he wears a turban as a priest would; I look like a bride when she puts on her jewelry.
11. For just as the ground produces its crops and a garden yields its produce, so the sovereign Lord will cause deliverance to grow, and give his people reason to praise him in the sight of all the nations.