11 The Lord, the holy God of Israel,
the one who shapes the future, says:
“You have no right to question me about my children
or to tell me what I ought to do!
12 I am the one who made the earth
and created human beings to live there.
By my power I stretched out the heavens;
I control the sun, the moon, and the stars.
13 I myself have stirred Cyrus to action
to fulfill my purpose and put things right.
I will straighten out every road that he travels.
He will rebuild my city, Jerusalem,
and set my captive people free.
No one has hired him or bribed him to do this.”
The Lord Almighty has spoken.
14 The Lord says to Israel,
“The wealth of Egypt and Ethiopia[a] will be yours,
and the tall men of Seba will be your slaves;
they will follow you in chains.
They will bow down to you and confess,
‘God is with you—he alone is God.
15 The God of Israel, who saves his people,
is a God who conceals himself.
16 Those who make idols will all be ashamed;
all of them will be disgraced.
17 But Israel is saved by the Lord,
and her victory lasts forever;
her people will never be disgraced.’”
18 The Lord created the heavens—
he is the one who is God!
He formed and made the earth—
he made it firm and lasting.
He did not make it a desolate waste,
but a place for people to live.
It is he who says, “I am the Lord,
and there is no other god.
19 I have not spoken in secret
or kept my purpose hidden.
I did not require the people of Israel
to look for me in a desolate waste.
I am the Lord, and I speak the truth;
I make known what is right.”
The Lord of the World and the Idols of Babylon
20 The Lord says,
“Come together, people of the nations,
all who survive the fall of the empire;
present yourselves for the trial!
The people who parade with their idols of wood
and pray to gods that cannot save them—
those people know nothing at all!
21 Come and present your case in court;
let the defendants consult one another.
Who predicted long ago what would happen?
Was it not I, the Lord, the God who saves his people?
There is no other god.
22 “Turn to me now and be saved,
people all over the world!
I am the only God there is.
23 (A)My promise is true,
and it will not be changed.
I solemnly promise by all that I am:
Everyone will come and kneel before me
and vow to be loyal to me.
24 “They will say that only through me
are victory and strength to be found;
but all who hate me will suffer disgrace.
25 I, the Lord, will rescue all the descendants of Jacob,
and they will give me praise.
46 “This is the end for Babylon's gods!
Bel and Nebo once were worshiped,
but now they are loaded on donkeys,
a burden for the backs of tired animals.
2 The idols cannot save themselves;
they are captured and carried away.
This is the end for Babylon's gods!
3 “Listen to me, descendants of Jacob,
all who are left of my people.
I have cared for you from the time you were born.
4 I am your God and will take care of you
until you are old and your hair is gray.
I made you and will care for you;
I will give you help and rescue you.
5 “To whom will you compare me?” says the Lord.
“Is there anyone else like me?
6 People open their purses and pour out gold;
they weigh out silver on the scales.
They hire a goldsmith to make a god;
then they bow down and worship it.
7 They lift it to their shoulders and carry it;
they put it in place, and there it stands,
unable to move from where it is.
If any pray to it, it cannot answer
or save them from disaster.
8 “Remember this, you sinners;
consider what I have done.
9 Remember what happened long ago;
acknowledge that I alone am God
and that there is no one else like me.
10 From the beginning I predicted the outcome;
long ago I foretold what would happen.
I said that my plans would never fail,
that I would do everything I intended to do.
11 I am calling a man to come from the east;[b]
he will swoop down like a hawk
and accomplish what I have planned.
I have spoken, and it will be done.
12 “Listen to me, you stubborn people
who think that victory is far away.
13 I am bringing the day of victory near—
it is not far away at all.
My triumph will not be delayed.
I will save Jerusalem
and bring honor to Israel there.”
Judgment on Babylon
47 (B)The Lord says,
“Babylon, come down from your throne,
and sit in the dust on the ground.
You were once like a virgin, a city unconquered,
but you are soft and delicate no longer!
You are now a slave!
2 Turn the millstone! Grind the flour!
Off with your veil! Strip off your fine clothes!
Lift up your skirts to cross the streams![c]
3 People will see you naked;
they will see you humbled and shamed.
I will take vengeance, and no one will stop me.”
4 The holy God of Israel sets us free—
his name is the Lord Almighty.
5 The Lord says to Babylon,
“Sit in silence and darkness;
no more will they call you the queen of nations!
6 I was angry with my people;
I treated them as no longer mine:
I put them in your power,
and you showed them no mercy;
even the aged you treated harshly.
7 You thought you would always be a queen,
and did not take these things to heart
or think how it all would end.
8 (C)“Listen to this, you lover of pleasure,
you that think you are safe and secure.
You claim you are as great as God—
that there is no one else like you.
You thought that you would never be a widow
or suffer the loss of your children.
9 But in a moment, in a single day,
both of these things will happen.
In spite of all the magic you use,
you will lose your husband and children.
10 “You felt sure of yourself in your evil;
you thought that no one could see you.
Your wisdom and knowledge led you astray,
and you said to yourself, ‘I am God—
there is no one else like me.’
11 Disaster will come upon you,
and none of your magic can stop it.
Ruin will come on you suddenly—
ruin you never dreamed of!
12 Keep all your magic spells and charms;
you have used them since you were young.
Perhaps they will be of some help to you;
perhaps you can frighten your enemies.
13 You are powerless in spite of the advice you get.
Let your astrologers come forward and save you—
those people who study the stars,
who map out the zones of the heavens
and tell you from month to month
what[d] is going to happen to you.
14 “They will be like bits of straw,
and a fire will burn them up!
They will not even be able to save themselves—
the flames will be too hot for them,
not a cozy fire to warm themselves by.
15 That is all the good they will do you—
those astrologers you've consulted all your life.
They all will leave you and go their own way,
and none will be left to save you.”
God Is Lord of the Future
48 Listen to this, people of Israel,
you that are descended from Judah:
You swear by the name of the Lord
and claim to worship the God of Israel—
but you don't mean a word you say.
2 And yet you are proud to say
that you are citizens of the holy city
and that you depend on Israel's God,
whose name is the Lord Almighty.
3 The Lord says to Israel,
“Long ago I predicted what would take place;
then suddenly I made it happen.
4 I knew that you would prove to be stubborn,
as rigid as iron and unyielding as bronze.
5 And so I predicted your future long ago,
announcing events before they took place,
to keep you from claiming
that your idols and images made them happen.
6 “All I foretold has now taken place;
you have to admit my predictions were right.
Now I will tell you of new things to come,
events that I did not reveal before.
7 Only now am I making them happen;
nothing like this took place in the past.
If it had, you would claim that you knew all about it.
8 I knew that you couldn't be trusted,
that you have always been known as a rebel.
That is why you never heard of this at all,
why no word of it ever came to your ears.
9 “In order that people will praise my name,
I am holding my anger in check;
I am keeping it back and will not destroy you.
10 I have tested you in the fire of suffering,
as silver is refined in a furnace.
But I have found that you are worthless.
11 What I do is done for my own sake—
I will not let my name be dishonored
or let anyone else share the glory
that should be mine and mine alone.”
- Isaiah 45:14 Hebrew Cush: Cush is the ancient name of the extensive territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile River. This region was called Ethiopia in Graeco-Roman times, and included within its borders most of modern Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia).
- Isaiah 46:11 See 41.2.
- Isaiah 47:2 This probably refers to going into exile.
- Isaiah 47:13 Some ancient translations what; Hebrew from what.
The Unity of the Body
4 I urge you, then—I who am a prisoner because I serve the Lord: live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you. 2 (A)Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. 3 Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called you. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 there is one God and Father of all people, who is Lord of all, works through all, and is in all.
7 Each one of us has received a special gift in proportion to what Christ has given. 8 (B)As the scripture says,
“When he went up to the very heights,
he took many captives with him;
he gave gifts to people.”
9 Now, what does “he went up” mean? It means that first he came down to the lowest depths of the earth.[a] 10 So the one who came down is the same one who went up, above and beyond the heavens, to fill the whole universe with his presence. 11 It was he who “gave gifts to people”; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. 12 He did this to prepare all God's people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ. 13 And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ's full stature. 14 Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent. 15 Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head. 16 (C)Under his control all the different parts of the body fit together, and the whole body is held together by every joint with which it is provided. So when each separate part works as it should, the whole body grows and builds itself up through love.
- Ephesians 4:9 the lowest depths of the earth; or the lower depths, the earth itself.
19 Praise the Lord,
who carries our burdens day after day;
he is the God who saves us.
20 Our God is a God who saves;
he is the Lord, our Lord,
who rescues us from death.
21 God will surely break the heads of his enemies,
of those who persist in their sinful ways.
22 The Lord has said, “I will bring your enemies back from Bashan;
I will bring them back from the depths of the ocean,
23 so that you may wade in their blood,
and your dogs may lap up as much as they want.”
24 O God, your march of triumph is seen by all,
the procession of God, my king, into his sanctuary.
25 The singers are in front, the musicians are behind,
in between are the young women beating the tambourines.
26 “Praise God in the meeting of his people;
praise the Lord, all you descendants of Jacob!”
27 First comes Benjamin, the smallest tribe,
then the leaders of Judah with their group,
followed by the leaders of Zebulun and Naphtali.
28 Show your power, O God,
the power you have used on our behalf
29 from your Temple in Jerusalem,
where kings bring gifts to you.
30 Rebuke Egypt, that wild animal in the reeds;
rebuke the nations, that herd of bulls with their calves,
until they all bow down and offer you their silver.
Scatter those people who love to make war![a]
31 Ambassadors[b] will come from Egypt;
the Ethiopians[c] will raise their hands in prayer to God.
32 Sing to God, kingdoms of the world,
sing praise to the Lord,
33 to him who rides in the sky,
the ancient sky.
Listen to him shout with a mighty roar.
34 Proclaim God's power;
his majesty is over Israel,
his might is in the skies.
35 How awesome is God as he comes from his sanctuary—
the God of Israel!
He gives strength and power to his people.
- Psalm 68:30 Verse 30 in Hebrew is unclear.
- Psalm 68:31 Some ancient translations Ambassadors; Hebrew unclear.
- Psalm 68:31 Hebrew Cushites: Cush is the ancient name of the extensive territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile River. This region was called Ethiopia in Graeco-Roman time, and included within its borders most of modern Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia).