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Isaiah 1

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God’s Message in Troubled Times
1This is the vision Isaiah son of Amoz saw. God showed Isaiah what would happen to Judah and Jerusalem. Isaiah saw these things while Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah were kings of Judah.
God Finds Fault with His People
2Heaven and earth, listen,
because the Lord is speaking:
“I raised my children and helped them grow.
But they have turned against me.
3An ox knows its master.
And a donkey knows where its owner feeds it.
But the people of Israel do not know me.
My people do not understand.”
4Terrible times are coming for Israel, a nation of sin.
The people are loaded down with guilt.
They are like a group of children doing evil.
They are full of evil.
They have left the Lord.
They hate God, the Holy One of Israel.
They have turned away from him.
5Why should you continue to be punished?
Why do you continue to turn against him?
Your whole head is hurt.
And your whole heart is sick.
6There is no healthy spot
from the bottom of your foot to the top of your head.
You are covered with wounds, hurts and open sores.
Your wounds are not cleaned and covered.
No medicine takes away the pain.
7Your land is ruined.
Your cities have been burned with fire.
While you watch,
your enemies are stealing everything from your land.
Your land is ruined like a country destroyed by enemies.
8Jerusalem is left alone
like an empty shelter in a vineyard.
It is like a hut left in a field of melons.
It is like a city surrounded by enemies.
9The Lord of heaven’s armies
allowed a few of our people to live.
Otherwise we would have been completely destroyed
like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
10Jerusalem, your rulers are like those of Sodom.
Your people are like those of Gomorrah.
Hear the word of the Lord.
Listen to the teachings of our God!
11The Lord says,
“I do not want all these sacrifices you give me.
I have had enough of your sacrifices
of male sheep and fat from fine animals.
I am not pleased
by the blood of bulls, sheep and goats.
12You come to meet with me.
But who asked you to do
all this running in and out?
13Don’t continue bringing me worthless sacrifices!
I hate the incense you burn.
I can’t stand your New Moons, Sabbaths and other feast days.
I can’t stand the evil you do in holding your holy meetings.
14I hate your New Moon feasts
and your other yearly feasts.
They have become like heavy weights on me.
I am tired of carrying them.
15You will raise your arms in prayer to me.
But I will refuse to look at you.
Even if you say many prayers,
I will not listen to you.
It’s because your hands are full of blood.
16Wash yourselves and make yourselves clean.
Stop doing the evil things I see you do.
Stop doing wrong!
17Learn to do good.
Be fair to other people.
Punish those who hurt others.
Help the orphans.
Stand up for the rights of widows.”
18The Lord says,
“Come, we will talk these things over.
Your sins are red like deep red cloth.
But they can be as white as snow.
Your sins are bright red.
But you can be white like wool.
19If you will obey me,
you will eat good crops from the land.
20But if you refuse to obey and if you turn against me,
you will be destroyed by your enemies’ swords.”
The Lord himself said these things.
Jerusalem Is Not Loyal to God
21The city of Jerusalem once followed the Lord.
But she is no longer loyal to the Lord.
She used to be filled with fairness.
People there lived the way God wanted.
But now, murderers live there.
22Jerusalem, you have become like the scum left when silver is purified.
You are like wine mixed with water.
23Your rulers are rebels.
They are friends of thieves.
They all accept money for doing wrong things.
They are paid to cheat people.
They don’t try to help the orphans.
And they don’t listen to the widows’ needs.
24The Master, the Lord of heaven’s armies,
the Mighty One of Israel, says:
“You, my enemies, will not cause me any more trouble.
I will pay you back for what you did.
25I will turn against you.
I will clean away all your wrongs as if with soap.
I will take all the worthless things out of you.
26I will bring back judges as you had long ago.
Your counselors will be like the ones you had in the beginning.
Then you will be called the City That Is Right with God.
You will be called the Loyal City.”
27Because the Lord does what is fair,
he will rescue Jerusalem.
Because the Lord does what is right,
he will save her people who come back to him.
28But sinners and those who turn against him will be destroyed.
Those who have left the Lord will die.
29“You will be ashamed
because you have worshiped false gods under the oak trees.
You will be disgraced
because you have worshiped idols in your gardens.
30You will be like an oak whose leaves are dying.
You will be like a garden without water.
31Powerful people will be like small, dry pieces of wood.
And what they do will be like sparks.
The people and what they do will burn together.
And no one will be able to stop that fire.”

Isaiah 1

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1 # 2 Kgs 15.1–7; 15.32—16.20; 18.1—20.21; 2 Chr 26.1—32.33 This book contains the messages about Judah and Jerusalem which God revealed to Isaiah son of Amoz during the time when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah.
God Reprimands his People
2The LORD said, “Earth and sky, listen to what I am saying! The children I brought up have rebelled against me. 3Cattle know who owns them, and donkeys know where their master feeds them. But that is more than my people Israel know. They don't understand at all.”
4You are doomed, you sinful nation, you corrupt and evil people! Your sins drag you down! You have rejected the LORD, the holy God of Israel, and have turned your backs on him. 5Why do you keep on rebelling? Do you want to be punished even more? Israel, your head is already covered with wounds, and your heart and mind are sick. 6From head to foot there is not a healthy spot on your body. You are covered with bruises and sores and open wounds. Your wounds have not been cleaned or bandaged. No ointment has been put on them.
7Your country has been devastated, and your cities have been burnt to the ground. While you look on, foreigners take over your land and bring everything to ruin. 8Jerusalem alone is left, a city under siege — as defenceless as a guard's hut in a vineyard or a shed in a cucumber field. 9#Gen 19.24; Rom 9.29If the LORD Almighty had not let some of the people survive, Jerusalem would have been totally destroyed, just as Sodom and Gomorrah were.
10Jerusalem, your rulers and your people are like those of Sodom and Gomorrah. Listen to what the LORD is saying to you. Pay attention to what our God is teaching you. 11#Amos 5.21–22He says, “Do you think I want all these sacrifices you keep offering to me? I have had more than enough of the sheep you burn as sacrifices and of the fat of your fine animals. I am tired of the blood of bulls and sheep and goats. 12Who asked you to bring me all this when you come to worship me? Who asked you to do all this tramping about in my Temple? 13It's useless to bring your offerings. I am disgusted with the smell of the incense you burn. I cannot stand your New Moon Festivals, your Sabbaths, and your religious gatherings; they are all corrupted by your sins. 14I hate your New Moon Festivals and holy days; they are a burden that I am tired of bearing.
15“When you lift your hands in prayer, I will not look at you. No matter how much you pray, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with blood. 16Wash yourselves clean. Stop all this evil that I see you doing. Yes, stop doing evil 17and learn to do right. See that justice is done — help those who are oppressed, give orphans their rights, and defend widows.”
18The LORD says, “Now, let's settle the matter. You are stained red with sin, but I will wash you as clean as snow.#1.18 sin, but… snow; or sin; do you think I will wash you as clean as snow? Although your stains are deep red, you will be as white as wool.#1.18 Although your… wool; or Your stains are deep red; do you think you will be as white as wool? 19If you will only obey me, you will eat the good things the land produces. 20But if you defy me, you are doomed to die. I, the LORD, have spoken.”
The Sinful City
21The city that once was faithful is behaving like a whore! At one time it was filled with righteous people, but now only murderers remain. 22Jerusalem, you were once like silver, but now you are worthless; you were like good wine, but now you are only water. 23Your leaders are rebels and friends of thieves; they are always accepting gifts and bribes. They never defend orphans in court or listen when widows present their case.
24So now, listen to what the LORD Almighty, Israel's powerful God, is saying: “I will take revenge on you, my enemies, and you will cause me no more trouble. 25I will take action against you. I will purify you just as metal is refined, and will remove all your impurity. 26I will give you rulers and advisers like those you had long ago. Then Jerusalem will be called the righteous, faithful city.”
27Because the LORD is righteous, he will save Jerusalem and everyone there who repents. 28But he will crush everyone who sins and rebels against him; he will kill everyone who forsakes him.
29You will be sorry that you ever worshipped trees and planted sacred gardens.#1.29 sacred gardens: People believed that dedicating a garden to a fertility god would cause him to bless their crops. 30You will wither like a dying oak, like a garden that no one waters. 31Just as straw is set on fire by a spark, so powerful people will be destroyed by their own evil deeds, and no one will be able to stop the destruction.