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Isaiah 1

1
Messages of Judgment
Quit Your Worship Charades
1The vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw regarding Judah and Jerusalem during the times of the kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.
2-4Heaven and earth, you’re the jury.
Listen to God’s case:
“I had children and raised them well,
and they turned on me.
The ox knows who’s boss,
the mule knows the hand that feeds him,
But not Israel.
My people don’t know up from down.
Shame! Misguided God-dropouts,
staggering under their guilt-baggage,
Gang of miscreants,
band of vandals—
My people have walked out on me, their God,
turned their backs on The Holy of Israel,
walked off and never looked back.
5-9“Why bother even trying to do anything with you
when you just keep to your bullheaded ways?
You keep beating your heads against brick walls.
Everything within you protests against you.
From the bottom of your feet to the top of your head,
nothing’s working right.
Wounds and bruises and running sores—
untended, unwashed, unbandaged.
Your country is laid waste,
your cities burned down.
Your land is destroyed by outsiders while you watch,
reduced to rubble by barbarians.
Daughter Zion is deserted—
like a tumbledown shack on a dead-end street,
Like a tarpaper shanty on the wrong side of the tracks,
like a sinking ship abandoned by the rats.
If God-of-the-Angel-Armies hadn’t left us a few survivors,
we’d be as desolate as Sodom, doomed just like Gomorrah.
10“Listen to my Message,
you Sodom-schooled leaders.
Receive God’s revelation,
you Gomorrah-schooled people.
11-12“Why this frenzy of sacrifices?”
God’s asking.
“Don’t you think I’ve had my fill of burnt sacrifices,
rams and plump grain-fed calves?
Don’t you think I’ve had my fill
of blood from bulls, lambs, and goats?
When you come before me,
whoever gave you the idea of acting like this,
Running here and there, doing this and that—
all this sheer commotion in the place provided for worship?
13-17“Quit your worship charades.
I can’t stand your trivial religious games:
Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings—
meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more!
Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them!
You’ve worn me out!
I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion,
while you go right on sinning.
When you put on your next prayer-performance,
I’ll be looking the other way.
No matter how long or loud or often you pray,
I’ll not be listening.
And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing
people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.
Go home and wash up.
Clean up your act.
Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings
so I don’t have to look at them any longer.
Say no to wrong.
Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.
Let’s Argue This Out
18-20“Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out.”
This is God’s Message:
“If your sins are blood-red,
they’ll be snow-white.
If they’re red like crimson,
they’ll be like wool.
If you’ll willingly obey,
you’ll feast like kings.
But if you’re willful and stubborn,
you’ll die like dogs.”
That’s right. God says so.
Those Who Walk Out on God
21-23Oh! Can you believe it? The chaste city
has become a whore!
She was once all justice,
everyone living as good neighbors,
And now they’re all
at one another’s throats.
Your coins are all counterfeits.
Your wine is watered down.
Your leaders are turncoats
who keep company with crooks.
They sell themselves to the highest bidder
and grab anything not nailed down.
They never stand up for the homeless,
never stick up for the defenseless.
24-31This Decree, therefore, of the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
the Strong One of Israel:
“This is it! I’ll get my oppressors off my back.
I’ll get back at my enemies.
I’ll give you the back of my hand,
purge the junk from your life, clean you up.
I’ll set honest judges and wise counselors among you
just like it was back in the beginning.
Then you’ll be renamed
City-That-Treats-People-Right, the True-Blue City.”
God’s right ways will put Zion right again.
God’s right actions will restore her penitents.
But it’s curtains for rebels and God-traitors,
a dead end for those who walk out on God.
“Your dalliances in those oak grove shrines
will leave you looking mighty foolish,
All that fooling around in god and goddess gardens
that you thought was the latest thing.
You’ll end up like an oak tree
with all its leaves falling off,
Like an unwatered garden,
withered and brown.
‘The Big Man’ will turn out to be dead bark and twigs,
and his ‘work,’ the spark that starts the fire
That exposes man and work both
as nothing but cinders and smoke.”

Isaiah 1

1
1 # 2 K 15.1-7; 2 Ch 26.1-23; 2 K 15.32-38; 2 Ch 27.1-9; 2 K 16.1-20; 2 Ch 28.1-27; 2 K 18.1—20.21; 2 Ch 29.1—32.33. I am Isaiah, the son of Amoz.
And this is the message#1.1 message: Or “vision.” that I was given about Judah and Jerusalem when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were the kings of Judah:#1.1 kings of Judah: Uzziah (783–742 b.c.); Jotham (742–735 b.c.; Ahaz (735–715 b.c.); Hezekiah (715–687 b.c.).
A Guilty Nation
2The Lord has said,
“Listen, heaven and earth!
The children I raised
have turned against me.
3Oxen and donkeys know
who owns and feeds them,
but my people won't ever learn.”
4Israel, you are a sinful nation
loaded down with guilt.
You are wicked and corrupt
and have turned from the Lord,
the holy God of Israel.
5Why be punished more?
Why not give up your sin?
Your head is badly bruised,
and you are weak all over.
6From your head to your toes
there isn't a healthy spot.
Bruises, cuts, and open sores
go without care
or oil to ease the pain.
A Country in Ruins
7Your country lies in ruins;
your towns are in ashes.
Foreigners and strangers
take and destroy your land
while you watch.
8Enemies surround Jerusalem,
alone like a hut
in a vineyard#1.8 a hut in a vineyard: When it was almost time for grapes to ripen, farmers would put up a temporary shelter or hut in the field or vineyard and stay there to keep thieves and wild animals away.
or in a cucumber field.
9 # Gn 19.24; Ro 9.29. Zion would have disappeared
like Sodom and Gomorrah,#1.9 Sodom and Gomorrah: Two ancient cities of Palestine that God destroyed because the people were so wicked (see Genesis 19.1-29).
if the Lord All-Powerful
had not let a few
of its people survive.
Justice, Not Sacrifices
10You are no better
than the leaders and people
of Sodom and Gomorrah!
So listen to the Lord God:
11 # Am 5.21,22. “Your sacrifices
mean nothing to me.
I am sick of your offerings
of rams and choice cattle;
I don't like the blood
of bulls or lambs or goats.
12“Who asked you to bring all this
when you come to worship me?
Stay out of my temple!
13Your sacrifices are worthless,
and your incense disgusting.
I can't stand the evil you do
on your New Moon Festivals
or on your Sabbaths
and other times of worship.
14I hate your New Moon Festivals
and all others as well.
They are a heavy burden
I am tired of carrying.
15“No matter how much you pray,
I won't listen.
You are too violent.
16Wash yourselves clean!
I hate your filthy deeds.
Stop doing wrong
17and learn to live right.
See that justice is done.
Defend widows and orphans
and help the oppressed.”#1.17 and help the oppressed: Or “and punish cruel people.”
An Invitation from the Lord
18I, the Lord, invite you
to come and talk it over.
Your sins are scarlet red,
but they will be whiter
than snow or wool.
19If you willingly obey me,
the best crops in the land
will be yours.
20But if you turn against me,
your enemies will kill you.
I, the Lord, have spoken.
The Lord Condemns Jerusalem
21Jerusalem, you are like
an unfaithful wife.
Once your judges were honest
and your people lived right;
now you are a city
full of murderers.
22Your silver is fake,
and your wine
is watered down.
23Your leaders have rejected me
to become friends of crooks;
your rulers are looking
for gifts and bribes.
Widows and orphans
never get a fair trial.
24I am the Lord All-Powerful,
the mighty ruler of Israel,
and I make you a promise:
You are now my enemy,
and I will show my anger
by taking revenge on you.
25I will punish you terribly
and burn away everything
that makes you unfit
to worship me.
26Jerusalem, I will choose
judges and advisors
like those you had before.
Your new name will be
“Justice and Faithfulness.”
The Lord Will Save Jerusalem
27Jerusalem, you will be saved
by showing justice;#1.27 by showing justice: Or “by my saving power.”
Zion's people who turn to me
will be saved
by doing right.
28But those rebellious sinners
who turn against me, the Lord,
will all disappear.
29You will be made ashamed
of those groves of trees
where you worshiped idols.
30You will be like a grove of trees
dying in a drought.
31Your strongest leaders
will be like dry wood
set on fire by their idols.#1.31 Your … idols: Or “Your wealth will be like dry wood, set on fire by its owners.”
No one will be able to help,
as they all go up in flames.