Things Surely to Be Believed, Part 1

  • Author: Ray C. Stedman
Read the Scripture: Isaiah - Obadiah
Isaiah - Obadiah

1 The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

2 Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth!
For the LORD has spoken:
"I reared children and brought them up,
but they have rebelled against me.

3 The ox knows his master,
the donkey his owner's manger,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand."

4 Ah, sinful nation,
a people loaded with guilt,
a brood of evildoers,
children given to corruption!
They have forsaken the LORD;
they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
and turned their backs on him.

5 Why should you be beaten anymore?
Why do you persist in rebellion?
Your whole head is injured,
your whole heart afflicted.

6 From the sole of your foot to the top of your head
there is no soundness—
only wounds and welts
and open sores,
not cleansed or bandaged
or soothed with oil.

7 Your country is desolate,
your cities burned with fire;
your fields are being stripped by foreigners
right before you,
laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.

8 The Daughter of Zion is left
like a shelter in a vineyard,
like a hut in a field of melons,
like a city under siege.

9 Unless the LORD Almighty
had left us some survivors,
we would have become like Sodom,
we would have been like Gomorrah.

10 Hear the word of the LORD,
you rulers of Sodom;
listen to the law of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!

11 "The multitude of your sacrifices—
what are they to me?" says the LORD.
"I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

12 When you come to appear before me,
who has asked this of you,
this trampling of my courts?

13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
I cannot bear your evil assemblies.

14 Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts
my soul hates.
They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.

15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even if you offer many prayers,
I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood;

16 wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds
out of my sight!
Stop doing wrong,

17 learn to do right!
Seek justice,
encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow.

18 "Come now, let us reason together,"
says the LORD.
"Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.

19 If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the best from the land;

20 but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword."
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

21 See how the faithful city
has become a harlot!
She once was full of justice;
righteousness used to dwell in her—
but now murderers!

22 Your silver has become dross,
your choice wine is diluted with water.

23 Your rulers are rebels,
companions of thieves;
they all love bribes
and chase after gifts.
They do not defend the cause of the fatherless;
the widow's case does not come before them.

24 Therefore the Lord, the LORD Almighty,
the Mighty One of Israel, declares:
"Ah, I will get relief from my foes
and avenge myself on my enemies.

25 I will turn my hand against you;
I will thoroughly purge away your dross
and remove all your impurities.

26 I will restore your judges as in days of old,
your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you will be called
the City of Righteousness,
the Faithful City."

27 Zion will be redeemed with justice,
her penitent ones with righteousness.

28 But rebels and sinners will both be broken,
and those who forsake the LORD will perish.

29 "You will be ashamed because of the sacred oaks
in which you have delighted;
you will be disgraced because of the gardens
that you have chosen.

30 You will be like an oak with fading leaves,
like a garden without water.

31 The mighty man will become tinder
and his work a spark;
both will burn together,
with no one to quench the fire."

1 This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

2 In the last days
the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established
as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.

3 Many peoples will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths."
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

4 He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.

5 Come, O house of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the LORD.

6 You have abandoned your people,
the house of Jacob.
They are full of superstitions from the East;
they practice divination like the Philistines
and clasp hands with pagans.

7 Their land is full of silver and gold;
there is no end to their treasures.
Their land is full of horses;
there is no end to their chariots.

8 Their land is full of idols;
they bow down to the work of their hands,
to what their fingers have made.

9 So man will be brought low
and mankind humbled—
do not forgive them.

10 Go into the rocks,
hide in the ground
from dread of the LORD
and the splendor of his majesty!

11 The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled
and the pride of men brought low;
the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

12 The LORD Almighty has a day in store
for all the proud and lofty,
for all that is exalted
(and they will be humbled),

13 for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty,
and all the oaks of Bashan,

14 for all the towering mountains
and all the high hills,

15 for every lofty tower
and every fortified wall,

16 for every trading ship
and every stately vessel.

17 The arrogance of man will be brought low
and the pride of men humbled;
the LORD alone will be exalted in that day,

18 and the idols will totally disappear.

19 Men will flee to caves in the rocks
and to holes in the ground
from dread of the LORD
and the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to shake the earth.

20 In that day men will throw away
to the rodents and bats
their idols of silver and idols of gold,
which they made to worship.

21 They will flee to caverns in the rocks
and to the overhanging crags
from dread of the LORD
and the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to shake the earth.

22 Stop trusting in man,
who has but a breath in his nostrils.
Of what account is he?

1 See now, the Lord,
the LORD Almighty,
is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah
both supply and support:
all supplies of food and all supplies of water,

2 the hero and warrior,
the judge and prophet,
the soothsayer and elder,

3 the captain of fifty and man of rank,
the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter.

4 I will make boys their officials;
mere children will govern them.

5 People will oppress each other—
man against man, neighbor against neighbor.
The young will rise up against the old,
the base against the honorable.

6 A man will seize one of his brothers
at his father's home, and say,
"You have a cloak, you be our leader;
take charge of this heap of ruins!"

7 But in that day he will cry out,
"I have no remedy.
I have no food or clothing in my house;
do not make me the leader of the people."

8 Jerusalem staggers,
Judah is falling;
their words and deeds are against the LORD,
defying his glorious presence.

9 The look on their faces testifies against them;
they parade their sin like Sodom;
they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
They have brought disaster upon themselves.

10 Tell the righteous it will be well with them,
for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.

11 Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them!
They will be paid back for what their hands have done.

12 Youths oppress my people,
women rule over them.
O my people, your guides lead you astray;
they turn you from the path.

13 The LORD takes his place in court;
he rises to judge the people.

14 The LORD enters into judgment
against the elders and leaders of his people:
"It is you who have ruined my vineyard;
the plunder from the poor is in your houses.

15 What do you mean by crushing my people
and grinding the faces of the poor?"
declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.

16 The LORD says,
"The women of Zion are haughty,
walking along with outstretched necks,
flirting with their eyes,
tripping along with mincing steps,
with ornaments jingling on their ankles.

17 Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion;
the LORD will make their scalps bald."

18 In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, 19 the earrings and bracelets and veils, 20 the headdresses and ankle chains and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, 21 the signet rings and nose rings, 22 the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses 23 and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls.

24 Instead of fragrance there will be a stench;
instead of a sash, a rope;
instead of well-dressed hair, baldness;
instead of fine clothing, sackcloth;
instead of beauty, branding.

25 Your men will fall by the sword,
your warriors in battle.

26 The gates of Zion will lament and mourn;
destitute, she will sit on the ground.

1 In that day seven women
will take hold of one man
and say, "We will eat our own food
and provide our own clothes;
only let us be called by your name.
Take away our disgrace!"

2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. 3 Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. 5 Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. 6 It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.

1 I will sing for the one I love
a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard
on a fertile hillside.

2 He dug it up and cleared it of stones
and planted it with the choicest vines.
He built a watchtower in it
and cut out a winepress as well.
Then he looked for a crop of good grapes,
but it yielded only bad fruit.

3 "Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard.

4 What more could have been done for my vineyard
than I have done for it?
When I looked for good grapes,
why did it yield only bad?

5 Now I will tell you
what I am going to do to my vineyard:
I will take away its hedge,
and it will be destroyed;
I will break down its wall,
and it will be trampled.

6 I will make it a wasteland,
neither pruned nor cultivated,
and briers and thorns will grow there.
I will command the clouds
not to rain on it."

7 The vineyard of the LORD Almighty
is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah
are the garden of his delight.
And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;
for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

8 Woe to you who add house to house
and join field to field
till no space is left
and you live alone in the land.

9 The LORD Almighty has declared in my hearing:
"Surely the great houses will become desolate,
the fine mansions left without occupants.

10 A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine,
a homer of seed only an ephah of grain."

11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning
to run after their drinks,
who stay up late at night
till they are inflamed with wine.

12 They have harps and lyres at their banquets,
tambourines and flutes and wine,
but they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD,
no respect for the work of his hands.

13 Therefore my people will go into exile
for lack of understanding;
their men of rank will die of hunger
and their masses will be parched with thirst.

14 Therefore the grave enlarges its appetite
and opens its mouth without limit;
into it will descend their nobles and masses
with all their brawlers and revelers.

15 So man will be brought low
and mankind humbled,
the eyes of the arrogant humbled.

16 But the LORD Almighty will be exalted by his justice,
and the holy God will show himself holy by his righteousness.

17 Then sheep will graze as in their own pasture;
lambs will feed among the ruins of the rich.

18 Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit,
and wickedness as with cart ropes,

19 to those who say, "Let God hurry,
let him hasten his work
so we may see it.
Let it approach,
let the plan of the Holy One of Israel come,
so we may know it."

20 Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.

21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
and clever in their own sight.

22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine
and champions at mixing drinks,

23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
but deny justice to the innocent.

24 Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw
and as dry grass sinks down in the flames,
so their roots will decay
and their flowers blow away like dust;
for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty
and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.

25 Therefore the LORD's anger burns against his people;
his hand is raised and he strikes them down.
The mountains shake,
and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
his hand is still upraised.

26 He lifts up a banner for the distant nations,
he whistles for those at the ends of the earth.
Here they come,
swiftly and speedily!

27 Not one of them grows tired or stumbles,
not one slumbers or sleeps;
not a belt is loosened at the waist,
not a sandal thong is broken.

28 Their arrows are sharp,
all their bows are strung;
their horses' hoofs seem like flint,
their chariot wheels like a whirlwind.

29 Their roar is like that of the lion,
they roar like young lions;
they growl as they seize their prey
and carry it off with no one to rescue.

30 In that day they will roar over it
like the roaring of the sea.
And if one looks at the land,
he will see darkness and distress;
even the light will be darkened by the clouds.

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory."

4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."

6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

9 He said, "Go and tell this people:
" 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.'

10 Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull
and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed."

11 Then I said, "For how long, O Lord?"
And he answered:
"Until the cities lie ruined
and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
and the fields ruined and ravaged,

12 until the LORD has sent everyone far away
and the land is utterly forsaken.

13 And though a tenth remains in the land,
it will again be laid waste.
But as the terebinth and oak
leave stumps when they are cut down,
so the holy seed will be the stump in the land."

1 When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.

2 Now the house of David was told, "Aram has allied itself with Ephraim"; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.

3 Then the LORD said to Isaiah, "Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman's Field. 4 Say to him, 'Be careful, keep calm and don't be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah's son have plotted your ruin, saying, 6 "Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it." 7 Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
" 'It will not take place,
it will not happen,

8 for the head of Aram is Damascus,
and the head of Damascus is only Rezin.
Within sixty-five years
Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.

9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria,
and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah's son.
If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all.' "

10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, 11 "Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights."

12 But Ahaz said, "I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test."

13 Then Isaiah said, "Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 15 He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right. 16 But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. 17 The LORD will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria."

18 In that day the LORD will whistle for flies from the distant streams of Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria. 19 They will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices in the rocks, on all the thornbushes and at all the water holes. 20 In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the River —the king of Assyria—to shave your head and the hair of your legs, and to take off your beards also. 21 In that day, a man will keep alive a young cow and two goats. 22 And because of the abundance of the milk they give, he will have curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey. 23 In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be only briers and thorns. 24 Men will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns. 25 As for all the hills once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the briers and thorns; they will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run.

1 The LORD said to me, "Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. 2 And I will call in Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me."

3 Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the LORD said to me, "Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. 4 Before the boy knows how to say 'My father' or 'My mother,' the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria."

5 The LORD spoke to me again:

6 "Because this people has rejected
the gently flowing waters of Shiloah
and rejoices over Rezin
and the son of Remaliah,

7 therefore the Lord is about to bring against them
the mighty floodwaters of the River —
the king of Assyria with all his pomp.
It will overflow all its channels,
run over all its banks

8 and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it,
passing through it and reaching up to the neck.
Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land,
O Immanuel !"

9 Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered!
Listen, all you distant lands.
Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
Prepare for battle, and be shattered!

10 Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted;
propose your plan, but it will not stand,
for God is with us.

11 The LORD spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said:

12 "Do not call conspiracy
everything that these people call conspiracy ;
do not fear what they fear,
and do not dread it.

13 The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
he is the one you are to fear,
he is the one you are to dread,

14 and he will be a sanctuary;
but for both houses of Israel he will be
a stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.
And for the people of Jerusalem he will be
a trap and a snare.

15 Many of them will stumble;
they will fall and be broken,
they will be snared and captured."

16 Bind up the testimony
and seal up the law among my disciples.

17 I will wait for the LORD,
who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob.
I will put my trust in him.

18 Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.

19 When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.

1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan-

2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.

3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as men rejoice
when dividing the plunder.

4 For as in the day of Midian's defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.

5 Every warrior's boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.

6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.

8 The Lord has sent a message against Jacob;
it will fall on Israel.

9 All the people will know it—
Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria—
who say with pride
and arrogance of heart,

10 "The bricks have fallen down,
but we will rebuild with dressed stone;
the fig trees have been felled,
but we will replace them with cedars."

11 But the LORD has strengthened Rezin's foes against them
and has spurred their enemies on.

12 Arameans from the east and Philistines from the west
have devoured Israel with open mouth.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
his hand is still upraised.

13 But the people have not returned to him who struck them,
nor have they sought the LORD Almighty.

14 So the LORD will cut off from Israel both head and tail,
both palm branch and reed in a single day;

15 the elders and prominent men are the head,
the prophets who teach lies are the tail.

16 Those who guide this people mislead them,
and those who are guided are led astray.

17 Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men,
nor will he pity the fatherless and widows,
for everyone is ungodly and wicked,
every mouth speaks vileness.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
his hand is still upraised.

18 Surely wickedness burns like a fire;
it consumes briers and thorns,
it sets the forest thickets ablaze,
so that it rolls upward in a column of smoke.

19 By the wrath of the LORD Almighty
the land will be scorched
and the people will be fuel for the fire;
no one will spare his brother.

20 On the right they will devour,
but still be hungry;
on the left they will eat,
but not be satisfied.
Each will feed on the flesh of his own offspring :

21 Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, and Ephraim on Manasseh;
together they will turn against Judah.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
his hand is still upraised.

1 Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,

2 to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless.

3 What will you do on the day of reckoning,
when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?
Where will you leave your riches?

4 Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives
or fall among the slain.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
his hand is still upraised.

5 "Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger,
in whose hand is the club of my wrath!

6 I send him against a godless nation,
I dispatch him against a people who anger me,
to seize loot and snatch plunder,
and to trample them down like mud in the streets.

7 But this is not what he intends,
this is not what he has in mind;
his purpose is to destroy,
to put an end to many nations.

8 'Are not my commanders all kings?' he says.

9 'Has not Calno fared like Carchemish?
Is not Hamath like Arpad,
and Samaria like Damascus?

10 As my hand seized the kingdoms of the idols,
kingdoms whose images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria-

11 shall I not deal with Jerusalem and her images
as I dealt with Samaria and her idols?' "

12 When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, "I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes. 13 For he says:
" 'By the strength of my hand I have done this,
and by my wisdom, because I have understanding.
I removed the boundaries of nations,
I plundered their treasures;
like a mighty one I subdued their kings.

14 As one reaches into a nest,
so my hand reached for the wealth of the nations;
as men gather abandoned eggs,
so I gathered all the countries;
not one flapped a wing,
or opened its mouth to chirp.' "

15 Does the ax raise itself above him who swings it,
or the saw boast against him who uses it?
As if a rod were to wield him who lifts it up,
or a club brandish him who is not wood!

16 Therefore, the Lord, the LORD Almighty,
will send a wasting disease upon his sturdy warriors;
under his pomp a fire will be kindled
like a blazing flame.

17 The Light of Israel will become a fire,
their Holy One a flame;
in a single day it will burn and consume
his thorns and his briers.

18 The splendor of his forests and fertile fields
it will completely destroy,
as when a sick man wastes away.

19 And the remaining trees of his forests will be so few
that a child could write them down.

20 In that day the remnant of Israel,
the survivors of the house of Jacob,
will no longer rely on him
who struck them down
but will truly rely on the LORD,
the Holy One of Israel.

21 A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob
will return to the Mighty God.

22 Though your people, O Israel, be like the sand by the sea,
only a remnant will return.
Destruction has been decreed,
overwhelming and righteous.

23 The Lord, the LORD Almighty, will carry out
the destruction decreed upon the whole land.

24 Therefore, this is what the Lord, the LORD Almighty, says:
"O my people who live in Zion,
do not be afraid of the Assyrians,
who beat you with a rod
and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did.

25 Very soon my anger against you will end
and my wrath will be directed to their destruction."

26 The LORD Almighty will lash them with a whip,
as when he struck down Midian at the rock of Oreb;
and he will raise his staff over the waters,
as he did in Egypt.

27 In that day their burden will be lifted from your shoulders,
their yoke from your neck;
the yoke will be broken
because you have grown so fat.

28 They enter Aiath;
they pass through Migron;
they store supplies at Micmash.

29 They go over the pass, and say,
"We will camp overnight at Geba."
Ramah trembles;
Gibeah of Saul flees.

30 Cry out, O Daughter of Gallim!
Listen, O Laishah!
Poor Anathoth!

31 Madmenah is in flight;
the people of Gebim take cover.

32 This day they will halt at Nob;
they will shake their fist
at the mount of the Daughter of Zion,
at the hill of Jerusalem.

33 See, the Lord, the LORD Almighty,
will lop off the boughs with great power.
The lofty trees will be felled,
the tall ones will be brought low.

34 He will cut down the forest thickets with an ax;
Lebanon will fall before the Mighty One.

1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD -

3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;

4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.

7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.

9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. 11 In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.

12 He will raise a banner for the nations
and gather the exiles of Israel;
he will assemble the scattered people of Judah
from the four quarters of the earth.

13 Ephraim's jealousy will vanish,
and Judah's enemies will be cut off;
Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah,
nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.

14 They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west;
together they will plunder the people to the east.
They will lay hands on Edom and Moab,
and the Ammonites will be subject to them.

15 The LORD will dry up
the gulf of the Egyptian sea;
with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand
over the Euphrates River.
He will break it up into seven streams
so that men can cross over in sandals.

16 There will be a highway for the remnant of his people
that is left from Assyria,
as there was for Israel
when they came up from Egypt.

1 In that day you will say:
"I will praise you, O LORD.
Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away
and you have comforted me.

2 Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation."

3 With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.

4 In that day you will say:
"Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.

5 Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.

6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of Israel among you."

1 An oracle concerning Babylon that Isaiah son of Amoz saw:

2 Raise a banner on a bare hilltop,
shout to them;
beckon to them
to enter the gates of the nobles.

3 I have commanded my holy ones;
I have summoned my warriors to carry out my wrath—
those who rejoice in my triumph.

4 Listen, a noise on the mountains,
like that of a great multitude!
Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms,
like nations massing together!
The LORD Almighty is mustering
an army for war.

5 They come from faraway lands,
from the ends of the heavens—
the LORD and the weapons of his wrath—
to destroy the whole country.

6 Wail, for the day of the LORD is near;
it will come like destruction from the Almighty.

7 Because of this, all hands will go limp,
every man's heart will melt.

8 Terror will seize them,
pain and anguish will grip them;
they will writhe like a woman in labor.
They will look aghast at each other,
their faces aflame.

9 See, the day of the LORD is coming
—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—
to make the land desolate
and destroy the sinners within it.

10 The stars of heaven and their constellations
will not show their light.
The rising sun will be darkened
and the moon will not give its light.

11 I will punish the world for its evil,
the wicked for their sins.
I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty
and will humble the pride of the ruthless.

12 I will make man scarcer than pure gold,
more rare than the gold of Ophir.

13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble;
and the earth will shake from its place
at the wrath of the LORD Almighty,
in the day of his burning anger.

14 Like a hunted gazelle,
like sheep without a shepherd,
each will return to his own people,
each will flee to his native land.

15 Whoever is captured will be thrust through;
all who are caught will fall by the sword.

16 Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes;
their houses will be looted and their wives ravished.

17 See, I will stir up against them the Medes,
who do not care for silver
and have no delight in gold.

18 Their bows will strike down the young men;
they will have no mercy on infants
nor will they look with compassion on children.

19 Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms,
the glory of the Babylonians' pride,
will be overthrown by God
like Sodom and Gomorrah.

20 She will never be inhabited
or lived in through all generations;
no Arab will pitch his tent there,
no shepherd will rest his flocks there.

21 But desert creatures will lie there,
jackals will fill her houses;
there the owls will dwell,
and there the wild goats will leap about.

22 Hyenas will howl in her strongholds,
jackals in her luxurious palaces.
Her time is at hand,
and her days will not be prolonged.

1 The LORD will have compassion on Jacob;
once again he will choose Israel
and will settle them in their own land.
Aliens will join them
and unite with the house of Jacob.

2 Nations will take them
and bring them to their own place.
And the house of Israel will possess the nations
as menservants and maidservants in the LORD's land.
They will make captives of their captors
and rule over their oppressors.

3 On the day the LORD gives you relief from suffering and turmoil and cruel bondage, 4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon:
How the oppressor has come to an end!
How his fury has ended!

5 The LORD has broken the rod of the wicked,
the scepter of the rulers,

6 which in anger struck down peoples
with unceasing blows,
and in fury subdued nations
with relentless aggression.

7 All the lands are at rest and at peace;
they break into singing.

8 Even the pine trees and the cedars of Lebanon
exult over you and say,
"Now that you have been laid low,
no woodsman comes to cut us down."

9 The grave below is all astir
to meet you at your coming;
it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you—
all those who were leaders in the world;
it makes them rise from their thrones—
all those who were kings over the nations.

10 They will all respond,
they will say to you,
"You also have become weak, as we are;
you have become like us."

11 All your pomp has been brought down to the grave,
along with the noise of your harps;
maggots are spread out beneath you
and worms cover you.

12 How you have fallen from heaven,
O morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!

13 You said in your heart,
"I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.

14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High."

15 But you are brought down to the grave,
to the depths of the pit.

16 Those who see you stare at you,
they ponder your fate:
"Is this the man who shook the earth
and made kingdoms tremble,

17 the man who made the world a desert,
who overthrew its cities
and would not let his captives go home?"

18 All the kings of the nations lie in state,
each in his own tomb.

19 But you are cast out of your tomb
like a rejected branch;
you are covered with the slain,
with those pierced by the sword,
those who descend to the stones of the pit.
Like a corpse trampled underfoot,

20 you will not join them in burial,
for you have destroyed your land
and killed your people.
The offspring of the wicked
will never be mentioned again.

21 Prepare a place to slaughter his sons
for the sins of their forefathers;
they are not to rise to inherit the land
and cover the earth with their cities.

22 "I will rise up against them,"
declares the LORD Almighty.
"I will cut off from Babylon her name and survivors,
her offspring and descendants,"
declares the LORD.

23 "I will turn her into a place for owls
and into swampland;
I will sweep her with the broom of destruction,"
declares the LORD Almighty.

24 The LORD Almighty has sworn,
"Surely, as I have planned, so it will be,
and as I have purposed, so it will stand.

25 I will crush the Assyrian in my land;
on my mountains I will trample him down.
His yoke will be taken from my people,
and his burden removed from their shoulders."

26 This is the plan determined for the whole world;
this is the hand stretched out over all nations.

27 For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?
His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?

28 This oracle came in the year King Ahaz died:

29 Do not rejoice, all you Philistines,
that the rod that struck you is broken;
from the root of that snake will spring up a viper,
its fruit will be a darting, venomous serpent.

30 The poorest of the poor will find pasture,
and the needy will lie down in safety.
But your root I will destroy by famine;
it will slay your survivors.

31 Wail, O gate! Howl, O city!
Melt away, all you Philistines!
A cloud of smoke comes from the north,
and there is not a straggler in its ranks.

32 What answer shall be given
to the envoys of that nation?
"The LORD has established Zion,
and in her his afflicted people will find refuge."

1 An oracle concerning Moab:
Ar in Moab is ruined,
destroyed in a night!
Kir in Moab is ruined,
destroyed in a night!

2 Dibon goes up to its temple,
to its high places to weep;
Moab wails over Nebo and Medeba.
Every head is shaved
and every beard cut off.

3 In the streets they wear sackcloth;
on the roofs and in the public squares
they all wail,
prostrate with weeping.

4 Heshbon and Elealeh cry out,
their voices are heard all the way to Jahaz.
Therefore the armed men of Moab cry out,
and their hearts are faint.

5 My heart cries out over Moab;
her fugitives flee as far as Zoar,
as far as Eglath Shelishiyah.
They go up the way to Luhith,
weeping as they go;
on the road to Horonaim
they lament their destruction.

6 The waters of Nimrim are dried up
and the grass is withered;
the vegetation is gone
and nothing green is left.

7 So the wealth they have acquired and stored up
they carry away over the Ravine of the Poplars.

8 Their outcry echoes along the border of Moab;
their wailing reaches as far as Eglaim,
their lamentation as far as Beer Elim.

9 Dimon's waters are full of blood,
but I will bring still more upon Dimon —
a lion upon the fugitives of Moab
and upon those who remain in the land.

1 Send lambs as tribute
to the ruler of the land,
from Sela, across the desert,
to the mount of the Daughter of Zion.

2 Like fluttering birds
pushed from the nest,
so are the women of Moab
at the fords of the Arnon.

3 "Give us counsel,
render a decision.
Make your shadow like night—
at high noon.
Hide the fugitives,
do not betray the refugees.

4 Let the Moabite fugitives stay with you;
be their shelter from the destroyer."
The oppressor will come to an end,
and destruction will cease;
the aggressor will vanish from the land.

5 In love a throne will be established;
in faithfulness a man will sit on it—
one from the house of David—
one who in judging seeks justice
and speeds the cause of righteousness.

6 We have heard of Moab's pride—
her overweening pride and conceit,
her pride and her insolence—
but her boasts are empty.

7 Therefore the Moabites wail,
they wail together for Moab.
Lament and grieve
for the men of Kir Hareseth.

8 The fields of Heshbon wither,
the vines of Sibmah also.
The rulers of the nations
have trampled down the choicest vines,
which once reached Jazer
and spread toward the desert.
Their shoots spread out
and went as far as the sea.

9 So I weep, as Jazer weeps,
for the vines of Sibmah.
O Heshbon, O Elealeh,
I drench you with tears!
The shouts of joy over your ripened fruit
and over your harvests have been stilled.

10 Joy and gladness are taken away from the orchards;
no one sings or shouts in the vineyards;
no one treads out wine at the presses,
for I have put an end to the shouting.

11 My heart laments for Moab like a harp,
my inmost being for Kir Hareseth.

12 When Moab appears at her high place,
she only wears herself out;
when she goes to her shrine to pray,
it is to no avail.

13 This is the word the LORD has already spoken concerning Moab. 14 But now the LORD says: "Within three years, as a servant bound by contract would count them, Moab's splendor and all her many people will be despised, and her survivors will be very few and feeble."

1 An oracle concerning Damascus:
"See, Damascus will no longer be a city
but will become a heap of ruins.

2 The cities of Aroer will be deserted
and left to flocks, which will lie down,
with no one to make them afraid.

3 The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim,
and royal power from Damascus;
the remnant of Aram will be
like the glory of the Israelites,"
declares the LORD Almighty.

4 "In that day the glory of Jacob will fade;
the fat of his body will waste away.

5 It will be as when a reaper gathers the standing grain
and harvests the grain with his arm—
as when a man gleans heads of grain
in the Valley of Rephaim.

6 Yet some gleanings will remain,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches,
four or five on the fruitful boughs,"
declares the LORD, the God of Israel.

7 In that day men will look to their Maker
and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.

8 They will not look to the altars,
the work of their hands,
and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles
and the incense altars their fingers have made.

9 In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation.

10 You have forgotten God your Savior;
you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress.
Therefore, though you set out the finest plants
and plant imported vines,

11 though on the day you set them out, you make them grow,
and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud,
yet the harvest will be as nothing
in the day of disease and incurable pain.

12 Oh, the raging of many nations—
they rage like the raging sea!
Oh, the uproar of the peoples—
they roar like the roaring of great waters!

13 Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters,
when he rebukes them they flee far away,
driven before the wind like chaff on the hills,
like tumbleweed before a gale.

14 In the evening, sudden terror!
Before the morning, they are gone!
This is the portion of those who loot us,
the lot of those who plunder us.

1 Woe to the land of whirring wings
along the rivers of Cush,

2 which sends envoys by sea
in papyrus boats over the water.
Go, swift messengers,
to a people tall and smooth-skinned,
to a people feared far and wide,
an aggressive nation of strange speech,
whose land is divided by rivers.

3 All you people of the world,
you who live on the earth,
when a banner is raised on the mountains,
you will see it,
and when a trumpet sounds,
you will hear it.

4 This is what the LORD says to me:
"I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place,
like shimmering heat in the sunshine,
like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest."

5 For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone
and the flower becomes a ripening grape,
he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives,
and cut down and take away the spreading branches.

6 They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey
and to the wild animals;
the birds will feed on them all summer,
the wild animals all winter.

7 At that time gifts will be brought to the LORD Almighty
from a people tall and smooth-skinned,
from a people feared far and wide,
an aggressive nation of strange speech,
whose land is divided by rivers—
the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the LORD Almighty.

1 An oracle concerning Egypt:
See, the LORD rides on a swift cloud
and is coming to Egypt.
The idols of Egypt tremble before him,
and the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them.

2 "I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian—
brother will fight against brother,
neighbor against neighbor,
city against city,
kingdom against kingdom.

3 The Egyptians will lose heart,
and I will bring their plans to nothing;
they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead,
the mediums and the spiritists.

4 I will hand the Egyptians over
to the power of a cruel master,
and a fierce king will rule over them,"
declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.

5 The waters of the river will dry up,
and the riverbed will be parched and dry.

6 The canals will stink;
the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up.
The reeds and rushes will wither,

7 also the plants along the Nile,
at the mouth of the river.
Every sown field along the Nile
will become parched, will blow away and be no more.

8 The fishermen will groan and lament,
all who cast hooks into the Nile;
those who throw nets on the water
will pine away.

9 Those who work with combed flax will despair,
the weavers of fine linen will lose hope.

10 The workers in cloth will be dejected,
and all the wage earners will be sick at heart.

11 The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools;
the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice.
How can you say to Pharaoh,
"I am one of the wise men,
a disciple of the ancient kings"?

12 Where are your wise men now?
Let them show you and make known
what the LORD Almighty
has planned against Egypt.

13 The officials of Zoan have become fools,
the leaders of Memphis are deceived;
the cornerstones of her peoples
have led Egypt astray.

14 The LORD has poured into them
a spirit of dizziness;
they make Egypt stagger in all that she does,
as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit.

15 There is nothing Egypt can do—
head or tail, palm branch or reed.

16 In that day the Egyptians will be like women. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the LORD Almighty raises against them. 17 And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified, because of what the LORD Almighty is planning against them.

18 In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD Almighty. One of them will be called the City of Destruction.

19 In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. 20 It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. 21 So the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and keep them. 22 The LORD will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the LORD, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.

23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. 24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. 25 The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance."

1 In the year that the supreme commander, sent by Sargon king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it- 2 at that time the LORD spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, "Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet." And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot.

3 Then the LORD said, "Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush, 4 so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old, with buttocks bared—to Egypt's shame. 5 Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be afraid and put to shame. 6 In that day the people who live on this coast will say, 'See what has happened to those we relied on, those we fled to for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! How then can we escape?' "

1 An oracle concerning the Desert by the Sea:
Like whirlwinds sweeping through the southland,
an invader comes from the desert,
from a land of terror.

2 A dire vision has been shown to me:
The traitor betrays, the looter takes loot.
Elam, attack! Media, lay siege!
I will bring to an end all the groaning she caused.

3 At this my body is racked with pain,
pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor;
I am staggered by what I hear,
I am bewildered by what I see.

4 My heart falters,
fear makes me tremble;
the twilight I longed for
has become a horror to me.

5 They set the tables,
they spread the rugs,
they eat, they drink!
Get up, you officers,
oil the shields!

6 This is what the Lord says to me:
"Go, post a lookout
and have him report what he sees.

7 When he sees chariots
with teams of horses,
riders on donkeys
or riders on camels,
let him be alert,
fully alert."

8 And the lookout shouted,
"Day after day, my lord, I stand on the watchtower;
every night I stay at my post.

9 Look, here comes a man in a chariot
with a team of horses.
And he gives back the answer:
'Babylon has fallen, has fallen!
All the images of its gods
lie shattered on the ground!' "

10 O my people, crushed on the threshing floor,
I tell you what I have heard
from the LORD Almighty,
from the God of Israel.

11 An oracle concerning Dumah :
Someone calls to me from Seir,
"Watchman, what is left of the night?
Watchman, what is left of the night?"

12 The watchman replies,
"Morning is coming, but also the night.
If you would ask, then ask;
and come back yet again."

13 An oracle concerning Arabia:
You caravans of Dedanites,
who camp in the thickets of Arabia,

14 bring water for the thirsty;
you who live in Tema,
bring food for the fugitives.

15 They flee from the sword,
from the drawn sword,
from the bent bow
and from the heat of battle.

16 This is what the Lord says to me: "Within one year, as a servant bound by contract would count it, all the pomp of Kedar will come to an end. 17 The survivors of the bowmen, the warriors of Kedar, will be few." The LORD, the God of Israel, has spoken.

1 An oracle concerning the Valley of Vision:
What troubles you now,
that you have all gone up on the roofs,

2 O town full of commotion,
O city of tumult and revelry?
Your slain were not killed by the sword,
nor did they die in battle.

3 All your leaders have fled together;
they have been captured without using the bow.
All you who were caught were taken prisoner together,
having fled while the enemy was still far away.

4 Therefore I said, "Turn away from me;
let me weep bitterly.
Do not try to console me
over the destruction of my people."

5 The Lord, the LORD Almighty, has a day
of tumult and trampling and terror
in the Valley of Vision,
a day of battering down walls
and of crying out to the mountains.

6 Elam takes up the quiver,
with her charioteers and horses;
Kir uncovers the shield.

7 Your choicest valleys are full of chariots,
and horsemen are posted at the city gates;

8 the defenses of Judah are stripped away.
And you looked in that day
to the weapons in the Palace of the Forest;

9 you saw that the City of David
had many breaches in its defenses;
you stored up water
in the Lower Pool.

10 You counted the buildings in Jerusalem
and tore down houses to strengthen the wall.

11 You built a reservoir between the two walls
for the water of the Old Pool,
but you did not look to the One who made it,
or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.

12 The Lord, the LORD Almighty,
called you on that day
to weep and to wail,
to tear out your hair and put on sackcloth.

13 But see, there is joy and revelry,
slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep,
eating of meat and drinking of wine!
"Let us eat and drink," you say,
"for tomorrow we die!"

14 The LORD Almighty has revealed this in my hearing: "Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned for," says the Lord, the LORD Almighty.

15 This is what the Lord, the LORD Almighty, says:
"Go, say to this steward,
to Shebna, who is in charge of the palace:

16 What are you doing here and who gave you permission
to cut out a grave for yourself here,
hewing your grave on the height
and chiseling your resting place in the rock?

17 "Beware, the LORD is about to take firm hold of you
and hurl you away, O you mighty man.

18 He will roll you up tightly like a ball
and throw you into a large country.
There you will die
and there your splendid chariots will remain—
you disgrace to your master's house!

19 I will depose you from your office,
and you will be ousted from your position.

20 "In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. 21 I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 23 I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will be a seat of honor for the house of his father. 24 All the glory of his family will hang on him: its offspring and offshoots—all its lesser vessels, from the bowls to all the jars.

25 "In that day," declares the LORD Almighty, "the peg driven into the firm place will give way; it will be sheared off and will fall, and the load hanging on it will be cut down." The LORD has spoken.

1 An oracle concerning Tyre:
Wail, O ships of Tarshish!
For Tyre is destroyed
and left without house or harbor.
From the land of Cyprus
word has come to them.

2 Be silent, you people of the island
and you merchants of Sidon,
whom the seafarers have enriched.

3 On the great waters
came the grain of the Shihor;
the harvest of the Nile was the revenue of Tyre,
and she became the marketplace of the nations.

4 Be ashamed, O Sidon, and you, O fortress of the sea,
for the sea has spoken:
"I have neither been in labor nor given birth;
I have neither reared sons nor brought up daughters."

5 When word comes to Egypt,
they will be in anguish at the report from Tyre.

6 Cross over to Tarshish;
wail, you people of the island.

7 Is this your city of revelry,
the old, old city,
whose feet have taken her
to settle in far-off lands?

8 Who planned this against Tyre,
the bestower of crowns,
whose merchants are princes,
whose traders are renowned in the earth?

9 The LORD Almighty planned it,
to bring low the pride of all glory
and to humble all who are renowned on the earth.

10 Till your land as along the Nile,
O Daughter of Tarshish,
for you no longer have a harbor.

11 The LORD has stretched out his hand over the sea
and made its kingdoms tremble.
He has given an order concerning Phoenicia
that her fortresses be destroyed.

12 He said, "No more of your reveling,
O Virgin Daughter of Sidon, now crushed!
"Up, cross over to Cyprus ;
even there you will find no rest."

13 Look at the land of the Babylonians,
this people that is now of no account!
The Assyrians have made it
a place for desert creatures;
they raised up their siege towers,
they stripped its fortresses bare
and turned it into a ruin.

14 Wail, you ships of Tarshish;
your fortress is destroyed!

15 At that time Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the span of a king's life. But at the end of these seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute:

16 "Take up a harp, walk through the city,
O prostitute forgotten;
play the harp well, sing many a song,
so that you will be remembered."

17 At the end of seventy years, the LORD will deal with Tyre. She will return to her hire as a prostitute and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. 18 Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the LORD; they will not be stored up or hoarded. Her profits will go to those who live before the LORD, for abundant food and fine clothes.

1 See, the LORD is going to lay waste the earth
and devastate it;
he will ruin its face
and scatter its inhabitants-

2 it will be the same
for priest as for people,
for master as for servant,
for mistress as for maid,
for seller as for buyer,
for borrower as for lender,
for debtor as for creditor.

3 The earth will be completely laid waste
and totally plundered.
The LORD has spoken this word.

4 The earth dries up and withers,
the world languishes and withers,
the exalted of the earth languish.

5 The earth is defiled by its people;
they have disobeyed the laws,
violated the statutes
and broken the everlasting covenant.

6 Therefore a curse consumes the earth;
its people must bear their guilt.
Therefore earth's inhabitants are burned up,
and very few are left.

7 The new wine dries up and the vine withers;
all the merrymakers groan.

8 The gaiety of the tambourines is stilled,
the noise of the revelers has stopped,
the joyful harp is silent.

9 No longer do they drink wine with a song;
the beer is bitter to its drinkers.

10 The ruined city lies desolate;
the entrance to every house is barred.

11 In the streets they cry out for wine;
all joy turns to gloom,
all gaiety is banished from the earth.

12 The city is left in ruins,
its gate is battered to pieces.

13 So will it be on the earth
and among the nations,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest.

14 They raise their voices, they shout for joy;
from the west they acclaim the LORD's majesty.

15 Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD;
exalt the name of the LORD, the God of Israel,
in the islands of the sea.

16 From the ends of the earth we hear singing:
"Glory to the Righteous One."
But I said, "I waste away, I waste away!
Woe to me!
The treacherous betray!
With treachery the treacherous betray!"

17 Terror and pit and snare await you,
O people of the earth.

18 Whoever flees at the sound of terror
will fall into a pit;
whoever climbs out of the pit
will be caught in a snare.
The floodgates of the heavens are opened,
the foundations of the earth shake.

19 The earth is broken up,
the earth is split asunder,
the earth is thoroughly shaken.

20 The earth reels like a drunkard,
it sways like a hut in the wind;
so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion
that it falls—never to rise again.

21 In that day the LORD will punish
the powers in the heavens above
and the kings on the earth below.

22 They will be herded together
like prisoners bound in a dungeon;
they will be shut up in prison
and be punished after many days.

23 The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed;
for the LORD Almighty will reign
on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
and before its elders, gloriously.

1 O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done marvelous things,
things planned long ago.

2 You have made the city a heap of rubble,
the fortified town a ruin,
the foreigners' stronghold a city no more;
it will never be rebuilt.

3 Therefore strong peoples will honor you;
cities of ruthless nations will revere you.

4 You have been a refuge for the poor,
a refuge for the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm
and a shade from the heat.
For the breath of the ruthless
is like a storm driving against a wall

5 and like the heat of the desert.
You silence the uproar of foreigners;
as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud,
so the song of the ruthless is stilled.

6 On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.

7 On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;

8 he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove the disgrace of his people
from all the earth.
The LORD has spoken.

9 In that day they will say,
"Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the LORD, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation."

10 The hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain;
but Moab will be trampled under him
as straw is trampled down in the manure.

11 They will spread out their hands in it,
as a swimmer spreads out his hands to swim.
God will bring down their pride
despite the cleverness of their hands.

12 He will bring down your high fortified walls
and lay them low;
he will bring them down to the ground,
to the very dust.

1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city;
God makes salvation
its walls and ramparts.

2 Open the gates
that the righteous nation may enter,
the nation that keeps faith.

3 You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.

4 Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.

5 He humbles those who dwell on high,
he lays the lofty city low;
he levels it to the ground
and casts it down to the dust.

6 Feet trample it down—
the feet of the oppressed,
the footsteps of the poor.

7 The path of the righteous is level;
O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth.

8 Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws,
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts.

9 My soul yearns for you in the night;
in the morning my spirit longs for you.
When your judgments come upon the earth,
the people of the world learn righteousness.

10 Though grace is shown to the wicked,
they do not learn righteousness;
even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil
and regard not the majesty of the LORD.

11 O LORD, your hand is lifted high,
but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame;
let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them.

12 LORD, you establish peace for us;
all that we have accomplished you have done for us.

13 O LORD, our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us,
but your name alone do we honor.

14 They are now dead, they live no more;
those departed spirits do not rise.
You punished them and brought them to ruin;
you wiped out all memory of them.

15 You have enlarged the nation, O LORD;
you have enlarged the nation.
You have gained glory for yourself;
you have extended all the borders of the land.

16 LORD, they came to you in their distress;
when you disciplined them,
they could barely whisper a prayer.

17 As a woman with child and about to give birth
writhes and cries out in her pain,
so were we in your presence, O LORD.

18 We were with child, we writhed in pain,
but we gave birth to wind.
We have not brought salvation to the earth;
we have not given birth to people of the world.

19 But your dead will live;
their bodies will rise.
You who dwell in the dust,
wake up and shout for joy.
Your dew is like the dew of the morning;
the earth will give birth to her dead.

20 Go, my people, enter your rooms
and shut the doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while
until his wrath has passed by.

21 See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling
to punish the people of the earth for their sins.
The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her;
she will conceal her slain no longer.

1 In that day,
the LORD will punish with his sword,
his fierce, great and powerful sword,
Leviathan the gliding serpent,
Leviathan the coiling serpent;
he will slay the monster of the sea.

2 In that day—
"Sing about a fruitful vineyard:

3 I, the LORD, watch over it;
I water it continually.
I guard it day and night
so that no one may harm it.

New International Version
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During World War II, when the western Pacific battle was being fought back and forth across the green jungles of Guadalcanal island, one of the many American airmen who were shot down found himself on a neighboring island which had a reputation of being inhabited by cannibals. He wondered what would happen to him. Sure enough, he hadn't been on the ground very long before some of the natives found him and took him to their village. But when he got to their village he discovered they were not cannibals -- they were Christians! He was not a Christian, but a pagan young American. He would have to wait a long time in this village before he could be restored to his outfit. One day, as he was going out the door of the hut in which he lived, he saw one of these natives sitting at his door reading his Bible. The American airman sneeringly said, "What in the world are you reading? Do you believe in that book? Why, in America we have long since learned that that book is just a lot of myth and fable. There is no use wasting your time reading a book like that." The former cannibal didn't say anything for a moment. Then he pointed to a big black iron pot beside his fire, and said, "If it weren't for this book, you would be in that pot!"

That is rather dramatic evidence of the power of the Scriptures to change the human heart. Sometimes we tend to forget this transforming power of the Word of God. But the writer of Hebrewswas not kidding when he said, in Chapter 4, Verse 12, that the Word of God is "living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Surely there is no sharper instrument than the Word of the living God to get way down inside the human life and change us by cutting away the cancer of sin and delivering us from the chains which have enslaved us. In our study of the Scriptures, I hope we will always bear in mind this great fact: God's Word is a word of power. We get so familiar with this Word, either in general or in particular, that we sometimes forget the tremendous power which is hidden away in it.

Remember that in First Corinthians 1:18 Paul says, "the word of the cross ... is the power of God." I remember hearing Dr. Dick Halverson tell about speaking to a group of students one night. During a question-and-answer period, one of them asked him, "Dr. Halverson, how can I make the Word of God relevant to the situation in which I live?" He was about to answer that question when time ran out and he had to carry it over to the next night. During the intervening day he was thinking about that question. "The longer I thought about it," he said, "the more I began to see the underlying egotism of a question like that: 'How can I make the Word of God relevant?'" He thought of the above verse: "the word of the cross ... is the power of God." When the time came to answer the question he said: "I would like simply to substitute for the phrase the Word of God' in this question what the Word of God says is the equivalent: 'the power of God.' The question then would read this way: 'How can I make the power of God relevant? How can I, a puny human creature, make that which is the power of God meaningful to human life?' Well, that is the most egotistical of questions, isn't it?" As Charles Spurgeon once said about the Bible: "You are wasting your time defending it. You don't need to defend the Bible. The Bible is like a lion. Who ever heard of defending a lion? Turn it loose; it will defend itself!" The Scriptures are like that.

In this series of studies we have seen that the purpose of the Old Testament is to prepare us to receive truth from God. We never will receive it unless we are prepared. I realize that many of us begin our Christian encounter by reading the New Testament; and to us, at first, the New Testament speaks with much more clarity and purpose to our own situations than the Old Testament. Unfortunately, many of us never seem to get around to reading the Old Testament. But I am convinced, after years of observation both in my own life and in the lives of others, that we can only go so far in appropriating the truths of the New Testament without beginning to get hold of the Old Testament. If we do not, at a certain stage in our life, begin to read and understand and appropriate the message of the Old Testament, we cannot take in all the riches of the New. These two books are made to go together. We can go only so far in the New until we have begun to lay hold of the Old.

We have already seen in the Old Testament that the first five books, Genesis through Deuteronomy, set out for us the pattern of God's working in our lives. And God will never work in any other way than by this great pattern that he has set forth. If you would like to understand how God will work with you, you will see it in these first five books. They are followed by the historical books -- Joshua through Esther. We saw that their purpose is to set forth the perils which confront us in living the Christian life in a 20th Century world. If you want to understand the opposing forces in all their terrible oppression of the human heart, their sly subtlety and their cruel destructiveness, spend time in these historical books. They are marvelously instructive in this way. They are followed, in turn, by what we call the poetical books -- Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. These express the protests and rejoicings of the heart exposed to the perils of the world and entering into the pattern of God. There is not a single emotion to which the human heart is subject that isn't found in these poetical books. If you want to understand yourself, this is the part of the Old Testament to which you need to turn.

Now we come to the books of the great prophets of the Old Testament. There are sixteen of them. We will review the first eight in this study, and then will finish them in the next. We cannot dwell long on them, but in brief compass we want to discover what each has to say to us. If the pattern is given in the Pentateuch, and the perils are set forth in the historical books and the protests of the spirit and soul are expressed in the poetical books, then in the prophets we discover the mighty promises of God.

What is a promise? At many weddings someone sings Oh, Promise Me. When two young people stand at the wedding altar and promise each other, what are they doing? They are committing themselves to give of themselves to each other. A promise, basically, is a commitment to share yourself. If you give a promise to someone, you are committing something of your time, your energy, your resources to that person.

If you say, "I'll meet you at the corner of such-and-such street at such-and-such time," you have thereby committed a certain part of yourself to that person for a certain length of time. That is what a promise is. It is a sharing of self.

So, the great promises of the Bible are the efforts of God to share himself with us. When we understand the promises, we will understand something more of the nature and the character of our God. Every promise is a commitment on God's part to give of himself. This is why an understanding of the prophets is of such momentous importance to us in reading the Bible, because it is here that we understand what God says he will do. How can you exercise faith if you don't have a promise? So often people prate on and on about faith and belief, and yet they never say anything about what to believe or what your faith should rest upon.

Do you remember the song popular a few years ago entitledI Believe? That is all it says: "I believe." "I believe for every drop of rain that falls" something else happens. "Whenever a baby cries" someone is around to feed it!

It never does say why. That song always bothered me -- it kept saying all these wonderful things to believe, but never one word of why. Faith is of absolutely no value if it does not rest upon a promise. A promise is the fact upon which faith lays hold, and it pulls feeling right along behind, and thus makes available to the heart all that God wants to give.

What is the promise of the book of Isaiah, the first of the prophets? One of the mightiest books in the Bible, it is essentially the promise of the cleansing of God, the promise of a new beginning. You see this right in the first chapter. One of the key verses of this book is Verse 18 of Chapter 1:

  "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
  though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
  though they are red like crimson,
    they shall become like wool." (Isaiah 1:18 RSV)

The promise of a new beginning! We see it in the experience of the prophet himself in the sixth chapter -- in that transcending vision when Isaiah stood in the temple and saw the Almighty on a throne, high and lifted up; and the seraphim (angels) gathered around rank upon rank, and one called to another and said, "Holy, holy, holy..." and smoke filled the temple. As the prophet fell down before this majestic, awesome sight, he cried (Verse 5):

..."Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;" (Isaiah 6:5b RSV)

Do you remember what happened? An angel took a burning coal from the altar, touched Isaiah's lips with it and declared his guilt taken away and his sin forgiven -- the promise of the new beginning. Then God said to him, in the great commissioning service, "who will go for us?" And Isaiah stood up and said, "Here I am! Send me." The promise is repeated in what is perhaps the most marvelous chapter in the Bible, the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, where, through the twilight of prophetic vision, there suddenly breaks forth the glorious figure of the Messiah hanging upon a cross -- the One who

  ...was wounded for our transgressions,
    he was bruised for our iniquities;
  upon him was the chastisement that made us whole,
    and with his stripes we are healed. (Verse 5)

In some ways Isaiah is the most glorious book in the Bible. I have come to love it, for it declares that whenever we discover that in some weakness or faltering failure we have stumbled off into sin and darkness and despair, nevertheless God always has a place of new beginning.

I wish every one of you could have heard the artless eloquence with which a lovely young Christian woman recently told her story to our young people. She told how she had drifted into a life of violence, crime, dope, sadism, filth, and shocking, sordid, repulsive living. In the midst of all that, her heart was hungering for deliverance. But she never found it until she came to the foot of the cross. There she found life -- in the transforming message which came to her in utter simplicity, without any emotion connected with it, telling her that if she would give her heart to Jesus Christ she would be a new creature in Christ. This is the story of Isaiah -- the promise of a new beginning.

In the book of Jeremiah we have exactly the opposite. Jeremiah is the promise of the absence of God. Did you know that God promises to be absent from your life, under certain conditions? Not that he actually is absent, because he never is from anyone -- God pervades the universe -- but he promises to leave us without any sense of his fellowship or of his person. He does this deliberately, under certain conditions. This is the message of Jeremiah. It corresponds to the New Testament promise given in the words of our Lord to Jerusalem:

"Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, 'Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord!'" (Luke 13:35 (RSV))

Throughout the whole Bible you have references to this fact -- that when, in some incredible vanity, we attempt to match strength with the Almighty, and we refuse to bow our wills to his, God will ultimately let us have our way, and we wander off into weakness and darkness and misery and desolation of spirit, exactly as Jerusalem was left, finally -- desolate. Jeremiah was sent to that bleeding city to declare to them that their city was lost, and that they were going into captivity for seventy years. But the book closes with a bright ray of light. God never leaves us lost. When the heart repents and turns back, then Isaiah's word is operative -- the promise of a new beginning.

Ezekiel's book is the promise of the presence of God, as Jeremiah's was the promise of the absence of God. It is the Old Testament book which sets forth the corresponding promise in the New Testament: "If a man loves me," Jesus said in John 14:23, "he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." This great prophecy of Ezekiel begins with a vision of God which is the most remarkable, transcending vision in the whole Bible.

I have in my library an interesting pamphlet someone gave me which attempts to explain the opening chapters of Ezekiel as being his record of a visit by creatures from outer space, but that is rather far-fetched, I am afraid.

This is a book which sets forth what God is like. It opens with this marvelous vision of God and closes with the Temple of God, where God is at rest with his people. In between it shows how God moves to bring about his presence in the human heart.

Daniel is the great predictive book of the Old Testament and is the book that sets forth the promise of the illumination of the human mind by God. It corresponds to Jesus' New Testament promise, given in John 8:12: "he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

This is one of the greatest books I know of for teenagers. I urge every teenager to read the book of Daniel again and again and again.

It is the story of a teenager in captivity, in a hostile environment, having to stand against all the powerfully sweeping forces of the world of his day, and of how God enabled him to stand firm against the pressure of that environment, and to be God's instrument of blessing in the greatest nation of the world of his day. It goes on to show how God illuminated this man's mind to enable him to see through all the deceptive phoniness of the philosophy of his day; to perceive the truth of the living God and what God was doing in that nation; and to predict what God would do with all the nations down through the course of history, even beyond our own day.

Hosea, in many ways, is the most beautiful book in the Bible. It is a love story -- the story of a broken marriage and of the heartache which unfaithfulness brings into a life. It is a story of the persistence of God, the promise of God's persistent redemptive action. It sets forth the New Testament promise of Philippians 1:6: "he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." It is wonderful story of how God sent Hosea to marry a harlot. And when she left him and went back to her evil trade, God sent him back to her again to take her to himself. This woman led Hosea through heartbreak and shame and humiliation, but God kept his heart aflame with love for her, and finally she was won back and restored. It is a marvelous story, beautifully picturing the love of God.

In Joel you have the promise of the ultimate meaning of human events. If you are troubled by what is going on in the world, read the book of Joel. Here is the corresponding New Testament promise of Romans 8:28: "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose." Joel shows how God is at work among the nations, shaping events and bringing about his purposes, so that even the tragedies and the catastrophes which befall us are part of the warp and woof of the fabric of history that God is weaving.

The book of Amos is the book of the promise of perfection, corresponding to that glorious promise in Jude :24, "Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing..." The message of the book of Amos is that God will never let down his standards. We want him to. We say: "Lord, I have grown. I am so much better than I was ten years ago that it amazes even me. Don't you think I've gone far enough now? Just let me stay here." But Amos comes along and says: "No. God will never be content with this, will never rest, will never give up until he has brought you through to the absolute perfection of Jesus Christ." The plumb line of God is the great theme of Amos.

Obadiah is the promise of spiritual victory. It is the story of two men, Jacob and Esau, who, respectively, are the symbols of walking in the Spirit and walking in the flesh. Any of us who have felt at times as though we wanted to reach inside our hearts, take hold of this evil that dwells in our flesh and tear it out by the roots will find encouragement in the book of Obadiah. This book is the equivalent of the New Testament promise in Romans 6:14: "sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace." This is the book which declares that the flesh is always a failure, but that the Spirit will always triumph: We walk in the Spirit; we shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. The book ends with these marvelous words, which I hope are true of every one of us as we walk with the Lord:

...the kingdom shall be the Lord's. (Ob 1:21 RSV)

This is what we want in our lives, isn't it? The kingdom of our lives shall be the Lord's. We ourselves know best of all how difficult this is and how much we are fighting this in God's program. We ourselves are the greatest obstacles to our lives becoming the Lord's kingdom. But God has a way around that, too. The book of Obadiah is the promise of that victory.

Title: Things Surely to Be Believed, Part 1 Author: Ray C. Stedman
   Date:February 16, 1964
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