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Isaiah 40, 41, 42

God’s People Are Comforted

40Comfort, O comfort my people,
   says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
   and cry to her
that she has served her term,
   that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
   double for all her sins.


3 A voice cries out:
‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
   make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up,
   and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
   and the rough places a plain.
5 Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
   and all people shall see it together,
   for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’


6 A voice says, ‘Cry out!’
   And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’
All people are grass,
   their constancy is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades,
   when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
   surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades;
   but the word of our God will stand for ever.
9 Get you up to a high mountain,
   O Zion, herald of good tidings;*
lift up your voice with strength,
   O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,*
   lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
   ‘Here is your God!’
10 See, the Lord God comes with might,
   and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
   and his recompense before him.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
   he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
   and gently lead the mother sheep.


12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
   and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure,
   and weighed the mountains in scales
   and the hills in a balance?
13 Who has directed the spirit of the Lord,
   or as his counsellor has instructed him?
14 Whom did he consult for his enlightenment,
   and who taught him the path of justice?
Who taught him knowledge,
   and showed him the way of understanding?
15 Even the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
   and are accounted as dust on the scales;
   see, he takes up the isles like fine dust.
16 Lebanon would not provide fuel enough,
   nor are its animals enough for a burnt-offering.
17 All the nations are as nothing before him;
   they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.


18 To whom then will you liken God,
   or what likeness compare with him?
19 An idol? —A workman casts it,
   and a goldsmith overlays it with gold,
   and casts for it silver chains.
20 As a gift one chooses mulberry wood*
   —wood that will not rot—
then seeks out a skilled artisan
   to set up an image that will not topple.


21 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
   Has it not been told you from the beginning?
   Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
   and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
   and spreads them like a tent to live in;
23 who brings princes to naught,
   and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.


24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
   scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows upon them, and they wither,
   and the tempest carries them off like stubble.


25 To whom then will you compare me,
   or who is my equal? says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:
   Who created these?
He who brings out their host and numbers them,
   calling them all by name;
because he is great in strength,
   mighty in power,
   not one is missing.


27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
   and speak, O Israel,
‘My way is hidden from the Lord,
   and my right is disregarded by my God’?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
   his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
   and strengthens the powerless.
30 Even youths will faint and be weary,
   and the young will fall exhausted;
31 but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
   they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
   they shall walk and not faint.

Israel Assured of God’s Help

41Listen to me in silence, O coastlands;
   let the peoples renew their strength;
let them approach, then let them speak;
   let us together draw near for judgement.


2 Who has roused a victor from the east,
   summoned him to his service?
He delivers up nations to him,
   and tramples kings under foot;
he makes them like dust with his sword,
   like driven stubble with his bow.
3 He pursues them and passes on safely,
   scarcely touching the path with his feet.
4 Who has performed and done this,
   calling the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord, am first,
   and will be with the last.
5 The coastlands have seen and are afraid,
   the ends of the earth tremble;
   they have drawn near and come.
6 Each one helps the other,
   saying to one another, ‘Take courage!’
7 The artisan encourages the goldsmith,
   and the one who smooths with the hammer encourages the one who strikes the anvil,
saying of the soldering, ‘It is good’;
   and they fasten it with nails so that it cannot be moved.
8 But you, Israel, my servant,
   Jacob, whom I have chosen,
   the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
9 you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
   and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, ‘You are my servant,
   I have chosen you and not cast you off ’;
10 do not fear, for I am with you,
   do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
   I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.


11 Yes, all who are incensed against you
   shall be ashamed and disgraced;
those who strive against you
   shall be as nothing and shall perish.
12 You shall seek those who contend with you,
   but you shall not find them;
those who war against you
   shall be as nothing at all.
13 For I, the Lord your God,
   hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, ‘Do not fear,
   I will help you.’


14 Do not fear, you worm Jacob,
   you insect* Israel!
I will help you, says the Lord;
   your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 Now, I will make of you a threshing-sledge,
   sharp, new, and having teeth;
you shall thresh the mountains and crush them,
   and you shall make the hills like chaff.
16 You shall winnow them and the wind shall carry them away,
   and the tempest shall scatter them.
Then you shall rejoice in the Lord;
   in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.


17 When the poor and needy seek water,
   and there is none,
   and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them,
   I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers on the bare heights,*
   and fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
   and the dry land springs of water.
19 I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
   the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive;
I will set in the desert the cypress,
   the plane and the pine together,
20 so that all may see and know,
   all may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
   the Holy One of Israel has created it.

The Futility of Idols


21 Set forth your case, says the Lord;
   bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob.
22 Let them bring them, and tell us
   what is to happen.
Tell us the former things, what they are,
   so that we may consider them,
and that we may know their outcome;
   or declare to us the things to come.
23 Tell us what is to come hereafter,
   that we may know that you are gods;
do good, or do harm,
   that we may be afraid and terrified.
24 You, indeed, are nothing
   and your work is nothing at all;
   whoever chooses you is an abomination.


25 I stirred up one from the north, and he has come,
   from the rising of the sun he was summoned by name.*
He shall trample* on rulers as on mortar,
   as the potter treads clay.
26 Who declared it from the beginning, so that we might know,
   and beforehand, so that we might say, ‘He is right’?
There was no one who declared it, none who proclaimed,
   none who heard your words.
27 I first have declared it to Zion,*
   and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good tidings.
28 But when I look there is no one;
   among these there is no counsellor
   who, when I ask, gives an answer.
29 No, they are all a delusion;
   their works are nothing;
   their images are empty wind.

The Servant, a Light to the Nations

42Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
   my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him;
   he will bring forth justice to the nations.
2 He will not cry or lift up his voice,
   or make it heard in the street;
3 a bruised reed he will not break,
   and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
   he will faithfully bring forth justice.
4 He will not grow faint or be crushed
   until he has established justice in the earth;
   and the coastlands wait for his teaching.


5 Thus says God, the Lord,
   who created the heavens and stretched them out,
   who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people upon it
   and spirit to those who walk in it:
6 I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
   I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people,*
   a light to the nations,
7   to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
   from the prison those who sit in darkness.
8 I am the Lord, that is my name;
   my glory I give to no other,
   nor my praise to idols.
9 See, the former things have come to pass,
   and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth,
   I tell you of them.

A Hymn of Praise


10 Sing to the Lord a new song,
   his praise from the end of the earth!
Let the sea roar* and all that fills it,
   the coastlands and their inhabitants.
11 Let the desert and its towns lift up their voice,
   the villages that Kedar inhabits;
let the inhabitants of Sela sing for joy,
   let them shout from the tops of the mountains.
12 Let them give glory to the Lord,
   and declare his praise in the coastlands.
13 The Lord goes forth like a soldier,
   like a warrior he stirs up his fury;
he cries out, he shouts aloud,
   he shows himself mighty against his foes.


14 For a long time I have held my peace,
   I have kept still and restrained myself;
now I will cry out like a woman in labour,
   I will gasp and pant.
15 I will lay waste mountains and hills,
   and dry up all their herbage;
I will turn the rivers into islands,
   and dry up the pools.
16 I will lead the blind
   by a road they do not know,
by paths they have not known
   I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
   the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I will do,
   and I will not forsake them.
17 They shall be turned back and utterly put to shame—
   those who trust in carved images,
who say to cast images,
   ‘You are our gods.’


18 Listen, you that are deaf;
   and you that are blind, look up and see!
19 Who is blind but my servant,
   or deaf like my messenger whom I send?
Who is blind like my dedicated one,
   or blind like the servant of the Lord?
20 He sees many things, but does* not observe them;
   his ears are open, but he does not hear.

Israel’s Disobedience


21 The Lord was pleased, for the sake of his righteousness,
   to magnify his teaching and make it glorious.
22 But this is a people robbed and plundered,
   all of them are trapped in holes
   and hidden in prisons;
they have become a prey with no one to rescue,
   a spoil with no one to say, ‘Restore!’
23 Who among you will give heed to this,
   who will attend and listen for the time to come?
24 Who gave up Jacob to the spoiler,
   and Israel to the robbers?
Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned,
   in whose ways they would not walk,
   and whose law they would not obey?
25 So he poured upon him the heat of his anger
   and the fury of war;
it set him on fire all around, but he did not understand;
   it burned him, but he did not take it to heart.

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Psalm 38

A Penitent Sufferer’s Plea for Healing

A Psalm of David, for the memorial offering.
1Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger,
   or discipline me in your wrath.
2 For your arrows have sunk into me,
   and your hand has come down on me.


3 There is no soundness in my flesh
   because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
   because of my sin.
4 For my iniquities have gone over my head;
   they weigh like a burden too heavy for me.


5 My wounds grow foul and fester
   because of my foolishness;
6 I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
   all day long I go around mourning.
7 For my loins are filled with burning,
   and there is no soundness in my flesh.
8 I am utterly spent and crushed;
   I groan because of the tumult of my heart.


9 O Lord, all my longing is known to you;
   my sighing is not hidden from you.
10 My heart throbs, my strength fails me;
   as for the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
11 My friends and companions stand aloof from my affliction,
   and my neighbours stand far off.


12 Those who seek my life lay their snares;
   those who seek to hurt me speak of ruin,
   and meditate treachery all day long.


13 But I am like the deaf, I do not hear;
   like the mute, who cannot speak.
14 Truly, I am like one who does not hear,
   and in whose mouth is no retort.


15 But it is for you, O Lord, that I wait;
   it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
16 For I pray, ‘Only do not let them rejoice over me,
   those who boast against me when my foot slips.’


17 For I am ready to fall,
   and my pain is ever with me.
18 I confess my iniquity;
   I am sorry for my sin.
19 Those who are my foes without cause* are mighty,
   and many are those who hate me wrongfully.
20 Those who render me evil for good
   are my adversaries because I follow after good.


21 Do not forsake me, O Lord;
   O my God, do not be far from me;
22 make haste to help me,
   O Lord, my salvation.

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II Timothy 2

A Good Soldier of Christ Jesus

2You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; 2and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. 3Share in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday affairs; the soldier’s aim is to please the enlisting officer. 5And in the case of an athlete, no one is crowned without competing according to the rules. 6It is the farmer who does the work who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in all things.

8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, 9for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. 10Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 11The saying is sure:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he will also deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.

A Worker Approved by God

14 Remind them of this, and warn them before God* that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. 15Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth. 16Avoid profane chatter, for it will lead people into more and more impiety, 17and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18who have swerved from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his’, and, ‘Let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.’

20 In a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary. 21All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned* will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work. 22Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24And the Lord’s servant* must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, 25correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, 26and that they may escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.*

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v 2.2.7
10 February 2011

From the oremus Bible Browser http://bible.oremus.org v2.2.7 10 February 2011.