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Isaiah 55, 56, 57

An Invitation to Abundant Life

55Ho, everyone who thirsts,
   come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
   come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
   without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
   and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
   and delight yourselves in rich food.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
   listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
   my steadfast, sure love for David.
4 See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
   a leader and commander for the peoples.
5 See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
   and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
   for he has glorified you.


6 Seek the Lord while he may be found,
   call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake their way,
   and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them,
   and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts.


10 For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
   and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
   giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
   it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
   and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.


12 For you shall go out in joy,
   and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
   shall burst into song,
   and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
   instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial,
   for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

The Covenant Extended to All Who Obey

56Thus says the Lord:
   Maintain justice, and do what is right,
for soon my salvation will come,
   and my deliverance be revealed.


2 Happy is the mortal who does this,
   the one who holds it fast,
who keeps the sabbath, not profaning it,
   and refrains from doing any evil.


3 Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say,
   ‘The Lord will surely separate me from his people’;
and do not let the eunuch say,
   ‘I am just a dry tree.’
4 For thus says the Lord:
To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
   who choose the things that please me
   and hold fast my covenant,
5 I will give, in my house and within my walls,
   a monument and a name
   better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
   that shall not be cut off.


6 And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
   to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
   and to be his servants,
all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it,
   and hold fast my covenant—
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain,
   and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices
   will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
   for all peoples.
8 Thus says the Lord God,
   who gathers the outcasts of Israel,
I will gather others to them
   besides those already gathered.*

The Corruption of Israel’s Rulers


9 All you wild animals,
   all you wild animals in the forest, come to devour!
10 Israel’s* sentinels are blind,
   they are all without knowledge;
they are all silent dogs
   that cannot bark;
dreaming, lying down,
   loving to slumber.
11 The dogs have a mighty appetite;
   they never have enough.
The shepherds also have no understanding;
   they have all turned to their own way,
   to their own gain, one and all.
12 ‘Come,’ they say, ‘let us* get wine;
   let us fill ourselves with strong drink.
And tomorrow will be like today,
   great beyond measure.’

Israel’s Futile Idolatry

57The righteous perish,
   and no one takes it to heart;
the devout are taken away,
   while no one understands.
For the righteous are taken away from calamity,
2   and they enter into peace;
those who walk uprightly
   will rest on their couches.
3 But as for you, come here,
   you children of a sorceress,
   you offspring of an adulterer and a whore.*
4 Whom are you mocking?
   Against whom do you open your mouth wide
   and stick out your tongue?
Are you not children of transgression,
   the offspring of deceit—
5 you that burn with lust among the oaks,
   under every green tree;
you that slaughter your children in the valleys,
   under the clefts of the rocks?
6 Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion;
   they, they, are your lot;
to them you have poured out a drink-offering,
   you have brought a grain-offering.
   Shall I be appeased for these things?
7 Upon a high and lofty mountain
   you have set your bed,
   and there you went up to offer sacrifice.
8 Behind the door and the doorpost
   you have set up your symbol;
for, in deserting me,* you have uncovered your bed,
   you have gone up to it,
   you have made it wide;
and you have made a bargain for yourself with them,
   you have loved their bed,
   you have gazed on their nakedness.*
9 You journeyed to Molech* with oil,
   and multiplied your perfumes;
you sent your envoys far away,
   and sent down even to Sheol.
10 You grew weary from your many wanderings,
   but you did not say, ‘It is useless.’
You found your desire rekindled,
   and so you did not weaken.


11 Whom did you dread and fear
   so that you lied,
and did not remember me
   or give me a thought?
Have I not kept silent and closed my eyes,*
   and so you do not fear me?
12 I will concede your righteousness and your works,
   but they will not help you.
13 When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!
   The wind will carry them off,
   a breath will take them away.
But whoever takes refuge in me shall possess the land
   and inherit my holy mountain.

A Promise of Help and Healing


14 It shall be said,
‘Build up, build up, prepare the way,
   remove every obstruction from my people’s way.’
15 For thus says the high and lofty one
   who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
I dwell in the high and holy place,
   and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the humble,
   and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 For I will not continually accuse,
   nor will I always be angry;
for then the spirits would grow faint before me,
   even the souls that I have made.
17 Because of their wicked covetousness I was angry;
   I struck them, I hid and was angry;
   but they kept turning back to their own ways.
18 I have seen their ways, but I will heal them;
   I will lead them and repay them with comfort,
   creating for their mourners the fruit of the lips.*
19 Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord;
   and I will heal them.
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea
   that cannot keep still;
   its waters toss up mire and mud.
21 There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.

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Psalm 43

Prayer to God in Time of Trouble


1 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
   against an ungodly people;
from those who are deceitful and unjust
   deliver me!
2 For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
   why have you cast me off?
Why must I walk about mournfully
   because of the oppression of the enemy?


3 O send out your light and your truth;
   let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
   and to your dwelling.
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
   to God my exceeding joy;
and I will praise you with the harp,
   O God, my God.


5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
   and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
   my help and my God.

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Titus 3

Maintain Good Deeds

3Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarrelling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone. 3For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, despicable, hating one another. 4But when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Saviour appeared, 5he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water* of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8The saying is sure.

I desire that you insist on these things, so that those who have come to believe in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works; these things are excellent and profitable to everyone. 9But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10After a first and second admonition, have nothing more to do with anyone who causes divisions, 11since you know that such a person is perverted and sinful, being self-condemned.

Final Messages and Benediction

12 When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13Make every effort to send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way, and see that they lack nothing. 14And let people learn to devote themselves to good works in order to meet urgent needs, so that they may not be unproductive.

15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.

Grace be with all of you.*

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oremus Bible Browser
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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.