Bible Society of South Africa

Bible Reading Plan – Day 235

Bible text(s)

1“This is the end for Babylon's gods!

Bel and Nebo once were worshipped,

but now they are loaded on donkeys,

a burden for the backs of tired animals.

2The idols cannot save themselves;

they are captured and carried away.

This is the end for Babylon's gods!

3“Listen to me, descendants of Jacob,

all who are left of my people.

I have cared for you from the time you were born.

4I am your God and will take care of you

until you are old and your hair is grey.

I made you and will care for you;

I will give you help and rescue you.

5“With whom will you compare me?” says the LORD.

“Is there anyone else like me?

6People open their purses and pour out gold;

they weigh out silver on the scales.

They hire a goldsmith to make a god;

then they bow down and worship it!

7They lift it to their shoulders and carry it;

they put it in place, and there it stands,

unable to move from where it is.

If anyone prays to it, it cannot answer

or save him from disaster.

8“Remember this, you sinners;

consider what I have done.

9Remember what happened long ago;

acknowledge that I alone am God

and that there is no one else like me.

10From the beginning I predicted the outcome;

long ago I foretold what would happen.

I said that my plans would never fail,

that I would do everything I intended to do.

11I am calling a man to come from the east;

he will swoop down like a hawk

and accomplish what I have planned.

I have spoken, and it will be done.

12“Listen to me, you stubborn people

who think that victory is far away.

13I am bringing the day of victory near —

it is not far away at all.

My triumph will not be delayed.

I will save Jerusalem

and bring honour to Israel there.”

Judgement on Babylon

1The LORD says,

“Babylon, come down from your throne,

and sit in the dust on the ground.

You were once like a virgin, a city unconquered,

but you are soft and delicate no longer!

You are now a slave!

2Turn the millstone! Grind the flour!

Off with your veil! Strip off your fine clothes!

Lift up your skirts to cross the streams!

3People will see you naked;

they will see you humbled and shamed.

I will take vengeance, and no one will stop me.”

4The holy God of Israel sets us free —

his name is the LORD Almighty.

5The LORD says to Babylon,

“Sit in silence and darkness;

no more will they call you the queen of nations!

6I was angry with my people;

I treated them as no longer mine:

I put them in your power,

and you showed them no mercy;

even the aged you treated harshly.

7You thought you would always be a queen,

and did not take these things to heart

or think how it all would end.

8“Listen to this, you lover of pleasure,

you that think you are safe and secure.

You claim you are as great as God —

that there is no one else like you.

You thought that you would never be a widow

or suffer the loss of your children.

9But in a moment, in a single day,

both of these things will happen.

In spite of all the magic you use,

you will lose your husband and children.

10“You felt sure of yourself in your evil;

you thought that no one could see you.

Your wisdom and knowledge led you astray,

and you said to yourself, ‘I am God —

there is no one else like me.’

11Disaster will come upon you,

and none of your magic can stop it.

Ruin will come on you suddenly —

ruin you never dreamt of!

12Keep all your magic spells and charms;

you have used them since you were young.

Perhaps they will be of some help to you;

perhaps you can frighten your enemies.

13You are powerless in spite of the advice you get.

Let your astrologers come forward and save you —

those people who study the stars,

who map out the zones of the heavens

and tell you from month to month

what is going to happen to you.

14“They will be like bits of straw,

and a fire will burn them up!

They will not even be able to save themselves —

the flames will be too hot for them,

not a cosy fire to warm themselves by.

15That is all the good they will do you —

those astrologers you've consulted all your life.

They all will leave you and go their own way,

and none will be left to save you.”

God is LORD of the Future

1Listen to this, people of Israel,

you that are descended from Judah:

You swear by the name of the LORD

and claim to worship the God of Israel —

but you don't mean a word you say.

2And yet you are proud to say

that you are citizens of the holy city

and that you depend on Israel's God,

whose name is the LORD Almighty.

3The LORD says to Israel,

“Long ago I predicted what would take place;

then suddenly I made it happen.

4I knew that you would prove to be stubborn,

as rigid as iron and unyielding as bronze.

5And so I predicted your future long ago,

announcing events before they took place,

to prevent you from claiming

that your idols and images made them happen.

6“All I foretold has now taken place;

you have to admit my predictions were right.

Now I will tell you of new things to come,

events that I did not reveal before.

7Only now am I making them happen;

nothing like this took place in the past.

If it had, you would claim that you knew all about it.

8I knew that you couldn't be trusted,

that you have always been known as a rebel.

That is why you never heard of this at all,

why no word of it ever came to your ears.

9“In order that people will praise my name,

I am holding my anger in check;

I am keeping it back and will not destroy you.

10I have tested you in the fire of suffering,

as silver is refined in a furnace.

But I have found that you are worthless.

11What I do is done for my own sake —

I will not let my name be dishonoured

or let anyone else share the glory

that should be mine and mine alone.”

Cyrus, the LORD's Chosen Leader

12The LORD says,

“Listen to me, Israel, the people I have called!

I am God, the first, the last, the only God!

13My hands made the earth's foundations

and spread the heavens out.

When I summon earth and sky,

they come at once and present themselves.

14“Assemble and listen, all of you!

None of the gods could predict

that the man I have chosen would attack Babylon;

he will do what I want him to do.

15I am the one who spoke and called him;

I led him out and gave him success.

16“Now come close to me and hear what I say.

From the beginning I have spoken openly,

and have always made my words come true.”

(Now the Sovereign LORD has given me his power and sent me.)

The LORD's Plan for his People

17The holy God of Israel,

the LORD who saves you, says:

“I am the LORD your God,

the one who wants to teach you for your own good

and direct you in the way you should go.

18“If only you had listened to my commands!

Then blessings would have flowed for you

like a stream that never goes dry!

Victory would have come to you

like the waves that roll on the shore.

19Your descendants would be as numerous as grains of sand,

and I would have made sure they were never destroyed.”

20Go out from Babylon, go free!

Shout the news gladly; make it known everywhere:

“The LORD has saved his servant Israel!”

21When the LORD led his people through a hot, dry desert,

they did not suffer from thirst.

He made water come from a rock for them;

he split the rock open, and water flowed out.

22“There is no safety for sinners,” says the LORD.

Israel, a Light to the Nations

1Listen to me, distant nations,

you people who live far away!

Before I was born, the LORD chose me

and appointed me to be his servant.

2He made my words as sharp as a sword.

With his own hand he protected me.

He made me like an arrow,

sharp and ready for use.

3He said to me, “Israel, you are my servant;

because of you, people will praise me.”

4I said, “I have worked, but how hopeless it is!

I have used up my strength, but have accomplished nothing.”

Yet I can trust the LORD to defend my cause;

he will reward me for what I do.

5Before I was born, the LORD appointed me;

he made me his servant to bring back his people,

to bring back the scattered people of Israel.

The LORD gives me honour;

he is the source of my strength.

6The LORD said to me,

“I have a greater task for you, my servant.

Not only will you restore to greatness

the people of Israel who have survived,

but I will also make you a light to the nations —

so that all the world may be saved.”

7Israel's holy God and saviour says

to the one who is deeply despised,

who is hated by the nations

and is the servant of rulers:

“Kings will see you released

and will rise to show their respect;

princes also will see it,

and they will bow low to honour you.”

This will happen because the LORD has chosen his servant;

the holy God of Israel keeps his promises.

Isaiah 46:1-49:7GNBOpen in Bible reader
Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.14
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