Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 108

Isaiah 65–66, Psalms 141 & 142, Proverbs 28 & 29

Bible text(s)

God's Punishment of the Rebellious

1The LORD said, “I was ready to answer my people's prayers, but they did not pray. I was ready for them to find me, but they did not even try. The nation did not pray to me, even though I was always ready to answer, ‘Here I am; I will help you.’ 2I have always been ready to welcome my people, who stubbornly do what is wrong and go their own way. 3They shamelessly keep on making me angry. They offer pagan sacrifices in sacred gardens and burn incense on pagan altars. 4At night they go to caves and tombs to consult the spirits of the dead. They eat pork and drink broth made from meat offered in pagan sacrifices. 5And then they say to others, ‘Keep away from us; we are too holy for you to touch!’ I cannot stand people like that — my anger against them is like a fire that never goes out.

6“I have already decided on their punishment, and their sentence is written down. I will not overlook what they have done, but will repay them 7for their sins and the sins of their ancestors. They have burnt incense at pagan hill shrines and spoken evil of me. So I will punish them as their past deeds deserve.”

8The LORD says, “No one destroys good grapes; instead, they make wine with them. Neither will I destroy all my people — I will save those who serve me. 9I will bless the Israelites who belong to the tribe of Judah, and their descendants will possess my land of mountains. My chosen people, who serve me, will live there. 10They will worship me and will lead their sheep and cattle to pasture in the Plain of Sharon in the west and in the Valley of Trouble in the east.

11“But it will be different for you that forsake me, who ignore Zion, my sacred hill, and worship Gad and Meni, the gods of luck and fate. 12It will be your fate to die a violent death, because you did not answer when I called you or listen when I spoke. You chose to disobey me and do evil. 13And so I tell you that those who worship and obey me will have plenty to eat and drink, but you will be hungry and thirsty. They will be happy, but you will be disgraced. 14They will sing for joy, but you will cry with a broken heart. 15My chosen people will use your name as a curse. I, the Sovereign LORD, will put you to death. But I will give a new name to those who obey me. 16Anyone in the land who asks for a blessing will ask to be blessed by the Faithful God. Whoever takes an oath will swear by the name of the Faithful God. The troubles of the past will be gone and forgotten.”

The New Creation

17The LORD says, “I am making a new earth and new heavens. The events of the past will be completely forgotten. 18Be glad and rejoice for ever in what I create. The new Jerusalem I make will be full of joy, and her people will be happy. 19I myself will be filled with joy because of Jerusalem and her people. There will be no weeping there, no calling for help. 20Babies will no longer die in infancy, and all people will live out their life span. Those who live to be a hundred will be considered young. To die before that would be a sign that I had punished them. 21-22People will build houses and live in them themselves — they will not be used by someone else. They will plant vineyards and enjoy the wine — it will not be drunk by others. Like trees, my people will live long lives. They will fully enjoy the things that they have worked for. 23The work they do will be successful, and their children will not meet with disaster. I will bless them and their descendants for all time to come. 24Even before they finish praying to me, I will answer their prayers. 25Wolves and lambs will eat together; lions will eat straw, as cattle do, and snakes will no longer be dangerous. On Zion, my sacred hill, there will be nothing harmful or evil.”

The LORD Judges the Nations

1The LORD says, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house, then, could you build for me, what kind of place for me to live in? 2I myself created the whole universe! I am pleased with those who are humble and repentant, who fear me and obey me.

3“The people do as they please. It's all the same to them whether they kill a bull as a sacrifice or sacrifice a human being; whether they sacrifice a lamb or break a dog's neck; whether they present a grain offering or offer pigs' blood; whether they offer incense or pray to an idol. They take pleasure in disgusting ways of worship. 4So I will bring disaster upon them — the very things they are afraid of — because no one answered when I called or listened when I spoke. They chose to disobey me and do evil.”

5Listen to what the LORD says, you that fear him and obey him: “Because you are faithful to me, some of your own people hate you and will have nothing to do with you. They mock you and say, ‘Let the LORD show his greatness and save you, so that we may see you rejoice.’ But they themselves will be disgraced! 6Listen! That loud noise in the city, that sound in the Temple, is the sound of the LORD punishing his enemies!

7“My holy city is like a woman who suddenly gives birth to a child, without ever going into labour. 8Has anyone ever seen or heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a day? Zion will not have to suffer long, before the nation is born. 9Do not think that I will bring my people to the point of birth and not let them be born.” The LORD has spoken.

10Rejoice with Jerusalem; be glad for her,

all you that love this city!

Rejoice with her now,

all you that have mourned for her!

11You will enjoy her prosperity,

like a child at its mother's breast.

12The LORD says, “I will bring you lasting prosperity; the wealth of the nations will flow to you like a river that never goes dry. You will be like a child that is nursed by its mother, carried in her arms, and treated with love. 13I will comfort you in Jerusalem, as a mother comforts her child. 14When you see this happen, you will be glad; it will make you strong and healthy. Then you will know that I, the LORD, help those who obey me, and I show my anger against my enemies.”

15The LORD will come with fire. He will ride on the wings of a storm to punish those he is angry with. 16By fire and sword he will punish all the people of the world whom he finds guilty — and many will be put to death.

17The LORD says, “The end is near for those who purify themselves for pagan worship, who go in procession to sacred gardens, and who eat pork and mice and other disgusting foods. 18I know their thoughts and their deeds. I am coming to gather the people of all the nations. When they come together, they will see what my power can do 19and will know that I am the one who punishes them.

“But I will spare some of them and send them to the nations and the distant lands that have not heard of my fame or seen my greatness and power: to Spain, Libya, and Lydia, with its skilled archers, and to Tubal and Greece. Among these nations they will proclaim my greatness. 20They will bring back all your fellow-Israelites from the nations as a gift to me. They will bring them to my sacred hill in Jerusalem on horses, mules, and camels, and in chariots and wagons, just as Israelites bring grain offerings to the Temple in ritually clean containers. 21I will make some of them priests and Levites.

22“Just as the new earth and the new heavens will endure by my power, so your descendants and your name will endure. 23On every New Moon Festival and every Sabbath, people of every nation will come to worship me here in Jerusalem,” says the LORD. 24“As they leave, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me. The worms that eat them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never be put out. The sight of them will be disgusting to the whole human race.”

An Evening Prayer

1I call to you, LORD; help me now!

Listen to me when I call to you.

2Receive my prayer as incense,

my uplifted hands as an evening sacrifice.

3LORD, place a guard at my mouth,

a sentry at the door of my lips.

4Keep me from wanting to do wrong

and from joining evil people in their wickedness.

May I never take part in their feasts.

5Good people may punish me and rebuke me in kindness,

but I will never accept honour from evil people,

because I am always praying against their evil deeds.

6When their rulers are thrown down from rocky cliffs,

the people will admit that my words were true.

7Like wood that is split and chopped into bits,

so their bones are scattered at the edge of the grave.

8But I keep trusting in you, my Sovereign LORD.

I seek your protection;

don't let me die!

9Protect me from the traps they have set for me,

from the snares of those evildoers.

10May the wicked fall into their own traps

while I go by unharmed.

Psalms 141GNBOpen in Bible reader

A Prayer for Help

1I call to the LORD for help;

I plead with him.

2I bring him all my complaints;

I tell him all my troubles.

3When I am ready to give up,

he knows what I should do.

In the path where I walk,

my enemies have hidden a trap for me.

4When I look beside me,

I see that there is no one to help me,

no one to protect me.

No one cares for me.

5LORD, I cry to you for help;

you, LORD, are my protector;

you are all I want in this life.

6Listen to my cry for help,

for I am sunk in despair.

Save me from my enemies;

they are too strong for me.

7Set me free from my distress;

then in the assembly of your people I will praise you

because of your goodness to me.

Psalms 142GNBOpen in Bible reader

1The wicked run when no one is chasing them, but an honest person is as brave as a lion.

2When a nation sins, it will have one ruler after another. But a nation will be strong and endure when it has intelligent, sensible leaders.

3Someone in authority who oppresses poor people is like a driving rain that destroys the crops.

4If you have no regard for the law, you are on the side of the wicked; but if you obey it, you are against them.

5Evil people do not know what justice is, but those who worship the LORD understand it well.

6Better to be poor and honest than rich and dishonest.

7A young man who obeys the law is intelligent. One who makes friends with good-for-nothings is a disgrace to his father.

8If you get rich by charging interest and taking advantage of people, your wealth will go to someone who is kind to the poor.

9If you do not obey the law, God will find your prayers too hateful to hear.

10If you trick an honest person into doing evil, you will fall into your own trap.

The innocent will be well rewarded.

11Rich people always think they are wise, but a poor person who has insight into character knows better.

12When good people come to power, everybody celebrates, but when bad people rule, people stay in hiding.

13You will never succeed in life if you try to hide your sins. Confess them and give them up; then God will show mercy to you.

14Always obey the LORD and you will be happy. If you are stubborn, you will be ruined.

15Poor people are helpless against a wicked ruler; he is as dangerous as a growling lion or a prowling bear.

16A ruler without good sense will be a cruel tyrant. One who hates dishonesty will rule a long time.

17Someone guilty of murder is digging his own grave as fast as he can. Don't try to stop him.

18Be honest and you will be safe. If you are dishonest, you will suddenly fall.

19A hard-working farmer has plenty to eat. People who waste time will always be poor.

20Honest people will lead a full, happy life. But if you are in a hurry to get rich, you are going to be punished.

21Prejudice is wrong. But some judges will do wrong to get even the smallest bribe.

22Selfish people are in such a hurry to get rich that they do not know when poverty is about to strike.

23Correct someone, and afterwards he will appreciate it more than flattery.

24Anyone who thinks it isn't wrong to steal from his parents is no better than a common thief.

25Selfishness only causes trouble. You are much better off to trust the LORD.

26It is foolish to follow your own opinions. Be safe, and follow the teachings of wiser people.

27Give to the poor and you will never be in need. If you close your eyes to the poor, many people will curse you.

28People stay in hiding when the wicked come to power. But when they fall from power, the righteous will rule again.

Proverbs 28GNBOpen in Bible reader

1If you get more stubborn every time you are corrected, one day you will be crushed and never recover.

2Show me a righteous ruler and I will show you a happy people. Show me a wicked ruler and I will show you a miserable people.

3If you appreciate wisdom, your father will be proud of you.

It is a foolish waste to spend money on prostitutes.

4When the king is concerned with justice, the nation will be strong, but when he is only concerned with money, he will ruin his country.

5If you flatter your friends, you set a trap for yourself.

6Evil people are trapped in their own sins, while honest people are happy and free.

7A good person knows the rights of the poor, but wicked people cannot understand such things.

8People with no regard for others can throw whole cities into turmoil. Those who are wise keep things calm.

9When an intelligent person brings a lawsuit against a fool, the fool only laughs and becomes loud and abusive.

10Bloodthirsty people hate anyone who's honest, but righteous people will protect the life of such a person.

11Stupid people express their anger openly, but sensible people are patient and hold it back.

12If a ruler pays attention to false information, all his officials will be liars.

13A poor person and his oppressor have this in common — the LORD gave eyes to both of them.

14If a king defends the rights of the poor, he will rule for a long time.

15Correction and discipline are good for children. If they have their own way, they will make their mothers ashamed of them.

16When evil people are in power, crime increases. But the righteous will live to see the downfall of such people.

17Discipline your children and you can always be proud of them. They will never give you reason to be ashamed.

18A nation without God's guidance is a nation without order. Happy are those who keep God's law!

19You cannot correct servants just by talking to them. They may understand you, but they will pay no attention.

20There is more hope for a stupid fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.

21If you give your servants everything they want from childhood on, some day they will take over everything you own.

22People with quick tempers cause a lot of quarrelling and trouble.

23Arrogance will bring your downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected.

24A thief's partner is his own worst enemy. He will be punished if he tells the truth in court, and God will curse him if he doesn't.

25It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the LORD, you are safe.

26Everybody wants the good will of the ruler, but only from the LORD can you get justice.

27The righteous hate the wicked, and the wicked hate the righteous.

Proverbs 29GNBOpen in Bible reader
Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.14
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