Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 92

Isaiah 6–10, Psalm 149

Bible text(s)

God Calls Isaiah to be a Prophet

1In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. He was sitting on his throne, high and exalted, and his robe filled the whole Temple. 2Round him flaming creatures were standing, each of which had six wings. Each creature covered its face with two wings, and its body with two, and used the other two for flying. 3They were calling out to each other:

“Holy, holy, holy!

The LORD Almighty is holy!

His glory fills the world.”

4The sound of their voices made the foundation of the Temple shake, and the Temple itself was filled with smoke.

5I said, “There is no hope for me! I am doomed because every word that passes my lips is sinful, and I live among a people whose every word is sinful. And yet, with my own eyes, I have seen the King, the LORD Almighty!”

6Then one of the creatures flew down to me, carrying a burning coal that he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7He touched my lips with the burning coal and said, “This has touched your lips, and now your guilt is gone, and your sins are forgiven.”

8Then I heard the Lord say, “Whom shall I send? Who will be our messenger?”

I answered, “I will go! Send me!”

9So he told me to go and give the people this message: “No matter how much you listen, you will not understand. No matter how much you look, you will not know what is happening.” 10Then he said to me, “Make the minds of these people dull, their ears deaf, and their eyes blind, so that they cannot see or hear or understand. If they did, they might turn to me and be healed.”

11I asked, “How long will it be like this, Lord?”

He answered, “Until the cities are ruined and empty — until the houses are uninhabited — until the land itself is a desolate waste. 12I will send the people far away and make the whole land desolate. 13Even if one person out of ten remains in the land, he too will be destroyed; he will be like the stump of an oak tree that has been cut down.”

(The stump represents a new beginning for God's people.)

A Message for King Ahaz

1When King Ahaz, the son of Jotham and grandson of Uzziah, ruled Judah, war broke out. Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, attacked Jerusalem, but were unable to capture it.

2When word reached the king of Judah that the armies of Syria were already in the territory of Israel, he and all his people were so terrified that they trembled like trees shaking in the wind.

3The LORD said to Isaiah, “Take your son Shear Jashub, and go to meet King Ahaz. You will find him on the road where the cloth makers work, at the end of the ditch that brings water from the upper pool. 4Tell him to keep alert, to stay calm, and not to be frightened or disturbed. The anger of King Rezin and his Syrians and of King Pekah is no more dangerous than the smoke from two smouldering sticks. 5Syria, together with Israel and its king, has made a plot. 6They intend to invade Judah, terrify the people into joining their side, and then put Tabeel's son on the throne.

7“But I, the LORD, declare that this will never happen. 8Why? Because Syria is no stronger than Damascus, its capital city, and Damascus is no stronger than King Rezin. As for Israel, within 65 years it will be too shattered to survive as a nation. 9Israel is no stronger than Samaria, its capital city, and Samaria is no stronger than King Pekah.

“If your faith is not enduring, you will not endure.”

The Sign of Immanuel

10The LORD sent another message to Ahaz: 11“Ask the LORD your God to give you a sign. It can be from deep in the world of the dead or from high up in heaven.”

12Ahaz answered, “I will not ask for a sign. I refuse to put the LORD to the test.”

13To that Isaiah replied, “Listen, now, descendants of King David. It's bad enough for you to wear out the patience of people — must you wear out God's patience too? 14Well then, the Lord himself will give you a sign: a young woman who is pregnant will have a son and will name him ‘Immanuel.’ 15By the time he is old enough to make his own decisions, people will be drinking milk and eating honey. 16Even before that time comes, the lands of those two kings who terrify you will be deserted.

17“The LORD is going to bring on you, on your people, and on the whole royal family, days of trouble worse than any that have come since the kingdom of Israel separated from Judah — he is going to bring the king of Assyria.

18“When that time comes, the LORD will whistle as a signal for the Egyptians to come like flies from the farthest branches of the Nile, and for the Assyrians to come from their land like bees. 19They will swarm in the rugged valleys and in the caves in the rocks, and they will cover every thorn bush and every pasture.

20“When that time comes, the Lord will hire a barber from across the Euphrates — the emperor of Assyria! — and he will shave off your beards, and the hair on your heads and your bodies.

21“When that time comes, even if a farmer has been able to save only one young cow and two goats, 22they will give so much milk that he will have all he needs. Yes, the few survivors left in the land will have milk and honey to eat.

23“When that time comes, the fine vineyards, each with a thousand vines and each worth a thousand pieces of silver, will be overgrown with thorn bushes and briars. 24People will go hunting there with bows and arrows. Yes, the whole country will be full of briars and thorn bushes. 25All the hills where crops used to grow will be so overgrown with thorns that no one will go there. It will be a place where cattle and sheep graze.”

Isaiah's Son as a Sign to the People

1The LORD said to me, “Take a large piece of writing material and write on it in large letters: ‘Quick Loot, Fast Plunder’. 2Get two reliable men, the priest Uriah and Zechariah son of Jeberechiah, to serve as witnesses.”

3Some time later my wife became pregnant. When our son was born, the LORD said to me, “Name him ‘Quick-Loot-Fast-Plunder’. 4Before the boy is old enough to say ‘Mummy’ and ‘Daddy’, all the wealth of Damascus and all the loot of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.”

The Emperor of Assyria is Coming

5The LORD spoke to me again. 6He said, “Because these people have rejected the quiet waters from the brook of Shiloah, and tremble before King Rezin and King Pekah, 7I, the Lord, will bring the emperor of Assyria and all his forces to attack Judah. They will advance like the flood waters of the River Euphrates, overflowing all its banks. 8They will sweep through Judah in a flood, rising shoulder high and covering everything.”

God is with us! His outspread wings protect the land.

9Gather together in fear, you nations! Listen, you distant parts of the earth. Get ready to fight, but be afraid! Yes, get ready, but be afraid! 10Make your plans! But they will never succeed. Talk as much as you like! But it is all useless, because God is with us.

The LORD Warns the Prophet

11With his great power the LORD warned me not to follow the path which the people were following. He said, 12“Do not join in the schemes of the people and do not be afraid of the things that they fear. 13Remember that I, the LORD Almighty, am holy; I am the one you must fear. 14Because of my awesome holiness I am like a stone that people stumble over; I am like a trap that will catch the people of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel and the people of Jerusalem. 15Many will stumble; they will fall and be crushed. They will be caught in a trap.”

Warning against Consulting the Dead

16You, my disciples are to guard and preserve the messages that God has given me. 17The LORD has hidden himself from his people, but I trust him and place my hope in him.

18Here I am with the children the LORD has given me. The LORD Almighty, whose throne is on Mount Zion, has sent us as living messages to the people of Israel.

19But people will tell you to ask for messages from fortune tellers and mediums, who chirp and mutter. They will say, “After all, people should ask for messages from the spirits and consult the dead on behalf of the living.”

20You are to answer them, “Listen to what the LORD is teaching you! Don't listen to mediums — what they tell you cannot keep trouble away.”

A Time of Trouble

21The people will wander through the land, discouraged and hungry. In their hunger and their anger they will curse their king and their God. They may look up to the sky 22or stare at the ground, but they will see nothing but trouble and darkness, terrifying darkness into which they are being driven.

1There will be no way for them to escape from this time of trouble.

The Future King

The land of the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali was once disgraced, but the future will bring honour to this region, from the Mediterranean eastwards to the land on the other side of the Jordan, and even to Galilee itself, where the foreigners live.

2The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light.

They lived in a land of shadows,

but now light is shining on them.

3You have given them great joy, LORD;

you have made them happy.

They rejoice in what you have done,

as people rejoice when they harvest their corn

or when they divide captured wealth.

4For you have broken the yoke that burdened them

and the rod that beat their shoulders.

You have defeated the nation

that oppressed and exploited your people,

just as you defeated the army of Midian long ago.

5The boots of the invading army

and all their bloodstained clothing

will be destroyed by fire.

6A child is born to us!

A son is given to us!

And he will be our ruler.

He will be called, “Wonderful Counsellor”,

“Mighty God”, “Eternal Father”,

“Prince of Peace”.

7His royal power will continue to grow;

his kingdom will always be at peace.

He will rule as King David's successor,

basing his power on right and justice,

from now until the end of time.

The LORD Almighty is determined to do all this.

The LORD will Punish Israel

8The Lord has pronounced judgement on the kingdom of Israel, on the descendants of Jacob. 9All the people of Israel, everyone who lives in the city of Samaria, will know that he has done this. Now they are proud and arrogant. They say, 10“The brick buildings have fallen down, but we will replace them with stone buildings. The beams of sycomore wood have been cut down, but we will replace them with the finest cedar.”

11The LORD has stirred up their enemies to attack them. 12Syria on the east and Philistia on the west have opened their mouths to devour Israel. Yet even so the LORD's anger is not ended; his hand is still stretched out to punish.

13The people of Israel have not repented; even though the LORD Almighty has punished them, they have not returned to him. 14In a single day the LORD will punish Israel's leaders and its people; he will cut them off, head and tail. 15The old and honourable men are the head — and the tail is the prophets whose teachings are lies! 16Those who lead these people have misled them and totally confused them. 17And so the Lord will not let any of the young men escape, and he will not show pity to any of the widows and orphans, because all the people are godless and wicked and everything they say is evil. Yet even so the LORD's anger will not be ended, but his hand will still be stretched out to punish.

18The wickedness of the people burns like a fire that destroys thorn bushes and thistles. It burns like a forest fire that sends up columns of smoke. 19Because the LORD Almighty is angry, his punishment burns like a fire throughout the land and destroys the people, and it is everyone for himself. 20Everywhere in the country people snatch and eat any bit of food they can find, but their hunger is never satisfied. They even eat their own children! 21The people of Manasseh and the people of Ephraim attack each other, and together they attack Judah. Yet even so the LORD's anger is not ended; his hand is still stretched out to punish.

1You are doomed! You make unjust laws that oppress my people. 2That is how you prevent the poor from having their rights and from getting justice. That is how you take the property that belongs to widows and orphans. 3What will you do when God punishes you? What will you do when he brings disaster on you from a distant country? Where will you run to find help? Where will you hide your wealth? 4You will be killed in battle or dragged off as prisoners. Yet even so the LORD's anger will not be ended; his hand will still be stretched out to punish.

The Emperor of Assyria as the Instrument of God

5The LORD said, “Assyria! I use Assyria like a club to punish those with whom I am angry. 6I sent Assyria to attack a godless nation, people who have made me angry. I sent them to loot and steal and trample on the people like dirt in the streets.”

7But the Assyrian emperor has his own violent plans in mind. He is determined to destroy many nations. 8He boasts, “Every one of my commanders is a king! 9I conquered the cities of Calno and Carchemish, the cities of Hamath and Arpad. I conquered Samaria and Damascus. 10I stretched out my hand to punish those kingdoms that worship idols, idols more numerous than those of Jerusalem and Samaria. 11I have destroyed Samaria and all its idols, and I will do the same to Jerusalem and the images that are worshipped there.”

12But the Lord says, “When I finish what I am doing on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, I will punish the emperor of Assyria for all his boasting and all his pride.”

13The emperor of Assyria boasts, “I have done it all myself. I am strong and wise and clever. I wiped out the boundaries between nations and took the supplies they had stored. Like a bull I have trampled on the people who live there. 14The nations of the world were like a bird's nest, and I gathered their wealth as easily as gathering eggs. Not a wing fluttered to scare me off; no beak opened to scream at me!”

15But the LORD says, “Can an axe claim to be greater than the man who uses it? Is a saw more important than the man who saws with it? A club doesn't lift up a man; a man lifts up a club.”

16The LORD Almighty is going to send disease to punish those who are now well fed. In their bodies there will be a fire that burns and burns. 17God, the light of Israel, will become a fire. Israel's holy God will become a flame, which in a single day will burn up everything, even the thorns and thistles. 18The rich forests and farmlands will be totally destroyed, in the same way that a fatal sickness destroys a person. 19There will be so few trees left that even a child will be able to count them.

A Few will Come Back

20A time is coming when the people of Israel who have survived will no longer rely on the nation that almost destroyed them. They will truly put their trust in the LORD, Israel's holy God. 21A few of the people of Israel will come back to their mighty God. 22Even though now there are as many people of Israel as there are grains of sand by the sea, only a few will come back. Destruction is in store for the people, and it is fully deserved. 23Yes, throughout the whole country the Sovereign LORD Almighty will bring destruction, as he said he would.

The LORD will Punish Assyria

24The Sovereign LORD Almighty says to his people who live in Zion, “Do not be afraid of the Assyrians, even though they oppress you as the Egyptians used to do. 25In only a little while I will finish punishing you, and then I will destroy them. 26I, the LORD Almighty, will beat them with my whip as I beat the people of Midian at the Rock of Oreb. I will punish Assyria as I punished Egypt. 27When that time comes, I will free you from the power of Assyria, and their yoke will no longer be a burden on your shoulders.”

The Invader Attacks

28The enemy army has captured the city of Ai! They have passed through Migron! They left their supplies at Michmash! 29They have crossed the pass and are spending the night at Geba! The people in the town of Ramah are terrified, and the people in King Saul's town of Gibeah have run away. 30Shout, people of Gallim! Listen, people of Laishah! Answer, people of Anathoth! 31The people of Madmenah and Gebim are running for their lives. 32Today the enemy are in the town of Nob, and there they are shaking their fists at Mount Zion, at the city of Jerusalem.

33The LORD Almighty will bring them crashing down like branches cut off a tree. The proudest and highest of them will be cut down and humiliated. 34The LORD will cut them down as trees in the heart of the forest are cut down with an axe, as even the finest trees of Lebanon fall!

A Hymn of Praise

1Praise the LORD!

Sing a new song to the LORD;

praise him in the assembly of his faithful people!

2Be glad, Israel, because of your Creator;

rejoice, people of Zion, because of your king!

3Praise his name with dancing;

play drums and harps in praise of him.

4The LORD takes pleasure in his people;

he honours the humble with victory.

5Let God's people rejoice in their triumph

and sing joyfully all night long.

6Let them shout aloud as they praise God,

with their sharp swords in their hands

7to defeat the nations

and to punish the peoples;

8to bind their kings in chains,

their leaders in chains of iron;

9to punish the nations as God has commanded.

This is the victory of God's people.

Praise the LORD!

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