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Isaiah 1

1 These are the visions that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. He saw these visions during the years when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah.*

A Message for Rebellious Judah
2 Listen, O heavens! Pay attention, earth!
  This is what the LORD says:
"The children I raised and cared for
  have rebelled against me.
3 Even an ox knows its owner,
  and a donkey recognizes its master's care—
but Israel doesn't know its master.
  My people don't recognize my care for them."
4 Oh, what a sinful nation they are—
  loaded down with a burden of guilt.
They are evil people,
  corrupt children who have rejected the LORD.
They have despised the Holy One of Israel
  and turned their backs on him.

5 Why do you continue to invite punishment?
  Must you rebel forever?
Your head is injured,
  and your heart is sick.
6 You are battered from head to foot—
  covered with bruises, welts, and infected wounds—
  without any soothing ointments or bandages.
7 Your country lies in ruins,
  and your towns are burned.
Foreigners plunder your fields before your eyes
  and destroy everything they see.
8 Beautiful Jerusalem* stands abandoned
  like a watchman's shelter in a vineyard,
like a lean-to in a cucumber field after the harvest,
  like a helpless city under siege.
9 If the LORD of Heaven's Armies
  had not spared a few of us,*
we would have been wiped out like Sodom,
  destroyed like Gomorrah.

10 Listen to the LORD, you leaders of "Sodom."
  Listen to the law of our God, people of "Gomorrah."
11 "What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?"
  says the LORD.
"I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams
  and the fat of fattened cattle.
I get no pleasure from the blood
  of bulls and lambs and goats.
12 When you come to worship me,
  who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?
13 Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts;
  the incense of your offerings disgusts me!
As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath
  and your special days for fasting—
they are all sinful and false.
  I want no more of your pious meetings.
14 I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals.
  They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!
15 When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look.
  Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen,
  for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.
16 Wash yourselves and be clean!
  Get your sins out of my sight.
  Give up your evil ways.
17 Learn to do good.
  Seek justice.
Help the oppressed.
  Defend the cause of orphans.
  Fight for the rights of widows.

18 "Come now, let's settle this,"
  says the LORD.
"Though your sins are like scarlet,
  I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
  I will make them as white as wool.
19 If you will only obey me,
  you will have plenty to eat.
20 But if you turn away and refuse to listen,
  you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies.
  I, the LORD, have spoken!"

Unfaithful Jerusalem
21 See how Jerusalem, once so faithful,
  has become a prostitute.
Once the home of justice and righteousness,
  she is now filled with murderers.
22 Once like pure silver,
  you have become like worthless slag.
Once so pure,
  you are now like watered-down wine.
23 Your leaders are rebels,
  the companions of thieves.
All of them love bribes
  and demand payoffs,
but they refuse to defend the cause of orphans
  or fight for the rights of widows.

24 Therefore, the Lord, the LORD of Heaven's Armies,
  the Mighty One of Israel, says,
"I will take revenge on my enemies
  and pay back my foes!
25 I will raise my fist against you.
  I will melt you down and skim off your slag.
  I will remove all your impurities.
26 Then I will give you good judges again
  and wise counselors like you used to have.
Then Jerusalem will again be called the Home of Justice
  and the Faithful City."

27 Zion will be restored by justice;
  those who repent will be revived by righteousness.
28 But rebels and sinners will be completely destroyed,
  and those who desert the LORD will be consumed.

29 You will be ashamed of your idol worship
  in groves of sacred oaks.
You will blush because you worshiped
  in gardens dedicated to idols.
30 You will be like a great tree with withered leaves,
  like a garden without water.
31 The strongest among you will disappear like straw;
  their evil deeds will be the spark that sets it on fire.
They and their evil works will burn up together,
  and no one will be able to put out the fire.

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Footnotes:

1:1 These kings reigned from 792 to 686 B.C.
1:8 Hebrew The daughter of Zion.
1:9 Greek version reads a few of our children. Compare Rom 9:29.
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I loved the New Living Translation when it first came out because it made the Word of God more accessible. We made it our pew Bible at Grace Pointe. Now that its even better for study, I am anticipating an even greater impact on our congregation!

K. John Bell
Grace Pointe Church
Naperville and Plainfield, Illinois

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