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Isaiah 51

A Call to Trust the LORD
1 "Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance—
  all who seek the LORD!
Consider the rock from which you were cut,
  the quarry from which you were mined.
2 Yes, think about Abraham, your ancestor,
  and Sarah, who gave birth to your nation.
Abraham was only one man when I called him.
  But when I blessed him, he became a great nation."

3 The LORD will comfort Israel* again
  and have pity on her ruins.
Her desert will blossom like Eden,
  her barren wilderness like the garden of the LORD.
Joy and gladness will be found there.
  Songs of thanksgiving will fill the air.

4 "Listen to me, my people.
  Hear me, Israel,
for my law will be proclaimed,
  and my justice will become a light to the nations.
5 My mercy and justice are coming soon.
  My salvation is on the way.
  My strong arm will bring justice to the nations.
All distant lands will look to me
  and wait in hope for my powerful arm.
6 Look up to the skies above,
  and gaze down on the earth below.
For the skies will disappear like smoke,
  and the earth will wear out like a piece of clothing.
The people of the earth will die like flies,
  but my salvation lasts forever.
  My righteous rule will never end!

7 "Listen to me, you who know right from wrong
  you who cherish my law in your hearts.
Do not be afraid of people's scorn,
  nor fear their insults.
8 For the moth will devour them as it devours clothing.
  The worm will eat at them as it eats wool.
But my righteousness will last forever.
  My salvation will continue from generation to generation."

9 Wake up, wake up, O LORD! Clothe yourself with strength!
  Flex your mighty right arm!
Rouse yourself as in the days of old
  when you slew Egypt, the dragon of the Nile.*
10 Are you not the same today,
  the one who dried up the sea,
making a path of escape through the depths
  so that your people could cross over?
11 Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return.
  They will enter Jerusalem* singing,
  crowned with everlasting joy.
Sorrow and mourning will disappear,
  and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

12 "I, yes I, am the one who comforts you.
  So why are you afraid of mere humans,
  who wither like the grass and disappear?
13 Yet you have forgotten the LORD, your Creator,
  the one who stretched out the sky like a canopy
  and laid the foundations of the earth.
Will you remain in constant dread of human oppressors?
  Will you continue to fear the anger of your enemies?
Where is their fury and anger now?
  It is gone!
14 Soon all you captives will be released!
  Imprisonment, starvation, and death will not be your fate!
15 For I am the LORD your God,
  who stirs up the sea, causing its waves to roar.
  My name is the LORD of Heaven's Armies.
16 And I have put my words in your mouth
  and hidden you safely in my hand.
I stretched out* the sky like a canopy
  and laid the foundations of the earth.
I am the one who says to Israel,
  'You are my people!'"

17 Wake up, wake up, O Jerusalem!
  You have drunk the cup of the LORD's fury.
You have drunk the cup of terror,
  tipping out its last drops.
18 Not one of your children is left alive
  to take your hand and guide you.
19 These two calamities have fallen on you:
  desolation and destruction, famine and war.
And who is left to sympathize with you?
  Who is left to comfort you?*
20 For your children have fainted and lie in the streets,
  helpless as antelopes caught in a net.
The LORD has poured out his fury;
  God has rebuked them.

21 But now listen to this, you afflicted ones
  who sit in a drunken stupor,
  though not from drinking wine.
22 This is what the Sovereign LORD,
  your God and Defender, says:
"See, I have taken the terrible cup from your hands.
  You will drink no more of my fury.
23 Instead, I will hand that cup to your tormentors,
  those who said, 'We will trample you into the dust
  and walk on your backs.'"

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Footnotes:

51:3 Hebrew Zion; also in 51:16.
51:9 Hebrew You slew Rahab; you pierced the dragon. Rahab is the name of a mythical sea monster that represents chaos in ancient literature. The name is used here as a poetic name for Egypt.
51:11 Hebrew Zion.
51:16 As in Syriac version (see also 51:13); Hebrew reads planted.
51:19 As in Dead Sea Scrolls and Greek, Latin, and Syriac versions; Masoretic Text reads How can I comfort you?
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John Ortberg
Menlo Park Presbyterian
Menlo Park, California

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