Isaiah 44:24-28

People Will Live in Jerusalem Again

The Lord says,
    “People of Israel, I set you free.
    I formed you when you were born as a nation.

“I am the Lord. I am the Maker of everything.
    I alone stretch out the heavens.
    I spread out the earth by myself.

“Some prophets are not really prophets at all.
    I show that their signs are fake.
    I make those who practice evil magic look foolish.
I destroy the learning of those who think they are wise.
    Their knowledge does not make any sense at all.
I make the words of my servants the prophets come true.
    I carry out what my messengers say will happen.

“I say about Jerusalem,
    ‘My people will live there again.’
I say about the towns of Judah,
    ‘They will be rebuilt.’
I say about their broken-down buildings,
    ‘I will make them like new again.’
I say to the deep waters,
    ‘Dry up. Let your streams become dry.’
I say about Cyrus,
    ‘He is my shepherd.
    He will accomplish everything I want him to.
He will say about Jerusalem,
    “Let it be rebuilt.”
And he will say about the temple,
    “Let its foundations be laid.” ’

Read More of Isaiah 44

Isaiah 45

“Cyrus is my anointed king.
    I take hold of his right hand.
I give him the power
    to bring nations under his control.
I help him strip kings of their power
    to go to war against him.
I break city gates open so he can go through them.
    I say to him,
‘I will march out ahead of you.
    I will make the mountains level.
I will break down bronze gates.
    I will cut through their heavy iron bars.
I will give you treasures that are hidden away.
    I will give you riches that are stored up in secret places.
Then you will know that I am the Lord.
    I am the God of Israel.
    I am sending for you by name.
Cyrus, I am sending for you by name.
    I am doing it for the good of the family of Jacob.
    They are my servant.
I am doing it for Israel.
    They are my chosen people.
You do not know anything about me.
    But I am giving you a title of honor.
I am the Lord. There is no other Lord.
    I am the one and only God.
You do not know anything about me.
    But I will make you strong.
Then people will know there is no God but me.
    Everyone from where the sun rises in the east
    to where it sets in the west will know it.
I am the Lord.
    There is no other Lord.
I cause light to shine. I also create darkness.
    I bring good times. I also create hard times.
    I do all these things. I am the Lord.

“ ‘Rain down my godliness, you heavens above.
    Let the clouds shower it down.
Let the earth open wide to receive it.
    Let freedom spring to life.
Let godliness grow richly along with it.
    I have created all these things.
    I am the Lord.’ ”

How terrible it will be for anyone who argues with their Maker!
    They are like a broken piece of pottery lying on the ground.
Does clay say to a potter,
    “What are you making?”
Does a pot say,
    “The potter doesn’t have any skill”?
How terrible it will be for anyone who says to a father,
    “Why did you give me life?”
How terrible for anyone who says to a mother,
    “Why have you brought me into the world?”

The Lord is the Holy One of Israel.
    He made them.
He says to them,
    “Are you asking me about what will happen to my children?
    Are you telling me what I should do with what my hands have made?
I made the earth.
    I created human beings to live there.
My own hands spread out the heavens.
    I put all the stars in their places.
I will stir up Cyrus and help him win his battles.
    I will make all his roads straight.
He will rebuild Jerusalem.
    My people have been taken away from their country.
    But he will set them free.
I will not pay him to do it.
    He will not receive a reward for it,”
    says the Lord who rules over all.

The Lord says to the people of Jerusalem,

“You will get everything Egypt produces.
    You will receive everything the people of Cush
and the tall Sabeans get in trade.
    All of it will belong to you.
And all these people will walk behind you as slaves.
    They will be put in chains and come over to you.
They will bow down to you.
    They will admit,
‘God is with you.
    There is no other God.’ ”

You are a God who has been hiding yourself.
    You are the God of Israel. You save us.
All those who make statues of gods will be put to shame.
    They will be dishonored.
    They will be led away in shame together.
But the Lord will save Israel.
    He will save them forever.
They will never be put to shame or dishonored.
    That will be true for all time to come.

The Lord created the heavens.
    He is God.
He formed the earth and made it.
    He set it firmly in place.
He didn’t create it to be empty.
    Instead, he formed it for people to live on.
He says, “I am the Lord.
    There is no other Lord.
I have not spoken in secret.
    I have not spoken from a dark place.
I have not said to Jacob’s people,
    ‘It is useless to look for me.’
I am the Lord. I always speak the truth.
    I always say what is right.

“Come together, you people of the nations
    who escaped from Babylon.
    Gather together and come into court.
Only people who do not know anything
    would carry around gods that are made out of wood.
    They pray to false gods that can’t save them.
Tell me what will happen. State your case.
    Talk it over together.
Who spoke long ago about what would happen?
    Who said it a long time ago?
I did. I am the Lord.
    I am the one and only God.
I always do what is right.
    I am the one who saves.
    There is no God but me.

“All you who live anywhere on earth,
    turn to me and be saved.
    I am God. There is no other God.
I have made a promise in my own name.
    I have spoken with complete honesty.
    I will not take back a single word. I said,
‘Everyone will kneel down to me.
    Everyone’s mouth will make promises in my name.’
They will say, ‘The Lord is the only one who can save us.
    Only he can make us strong.’ ”
All those who have been angry with the Lord will come to him.
    And they will be put to shame.
But the Lord will save all the people of Israel.
    And so they will boast about the Lord.

Read More of Isaiah 45

Isaiah 46

The False Gods of Babylon

The gods named Bel and Nebo are brought down in shame.
    The statues of them are being carried away on the backs of animals.
They used to be carried around by the people who worshiped them.
    But now they’ve become a heavy load for tired animals.
The gods named Bel and Nebo are brought down in shame together.
    They aren’t able to save their own statues.
    They themselves are carried off as prisoners.

The Lord says, “Family of Jacob, listen to me.
    Pay attention, you people of Israel who are left alive.
I have taken good care of you since your life began.
    I have carried you since you were born as a nation.
I will continue to carry you even when you are old.
    I will take good care of you even when your hair is gray.
    I have made you, and I will carry you.
I will take care of you, and I will save you.
    I am the Lord.

“Who will you compare me with?
    Who is equal to me?
What am I like?
    Who can you compare me with?
Some people pour out gold from their bags.
    They weigh out silver on the scales.
They hire someone who works with gold to make it into a god.
    They bow down to it and worship it.
They lift it up on their shoulders and carry it.
    They set it up in its place, and there it stands.
    It can’t move from that spot.
Someone might cry out to it.
    But it does not answer.
    It can’t save them from their troubles.
So remember this, you who refuse to obey me.
    Keep it in your minds and hearts.

“Remember what happened in the past.
    Think about what took place long ago.
I am God. There is no other God.
    I am God. There is no one like me.
Before something even happens, I announce how it will end.
    In fact, from times long ago I announced what was still to come.
I say, ‘My plan will succeed.
    I will do anything I want to do.’
I will send for a man from the east to carry out my plan.
    From a land far away, he will come like a bird that kills its food.
I will bring about what I have said.
    I will do what I have planned.
Listen to me, you stubborn people.
    Pay attention, you who now refuse to do what I have said is right.
The time is almost here for me to make everything right.
    It is not far away.
    The time for me to save you will not be put off.
I will save the city of Zion.
    I will bring honor to Israel.

Read More of Isaiah 46