Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

How can we fathom a God who has known us even before our birth? How can we grasp the love of a God who says, "I will be your God throughout your lifetime-until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you" (Isaiah 46:4)?

Cyrus was a great king of the Medes and Persians who was chosen by God to play a pivotal role in the life of the Jewish people. Hundreds of years before his birth, however, Isaiah called him by name and proclaimed a very special prophecy concerning him (Isaiah 45:13). Some traditions say that Daniel read this passage of prophecy to Cyrus, and it so moved him that he released the Jewish people to return home from the Babylonian captivity.

Before we even had enough sense to follow God, the Lord was carrying us and planning lives of destiny for us. He has ordained gifts and callings for us long before we were even born. Paul said that Jesus

"gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers" (Ephesians 4:11). These callings were part of God's plan for us and His Church from the beginning of time.

Doesn't it challenge and encourage you to know that God has a plan for your life-a plan that is already known to Him? Your constant prayer should be, "Lord, I beg You to help me lead a life that is worthy of Your calling" (Ephesians 4:1).

Isaiah 45:11-48:11

11 “This is what the Lord says—

the Holy OneS Isa 1:4 of Israel, and its Maker:S Ps 149:2; S Isa 51:13

Concerning things to come,

do you question me about my children,

or give me orders about the work of my hands?S Ps 8:6; S Isa 19:25

12 It is I who made the earthS Ge 1:1

and created mankind on it.

My own hands stretched out the heavens;S Ge 2:1; S Isa 48:13

I marshaled their starry hosts.S Ne 9:6; S Job 38:32

13 I will raise up CyrusHebrew himS 2Ch 36:22; S Isa 41:2 in my righteousness:

I will make all his ways straight.S 1Ki 8:36; S Ps 26:12; S Isa 40:4

He will rebuild my cityS Ezr 1:2

and set my exiles free,

but not for a price or reward,Isa 52:3

says the Lord Almighty.”

14 This is what the Lord says:

“The products2Sa 8:2; Isa 18:7; 60:5 of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush,That is, the upper Nile region

and those tall SabeansS Isa 2:3; 60:11; 62:2; Zec 8:20-22

they will come over to youS Isa 2:3

and will be yours;

they will trudge behind you,S Ge 27:29

coming over to you in chains.S 2Sa 3:34; S Isa 14:1-2

They will bow down before you

and pleadJer 16:19; Zec 8:20-23 with you, saying,

‘Surely God is with you,1Co 14:25 and there is no other;

there is no other god.S Ps 18:31; S Isa 11:9; S 43:10’”

15 Truly you are a God who has been hidingS Dt 31:17; Ps 44:24; S Isa 1:15 himself,

the God and SaviorS Isa 25:9 of Israel.

16 All the makers of idols will be put to shame and disgraced;S Ps 35:4; S Isa 1:29

they will go off into disgrace together.

17 But Israel will be savedJer 23:6; 33:16; Ro 11:26 by the Lord

with an everlasting salvation;S Isa 12:2

you will never be put to shame or disgraced,S Ge 30:23; S Isa 29:22; S 41:11

to ages everlasting.

18 For this is what the Lord says—

he who created the heavens,

he is God;

he who fashioned and made the earth,S Ge 1:1

he founded it;

he did not create it to be empty,S Ge 1:2

but formed it to be inhabitedS Ge 1:26

he says:

“I am the Lord,

and there is no other.ver 5; Dt 4:35

19 I have not spoken in secret,Isa 48:16; 65:4

from somewhere in a land of darkness;Jer 2:31

I have not said to Jacob’s descendants,ver 25; Isa 41:8; 65:9; Jer 31:36

‘SeekS Dt 4:29; S 2Ch 15:2 me in vain.’

I, the Lord, speak the truth;

I declare what is right.S Dt 30:11

20 “Gather togetherS Isa 43:9 and come;

assemble, you fugitives from the nations.

IgnorantS Isa 44:19 are those who carryPs 115:7; Isa 46:1; Jer 10:5 about idols of wood,

who pray to gods that cannot save.Dt 32:37; S Isa 44:17; Jer 1:16; 2:28

21 Declare what is to be, present it—

let them take counsel together.

Who foretoldS Isa 41:22 this long ago,

who declared it from the distant past?Isa 46:10

Was it not I, the Lord?

And there is no God apart from me,ver 5; S Ps 46:10; Isa 46:9; Mk 12:32

a righteous GodPs 11:7 and a Savior;S Ps 3:8; S Isa 25:9

there is none but me.

22 “TurnS Isa 44:22; Zec 12:10 to me and be saved,Nu 21:8-9; S 2Ch 20:12

all you ends of the earth;S Ge 49:10; S Isa 11:9, 12; 49:6, 12

for I am God, and there is no other.Hos 13:4

23 By myself I have sworn,S Ge 22:16; S Isa 14:24

my mouth has uttered in all integrityS Dt 30:11; Heb 6:13

a word that will not be revoked:Isa 55:11

Before me every knee will bow;S ver 14

by me every tongue will swear.S Ps 63:11; S Isa 19:18; Ro 14:11*; Php 2:10-11

24 They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone

are deliveranceS ver 8; Jer 33:16 and strength.S Dt 33:29; S Ps 18:39; S Isa 40:26; 63:1’”

All who have raged against him

will come to him and be put to shame.S Isa 41:11

25 But all the descendantsS ver 19 of Israel

will find deliveranceS Isa 4:3; S 49:4 in the Lord

and will make their boast in him.S Isa 24:23; S 41:16

Gods of Babylon

46 BelS Isa 21:9; Jer 50:2; 51:44 bows down, Nebo stoops low;

their idolsS 1Sa 5:2 are borne by beasts of burden.Or are but beasts and cattle

The images that are carriedver 7; S Isa 45:20 about are burdensome,

a burden for the weary.

They stoop and bow down together;

unable to rescue the burden,

they themselves go off into captivity.S Jdg 18:17-18; S 2Sa 5:21; Jer 51:47

“Listenver 12; Isa 48:12; 51:1 to me, you descendants of Jacob,

all the remnantS Isa 1:9 of the people of Israel,

you whom I have upheld since your birth,S Ps 139:13; Isa 44:2

and have carriedS Dt 1:31; S Ps 28:9 since you were born.S Ps 22:10

Even to your old age and gray hairsPs 71:18

I am he,S Dt 32:39; S Isa 43:13 I am he who will sustain you.

I have made you and I will carry you;

I will sustainS Ps 18:35; S 119:117 you and I will rescue you.

“With whom will you compare me or count me equal?

To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?S Ex 15:11; Job 41:10; Isa 40:18, 25; Jer 49:19

Some pour out gold from their bags

and weigh out silver on the scales;

they hire a goldsmithS Isa 40:19 to make it into a god,

and they bow down and worship it.S Ex 20:5; Isa 44:17; Hos 13:2

They lift it to their shoulders and carryS ver 1 it;

they set it up in its place, and there it stands.

From that spot it cannot move.S 1Sa 5:3; S Isa 41:7

Even though someone cries out to it, it cannot answer;S 1Ki 18:26

it cannot saveS Isa 44:17; S 47:13 them from their troubles.

“RememberS Isa 44:21 this, keep it in mind,

take it to heart, you rebels.S Isa 1:2

Remember the former things,S Isa 41:22 those of long ago;S Dt 32:7

I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is none like me.S Ex 8:10; S Isa 45:5, 21; Mk 12:32

10 I make known the end from the beginning,S Isa 41:4

from ancient times,S Isa 45:21 what is still to come.S Isa 41:22

I say, ‘My purpose will stand,S Pr 19:21; S Isa 7:7, 9; S 44:26; Ac 5:39; Eph 1:11

and I will do all that I please.’

11 From the east I summonS Jdg 4:10; S Ezr 1:2 a bird of prey;S Isa 8:8

from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.

What I have said, that I will bring about;

what I have planned,S Isa 25:1 that I will do.S Ge 41:25; Jer 44:28

12 ListenS ver 3 to me, you stubborn-hearted,S Ex 32:9; S Isa 9:9

you who are now far from my righteousness.Ps 119:150; Isa 48:1; Jer 2:5

13 I am bringing my righteousnessS Isa 1:26; S 45:8; Ro 3:21 near,

it is not far away;

and my salvationS Ps 85:9 will not be delayed.

I will grant salvation to Zion,S Ps 74:2; Joel 2:32

my splendorS Isa 44:23 to Israel.

The Fall of Babylon

47 “Go down, sit in the dust,S Job 2:13; S Isa 29:4

Virgin DaughterS Isa 21:9; S 23:12 Babylon;

sit on the ground without a throne,

queen city of the Babylonians.Or Chaldeans; also in verse 5Ps 137:8; Jer 50:42; 51:33; Zec 2:7

No more will you be called

tender or delicate.Dt 28:56

Take millstonesEx 11:5; Mt 24:41 and grindS Jdg 16:21 flour;

take off your veil.S Ge 24:65

Lift up your skirts,S Isa 32:11 bare your legs,

and wade through the streams.

Your nakednessS Ge 2:25; Eze 16:37; Na 3:5 will be exposed

and your shameS Isa 20:4 uncovered.

I will take vengeance;S Isa 1:24; S 34:8

I will spare no one.Isa 13:18-19

Our RedeemerS Job 19:25—the Lord AlmightyS Isa 13:4 is his nameIsa 48:2; Jer 50:34; Am 4:13

is the Holy OneS Isa 1:4; 48:17 of Israel.

“Sit in silence,S Job 2:13 go into darkness,Isa 9:2; 13:10

queen city of the Babylonians;S Isa 21:9

no more will you be called

queenver 7; La 1:1; Rev 18:7 of kingdoms.S Isa 13:19; Rev 17:18

I was angryS 2Ch 28:9 with my people

and desecrated my inheritance;S Dt 13:15; S Isa 42:24; Jer 2:7; 50:11

I gave them into your hand,Isa 10:13

and you showed them no mercy.S Isa 14:6

Even on the aged

you laid a very heavy yoke.

You said, ‘I am foreverS Isa 10:13; Da 4:30

the eternal queen!’S ver 5; Rev 18:7

But you did not consider these things

or reflectS Isa 42:23, 25 on what might happen.S Dt 32:29

“Now then, listen, you lover of pleasure,

lounging in your securityS Isa 32:9

and saying to yourself,

‘I am, and there is none besides me.S Isa 45:6

I will never be a widowIsa 49:21; 54:4; La 1:1; Rev 18:7

or suffer the loss of children.’

Both of these will overtake you

in a moment,S Ps 55:15; 73:19; 1Th 5:3; Rev 18:8-10 on a single day:

loss of childrenS Isa 13:18 and widowhood.Isa 4:1; Jer 15:8; 18:21

They will come upon you in full measure,

in spite of your many sorceriesver 12; Na 3:4; Mal 3:5

and all your potent spells.Dt 18:10-11; Rev 9:21; 18:23

10 You have trustedS Job 15:31; Ps 52:7; 62:10 in your wickedness

and have said, ‘No one sees me.’S 2Ki 21:16; S Isa 29:15

Your wisdomS Isa 5:21 and knowledge misleadIsa 44:20 you

when you say to yourself,

‘I am, and there is none besides me.’

11 DisasterS Isa 10:3; S 14:15; S 21:9; S 31:2; Lk 17:27 will come upon you,

and you will not know how to conjure it away.

A calamity will fall upon you

that you cannot ward off with a ransom;

a catastrophe you cannot foresee

will suddenlyS Ps 55:15; S Isa 17:14; 1Th 5:3 come upon you.

12 “Keep on, then, with your magic spells

and with your many sorceries,S ver 9; S Ex 7:11

which you have labored at since childhood.

Perhaps you will succeed,

perhaps you will cause terror.

13 All the counsel you have received has only worn you out!Isa 57:10; Jer 51:58; Hab 2:13

Let your astrologersS Isa 19:3; S 44:25 come forward,

those stargazers who make predictions month by month,

let them savever 15; S Isa 5:29; 43:13; 46:7 you from what is coming upon you.

14 Surely they are like stubble;S Isa 5:24

the fireS Isa 30:30 will burn them up.

They cannot even save themselves

from the power of the flame.Isa 10:17; Jer 51:30, 32, 58

These are not coals for warmth;

this is not a fire to sit by.

15 That is all they are to you—

these you have dealt with

and laboredRev 18:11 with since childhood.

All of them go on in their error;

there is not one that can saveS ver 13; S Isa 44:17 you.

Stubborn Israel

48 “Listen to this, you descendants of Jacob,

you who are called by the name of IsraelS Ge 17:5

and come from the line of Judah,S Ge 29:35

you who take oathsS Isa 19:18 in the name of the LordS 1Sa 20:42; S Isa 43:7

and invokeEx 23:13; 2Sa 14:11; Ps 50:16; Isa 58:2; Jer 7:9-10; 44:26 the God of Israel—

but not in truthIsa 59:14; Jer 4:2; 5:2; Da 8:12; Zec 8:3 or righteousness—

you who call yourselves citizens of the holy cityS Ne 11:1; S Isa 1:26; S Mt 4:5

and claim to relyS Isa 10:20; Ro 2:17 on the God of Israel—

the Lord Almighty is his name:S Isa 47:4

I foretold the former thingsS Isa 41:22 long ago,

my mouth announcedS Isa 40:21; 45:21 them and I made them known;

then suddenlyS Isa 17:14; 30:13 I acted, and they came to pass.

For I knew how stubbornS Isa 9:9 you were;

your neck musclesS Ex 32:9; S Dt 9:27; Ac 7:51 were iron,

your foreheadEze 3:9 was bronze.

Therefore I told you these things long ago;

before they happened I announcedS Isa 40:21; S 42:9 them to you

so that you could not say,

‘My images brought them about;Jer 44:15-18

my wooden image and metal god ordained them.’

You have heard these things; look at them all.

Will you not admit them?

“From now on I will tell you of new things,S Isa 41:22; S Ro 16:25

of hidden things unknown to you.

They are createdIsa 65:18 now, and not long ago;Isa 45:21

you have not heard of them before today.

So you cannot say,

‘Yes, I knewS Ex 6:7 of them.’

You have neither heard nor understood;S Isa 1:3

from of old your earsS Dt 29:4 have not been open.

Well do I know how treacherousIsa 41:24; Mal 2:11, 14 you are;

you were called a rebelDt 9:7, 24; Ps 58:3; S Isa 1:2; 43:27; 58:1 from birth.

For my own name’s sakeS 1Sa 12:22; S Isa 37:35 I delay my wrath;S Job 9:13; S Isa 30:18

for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you,

so as not to destroy you completely.S Ne 9:31

10 See, I have refinedS Isa 1:25; Zec 13:9; Mal 3:3; 1Pe 1:7 you, though not as silver;

I have testedS Ex 15:25 you in the furnaceS Ex 1:13; S 1Ki 8:51 of affliction.

11 For my own sake,S 1Sa 12:22; S Isa 37:35 for my own sake, I do this.

How can I let myself be defamed?S Lev 18:21; Dt 32:27; Jer 14:7, 21; Eze 20:9, 14, 22, 44

I will not yield my glory to another.Isa 42:8

11 This is what the Lord says—

the Holy One of Israel and your Creator:

“Do you question what I do for my children?

Do you give me orders about the work of my hands?

12 I am the one who made the earth

and created people to live on it.

With my hands I stretched out the heavens.

All the stars are at my command.

13 I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose,

and I will guide his actions.

He will restore my city and free my captive people—

without seeking a reward!

I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”

Future Conversion of Gentiles

14 This is what the Lord says:

“You will rule the Egyptians,

the Ethiopians,Hebrew Cushites. and the Sabeans.

They will come to you with all their merchandise,

and it will all be yours.

They will follow you as prisoners in chains.

They will fall to their knees in front of you and say,

‘God is with you, and he is the only God.

There is no other.’”

15 Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior,

you work in mysterious ways.

16 All craftsmen who make idols will be humiliated.

They will all be disgraced together.

17 But the Lord will save the people of Israel

with eternal salvation.

Throughout everlasting ages,

they will never again be humiliated and disgraced.

18 For the Lord is God,

and he created the heavens and earth

and put everything in place.

He made the world to be lived in,

not to be a place of empty chaos.

“I am the Lord,” he says,

“and there is no other.

19 I publicly proclaim bold promises.

I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner.

I would not have told the people of IsraelHebrew of Jacob. See note on 14:1. to seek me

if I could not be found.

I, the Lord, speak only what is true

and declare only what is right.

20 “Gather together and come,

you fugitives from surrounding nations.

What fools they are who carry around their wooden idols

and pray to gods that cannot save!

21 Consult together, argue your case.

Get together and decide what to say.

Who made these things known so long ago?

What idol ever told you they would happen?

Was it not I, the Lord?

For there is no other God but me,

a righteous God and Savior.

There is none but me.

22 Let all the world look to me for salvation!

For I am God; there is no other.

23 I have sworn by my own name;

I have spoken the truth,

and I will never go back on my word:

Every knee will bend to me,

and every tongue will declare allegiance to me.Hebrew will confess; Greek version reads will declare allegiance to God. Compare Rom 14:11.

24 The people will declare,

“The Lord is the source of all my righteousness and strength.”

And all who were angry with him

will come to him and be ashamed.

25 In the Lord all the generations of Israel will be justified,

and in him they will boast.

Babylon’s False Gods

46 Bel and Nebo, the gods of Babylon,

bow as they are lowered to the ground.

They are being hauled away on ox carts.

The poor beasts stagger under the weight.

Both the idols and their owners are bowed down.

The gods cannot protect the people,

and the people cannot protect the gods.

They go off into captivity together.

“Listen to me, descendants of Jacob,

all you who remain in Israel.

I have cared for you since you were born.

Yes, I carried you before you were born.

I will be your God throughout your lifetime—

until your hair is white with age.

I made you, and I will care for you.

I will carry you along and save you.

“To whom will you compare me?

Who is my equal?

Some people pour out their silver and gold

and hire a craftsman to make a god from it.

Then they bow down and worship it!

They carry it around on their shoulders,

and when they set it down, it stays there.

It can’t even move!

And when someone prays to it, there is no answer.

It can’t rescue anyone from trouble.

“Do not forget this! Keep it in mind!

Remember this, you guilty ones.

Remember the things I have done in the past.

For I alone am God!

I am God, and there is none like me.

10 Only I can tell you the future

before it even happens.

Everything I plan will come to pass,

for I do whatever I wish.

11 I will call a swift bird of prey from the east—

a leader from a distant land to come and do my bidding.

I have said what I would do,

and I will do it.

12 “Listen to me, you stubborn people

who are so far from doing right.

13 For I am ready to set things right,

not in the distant future, but right now!

I am ready to save JerusalemHebrew Zion.

and show my glory to Israel.

Prediction of Babylon’s Fall

47 “Come down, virgin daughter of Babylon, and sit in the dust.

For your days of sitting on a throne have ended.

O daughter of Babylonia,Or Chaldea; also in 47:5. never again will you be

the lovely princess, tender and delicate.

Take heavy millstones and grind flour.

Remove your veil, and strip off your robe.

Expose yourself to public view.Hebrew Bare your legs; pass through the rivers.

You will be naked and burdened with shame.

I will take vengeance against you without pity.”

Our Redeemer, whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,

is the Holy One of Israel.

“O beautiful Babylon, sit now in darkness and silence.

Never again will you be known as the queen of kingdoms.

For I was angry with my chosen people

and punished them by letting them fall into your hands.

But you, Babylon, showed them no mercy.

You oppressed even the elderly.

You said, ‘I will reign forever as queen of the world!’

You did not reflect on your actions

or think about their consequences.

“Listen to this, you pleasure-loving kingdom,

living at ease and feeling secure.

You say, ‘I am the only one, and there is no other.

I will never be a widow or lose my children.’

Well, both these things will come upon you in a moment:

widowhood and the loss of your children.

Yes, these calamities will come upon you,

despite all your witchcraft and magic.

10 “You felt secure in your wickedness.

‘No one sees me,’ you said.

But your ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’ have led you astray,

and you said, ‘I am the only one, and there is no other.’

11 So disaster will overtake you,

and you won’t be able to charm it away.

Calamity will fall upon you,

and you won’t be able to buy your way out.

A catastrophe will strike you suddenly,

one for which you are not prepared.

12 “Now use your magical charms!

Use the spells you have worked at all these years!

Maybe they will do you some good.

Maybe they can make someone afraid of you.

13 All the advice you receive has made you tired.

Where are all your astrologers,

those stargazers who make predictions each month?

Let them stand up and save you from what the future holds.

14 But they are like straw burning in a fire;

they cannot save themselves from the flame.

You will get no help from them at all;

their hearth is no place to sit for warmth.

15 And all your friends,

those with whom you’ve done business since childhood,

will go their own ways,

turning a deaf ear to your cries.

God’s Stubborn People

48 “Listen to me, O family of Jacob,

you who are called by the name of Israel

and born into the family of Judah.

Listen, you who take oaths in the name of the Lord

and call on the God of Israel.

You don’t keep your promises,

even though you call yourself the holy city

and talk about depending on the God of Israel,

whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Long ago I told you what was going to happen.

Then suddenly I took action,

and all my predictions came true.

For I know how stubborn and obstinate you are.

Your necks are as unbending as iron.

Your heads are as hard as bronze.

That is why I told you what would happen;

I told you beforehand what I was going to do.

Then you could never say, ‘My idols did it.

My wooden image and metal god commanded it to happen!’

You have heard my predictions and seen them fulfilled,

but you refuse to admit it.

Now I will tell you new things,

secrets you have not yet heard.

They are brand new, not things from the past.

So you cannot say, ‘We knew that all the time!’

“Yes, I will tell you of things that are entirely new,

things you never heard of before.

For I know so well what traitors you are.

You have been rebels from birth.

Yet for my own sake and for the honor of my name,

I will hold back my anger and not wipe you out.

10 I have refined you, but not as silver is refined.

Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.

11 I will rescue you for my sake—

yes, for my own sake!

I will not let my reputation be tarnished,

and I will not share my glory with idols!

11 Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.

12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.

13 I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts.

14 Thus saith the Lord, The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God.

15 Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.

16 They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols.

17 But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.

18 For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.

19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

20 Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.

21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.

22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

24 Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.

25 In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

46 Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth, their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle: your carriages were heavy loaden; they are a burden to the weary beast.

They stoop, they bow down together; they could not deliver the burden, but themselves are gone into captivity.

Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb:

And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?

They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship.

They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove: yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble.

Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors.

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

12 Hearken unto me, ye stouthearted, that are far from righteousness:

13 I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.

47 Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate.

Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.

Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.

As for our redeemer, the Lord of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.

Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms.

I was wroth with my people, I have polluted mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand: thou didst shew them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke.

And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it.

Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children:

But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.

10 For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.

11 Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.

12 Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail.

13 Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.

14 Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.

15 Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee.

48 Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness.

For they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel; The Lord of hosts is his name.

I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass.

Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;

I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them.

Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.

They are created now, and not from the beginning; even before the day when thou heardest them not; lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them.

Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.

For my name's sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.

10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

11 For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.

Ephesians 4:1-16

Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ

As a prisonerS Eph 3:1 for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthyPhp 1:27; Col 1:10; 1Th 2:12 of the callingS Ro 8:28 you have received.Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one anotherCol 3:12, 13 in love.ver 15, 16; Eph 1:4Make every effort to keep the unityS Ro 15:5 of the Spirit through the bond of peace.Col 3:15There is one bodyS Ro 12:5 and one Spirit,1Co 12:13; Eph 2:18 just as you were called to one hope when you were calledS Ro 8:28;one Lord,1Co 8:6 one faith, one baptism;one God and Father of all,Dt 6:4; Zec 14:9 who is over all and through all and in all.S Ro 11:36

But to each one of us1Co 12:7, 11 graceS Ro 3:24 has been givenS Ro 12:3 as Christ apportioned it.This is why itOr God says:

“When he ascended on high,

he took many captivesCol 2:15

and gave gifts to his people.”Psalm 68:18Ps 68:18

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regionsOr the depths of the earth?10 He who descended is the very one who ascendedPr 30:1-4 higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)Eph 1:2311 So Christ himself gavever 8 the apostles,1Co 12:28; Eph 2:20; 3:5; 2Pe 3:2; Jude 17 the prophets,S Ac 11:27; Ro 12:6; 1Co 12:10, 28; 13:2, 8; 14:1, 39; Eph 2:20; 3:5; 2Pe 3:2 the evangelists,Ac 21:8; 2Ti 4:5 the pastors and teachers,Ac 13:1; Ro 2:21; 12:7; 1Co 12:28; 14:26; 1Ti 1:7; Jas 3:112 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of ChristS 1Co 12:27 may be built upS Ro 14:1913 until we all reach unityver 3, 5 in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of GodS Php 3:8 and become mature,S 1Co 2:6; Col 1:28 attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.Jn 1:16; Eph 1:23; 3:19

14 Then we will no longer be infants,S 1Co 14:20 tossed back and forth by the waves,Isa 57:20; Jas 1:6 and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.Eph 6:1115 Instead, speaking the truth in love,ver 2, 16; Eph 1:4 we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head,S Eph 1:22 that is, Christ.16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, growsCol 2:19 and builds itself up1Co 12:7 in love,ver 2, 15; Eph 1:4 as each part does its work.

Unity in the Body

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

one God and Father of all,

who is over all, in all, and living through all.

However, he has given each one of us a special giftGreek a grace. through the generosity of Christ.That is why the Scriptures say,

“When he ascended to the heights,

he led a crowd of captives

and gave gifts to his people.”Ps 68:18.

Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world.Some manuscripts read to the lower parts of the earth.10 And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself.

11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Psalm 68:19-35

19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,S Ps 65:5

who daily bears our burdens.Ps 81:6

20 Our God is a God who saves;S 1Sa 10:19

from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.Ps 56:13; Jer 45:5; Eze 6:8

21 Surely God will crush the headsPs 74:14; 110:5; Hab 3:13 of his enemies,

the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins.

22 The Lord says, “I will bring them from Bashan;

I will bring them from the depths of the sea,S Job 36:30; Mt 18:6

23 that your feet may wade in the blood of your foes,Ps 58:10

while the tongues of your dogsS 1Ki 21:19; S 2Ki 9:36 have their share.”

24 Your procession, God, has come into view,

the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.S Ps 63:2

25 In front are the singers,S 1Ch 15:16 after them the musicians;S 1Ch 6:31; S 2Ch 5:12; Rev 18:22

with them are the young women playing the timbrels.S Ge 31:27; S Isa 5:12

26 Praise God in the great congregation;S Ps 22:22; Heb 2:12

praise the Lord in the assembly of Israel.S Lev 19:2

27 There is the little tribeS 1Sa 9:21 of Benjamin,S Nu 34:21 leading them,

there the great throng of Judah’s princes,

and there the princes of Zebulun and of Naphtali.S Jdg 5:18

28 Summon your power,S Ex 9:16 GodMany Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts Your God has summoned power for you;

show us your strength,Ps 29:11 our God, as you have doneIsa 26:12; 29:23; 45:11; 60:21; 64:8 before.

29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem

kings will bring you gifts.S 2Ch 9:24; S 32:23

30 Rebuke the beastIsa 27:1; 51:9; Eze 29:3 among the reeds,S Job 40:21

the herd of bullsPs 22:12; Isa 34:7; Jer 50:27 among the calves of the nations.

Humbled, may the beast bring bars of silver.

Scatter the nationsPs 18:14; 89:10 who delight in war.Ps 120:7; 140:2

31 Envoys will come from Egypt;Isa 19:19; 43:3; 45:14

CushThat is, the upper Nile regionIsa 11:11; 18:1; Zep 3:10 will submit herself to God.

32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth,S Ps 46:6; 67:4

sing praisePs 7:17 to the Lord,

33 to him who ridesS Dt 33:26 across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens,

who thundersS Ex 9:23; S Ps 29:3 with mighty voice.Ps 29:4; Isa 30:30; 33:3; 66:6

34 Proclaim the powerver 28 of God,

whose majestyPs 45:3 is over Israel,

whose power is in the heavens.

35 You, God, are awesomeS Dt 7:21 in your sanctuary;S Ge 28:17

the God of Israel gives power and strengthPs 18:1; Isa 40:29; 41:10; 50:2 to his people.S Ps 29:11

Praise be to God!Ps 28:6; 66:20; 2Co 1:3

19 Praise the Lord; praise God our savior!

For each day he carries us in his arms. Interlude

20 Our God is a God who saves!

The Sovereign Lord rescues us from death.

21 But God will smash the heads of his enemies,

crushing the skulls of those who love their guilty ways.

22 The Lord says, “I will bring my enemies down from Bashan;

I will bring them up from the depths of the sea.

23 You, my people, will washAs in Greek and Syriac versions; Hebrew reads shatter. your feet in their blood,

and even your dogs will get their share!”

24 Your procession has come into view, O God—

the procession of my God and King as he goes into the sanctuary.

25 Singers are in front, musicians behind;

between them are young women playing tambourines.

26 Praise God, all you people of Israel;

praise the Lord, the source of Israel’s life.

27 Look, the little tribe of Benjamin leads the way.

Then comes a great throng of rulers from Judah

and all the rulers of Zebulun and Naphtali.

28 Summon your might, O God.As in some Hebrew manuscripts and Greek and Syriac versions; most Hebrew manuscripts read Your God has commanded your strength.

Display your power, O God, as you have in the past.

29 The kings of the earth are bringing tribute

to your Temple in Jerusalem.

30 Rebuke these enemy nations—

these wild animals lurking in the reeds,

this herd of bulls among the weaker calves.

Make them bring bars of silver in humble tribute.

Scatter the nations that delight in war.

31 Let Egypt come with gifts of precious metalsOr of rich cloth.;

let EthiopiaHebrew Cush. bring tribute to God.

32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth.

Sing praises to the Lord. Interlude

33 Sing to the one who rides across the ancient heavens,

his mighty voice thundering from the sky.

34 Tell everyone about God’s power.

His majesty shines down on Israel;

his strength is mighty in the heavens.

35 God is awesome in his sanctuary.

The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.

Praise be to God!

19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

20 He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death.

21 But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses.

22 The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea:

23 That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same.

24 They have seen thy goings, O God; even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary.

25 The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels.

26 Bless ye God in the congregations, even the Lord, from the fountain of Israel.

27 There is little Benjamin with their ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali.

28 Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.

29 Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee.

30 Rebuke the company of spearmen, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people, till every one submit himself with pieces of silver: scatter thou the people that delight in war.

31 Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.

32 Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah:

33 To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice.

34 Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds.

35 O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.

Proverbs 24:3-4

Saying 21

By wisdom a house is built,S Pr 14:1

and through understanding it is established;

through knowledge its rooms are filled

with rare and beautiful treasures.S Pr 8:21

A house is built by wisdom

and becomes strong through good sense.

Through knowledge its rooms are filled

with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.

Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:

And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

Sep 24 Sep 26
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