Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

Who can forget the fantastic moment when God opened the Red Sea and destroyed Israel's enemies behind them? What a remarkable day, a miracle unparalleled in human history!

As magnificent as that miracle was, an even greater miracle is the salvation our God freely gives to all. When God gives us new hearts in salvation, we are truly and miraculously reborn. "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!" (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV).

Our salvation marks the closing of our past. It is forever gone, buried under the waters of God's grace. After crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites looked back across the waters and could see nothing of their former captors. The bondage and servitude of the past was wiped out in a moment's time. It was as though God put up a sign that said, "No fishing allowed!"

Paul said "Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come fearlessly into God's presence, assured of his glad welcome" (Ephesians 3:12). He not only made a way out from our problems and sin, but He also made a way in to newness of life in Him. Whether you need to come out of something or go in to something today, He is the Waymaker. Wherever He goes, His foes "run for their lives" and "perish in the presence of God" (Psalm 68:1-2).

Isaiah 43:14-45:10

God’s Mercy and Israel’s Unfaithfulness

14 This is what the Lord says—

your Redeemer,S Ex 15:13; S Job 19:25 the Holy OneS Isa 1:4; S 41:20 of Israel:

“For your sake I will send to Babylon

and bring down as fugitivesIsa 13:14-15 all the Babylonians,Or ChaldeansS Isa 23:13

in the ships in which they took pride.

15 I am the Lord,S Isa 42:8 your Holy One,

Israel’s Creator,S Isa 27:11; 45:11 your King.S Isa 41:21

16 This is what the Lord says—

he who made a way through the sea,

a path through the mighty waters,S Ex 14:29; S 15:8; S Isa 11:15

17 who drew outPs 118:12; Isa 1:31 the chariots and horses,S Ex 14:22

the army and reinforcements together,S Ex 14:9

and they layPs 76:5-6 there, never to rise again,

extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:S Job 13:25; Jer 51:21; Eze 38:4

18 “Forget the former things;S Isa 41:22

do not dwell on the past.

19 See, I am doing a new thing!S Isa 41:22; Jer 16:14-15; 23:7-8; 2Co 5:17; Rev 21:5

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wildernessS Isa 40:3

and streams in the wasteland.S Ps 126:4; S Isa 33:21; S 35:7

20 The wild animalsS Ps 148:10 honor me,

the jackalsS Isa 13:22 and the owls,

because I provide waterS Nu 20:8 in the wilderness

and streams in the wasteland,

to give drink to my people, my chosen,

21 the people I formedS ver 7; S Ge 2:7 for myselfMal 3:17

that they may proclaim my praise.S Ps 66:2; 102:18; 1Pe 2:9

22 “Yet you have not called on me, Jacob,

you have not weariedS Jos 22:5; S Isa 1:14 yourselves forOr Jacob; / surely you have grown weary of me, Israel.Isa 30:11

23 You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings,S Ex 29:41

nor honoredZec 7:5-6; Mal 1:6-8 me with your sacrifices.Am 5:25

I have not burdenedMic 6:3; Mal 1:12-13 you with grain offerings

nor wearied you with demandsJer 7:22 for incense.Ex 30:35; S Lev 2:1

24 You have not bought any fragrant calamusS Ex 30:23 for me,

or lavished on me the fatLev 3:9 of your sacrifices.

But you have burdened me with your sins

and weariedS Isa 1:14; S 7:13; S Jer 8:21 me with your offenses.Jer 44:22; Mal 2:17

25 “I, even I, am he who blots out

your transgressions,S 2Sa 12:13; S 2Ch 6:21; Mk 2:7; Lk 5:21; Ac 3:19 for my own sake,S Isa 37:35; S Eze 20:44

and remembers your sinsIsa 64:9; Mic 7:18 no more.S Job 7:21; S Isa 38:17

26 Review the past for me,

let us argue the matter together;S Isa 1:18

state the caseS Isa 41:1; 49:25; 50:8 for your innocence.

27 Your first fatherS Ge 12:18 sinned;

those I sent to teachIsa 9:15; 28:7; Jer 5:31 you rebelledS Isa 24:20; S 48:8 against me.

28 So I disgraced the dignitaries of your temple;

I consigned Jacob to destructionThe Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.S Nu 5:27; S Dt 13:15; S Isa 42:24; S Zec 5:3

and Israel to scorn.S Ps 39:8; Jer 24:9; Eze 5:15

Israel the Chosen

44 “But now listen, Jacob, my servant,ver 21

Israel, whom I have chosen.S Ge 16:11; S Isa 14:1

This is what the Lord says—

he who madever 21; S Ps 149:2 you, who formed you in the womb,S Ge 2:7; S Ps 139:13; S Isa 27:11

and who will helpS Isa 41:10 you:

Do not be afraid,S Isa 43:5 Jacob, my servant,Jer 30:10; 46:27

Jeshurun,Jeshurun means the upright one, that is, Israel.S Nu 23:21; S Dt 32:15 whom I have chosen.

For I will pour waterJoel 3:18; Jn 4:10 on the thirsty land,

and streams on the dry ground;S Pr 9:5; S Isa 32:2; S 35:7

I will pour out my SpiritS Isa 11:2; Eze 36:27; S Mk 1:8; S Ac 2:17 on your offspring,

and my blessingMal 3:10 on your descendants.Isa 61:9; 65:23

They will spring up like grassS Job 5:25; S Ps 72:16 in a meadow,

like poplar treesS Lev 23:40 by flowing streams.S Job 40:22

Some will say, ‘I belongPs 116:16; Isa 19:21; Jer 50:5 to the Lord’;

others will call themselves by the name of Jacob;

still others will write on their hand,Ex 13:9 ‘The Lord’s,’Isa 60:3; 66:23; Zec 8:20-22; 13:9; 14:16

and will take the name Israel.

The Lord, Not Idols

“This is what the Lord says—

Israel’s KingS Isa 41:21 and Redeemer,S Job 19:25; Isa 43:1 the Lord Almighty:

I am the first and I am the last;S Isa 41:4; Rev 1:8, 17

apart from me there is no God.S Dt 6:4; S 1Ch 17:20; S Ps 18:31; S Isa 43:10

Who then is like me?S Dt 32:39 Let him proclaim it.

Let him declare and lay out before me

what has happened since I established my ancient people,

and what is yet to come—

yes, let them foretellS Isa 41:22, 26 what will come.

Do not tremble, do not be afraid.

Did I not proclaimS Isa 40:21; S 42:9 this and foretell it long ago?

You are my witnesses. Is there any GodS Isa 43:10 besides me?

No, there is no other Rock;S Ge 49:24 I know not one.”

All who make idolsS Ex 20:4; S Lev 19:4; Isa 40:19 are nothing,

and the things they treasure are worthless.S Isa 41:24

Those who would speak up for them are blind;S Isa 26:11

they are ignorant, to their own shame.S Isa 1:29; 65:13; 66:5; Jer 22:22

10 Who shapes a god and casts an idol,S Isa 40:19

which can profit nothing?Isa 41:29; Jer 10:5; Ac 19:26

11 People who do that will be put to shame;S ver 9; S Isa 1:29

such craftsmen are only human beings.

Let them all come together and take their stand;

they will be brought down to terror and shame.S 2Ki 19:18; S Isa 37:19

12 The blacksmithS Isa 40:19; 41:6-7; 54:16 takes a tool

and works with it in the coals;

he shapes an idol with hammers,

he forges it with the might of his arm.Ac 17:29

He gets hungry and loses his strength;

he drinks no water and grows faint.Isa 40:28

13 The carpenterS Isa 41:7 measures with a line

and makes an outline with a marker;

he roughs it out with chisels

and marks it with compasses.

He shapes it in human form,Ps 115:4-7

human form in all its glory,

that it may dwell in a shrine.S Jdg 17:4-5

14 He cut down cedars,

or perhaps took a cypress or oak.

He let it grow among the trees of the forest,

or planted a pine,S Isa 41:19 and the rain made it grow.

15 It is used as fuelver 19 for burning;

some of it he takes and warms himself,

he kindles a fire and bakes bread.

But he also fashions a god and worshipsS Ex 20:5; Rev 9:20 it;

he makes an idol and bowsS 2Ch 25:14 down to it.

16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire;

over it he prepares his meal,

he roasts his meat and eats his fill.

He also warms himself and says,

“Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.Isa 47:14

17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol;

he bows down to it and worships.S Ex 20:5; Isa 2:8; Jer 1:16

He praysS 1Ki 18:26 to it and says,

“SaveS Jdg 10:14; Isa 45:20; 46:7; 47:15 me! You are my god!”

18 They know nothing, they understandIsa 1:3; S 16:12; Jer 4:22; 10:8, 14, 14-15 nothing;

their eyesS Isa 6:9-10; S 29:10 are plastered over so they cannot see,

and their minds closed so they cannot understand.

19 No one stops to think,

no one has the knowledge or understandingver 18-19; Isa 5:13; 27:11; 45:20 to say,

“Half of it I used for fuel;ver 15

I even baked bread over its coals,

I roasted meat and I ate.

Shall I make a detestableS Dt 27:15 thing from what is left?

Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”Isa 40:20

20 Such a person feeds on ashes;Ps 102:9 a deludedS Job 15:31; Ro 1:21-23, 28; 2Th 2:11; 2Ti 3:13 heart misleads him;

he cannot save himself, or say,

“Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?S Dt 4:28; Isa 59:3, 4, 13; Jer 9:3; 10:14; 51:17; Hos 10:5; 13:2; Ro 1:25

21 “RememberIsa 46:8; Zec 10:9 these things, Jacob,

for you, Israel, are my servant.S Isa 43:1

I have made you, you are my servant;S Ps 136:22; S Isa 27:11

Israel, I will not forget you.Ps 27:10; Isa 49:15; Jer 31:20

22 I have swept awayS 2Sa 12:13; S 2Ch 6:21; Ac 3:19 your offenses like a cloud,

your sins like the morning mist.

ReturnS Job 22:23; Isa 45:22; 55:7; Jer 36:3; Mal 3:7 to me,

for I have redeemedS Isa 33:24; S Mt 20:28; 1Co 6:20 you.”

23 Sing for joy,S Ps 98:4; S Isa 12:6 you heavens, for the Lord has done this;

shout aloud, you earthS 1Ch 16:31; Ps 148:7 beneath.

Burst into song, you mountains,S Ps 98:8

you forests and all your trees,S Ps 65:13

for the Lord has redeemedS Ex 6:6; Isa 51:11; 62:12 Jacob,

he displays his gloryS Ex 16:7; S Lev 10:3; S Isa 4:2; 43:7; 46:13; 49:3; 52:1; 55:5; 60:9, 21; 61:3; Jer 30:19 in Israel.

Jerusalem to Be Inhabited

24 “This is what the Lord says—

your Redeemer,S Job 19:25; Isa 43:14 who formedS Isa 27:11 you in the womb:S Ps 139:13

I am the Lord,

the Maker of all things,

who stretches out the heavens,S Ge 2:1; S Isa 42:5

who spreads out the earthS Ge 1:1 by myself,

25 who foilsPs 33:10 the signs of false prophets

and makes fools of diviners,Lev 19:26; 1Sa 6:2; Isa 2:6; 8:19; 47:13; Jer 27:9; Da 2:2, 10; 4:7; Mic 3:7; Zec 10:2

who overthrows the learning of the wiseS Job 5:13; 1Co 1:27

and turns it into nonsense,2Sa 15:31; 1Co 1:19-20

26 who carries out the wordsIsa 59:21; Zec 1:6 of his servants

and fulfillsIsa 46:10; 55:11; Jer 23:20; 39:16; La 2:17; Da 9:12; S Mt 5:18 the predictions of his messengers,

who says of Jerusalem,S Isa 1:1 ‘It shall be inhabited,’

of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’

and of their ruins,S Ps 74:3; S Isa 51:3 ‘I will restore them,’S Ezr 9:9; S Ps 51:18; Isa 49:8-21; S 61:4

27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry,

and I will dry upS Isa 11:15; S 19:5; Rev 16:12 your streams,’

28 who says of Cyrus,S 2Ch 36:22; S Isa 41:2 ‘He is my shepherd

and will accomplish all that I please;

he will say of Jerusalem,S Isa 14:32 “Let it be rebuilt,”

and of the temple,Ezr 1:2-4 “Let its foundationsS Isa 28:16; 58:12 be laid.”’

45 “This is what the Lord says to his anointed,S Ps 45:7

to Cyrus,S 2Ch 36:22; S Isa 41:2 whose right hand I take holdPs 73:23; Isa 41:13; 42:6 of

to subdue nationsIsa 48:14; Jer 50:35; 51:20, 24; Mic 4:13 before him

and to strip kings of their armor,

to open doors before him

so that gates will not be shut:

I will go before youEx 23:20

and will levelS Isa 40:4 the mountainsDead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint; the meaning of the word in the Masoretic Text is uncertain.;

I will break down gatesS Isa 13:2 of bronze

and cut through bars of iron.Ps 107:16; 147:13; Jer 51:30; La 2:9; Na 3:13

I will give you hidden treasures,S 2Ki 24:13; Jer 50:37; 51:13

riches stored in secret places,Jer 41:8

so that you may knowIsa 41:23 that I am the Lord,

the God of Israel, who summons you by name.S Ex 33:12; S Isa 43:1

For the sake of Jacob my servant,S Isa 14:1; 41:8-9

of Israel my chosen,

I summon you by name

and bestow on you a title of honor,

though you do not acknowledgeAc 17:23 me.

I am the Lord, and there is no other;S Isa 44:8

apart from me there is no God.S Dt 32:12; S Ps 18:31; S Isa 43:10

I will strengthen you,S Ps 18:39; Eze 30:24-25

though you have not acknowledged me,

so that from the rising of the sun

to the place of its settingS Ps 113:3; Isa 43:5

people may knowS Isa 11:9 there is none besides me.ver 5, 18; Isa 14:13-14; 47:8, 10; Zep 2:15

I am the Lord, and there is no other.

I form the light and create darkness,S Ge 1:4; S Ex 10:22

I bring prosperity and create disaster;S Isa 14:15; S 31:2; La 3:38

I, the Lord, do all these things.

“You heavens above, rainPs 72:6; S 133:3; Joel 3:18 down my righteousness;ver 24; Ps 85:11; S Isa 41:2; 46:13; 48:18; 60:21; 61:10, 11; 62:1; Hos 10:12; Joel 2:23; Am 5:24; Mal 4:2

let the clouds shower it down.

Let the earth open wide,

let salvationS Ps 85:9; Isa 12:3 spring up,

let righteousness flourish with it;

I, the Lord, have created it.

“Woe to those who quarrelS Job 12:13; S 15:25; S 27:2; 1Co 10:22 with their Maker,S Job 33:13

those who are nothing but potsherdsPs 22:15

among the potsherds on the ground.

Does the clay say to the potter,S Isa 29:16; Ro 9:20-21*

‘What are you making?’S Job 9:12; Da 4:35

Does your work say,

‘The potter has no hands’?S Isa 10:15

10 Woe to the one who says to a father,

‘What have you begotten?’

or to a mother,

‘What have you brought to birth?’

The Lord’s Promise of Victory

14 This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

“For your sakes I will send an army against Babylon,

forcing the BabyloniansOr Chaldeans. to flee in those ships they are so proud of.

15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,

Israel’s Creator and King.

16 I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters,

making a dry path through the sea.

17 I called forth the mighty army of Egypt

with all its chariots and horses.

I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned,

their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick.

18 “But forget all that—

it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.

19 For I am about to do something new.

See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?

I will make a pathway through the wilderness.

I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

20 The wild animals in the fields will thank me,

the jackals and owls, too,

for giving them water in the desert.

Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland

so my chosen people can be refreshed.

21 I have made Israel for myself,

and they will someday honor me before the whole world.

22 “But, dear family of Jacob, you refuse to ask for my help.

You have grown tired of me, O Israel!

23 You have not brought me sheep or goats for burnt offerings.

You have not honored me with sacrifices,

though I have not burdened and wearied you

with requests for grain offerings and frankincense.

24 You have not brought me fragrant calamus

or pleased me with the fat from sacrifices.

Instead, you have burdened me with your sins

and wearied me with your faults.

25 “I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake

and will never think of them again.

26 Let us review the situation together,

and you can present your case to prove your innocence.

27 From the very beginning, your first ancestor sinned against me;

all your leaders broke my laws.

28 That is why I have disgraced your priests;

I have decreed complete destructionThe Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the Lord, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering. for Jacob

and shame for Israel.

44 “But now, listen to me, Jacob my servant,

Israel my chosen one.

The Lord who made you and helps you says:

Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant,

O dear Israel,Hebrew Jeshurun, a term of endearment for Israel. my chosen one.

For I will pour out water to quench your thirst

and to irrigate your parched fields.

And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants,

and my blessing on your children.

They will thrive like watered grass,

like willows on a riverbank.

Some will proudly claim, ‘I belong to the Lord.’

Others will say, ‘I am a descendant of Jacob.’

Some will write the Lord’s name on their hands

and will take the name of Israel as their own.”

The Foolishness of Idols

This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies:

“I am the First and the Last;

there is no other God.

Who is like me?

Let him step forward and prove to you his power.

Let him do as I have done since ancient times

when I established a people and explained its future.

Do not tremble; do not be afraid.

Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago?

You are my witnesses—is there any other God?

No! There is no other Rock—not one!”

How foolish are those who manufacture idols.

These prized objects are really worthless.

The people who worship idols don’t know this,

so they are all put to shame.

10 Who but a fool would make his own god—

an idol that cannot help him one bit?

11 All who worship idols will be disgraced

along with all these craftsmen—mere humans—

who claim they can make a god.

They may all stand together,

but they will stand in terror and shame.

12 The blacksmith stands at his forge to make a sharp tool,

pounding and shaping it with all his might.

His work makes him hungry and weak.

It makes him thirsty and faint.

13 Then the wood-carver measures a block of wood

and draws a pattern on it.

He works with chisel and plane

and carves it into a human figure.

He gives it human beauty

and puts it in a little shrine.

14 He cuts down cedars;

he selects the cypress and the oak;

he plants the pine in the forest

to be nourished by the rain.

15 Then he uses part of the wood to make a fire.

With it he warms himself and bakes his bread.

Then—yes, it’s true—he takes the rest of it

and makes himself a god to worship!

He makes an idol

and bows down in front of it!

16 He burns part of the tree to roast his meat

and to keep himself warm.

He says, “Ah, that fire feels good.”

17 Then he takes what’s left

and makes his god: a carved idol!

He falls down in front of it,

worshiping and praying to it.

“Rescue me!” he says.

“You are my god!”

18 Such stupidity and ignorance!

Their eyes are closed, and they cannot see.

Their minds are shut, and they cannot think.

19 The person who made the idol never stops to reflect,

“Why, it’s just a block of wood!

I burned half of it for heat

and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat.

How can the rest of it be a god?

Should I bow down to worship a piece of wood?”

20 The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes.

He trusts something that can’t help him at all.

Yet he cannot bring himself to ask,

“Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?”

Restoration for Jerusalem

21 “Pay attention, O Jacob,

for you are my servant, O Israel.

I, the Lord, made you,

and I will not forget you.

22 I have swept away your sins like a cloud.

I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist.

Oh, return to me,

for I have paid the price to set you free.”

23 Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done this wondrous thing.

Shout for joy, O depths of the earth!

Break into song,

O mountains and forests and every tree!

For the Lord has redeemed Jacob

and is glorified in Israel.

24 This is what the Lord says—

your Redeemer and Creator:

“I am the Lord, who made all things.

I alone stretched out the heavens.

Who was with me

when I made the earth?

25 I expose the false prophets as liars

and make fools of fortune-tellers.

I cause the wise to give bad advice,

thus proving them to be fools.

26 But I carry out the predictions of my prophets!

By them I say to Jerusalem, ‘People will live here again,’

and to the towns of Judah, ‘You will be rebuilt;

I will restore all your ruins!’

27 When I speak to the rivers and say, ‘Dry up!’

they will be dry.

28 When I say of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,’

he will certainly do as I say.

He will command, ‘Rebuild Jerusalem’;

he will say, ‘Restore the Temple.’”

Cyrus, the Lord’s Chosen One

45 This is what the Lord says to Cyrus, his anointed one,

whose right hand he will empower.

Before him, mighty kings will be paralyzed with fear.

Their fortress gates will be opened,

never to shut again.

This is what the Lord says:

“I will go before you, Cyrus,

and level the mountains.As in Dead Sea Scrolls and Greek version; Masoretic Text reads the swellings.

I will smash down gates of bronze

and cut through bars of iron.

And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—

secret riches.

I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord,

the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.

“And why have I called you for this work?

Why did I call you by name when you did not know me?

It is for the sake of Jacob my servant,

Israel my chosen one.

I am the Lord;

there is no other God.

I have equipped you for battle,

though you don’t even know me,

so all the world from east to west

will know there is no other God.

I am the Lord, and there is no other.

I create the light and make the darkness.

I send good times and bad times.

I, the Lord, am the one who does these things.

“Open up, O heavens,

and pour out your righteousness.

Let the earth open wide

so salvation and righteousness can sprout up together.

I, the Lord, created them.

“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator.

Does a clay pot argue with its maker?

Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying,

‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’

Does the pot exclaim,

‘How clumsy can you be?’

10 How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father,

‘Why was I born?’

or if it said to its mother,

‘Why did you make me this way?’”

14 Thus saith the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships.

15 I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.

16 Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters;

17 Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow.

18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.

19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.

21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.

22 But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel.

23 Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense.

24 Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.

25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

26 Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.

27 Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me.

28 Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.

44 Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen:

Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.

For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:

And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.

One shall say, I am the Lord's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.

Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.

Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.

10 Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing?

11 Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they are of men: let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together.

12 The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with the strength of his arms: yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth: he drinketh no water, and is faint.

13 The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house.

14 He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it.

15 Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.

16 He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire:

17 And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.

18 They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.

19 And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?

20 He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

21 Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me.

22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.

23 Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.

24 Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

25 That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish;

26 That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof:

27 That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers:

28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.

45 Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;

I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:

And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.

For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it.

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

10 Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?

Ephesians 3:1-21

God’s Marvelous Plan for the Gentiles

For this reason I, Paul, the prisonerAc 23:18; Eph 4:1; 2Ti 1:8; Phm 1, 9 of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to meCol 1:25 for you,that is, the mysteryS Ro 16:25 made known to me by revelation,S 1Co 2:10 as I have already written briefly.In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight2Co 11:6 into the mystery of Christ,which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.Ro 16:26; S Eph 4:11This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirsS Ro 8:17 together with Israel, members together of one body,Eph 2:15, 16 and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.Eze 47:22

I became a servant of this gospelS 1Co 3:5 by the gift of God’s grace given meS Ro 12:3 through the working of his power.Eph 1:19; Col 1:29Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people,S 1Co 15:9 this grace was given me: to preach to the GentilesS Ac 9:15 the boundless riches of Christ,S Ro 2:4and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery,S Ro 16:25 which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of GodS Ro 11:33; 1Co 2:7 should be made known1Pe 1:12 to the rulers and authoritiesEph 1:21; 6:12; Col 2:10, 15 in the heavenly realms,S Eph 1:311 according to his eternal purposeS Eph 1:11 that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.12 In him and through faith in him we may approach GodEph 2:18 with freedom and confidence.2Co 3:4; Heb 3:14; 4:16; 10:19, 35; 1Jn 2:28; 3:21; 4:1713 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

A Prayer for the Ephesians

14 For this reason I kneelPhp 2:10 before the Father,15 from whom every familyThe Greek for family (patria) is derived from the Greek for father (pater). in heaven and on earth derives its name.16 I pray that out of his glorious richesver 8; S Ro 2:4 he may strengthen you with powerS Php 4:13 through his Spirit in your inner being,Ro 7:2217 so that Christ may dwell in your heartsS Ro 8:10 through faith. And I pray that you, being rootedCol 2:7 and established in love,18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,Eph 1:15 to grasp how wide and long and high and deepJob 11:8, 9; Ps 103:11 is the love of Christ,19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledgePhp 4:7—that you may be filledCol 2:10 to the measure of all the fullness of God.Eph 1:23

20 Now to him who is ableRo 16:25; 2Co 9:8 to do immeasurably more than all we ask1Ki 3:13 or imagine, according to his powerver 7 that is at work within us,21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.S Ro 11:36

God’s Mysterious Plan Revealed

When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you GentilesPaul resumes this thought in verse 14: “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father.” . . .assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles.As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me.As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ.God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets.

And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.Or because they are united with Christ Jesus.By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.

Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ.I was chosen to explain to everyoneSome manuscripts do not include to everyone. this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.

10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.

12 Because of Christ and our faith in him,Or Because of Christ’s faithfulness. we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.13 So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.

Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,Some manuscripts read the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.Or from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Psalm 68:1-18

Psalm 68In Hebrew texts 68:1-35 is numbered 68:2-36.

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song.

May God arise,Ps 12:5; 132:8 may his enemies be scattered;Ps 18:14; 89:10; 92:9; 144:6

may his foes fleeNu 10:35; Isa 17:13; 21:15; 33:3 before him.

May you blow them away like smoke—S Ps 37:20

as wax meltsS Ps 22:14 before the fire,

may the wicked perishS Nu 10:35; Ps 9:3; 80:16 before God.

But may the righteous be glad

and rejoicePs 64:10; 97:12 before God;

may they be happy and joyful.

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,S 2Sa 22:50; Ps 7:17; S 30:4; 66:2; 96:2; 100:4; 135:3

extol him who rides on the cloudsOr name, / prepare the way for him who rides through the desertsver 33; S Ex 20:21; S Dt 33:26;

rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.S Ex 6:3; Ps 83:18

A father to the fatherless,Ps 10:14 a defender of widows,S Ex 22:22; S Dt 10:18

is God in his holy dwelling.S Dt 26:15; Jer 25:30

God sets the lonelyPs 25:16 in families,Or the desolate in a homelandPs 113:9

he leads out the prisonersPs 79:11; 102:20; 146:7; Isa 61:1; Lk 4:18 with singing;

but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.Isa 35:7; 49:10; 58:11

When you, God, went outS Ex 13:21 before your people,

when you marched through the wilderness,The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verses 19 and 32.Ps 78:40; 106:14

the earth shook,S 2Sa 22:8 the heavens poured down rain,S Jdg 5:4; 2Sa 21:10; Ecc 11:3

before God, the One of Sinai,S Dt 33:2

before God, the God of Israel.S Jdg 5:5

You gave abundant showers,S Dt 32:2; S Job 36:28; S Eze 34:26 O God;

you refreshed your weary inheritance.

10 Your people settled in it,

and from your bounty,S Dt 28:12 God, you providedPs 65:9 for the poor.

11 The Lord announces the word,

and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng:Lk 2:13

12 “Kings and armies fleeJos 10:16 in haste;

the women at home divide the plunder.S Jdg 5:30

13 Even while you sleep among the sheep pens,Or the campfires; or the saddlebagsS Ge 49:14

the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver,

its feathers with shining gold.”

14 When the AlmightyHebrew Shaddai scattered2Sa 22:15 the kings in the land,

it was like snow fallen on Mount Zalmon.Jdg 9:48

15 Mount Bashan,ver 22; Nu 21:33; Jer 22:20 majestic mountain,S Ps 36:6

Mount Bashan, rugged mountain,

16 why gaze in envy, you rugged mountain,

at the mountain where God choosesDt 12:5; S Ps 2:6; 132:13 to reign,

where the Lord himself will dwell forever?Ps 132:14

17 The chariotsS 2Ki 2:11; Isa 66:15; Hab 3:8 of God are tens of thousands

and thousands of thousands;Da 7:10

the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary.Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; Masoretic Text Lord is among them at Sinai in holiness

18 When you ascendedS Ps 47:5 on high,Ps 7:7

you took many captives;Jdg 5:12

you received gifts from people,Eph 4:8*

even fromOr gifts for people, / even the rebelliousS Nu 17:10

that you,Or they Lord God, might dwell there.

Psalm 68

For the choir director: A song. A psalm of David.

Rise up, O God, and scatter your enemies.

Let those who hate God run for their lives.

Blow them away like smoke.

Melt them like wax in a fire.

Let the wicked perish in the presence of God.

But let the godly rejoice.

Let them be glad in God’s presence.

Let them be filled with joy.

Sing praises to God and to his name!

Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds.Or rides through the deserts.

His name is the Lord

rejoice in his presence!

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—

this is God, whose dwelling is holy.

God places the lonely in families;

he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.

But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

O God, when you led your people out from Egypt,

when you marched through the dry wasteland, Interlude

the earth trembled, and the heavens poured down rain

before you, the God of Sinai,

before God, the God of Israel.

You sent abundant rain, O God,

to refresh the weary land.

10 There your people finally settled,

and with a bountiful harvest, O God,

you provided for your needy people.

11 The Lord gives the word,

and a great armyOr a host of women. brings the good news.

12 Enemy kings and their armies flee,

while the women of Israel divide the plunder.

13 Even those who lived among the sheepfolds found treasures—

doves with wings of silver

and feathers of gold.

14 The Almighty scattered the enemy kings

like a blowing snowstorm on Mount Zalmon.

15 The mountains of Bashan are majestic,

with many peaks stretching high into the sky.

16 Why do you look with envy, O rugged mountains,

at Mount Zion, where God has chosen to live,

where the Lord himself will live forever?

17 Surrounded by unnumbered thousands of chariots,

the Lord came from Mount Sinai into his sanctuary.

18 When you ascended to the heights,

you led a crowd of captives.

You received gifts from the people,

even from those who rebelled against you.

Now the Lord God will live among us there.

68 Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.

As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.

But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.

Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name Jah, and rejoice before him.

A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.

God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah:

The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.

Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary.

10 Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor.

11 The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.

12 Kings of armies did flee apace: and she that tarried at home divided the spoil.

13 Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.

14 When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon.

15 The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; an high hill as the hill of Bashan.

16 Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever.

17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.

18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.

Proverbs 24:1-2

Saying 20

24 Do not envyPr 3:31-32; 23:17-18 the wicked,

do not desire their company;

for their hearts plot violence,S Ps 2:1; Isa 32:6; 55:7-8; 59:7; 65:2; 66:18; Hos 4:1

and their lips talk about making trouble.Ps 10:7

24 Don’t envy evil people

or desire their company.

For their hearts plot violence,

and their words always stir up trouble.

24 Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.

For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.

Sep 23 Sep 25
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