1 The Lord Answers Isaiah's Prayer
1 The Lord says, "I made myself known to those who were not asking for me. I was found by those who were not trying to find me. I spoke to a nation that did not pray to me. 'Here I am,' I said. 'Here I am.'
2 All day long I have held out my hands to welcome a stubborn nation. They lead sinful lives. They go where their evil thoughts take them.
3 They are always making me very angry. They do it right in front of me. They offer sacrifices in the gardens of other gods. They burn incense on altars that are made out of bricks.
4 They sit among the graves. They spend their nights talking to the spirits of the dead. They eat the meat of pigs. Their cooking pots hold soup that has 'unclean' meat in it.
5 They say, 'Keep away! Don't come near us! We are too sacred for you!' Those people are like smoke in my nose. They are like a fire that keeps burning all day.
6 "I will judge them. I have even written it down. I will not keep silent. Instead, I will pay them back for all of their sins.
7 I will punish them for their sins and the sins of their people before them," says the Lord. "They burned sacrifices on the mountains. They disobeyed me by worshiping other gods on the hills. So I will really punish them for all of the sins they have committed."
8 The Lord says, "Sometimes juice is still left in grapes that have been crushed. So people say, 'Don't destroy them. Some good juice is still left in them.' That is what I will do for the good of those who serve me. I will not destroy all of my people.
9 I will give children to the families of Jacob and Judah. They will possess my entire land. My chosen people will be given all of it. Those who serve me will live there.
10 Their flocks will eat in the rich grasslands of Sharon. Their herds will rest in the Valley of Achor. That is what I will do for my people who follow me.
11 "But some of you have deserted me. You no longer worship on my holy mountain of Zion. You spread a table for the god that is called Good Fortune. You offer bowls of mixed wine to the god named Fate.
12 So I will make it your fate to be killed with swords. Each of you will die a horrible death. That is because I called out to you, but you did not answer me. I spoke to you, but you did not listen. You did what is evil in my sight. You chose to do what does not please me."
13 So the Lord and King says, "Those who serve me will have food to eat. But you will be hungry. My servants will have plenty to drink. But you will be thirsty. Those who serve me will be full of joy. But you will be put to shame.
14 My servants will sing with joy in their hearts. But you will cry out because of the great pain in your hearts. You will cry because your spirits are sad.
15 My chosen ones will use your names when they call down curses on others. I am your Lord and King. I will put you to death. But I will give new names to those who serve me.
16 They will ask me to bless their land. They will do it in my name. I am the God of truth. They will take oaths and make promises in their land. They will do it in my name. I am the God of truth. The troubles of the past will be forgotten. They will be hidden from my eyes.
17 The Lord Will Create New Heavens and a New Earth
17 "I will create new heavens and a new earth. The things that have happened before will not be remembered. They will not even enter your minds.
18 So be glad and full of joy forever because of what I will create. I will cause others to take delight in Jerusalem. They will be filled with joy when they see its people.
19 And I will be full of joy because of Jerusalem. I will take delight in my people. Sobbing and crying will not be heard there anymore.
20 "Babies in Jerusalem will no longer live only a few days. Old people will not fail to live for a very long time. Those who live to the age of 100 will be thought of as still being young when they die. Those who die before they are 100 will be considered as having been under God's curse.
21 My people will build houses and live in them. They will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They will no longer build houses only to have others live in them. They will no longer plant crops only to have others eat them. My people will live to be as old as trees. My chosen ones will enjoy for a long time the things they have worked for.
23 Their work will not be worthless anymore. They will not have children who are sure to face sudden terror. Instead, I will bless them. I will also bless their children after them.
24 Even before they call out to me, I will answer them. While they are still speaking, I will hear them.
25 Wolves and lambs will eat together. Lions will eat straw like oxen. Serpents will not bite anyone. They will eat nothing but dust. None of those animals will harm or destroy anything or anyone on my holy mountain of Zion," says the Lord.
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