Isaiah 29

1˻God says,˼ “Look at Ariel! Ariel, the city where David camped. Her holidays have continued year after year. 2I have punished Ariel. That city has been filled with sadness and crying. But she has always been my Ariel. 3“I have put armies all around you, Ariel. I raised war towers against you. 4You were ˻defeated and˼ pulled to the ground. Now, I hear your voice rising from the ground like the voice of a ghost. Your words come like a quiet voice from the dirt.” 5There are many strangers there— like very small pieces of dust. There are many cruel people—like chaff blowing in the wind. 6The Lord All-Powerful punished you with earthquakes, thunder, and loud noises. There were storms, strong winds, and fire that burned and destroyed. 7Many, many nations fought against Ariel. It has been like a terrible dream in the night. Armies have surrounded Ariel and punished her. 8But it will also be like a dream to those armies. They will not get what they want. It will be like a hungry man dreaming about food. When the man wakes up, he is still hungry. It will be like a thirsty man dreaming about water. When the man wakes up, he is still thirsty. The same thing is true about all the nations fighting against Zion. Those nations will not get the things that they want. 9Be surprised and amazed! You will become drunk— but not from wine. Look and be amazed! You will stumble and fall— but not from beer. 10The Lord will make you sleepy. The Lord will close your eyes. (The prophets are your eyes.) The Lord will cover your heads. (The prophets are your heads.) 11˻I tell you these things will happen, but you don’t understand me. My words˼ are like the words in a book that is closed and sealed. You can give the book to a person that can read, and tell that person to read the book. But that person will say, “I can’t read the book. It is closed and I can’t open it.” 12Or you can give the book to a person that can’t read, and tell that person to read the book. That person will say, “I can’t read the book because I don’t know how to read.” 13My Master says, “These people say they love me. They show honor to me with words from their mouths. But their hearts are far from me. The honor they show me is nothing but human rules they have memorized. 14So I will continue to amaze these people by doing powerful and amazing things. Their wise men will lose their wisdom. Their wise men will not be able to understand.” 15Those people try to hide things from the Lord. They think the Lord will not understand. Those people do their evil things in darkness. Those people tell themselves. “No person can see us. No person will know who we are.” 16You are confused. You think the clay is equal to the potter. You think that something made can tell the person that made it, “You did not make me!” This is like a pot telling its maker, “You don’t understand.” 17This is the truth: After a short time, Lebanon will have rich soil like Mount Carmel. And Mount Carmel will be like a thick forest. 18The deaf will hear the words in the book. The blind will see through the darkness and fog. 19The Lord will make the poor people happy. The poor people will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. 20This will happen when the mean and cruel people are finished. It will happen when those people that enjoy doing bad things are gone. 21(Those people lie about good people. They try to trap people in court. They try to destroy innocent people.) 22So the Lord speaks to Jacob’s family. (This is the Lord that made Abraham free.) The Lord says, “Now Jacob ˻(the people of Israel)˼ will not be embarrassed and ashamed. 23He will see all his children, and he will say my name is holy. I made these children with my hands. And these children will say that the Holy One ˻(God)˼ of Jacob is very special. These children will respect the God of Israel. 24Many of these people did not understand, so they did wrong things. These people did not understand, but they will learn their lesson.”

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