Isaiah 41

1The Lord says, “Faraway countries, be quiet and come to me! Nations be brave. Come to me and speak. We will meet together, and we will decide who is right. 2˻Tell me the answers to these questions:˼ Who woke the man ˻that is coming˼ from the east? Goodness walks with him. He uses his sword ˻and defeats nations˼— they become like dust. He uses his bow and conquers kings— they run away like straw blown by the wind. 3He chases armies and is never hurt. He goes places he has never been before. 4Who caused ˻these things to happen˼? Who did this? Who called all people from the beginning? ˻I, the Lord, did these things˼! I, the Lord, am the first. I was here before the beginning. And I will be here when all things are finished. 5All you faraway places, look, and be afraid! All you places far away on the earth, shake with fear! Come here ˻and listen to me˼!” And they came. 6“Workers help each other. They encourage each other to be strong. 7One worker cuts ˻wood to make a statue˼. That person encourages the man that works with gold. Another worker uses a hammer and makes the metal smooth. Then that worker encourages the man at the anvil. This last worker says, 'This work is good; the metal will not come off.’ Then he nails the statue to a base so it won’t fall over. And it never moves!” 8˻The Lord says˼: “You, Israel, are my servant. Jacob, I chose you. You are from Abraham’s family. And I loved Abraham. 9You were in a far away country, but I reached out to you. I called you from that faraway place. I said, 'You are my servant.’ I chose you. And I have not rejected you. 10Don’t worry—I am with you. Don’t be afraid—I am your God. I will make you strong. I will help you. I will support you with my good right hand. 11Look, some people are angry with you. But they will be shamed. Your enemies will be lost and disappear. 12You will look for the people that were against you, but you will not be able to find them. The people that fought against you will disappear completely. 13I am the Lord your God. I am holding your right hand. And I tell you: Don’t be afraid! I will help you. 14Precious Judah, don’t be afraid! My dear people of Israel, don’t be scared! I really will help you.” The Lord himself said those things. The Holy One ˻(God)˼ of Israel, the One who saves you, said these things: 15“Look, I have made you like a new threshing board. That tool has many sharp teeth, Farmers use it to crush the hulls so they will separate from the grain. You will trample ˻(walk on)˼ mountains and crush them. You will make the hills like those hulls. 16You will throw them into the air, and the wind will blow them away and scatter them. Then you will be happy in the Lord. You will be very proud of the Holy One ˻(God)˼ of Israel.” 17“The poor and needy people look for water, but they can’t find any. They are thirsty. Their tongues are very dry. I will answer their prayers. I will not leave them and let them die. 18I will make rivers flow on dry hills. I will make springs of water flow through the valleys. I will change the desert into a lake filled with water. There will be springs of water in that dry land. 19Trees will grow in the desert. There will be cedar trees, acacia trees, olive trees, cypress trees, fir trees, and pine trees. 20People will see these things, and they will know that the Lord’s power did this. The people will see these things, and they will begin to understand. that the Holy One ˻(God)˼ of Israel did these things.” 21The Lord, the king of Jacob, says, “Come, tell me your arguments. Show me your proof, ˻and we will decide the things that are right˼. 22˻Your statues (false gods) should come and tell us what is happening. “What happened in the beginning? What will happen in the future? Tell us! We will listen closely. Then we will know what will happen next. 23Tell us the things we should look for to know what will happen. Then we will believe that you really are gods. Do something! Do anything, good or bad! Then we will see that you are alive. And we will follow you. 24“Look, you false gods are less than nothing! You can’t do anything! Only a worthless person would want to worship you!” 25“I woke a person in the north. He is coming from the east where the sun rises. He worships my name. A man that makes pots walks on wet clay. In the same way, this special man will trample ˻(walk on)˼ kings.” 26Who told us about this before it happened? We should call him God. ˻Did one of your statues tell us these things˼? No! None of those statues told us anything. Those statues did not say a word— and those false gods can’t hear the words that you say. 27I, the Lord, was the first one to tell Zion about these things. I sent a messenger to Jerusalem with this message: ”Look, your people are coming back!” 28I looked at those false gods. None of them were wise enough to say anything. I asked them questions, and they did not say a word! 29All of those gods are less than nothing! They can’t do anything! Those statues are absolutely worthless!

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