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First Reading: Isaiah Chapter 5 and 6

Isaiah 5

I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard:My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. 2 He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines.He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well.Then he looked for a crop of good grapes,but it yielded only bad fruit.
3 "Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah,judge between me and my vineyard. 4 What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it?When I looked for good grapes,why did it yield only bad? 5 Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard:I will take away its hedge,and it will be destroyed;I will break down its wall,and it will be trampled. 6 I will make it a wasteland,neither pruned nor cultivated,and briers and thorns will grow there.I will command the clouds not to rain on it."
7 The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel,and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight.And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.
8 Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land.
9 The LORD Almighty has declared in my hearing:"Surely the great houses will become desolate,the fine mansions left without occupants. 10 A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine,a homer of seed only an ephah of grain."
11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks,who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. 12 They have harps and lyres at their banquets,tambourines and flutes and wine,but they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD,no respect for the work of his hands. 13 Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding;their men of rank will die of hunger and their masses will be parched with thirst. 14 Therefore the grave enlarges its appetite and opens its mouth without limit;into it will descend their nobles and masses with all their brawlers and revelers. 15 So man will be brought low and mankind humbled,the eyes of the arrogant humbled. 16 But the LORD Almighty will be exalted by his justice,and the holy God will show himself holy by his righteousness. 17 Then sheep will graze as in their own pasture;lambs will feed among the ruins of the rich. 18 Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit,and wickedness as with cart ropes, 19 to those who say, "Let God hurry,let him hasten his work so we may see it.Let it approach,let the plan of the Holy One of Israel come,so we may know it."
20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,who put darkness for light and light for darkness,who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.
22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, 23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,but deny justice to the innocent. 24 Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames,so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust;for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel. 25 Therefore the LORD's anger burns against his people;his hand is raised and he strikes them down.The mountains shake,and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,his hand is still upraised.
26 He lifts up a banner for the distant nations,he whistles for those at the ends of the earth.Here they come,swiftly and speedily! 27 Not one of them grows tired or stumbles,not one slumbers or sleeps;not a belt is loosened at the waist,not a sandal thong is broken. 28 Their arrows are sharp,all their bows are strung;their horses' hoofs seem like flint,their chariot wheels like a whirlwind. 29 Their roar is like that of the lion,they roar like young lions;they growl as they seize their prey and carry it off with no one to rescue. 30 In that day they will roar over it like the roaring of the sea.And if one looks at the land,he will see darkness and distress;even the light will be darkened by the clouds.

Isaiah 6

6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;the whole earth is full of his glory."
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
9 He said, "Go and tell this people:
"'Be ever hearing, but never understanding;be ever seeing, but never perceiving.' 10 Make the heart of this people calloused;make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes,hear with their ears,understand with their hearts,and turn and be healed."
11 Then I said, "For how long, O Lord?"
And he answered:
"Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant,until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, 12 until the LORD has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken. 13 And though a tenth remains in the land,it will again be laid waste.But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down,so the holy seed will be the stump in the land."

Second Reading: Ephesians Chapter 1

Ephesians 1

1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment-to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-to the praise of his glory.
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Bible Background



Part 3 of 4

Isaiah is one of the most quoted Old Testaments books by New Testament writers. Many verses in Isaiah concern the coming Messiah:


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