Select: First Reading Second Reading Bible Background
First Reading: Isaiah Chapter 7 and 8
7:1 When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin
of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against
Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.
2 Now the house of David was told, "Aram has allied itself with Ephraim"; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.
3 Then the LORD said to Isaiah, "Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman's Field. 4 Say to him, 'Be careful, keep calm and don't be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah's son have plotted your ruin, saying, 6 "Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it." 7 Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
"'It will not take place,it will not happen, 8 for the head of Aram is Damascus,and the head of Damascus is only Rezin.Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people. 9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria,and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah's son.If you do not stand firm in your faith,you will not stand at all.'"
10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, 11 "Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights."
12 But Ahaz said, "I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test."
13 Then Isaiah said, "Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 15 He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right. 16 But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. 17 The LORD will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah he will bring the king of Assyria."
18 In that day the LORD will whistle for flies from the distant streams of Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria. 19 They will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices in the rocks, on all the thornbushes and at all the water holes. 20 In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the River the king of Assyria to shave your head and the hair of your legs, and to take off your beards also. 21 In that day, a man will keep alive a young cow and two goats. 22 And because of the abundance of the milk they give, he will have curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey. 23 In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be only briers and thorns. 24 Men will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns. 25 As for all the hills once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the briers and thorns; they will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run.
8:1 The LORD said to me, "Take a large scroll and write on it with an
ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. 2 And I will call in Uriah the priest and
Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me."
3 Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the LORD said to me, "Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. 4 Before the boy knows how to say 'My father' or 'My mother,' the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria."
5 The LORD spoke to me again:
6 "Because this people has rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoices over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, 7 therefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the River the king of Assyria with all his pomp.It will overflow all its channels,run over all its banks 8 and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it,passing through it and reaching up to the neck.Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land,O Immanuel!"
9 Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered!Listen, all you distant lands.Prepare for battle, and be shattered!Prepare for battle, and be shattered! 10 Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted;propose your plan, but it will not stand,for God is with us.
11 The LORD spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said:
12 "Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy;do not fear what they fear,and do not dread it. 13 The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,he is the one you are to fear,he is the one you are to dread, 14 and he will be a sanctuary;but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare. 15 Many of them will stumble;they will fall and be broken,they will be snared and captured."
16 Bind up the testimony and seal up the law among my disciples. 17 I will wait for the LORD,who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob.I will put my trust in him.
18 Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.
19 When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.
2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you
used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the
kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our
sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were
by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who
is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it
is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated
us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming
ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness
to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and
this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- 9 not by works, so that no
one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do
good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)- 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Part 4 of 4
The book of Isaiah also has some wonderful words of comfort and encouragement prophesying a time to come:
Select: First Reading Second Reading Bible Background