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First Reading: Isaiah Chapter 59 and 60

Isaiah 59

Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save,nor his ear too dull to hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God;your sins have hidden his face from you,so that he will not hear. 3 For your hands are stained with blood,your fingers with guilt.Your lips have spoken lies,and your tongue mutters wicked things. 4 No one calls for justice;no one pleads his case with integrity.They rely on empty arguments and speak lies;they conceive trouble and give birth to evil. 5 They hatch the eggs of vipers and spin a spider's web.Whoever eats their eggs will die,and when one is broken, an adder is hatched. 6 Their cobwebs are useless for clothing;they cannot cover themselves with what they make.Their deeds are evil deeds,and acts of violence are in their hands. 7 Their feet rush into sin;they are swift to shed innocent blood.Their thoughts are evil thoughts;ruin and destruction mark their ways. 8 The way of peace they do not know;there is no justice in their paths.They have turned them into crooked roads;no one who walks in them will know peace.
9 So justice is far from us,and righteousness does not reach us.We look for light, but all is darkness;for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. 10 Like the blind we grope along the wall,feeling our way like men without eyes.At midday we stumble as if it were twilight;among the strong, we are like the dead. 11 We all growl like bears;we moan mournfully like doves.We look for justice, but find none;for deliverance, but it is far away.
12 For our offenses are many in your sight,and our sins testify against us.Our offenses are ever with us,and we acknowledge our iniquities: 13 rebellion and treachery against the LORD,turning our backs on our God,fomenting oppression and revolt,uttering lies our hearts have conceived. 14 So justice is driven back,and righteousness stands at a distance;truth has stumbled in the streets,honesty cannot enter. 15 Truth is nowhere to be found,and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.
The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice. 16 He saw that there was no one,he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;so his own arm worked salvation for him,and his own righteousness sustained him. 17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate,and the helmet of salvation on his head;he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak. 18 According to what they have done,so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes;he will repay the islands their due. 19 From the west, men will fear the name of the LORD,and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the LORD drives along.
20 "The Redeemer will come to Zion,to those in Jacob who repent of their sins," declares the LORD.
21 "As for me, this is my covenant with them," says the LORD. "My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever," says the LORD.

Isaiah 60

"Arise, shine, for your light has come,and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples,but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. 3 Nations will come to your light,and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
4 "Lift up your eyes and look about you:All assemble and come to you;your sons come from afar,and your daughters are carried on the arm. 5 Then you will look and be radiant,your heart will throb and swell with joy;the wealth on the seas will be brought to you,to you the riches of the nations will come. 6 Herds of camels will cover your land,young camels of Midian and Ephah.And all from Sheba will come,bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the LORD. 7 All Kedar's flocks will be gathered to you,the rams of Nebaioth will serve you;they will be accepted as offerings on my altar,and I will adorn my glorious temple.
8 "Who are these that fly along like clouds,like doves to their nests? 9 Surely the islands look to me;in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your sons from afar,with their silver and gold,to the honor of the LORD your God,the Holy One of Israel,for he has endowed you with splendor.
10 "Foreigners will rebuild your walls,and their kings will serve you.Though in anger I struck you,in favor I will show you compassion. 11 Your gates will always stand open,they will never be shut, day or night,so that men may bring you the wealth of the nations — their kings led in triumphal procession. 12 For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish;it will be utterly ruined.
13 "The glory of Lebanon will come to you,the pine, the fir and the cypress together,to adorn the place of my sanctuary;and I will glorify the place of my feet. 14 The sons of your oppressors will come bowing before you;all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you the City of the LORD,Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
15 "Although you have been forsaken and hated,with no one traveling through,I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations. 16 You will drink the milk of nations and be nursed at royal breasts.Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior,your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. 17 Instead of bronze I will bring you gold,and silver in place of iron.Instead of wood I will bring you bronze,and iron in place of stones.I will make peace your governor and righteousness your ruler. 18 No longer will violence be heard in your land,nor ruin or destruction within your borders,but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise. 19 The sun will no more be your light by day,nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,for the LORD will be your everlasting light,and your God will be your glory. 20 Your sun will never set again,and your moon will wane no more;the LORD will be your everlasting light,and your days of sorrow will end. 21 Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever.They are the shoot I have planted,the work of my hands,for the display of my splendor. 22 The least of you will become a thousand,the smallest a mighty nation.I am the LORD;in its time I will do this swiftly."

Second Reading: Psalms Chapter 86

Psalms 86

86:1 A prayer of David.

Hear, O LORD, and answer me,for I am poor and needy. 2 Guard my life, for I am devoted to you.You are my God; save your servant who trusts in you. 3 Have mercy on me, O Lord,for I call to you all day long. 4 Bring joy to your servant,for to you, O Lord,I lift up my soul.
5 You are forgiving and good, O Lord,abounding in love to all who call to you. 6 Hear my prayer, O LORD;listen to my cry for mercy. 7 In the day of my trouble I will call to you,for you will answer me.
8 Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord;no deeds can compare with yours. 9 All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord;they will bring glory to your name. 10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds;you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD,and I will walk in your truth;give me an undivided heart,that I may fear your name. 12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;I will glorify your name forever. 13 For great is your love toward me;you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.
14 The arrogant are attacking me, O God;a band of ruthless men seeks my life — men without regard for you. 15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. 16 Turn to me and have mercy on me;grant your strength to your servant and save the son of your maidservant. 17 Give me a sign of your goodness,that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

Bible Background



The word of God is described in Hebrews 4:12 - "The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

The Bible is the word of God. But it is only one manifestation of the "word" of God. Listen to these verses:

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