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First Reading: Isaiah Chapter 7 and 8

Isaiah 7

7:1 Isaiah Sent to King Ahaz
(2 Kings 16:5; 2 Chron 28:5-15)

Now it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to make war against it, but could not prevail against it. 2 And it was told to the house of David, saying, "Syria's forces are deployed in Ephraim." So his heart and the heart of his people were moved as the trees of the woods are moved with the wind.
3 Then the LORD said to Isaiah, "Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-Jashub your son, at the end of the aqueduct from the upper pool, on the highway to the Fuller's Field, 4 and say to him:'Take heed, and be quiet; do not fear or be fainthearted for these two stubs of smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and the son of Remaliah. 5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah have plotted evil against you, saying, 6 "Let us go up against Judah and trouble it, and let us make a gap in its wall for ourselves, and set a king over them, the son of Tabel" — 7 thus says the Lord GOD:
"It shall not stand,Nor shall it come to pass. 8 For the head of Syria is Damascus,And the head of Damascus is Rezin.Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be broken,So that it will not be a people. 9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria,And the head of Samaria is Remaliah's son.If you will not believe,Surely you shall not be established."'"
10 The Immanuel Prophecy

Moreover the LORD spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11 "Ask a sign for yourself from the LORD your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above."
12 But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, nor will I test the LORD!"
13 Then he said, "Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. 15 Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings. 17 The LORD will bring the king of Assyria upon you and your people and your father's house — days that have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah."
18 And it shall come to pass in that day That the LORD will whistle for the fly That is in the farthest part of the rivers of Egypt,And for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. 19 They will come, and all of them will rest In the desolate valleys and in the clefts of the rocks,And on all thorns and in all pastures.
20 In the same day the Lord will shave with a hired razor,With those from beyond the River, with the king of Assyria,The head and the hair of the legs,And will also remove the beard.
21 It shall be in that day That a man will keep alive a young cow and two sheep; 22 So it shall be, from the abundance of milk they give,That he will eat curds;For curds and honey everyone will eat who is left in the land.
23 It shall happen in that day,That wherever there could be a thousand vines Worth a thousand shekels of silver,It will be for briers and thorns. 24 With arrows and bows men will come there,Because all the land will become briers and thorns.
25 And to any hill which could be dug with the hoe,You will not go there for fear of briers and thorns;But it will become a range for oxen And a place for sheep to roam.

Isaiah 8

8:1 Assyria Will Invade the Land

Moreover the LORD said to me, "Take a large scroll, and write on it with a man's pen concerning Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. 2 And I will take for Myself faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah."
3 Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the LORD said to me, "Call his name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz; 4 for before the child shall have knowledge to cry 'My father' and 'My mother,' the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be taken away before the king of Assyria."
5 The LORD also spoke to me again, saying:
6 "Inasmuch as these people refused The waters of Shiloah that flow softly,And rejoice in Rezin and in Remaliah's son; 7 Now therefore, behold, the Lord brings up over them The waters of the River, strong and mighty —The king of Assyria and all his glory;He will go up over all his channels And go over all his banks. 8 He will pass through Judah,He will overflow and pass over,He will reach up to the neck;And the stretching out of his wings Will fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel.
9 "Be shattered, O you peoples, and be broken in pieces!Give ear, all you from far countries.Gird yourselves, but be broken in pieces;Gird yourselves, but be broken in pieces. 10 Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing;Speak the word, but it will not stand,For God is with us."
11 Fear God, Heed His Word

For the LORD spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying:
12 "Do not say, 'A conspiracy,'Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy,Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. 13 The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow;Let Him be your fear,And let Him be your dread. 14 He will be as a sanctuary,But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense To both the houses of Israel,As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 And many among them shall stumble;They shall fall and be broken,Be snared and taken."
16 Bind up the testimony,Seal the law among my disciples. 17 And I will wait on the LORD,Who hides His face from the house of Jacob;And I will hope in Him. 18 Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me!We are for signs and wonders in IsraelFrom the LORD of hosts,Who dwells in Mount Zion.
19 And when they say to you,"Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter," should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
21 They will pass through it hard-pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their king and their God, and look upward. 22 Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.

Second Reading: Ephesians Chapter 2

Ephesians 2

2:1 By Grace Through Faith

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
11 Brought Near by His Blood

Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh — who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands — 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 Christ Our Peace

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
19 Christ Our Cornerstone

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Bible Background



Part 4 of 4

The book of Isaiah also has some wonderful words of comfort and encouragement prophesying a time to come:


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