1 “Comfort, yes, comfort My people,” says God.†
2 “O priests, speak to the heart of Jerusalem, comfort her, for her humiliation is ended, her sin is pardoned; for she received from the Lord’s hand double for her sins.”
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight the paths of our God.†
4 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill humbled; the crooked places shall be made straight, and the rough places into plains.
5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God; for the Lord has spoken.”
6 The voice said, “Cry out.” So I said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is grass, and all man’s glory is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades,
8 but the word of our God abides forever.’
9 O you who bring good tidings to Zion, go into the high mountain; O you who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid. Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God.”†
10 Behold, the Lord is coming with strength, and His arm is with authority. Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.†
bookmarked11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd and gather the lambs with His arm; and He will comfort those with young.†
12 Who measured the water in His hand, and heaven with a span, and all the earth with a handful? Who weighed the mountains in scales and the vales in a balance?
13 Who knows the Lord’s mind, and who was His counselor; who advises Him?
14 Or with whom does He take counsel, who instructs Him, and who teaches Him judgment and shows Him the way of understanding?
15 The nations are as a drop in a bucket and are counted as the balance of a scale; and they are counted as spittle.
16 Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor its four-footed animals sufficient for a whole burnt offering.
17 All nations are as nothing and are counted as nothing.
18 To whom then will you liken the Lord, and to what likeness will you compare Him?
19 Has the workman made an image, or has the goldsmith overspread it with gold, gilding it, making a likeness of Him?
20 For the workman chooses wood that will not rot, and skillfully seeks to prepare a carved image that will not totter.
21 Will you not know? Will you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Do you not know the foundations of the earth?
22 It is He who possesses the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers. It is He who stretches out heaven like a vault, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.†
23 He makes the rulers He establishes to rule to be as nothing; He makes the earth as nothing.
24 Scarcely shall they be planted, scarcely shall they be sown, scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, when He shall also blow on them and they will wither, and the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.
25 “Now then, to whom will you liken Me, that I should be exalted?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high, and see. Who displayed these things? He who brings forth their host by number; He who calls them all by name. From the greatness of His glory to the strength of His might, nothing escapes Your notice.
27 For why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, saying, “My way is hidden from God, and my God took away my judgment and departed”?
28 So then, have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the God who created the ends of the earth, neither hungers nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives strength to the hungry, and sorrow to those who do not grieve.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the elect shall be without strength.
31 But those who wait on God shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not hunger.
1 A prayer by David. †Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear me, For I am poor and needy.
2 Guard my soul, for I am holy; O my God, save Your servant, who hopes in You.
3 Have mercy on me, O Lord, For all the day long I will cry to You.
4 Gladden the soul of Your servant, O Lord, For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
5 For You, O Lord, are kind and good, And very merciful to all who call upon You.
6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer And heed the voice of my supplication.
7 In the day of my affliction I cried to You, For You heard me.
8 There is none like You among the gods, O Lord, And there are no works like Your works.
9 All the Gentiles You made shall come And worship before You, O Lord, And they shall glorify Your name;
10 For You are great, doing wonders; You alone are the great God.
11 Lead me in Your way, O Lord, And I will walk in Your truth; Gladden my heart so as to fear Your name.
12 I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, And I shall glorify Your name forever;
13 For great is Your mercy to me, And You rescued my soul from the lowest Hades.
14 O God, lawless men rose up against me, And a gathering of strong men sought my soul; And they did not set You before them.
15 But You, O Lord, are compassionate and merciful, Longsuffering and very merciful and truthful.
16 Look upon me and have mercy; Give Your strength to Your servant, And save the son of Your handmaid.
17 Work a sign in my midst for good, And let those who hate me see it and be disgraced; For You, O Lord, helped me and comforted me.
Proverbs of Solomon 18
Words and Works
1 A man seeks a pretext when he wishes to separate from his friends, But he shall be reproached at every opportunity.†
2 A man lacking understanding has no need of wisdom, For he is rather led by lack of discernment.
3 When an ungodly man comes into the depth of evil things, he acts contemptuously, But dishonor and reproach come upon him.
4 A word in the heart of a man is deep water, And a river and a fountain of life spring up from it.†
5 It is not good to admire the person of the ungodly, Nor is it holy to pervert righteousness in judgment.
Paul’s Concern for Their Salvation
1 For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh,
2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,
3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.†
4 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.
5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
Against False Theology
6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;†
10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,†
12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.†
Against False Spirituality
16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,†
17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.
20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—
21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”
22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men?
23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.