1 Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant, and Israel, whom I chose.
2 Thus says the Lord God who made you, and formed you from the womb: “You will yet be helped; fear not, Jacob My servant, and Israel, My beloved, whom I chose.
3 For I will give water to the thirsty who walk in a waterless place. I will put My Spirit upon your seed and My blessings upon your children.†
4 They will spring up like grass in the midst of the water and like willows by the flowing water.
5 One will say, ‘I am God’s,’ and will call himself by the name of Jacob. Another will write, ‘I am God’s,’ and call himself by the name of Israel.”
6 Thus says God, the King of Israel who delivers him, the God of hosts: “I am the first and the last; besides Me there is no God.†
7 Who is just as I am? Then let him stand, let him call and prepare for Me that from which I made man forever, and let them declare to you the things that are coming before they come.†
8 Do not hide yourselves. Have you not paid attention from the beginning, and have I not declared it to you? You are My witnesses, if there is a God besides Me? Indeed there was none.
9 All who form and carve gods are useless, and they desire things which shall not profit them; but they will be ashamed.
10 They all create a god and carve unprofitable things.
11 All by whom they were made are withered, and let all the deaf among men be gathered together. Let them stand together, and be ashamed and dishonored together.
12 For the craftsman sharpens his iron tool, and fashions the idol with his axe, and pierces it with the awl. He works it with the strength of his arm, and will hunger and grow weak, and will not drink water.
13 The craftsman selects his wood and stretches out his rule, and fits it with glue. He makes it like the form of a man and according to the bloom of youth, to set it up in the house.
14 The wood he cut from the forest which the Lord planted, and the rain made it grow,
15 so as to be for men to burn and to take some of it to warm himself. They kindle it, and bake bread for themselves; but he works into gods what is left and worships them.
16 They burn half of it in the fire, and with the other half they bake bread for themselves. They roast meat on it, eat and are satisfied. He even warms himself and says, ‘I am comfortable, because I am warm, and have seen the fire.’
17 And the rest of it he makes into a carved god, and worships it and prays to it, and says, ‘Deliver me, for you are my god.’
18 They do not know how to discern because they shut their eyes, so as not to see with their eyes or understand with their heart.
19 No one considered in his heart, neither pondered in his soul, nor knew in his discernment, that he burned half of it in the fire, baked bread on its coals, roasted meat and ate, and then made the rest of it an abomination; and they worship it.
20 Know this: their heart is ashes; they go astray, and no one can deliver his soul. See, you will not say, ‘There is a lie in my right hand.’
21 “Remember these things, O Jacob and Israel, for you are My servant; I formed you to be My servant; therefore, you, O Israel, do not forget Me.†
22 For behold, I blotted out your lawlessness like a cloud and your sins like darkness. Return to Me, and I will redeem you.
23 Be glad, O heavens, for the Lord had mercy on Israel. Sound the trumpet, you foundations of the earth; shout with gladness, you mountains and hills and every tree on them. For God redeemed Jacob, and Israel will be glorified.”
24 Thus says the Lord, who redeems you and forms you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who accomplishes all things, who alone stretched out the heavens and established the earth.
25 Who else will scatter abroad the sign of ventriloquists and the divinations from their heart, turning their shrewd men backward and making their counsel foolishness?
26 Who else establishes the word of His servant, proving the counsel of His messengers to be true? Who else says to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be inhabited,’ and to the cities of Judah, ‘You shall be built, and the desert places shall spring forth’?
27 Who else says to the deep, ‘You shall be dried up, and I will dry up your rivers’?
28 Who else tells Cyrus to be wise, and do all My will, and says to Jerusalem, ‘You will be built, and I shall lay the foundation of My holy house’?”†
20 Then You spoke to Your holy ones in a vision, And You said, “I established help for a mighty one; I raised up a chosen one from My people;
21 I found David My servant; I anointed him with My holy oil.
22 For My hand shall support him, And My arm shall strengthen him.
23 The enemy shall have no advantage against him, And the son of lawlessness shall not continue doing evil to him;
24 I will cut his enemies to pieces before his face, And I shall put to flight those who hate him.
25 My truth and My mercy are with him, And in My name shall his horn be exalted;
26 I will put his hand in the sea And his right hand in the rivers.
27 He shall call upon Me, saying, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the protector of my salvation’;
28 I shall make him, my firstborn, Higher than the kings of the earth.
29 I shall keep My mercy for him forever, And My covenant shall be trustworthy with him.
30 I shall establish his seed unto ages of ages And his throne as the days of heaven.
31 If his sons forsake My law And do not walk in My judgments,
32 If they profane My ordinances And do not keep My commandments,
33 I shall visit their transgressions with a rod And their sins with a whip;
34 But I will not turn away My mercy from him, Nor will I act unjustly with My truth,
35 Nor will I profane My covenant, And I will not reject the things that proceeded from My lips.
36 Once for all I swore in My holy place, That I would not lie to David:
37 His seed shall remain forever, And his throne as the sun before Me,
38 And as the moon that is established forever And is a faithful witness in heaven.” (Pause)
Proverbs of Solomon 19
Mercy and Malice
1 A man’s lack of discernment maltreats his ways, And in his heart he blames God.†
2 Wealth adds many friends, But the poor man is even forsaken by an existing friend.
3 A false witness shall not be unpunished, And he who accuses unrighteously shall not escape.
4 Many men serve in the presence of kings, But every evil man becomes a reproach to another man.
5 Every man who hates his poor brother, He shall be far from friendship.
6 Good understanding will draw near those who know it, And a man with discernment will find it.†
1 Thessalonians 2
Defense of Paul’s Past Work
1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain.†
2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.†
3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit.
4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.†
5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness.
6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.
7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.†
8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.
9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.
10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe;
11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children,†
12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
Fruit of Paul’s Work: They Endured Persecution
13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans,†
15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men,
16 forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.
Paul’s Present Relationship with Thessalonica
17 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire.
18 Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us.†
19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?†
20 For you are our glory and joy.