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Isaiah 57-58 New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

57 The righteous perish,
    and no one takes it to heart;
the devout are taken away,
    and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away
    to be spared from evil.
Those who walk uprightly
    enter into peace;
    they find rest as they lie in death.

‘But you – come here, you children of a sorceress,
    you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes!
Who are you mocking?
    At whom do you sneer
    and stick out your tongue?
Are you not a brood of rebels,
    the offspring of liars?
You burn with lust among the oaks
    and under every spreading tree;
you sacrifice your children in the ravines
    and under the overhanging crags.
The idols among the smooth stones of the ravines are your portion;
    indeed, they are your lot.
Yes, to them you have poured out drink offerings
    and offered grain offerings.
    In view of all this, should I relent?
You have made your bed on a high and lofty hill;
    there you went up to offer your sacrifices.
Behind your doors and your doorposts
    you have put your pagan symbols.
Forsaking me, you uncovered your bed,
    you climbed into it and opened it wide;
you made a pact with those whose beds you love,
    and you looked with lust on their naked bodies.
You went to Molek[a] with olive oil
    and increased your perfumes.
You sent your ambassadors[b] far away;
    you descended to the very realm of the dead!
10 You wearied yourself by such going about,
    but you would not say, “It is hopeless.”
You found renewal of your strength,
    and so you did not faint.

11 ‘Whom have you so dreaded and feared
    that you have not been true to me,
and have neither remembered me
    nor taken this to heart?
Is it not because I have long been silent
    that you do not fear me?
12 I will expose your righteousness and your works,
    and they will not benefit you.
13 When you cry out for help,
    let your collection of idols save you!
The wind will carry all of them off,
    a mere breath will blow them away.
But whoever takes refuge in me
    will inherit the land
    and possess my holy mountain.’

Comfort for the contrite

14 And it will be said:

‘Build up, build up, prepare the road!
    Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.’
15 For this is what the high and exalted One says –
    he who lives for ever, whose name is holy:
‘I live in a high and holy place,
    but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
    and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 I will not accuse them for ever,
    nor will I always be angry,
for then they would faint away because of me –
    the very people I have created.
17 I was enraged by their sinful greed;
    I punished them, and hid my face in anger,
    yet they kept on in their wilful ways.
18 I have seen their ways, but I will heal them;
    I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners,
19     creating praise on their lips.
Peace, peace, to those far and near,’
    says the Lord. ‘And I will heal them.’
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea,
    which cannot rest,
    whose waves cast up mire and mud.
21 ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.’

True fasting

58 ‘Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
    Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
    and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
    they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
    and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
    and seem eager for God to come near them.
“Why have we fasted,” they say,
    “and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
    and you have not noticed?”

‘Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
    and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarrelling and strife,
    and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
    and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
    only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
    and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
    a day acceptable to the Lord?

‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter –
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[c] will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: here am I.

‘If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 ‘If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
    and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
    and the Lord’s holy day honourable,
and if you honour it by not going your own way
    and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
    and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
    and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.’
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 57:9 Or to the king
  2. Isaiah 57:9 Or idols
  3. Isaiah 58:8 Or your righteous One
New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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