My words will be italicized wherever they appear. Should the Bible be italicized near my words, I’ll do something to differentiate them.
There Will Be Nothing Left
1 Sometime later, King Merodach-baladan son of Baladan of Babylon sent messengers with greetings and a gift to Hezekiah. He had heard that Hezekiah had been sick and was now well.
2 Hezekiah received the messengers warmly. He took them on a tour of his royal precincts, proudly showing them all his treasures: silver, gold, spices, expensive oils, all his weapons—everything out on display. There was nothing in his house or kingdom that Hezekiah didn’t show them.
3 Later the prophet Isaiah showed up. He asked Hezekiah, “What were these men up to? What did they say? And where did they come from?”
Hezekiah said, “They came from a long way off, from Babylon.”
4 “And what did they see in your palace?”
“Everything,” said Hezekiah. “I showed them the works, opened all the doors and impressed them with it all.”
5-7 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Now listen to this Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies: I have to warn you, the time is coming when everything in this palace, along with everything your ancestors accumulated before you, will be hauled off to Babylon. God says that there will be nothing left. Nothing. And not only your things but your sons. Some of your sons will be taken into exile, ending up as eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”
8 Hezekiah replied to Isaiah, “Good. If God says so, it’s good.” Within himself he was thinking, “But surely nothing bad will happen in my lifetime. I’ll enjoy peace and stability as long as I live.”
Make it make sense please. Sigh.
Messages of Comfort
Prepare for God’s Arrival
1-2 “Comfort, oh comfort my people,”
says your God.
“Speak softly and tenderly to Jerusalem,
but also make it very clear
That she has served her sentence,
that her sin is taken care of—forgiven!
She’s been punished enough and more than enough,
and now it’s over and done with.”
3-5 Thunder in the desert!
“Prepare for God’s arrival!
Make the road straight and smooth,
a highway fit for our God.
Fill in the valleys,
level off the hills,
Smooth out the ruts,
clear out the rocks.
Then God’s bright glory will shine
and everyone will see it.
Yes. Just as God has said.”
Get things ready for an appearance by the most important One.
6-8 A voice says, “Shout!”
I said, “What shall I shout?”
“These people are nothing but grass,
their love fragile as wildflowers.
The grass withers, the wildflowers fade,
if God so much as puffs on them.
Aren’t these people just so much grass?
True, the grass withers and the wildflowers fade,
but our God’s Word stands firm and forever.”
9-11 Climb a high mountain, Zion.
You’re the preacher of good news.
Raise your voice. Make it good and loud, Jerusalem.
You’re the preacher of good news.
Speak loud and clear. Don’t be timid!
Tell the cities of Judah,
“Look! Your God!”
Look at him! God, the Master, comes in power,
ready to go into action.
He is going to pay back his enemies
and reward those who have loved him.
Like a shepherd, he will care for his flock,
gathering the lambs in his arms,
Hugging them as he carries them,
leading the nursing ewes to good pasture.
The example for the world…
The Creator of All You Can See or Imagine
12-17 Who has scooped up the ocean
in his two hands,
or measured the sky between his thumb and little finger,
Who has put all the earth’s dirt in one of his baskets,
weighed each mountain and hill?
Who could ever have told God what to do
or taught him his business?
What expert would he have gone to for advice,
what school would he attend to learn justice?
What god do you suppose might have taught him what he knows,
showed him how things work?
Why, the nations are but a drop in a bucket,
a mere smudge on a window.
Watch him sweep up the islands
like so much dust off the floor!
There aren’t enough trees in Lebanon
nor enough animals in those vast forests
to furnish adequate fuel and offerings for his worship.
All the nations add up to simply nothing before him—
less than nothing is more like it. A minus.
The absolute magnificent and magnitude of God.
18-20 So who even comes close to being like God?
To whom or what can you compare him?
Some no-god idol? Ridiculous!
It’s made in a workshop, cast in bronze,
Given a thin veneer of gold,
and draped with silver filigree.
Or, perhaps someone will select a fine wood—
olive wood, say—that won’t rot,
Then hire a woodcarver to make a no-god,
giving special care to its base so it won’t tip over!
No lies detected.
21-24 Have you not been paying attention?
Have you not been listening?
Haven’t you heard these stories all your life?
Don’t you understand the foundation of all things?
God sits high above the round ball of earth.
The people look like mere ants.
He stretches out the skies like a canvas—
yes, like a tent canvas to live under.
He ignores what all the princes say and do.
The rulers of the earth count for nothing.
Princes and rulers don’t amount to much.
Like seeds barely rooted, just sprouted,
They shrivel when God blows on them.
Like flecks of chaff, they’re gone with the wind.
God is not bothered or.moved by anyone or anything claiming to have power of any kind because He trumps all.
25-26 “So—who is like me?
Who holds a candle to me?” says The Holy.
Look at the night skies:
Who do you think made all this?
Who marches this army of stars out each night,
counts them off, calls each by name
—so magnificent! so powerful!—
and never overlooks a single one?
Let the people know God.
27-31 Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,
or, whine, Israel, saying,
“God has lost track of me.
He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind.
Yas. Our memories are so short. How soon we forget.
Do You Feel Like a Lowly Worm?
1 “Quiet down, far-flung ocean islands. Listen!
Sit down and rest, everyone. Recover your strength.
Gather around me. Say what’s on your heart.
Together let’s decide what’s right.
The care and concern. While nothing that we say may change a thing, He cares about our feelings.
2-3 “Who got things rolling here,
got this champion from the east on the move?
Who recruited him for this job,
then rounded up and corralled the nations
so he could run roughshod over kings?
He’s off and running,
pulverizing nations into dust,
leaving only stubble and chaff in his wake.
He chases them and comes through unscathed,
his feet scarcely touching the path.
4 “Who did this? Who made it happen?
Who always gets things started?
I did. God. I’m first on the scene.
I’m also the last to leave.
5-7 “Far-flung ocean islands see it and panic.
The ends of the earth are shaken.
Fearfully they huddle together.
They try to help each other out,
making up stories in the dark.
The godmakers in the workshops
go into overtime production, crafting new models of no-gods,
Urging one another on—‘Good job!’ ‘Great design!’—
pounding in nails at the base
so that the things won’t tip over.
These people need constant reminders. Sounds a bit like…
8-10 “But you, Israel, are my servant.
You’re Jacob, my first choice,
descendants of my good friend Abraham.
I pulled you in from all over the world,
called you in from every dark corner of the earth,
Telling you, ‘You’re my servant, serving on my side.
I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’
Don’t panic. I’m with you.
There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.
11-13 “Count on it: Everyone who had it in for you
will end up out in the cold—
Those who worked against you
will end up empty-handed—
nothing to show for their lives.
When you go out looking for your old adversaries
you won’t find them—
Not a trace of your old enemies,
not even a memory.
That’s right. Because I, your God,
have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go.
I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic.
I’m right here to help you.’
14-16 “Do you feel like a lowly worm, Jacob?
Don’t be afraid.
Feel like a fragile insect, Israel?
I’ll help you.
I, God, want to reassure you.
The God who buys you back, The Holy of Israel.
I’m transforming you from worm to harrow,
from insect to iron.
As a sharp-toothed harrow you’ll smooth out the mountains,
turn those tough old hills into loamy soil.
You’ll open the rough ground to the weather,
to the blasts of sun and wind and rain.
But you’ll be confident and exuberant,
expansive in The Holy of Israel!
😍🥺 no words.
17-20 “The poor and homeless are desperate for water,
their tongues parched and no water to be found.
But I’m there to be found, I’m there for them,
and I, God of Israel, will not leave them thirsty.
I’ll open up rivers for them on the barren hills,
spout fountains in the valleys.
I’ll turn the baked-clay badlands into a cool pond,
the waterless waste into splashing creeks.
I’ll plant the red cedar in that treeless wasteland,
also acacia, myrtle, and olive.
I’ll place the cypress in the desert,
with plenty of oaks and pines.
Everyone will see this. No one can miss it—
unavoidable, indisputable evidence
That I, God, personally did this.
It’s created and signed by The Holy of Israel.
But. I’m. There.
21-24 “Set out your case for your gods,” says God.
“Bring your evidence,” says the King of Jacob.
“Take the stand on behalf of your idols, offer arguments,
Spread out the facts before us
so that we can assess them ourselves.
Ask them, ‘If you are gods, explain what the past means—
or, failing that, tell us what will happen in the future.
Can’t do that?
How about doing something—anything!
Good or bad—whatever.
Can you hurt us or help us? Do we need to be afraid?’
They say nothing, because they are nothing—
sham gods, no-gods, fool-making gods.
25-29 “I, God, started someone out from the north and he’s come.
He was called out of the east by name.
He’ll stomp the rulers into the mud
the way a potter works the clay.
Let me ask you, Did anyone guess that this might happen?
Did anyone tell us earlier so we might confirm it
with ‘Yes, he’s right!’?
No one mentioned it, no one announced it,
no one heard a peep out of you.
But I told Zion all about this beforehand.
I gave Jerusalem a preacher of good news.
But around here there’s no one—
no one who knows what’s going on.
I ask, but no one can tell me the score.
Nothing here. It’s all smoke and hot air—
sham gods, hollow gods, no-gods.”
Truth. God always gives truth. Even if it hurts