I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 1:1-2

Isaiah 46-48

Isaiah 46

Babylon’s Idols

1 Bel and Nebo,
the gods of Babylon
now bow and stoop.
Their idols are carried by beasts
and livestock.
The carved images that you once carried around have become heavy loads,
a burden for the weary.
2 Stooped and bowed, they go down together.
They could not rescue,
but they themselves are carried into captivity.

3 “Listen to me, house of Jacob,
and all the remnant of the house of Israel,
that have been carried from their birth,
that have been carried from the womb.
4 Even to your aged years I am he,
and even when your hair turns grey I will carry you.
I have made you, and I will bear you up.
Yes, I will carry you and will deliver you.

5 “To whom will you compare me and consider my equal,
comparing me, as if we were the same?
6 Some pour out gold from the bag,
and weigh silver in the balance.
They hire a goldsmith,
and he makes it a god.
They fall down—
yes, they worship.
7 They bear it on their shoulder.
They carry it, and set it in its place, and it stands there.
It cannot move from its place.
Yes, one may cry to it, yet it can not answer.
It cannot save him from his trouble.

8 “Remember this and take your stand.
Recall it to mind, you sinners.
9 Remember the former things of old:
for I am God, and there is no other.
I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I declare the end from the beginning,
and from ancient times things that have not yet been done.
I say: My counsel will stand,
and I will do all that I please.
11 I call a ravenous bird from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
Yes, I have spoken.
I will also bring it to pass.
I have planned it.
I will also do it.

12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,
who are far from righteousness!
13 I bring my righteousness near.
It is not far off,
and my salvation will not be delayed.
I will grant salvation to Zion,
my glory to Israel.

Isaiah 47

The Fall of Babylon Predicted

1 “Come down and sit in the dust, virgin daughter of Babylon.
Sit on the ground without a throne, daughter of the Chaldeans.
For you will no longer be called tender and delicate.
2 Take the millstones and grind flour.
Remove your veil, lift up your skirt, uncover your legs,
and wade through the rivers.
3 Your nakedness will be uncovered.
Yes, your shame will be seen.
I will take vengeance,
and will spare no one.”

4 Our Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts is his name,
is the Holy One of Israel.

5 “Sit in silence; retreat to darkness,
daughter of the Chaldeans.
For you shall no longer be called
queen of kingdoms.
6 I was angry with my people.
I profaned my own possession
and put them in your hands.
You showed them no mercy.
Even the elderly, you treated harshly.
7 You said, ‘I will be queen forever!’,
not taking these things to heart,
nor thinking about the consequences.

8 “Now therefore hear this, you who are given to pleasures,
who sit securely,
who say in your heart,
‘I am, and there is no one else besides me.
I will never be a widow,
neither will I know the loss of children.’
9 But these two things will come to you in a moment in one day,
the loss of children and widowhood.
They will come on you in their full measure,
in the midst of all your sorceries,
and the enormity of your enchantments.
10 For you have trusted in your wickedness.
You have said, ‘No one sees me.’
Your wisdom and your knowledge has perverted you.
You have said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me.’
11 Therefore disaster will come upon you.
You won’t know when it dawns.
Calamity will come upon you.
You won’t be able to charm it away.
Devastation will suddenly come upon you,
that you didn’t expect and don’t understand.

12 “Stand now with your spells
and with your many sorceries,
in which you have labored from your youth,
as if you might profit,
as if you might prevail.
13 You are worn and weary from all the counsel.
Now let the astrologers, the stargazers, and the monthly prognosticators, stand up and save you from the things that will happen to you.
14 They are like stubble.
The fire will burn them.
They won’t deliver themselves from the power of the flame.
There won’t be a coal to warm at
or a fire to sit by.
15 The things that you labored in will be like this:
those you have labored with from your youth will each wander in his own way.
There will be no one to save you.

Isaiah 48

Israel’s Stubbornness

1 “Hear this, house of Jacob,
you who are called by the name of Israel,
and have come out of the waters of Judah.
You swear by the Lord’s name,
and make mention of the God of Israel,
but not in truth, nor in righteousness—
2 for they call themselves citizens of the holy city,
and rely on the God of Israel;
the Lord of Hosts is his name.
3 I foretold things of old.
Yes, they came from my mouth, and I revealed them.
Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.
4 Because I knew that you are obstinate,
and your neck is an iron sinew,
and your brow bronze;
5 therefore long ago, before it happened, I declared it to you;
before it came to pass I revealed it;
lest you should say, ‘My idol has done this.
My engraved image and my molten image has commanded them.’
6 You have heard all this.
And have now seen all this.
Will you not admit it?

“From this time forth, I will reveal new things to you,
hidden things, which you did not know.
7 They are newly created, and not from of old.
Before today, you hadn’t heard of them,
lest you should say, ‘See, I knew them.’
8 Yes, you didn’t hear of it.
Yes, you didn’t know of it.
Yes, from of old your ear was not opened,
for I knew that you dealt deceitfully,
and from birth, have been known as a sinner.
9 For my name’s sake, I will defer my anger,
and for my praise, I hold it back for you
so that I don’t cut you off.
10 I have refined you,
but not as silver.
I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For my own sake,
for my own sake, I will do it;
for how would my name be profaned?
I will not give my glory to another.

12 “Listen to me, O Jacob,
and Israel my called:
I am he.
I am the first.
I am also the last.
13 Yes, my hand has laid the foundation of the earth,
and my right hand has spread out the heavens.
when I call to them, they stand up together.

14 “Assemble yourselves, all of you, and hear this!
Who among them has declared these things?
He whom the Lord loves will do what he likes to Babylon,
and his arm will be against the Chaldeans.
15 I, even I, have spoken.
Yes, I have called him.
I have brought him
and he shall make his way prosperous.
16 “Come near to me and hear this:

“From the beginning I have not spoken in secret;
from the time that it happened, I was there.”

Now the Lord God has sent me
with his Spirit.

17 The Lord,
your Redeemer,
the Holy One of Israel says:
“I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you to profit,
who leads you by the way that you should go.
18 Oh that you had listened to my commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
19 Your offspring also would have been as the sand
and the descendants of your body like its grains.
His name would not be cut off nor destroyed from before me.”

20 Leave Babylon!
Flee from the Chaldeans!
With a voice of singing announce this,
tell it even to the end of the earth:
say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!”
21 They didn’t thirst when he led them through the deserts.
He caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them.
He also split the rock and the waters gushed out.

22 “There is no peace for the wicked,” says the Lord.

Ephesians 4:1-16

1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, even as you also were called in one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all, and in us all. 7 But to each one of us, the grace was given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8 Therefore he says,

“When he ascended on high,
he led captivity captive,
and gave gifts to people.”

9 Now this, “He ascended”, what is it but that he also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.

11 He gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, shepherds and teachers;
12 for the perfecting of the saints, to the work of serving, to the building up of the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 that we may no longer be children, tossed back and forth and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; 15 but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him who is the head, Christ, 16 from whom all the body, being fitted and knit together through that which every joint supplies, according to the working in measure of each individual part, makes the body increase to the building up of itself in love.

Psalm 68:19-35

19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burdens,
the God who is our salvation.
Selah.

20 God is to us a God of deliverance.
The Sovereign Lord delivers us from death.
21 But God will strike through the heads of his enemies,
the hairy crown of those who continue in their guilt.
22 The Lord said, “I will bring you back from Bashan,
I will bring you back from the depths of the sea,
23 that you may crush them, dipping your foot in blood,
that the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from your enemies.”
24 They have seen your processions, God,
even the processions of my God, my King, into the sanctuary.
25 The singers went before, the minstrels followed after,
among the ladies playing tambourines,
26 “Bless God in the congregations,
even the Lord in the assembly of Israel!”
27 There is little Benjamin, their ruler,
the princes of Judah, their council,
the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali.

28 Your God has commanded your strength.
Strengthen, God, that which you have done for us.
29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem,
kings shall bring presents to you.
30 Rebuke the wild animal of the reeds,
the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the peoples.
Being humbled, may it bring bars of silver.
Scatter the nations that delight in war.
31 Princes shall come out of Egypt.
Ethiopia shall hurry to stretch out her hands to God.
32 Sing to the Lord, you kingdoms of the earth!
Sing praises to the Lord!
Selah.

33 To him who rides on the heaven of heavens, which are of old;
listen, he utters his voice, a mighty voice.
34 Ascribe power to God!
His excellency is over Israel,
his strength is in the heavens.
35 You are awesome, God, in your sanctuaries.
The God of Israel gives strength and power to his people.
Praise be to God!

Proverbs 24:3-4

3 Through wisdom a house is built;
by understanding it is established;
4 by knowledge the rooms are filled
with all rare and beautiful treasure.

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