Isaiah 44

1“Jacob, you are my servant. Listen to me! Israel, I chose you. Hear the things I say! 2I am the Lord, and I made you. I am the One who made you to be what you are. I have helped you since the time you were in your mother’s body. Jacob, my servant, don’t be afraid. Jeshurun, I chose you. 3“I will pour water for thirsty people. I will make streams flow on dry land. I will pour my Spirit on your children—it will be like a stream of water flowing over your family. 4They will grow among the people in the world. They will be like trees growing beside streams of water. 5“One person will say, 'I belong to the Lord.’ Another person will use the name 'Jacob.’ Another person will sign his name 'I am the Lord’s.’ And another person will use the name 'Israel.’” 6The Lord is the king of Israel. The Lord All-Powerful saves Israel. The Lord says, “I am the only God. There are no other gods. I am the Beginning and the End. 7There is no other God like me. If there is, then that god should speak now. That god should come and show proof that he is like me. That god should tell me what has happened since the time I made these ancient people. That god should give signs to show that he knows what will happen in the future. 8Don’t be afraid! Don’t worry! I have always told you what will happen. You are my witnesses. There is no other God—I am the only One. There is no other 'Rock’—I know I am the only One.” 9Some people make statues ˻(false gods)˼—but they are worthless. People love those statues—but the statues are useless. Those people are the witnesses of the statues—but they can’t see. They know nothing—they don’t know enough to be ashamed ˻of the things they do˼. 10Who made these false gods? Who made these useless statues? 11Workers made those gods! And all those workers are people—˻not gods˼. If all of those people would come together ˻and discuss these things˼, then they would all be ashamed and afraid. 12One worker uses his tools to heat iron over hot coals. This man uses his hammer to beat the metal, and the metal becomes a statue. This man uses his own powerful arms. But when the man becomes hungry, he loses his power. If the man does not drink water, he becomes weak. 13Another worker uses his stringline and compass to draw lines on the wood. ˻This shows where he should cut˼. Then the man uses his chisels and cuts a statue from the wood. He uses his calipers to measure the statue. This way, the worker makes the wood look exactly like a man. And this statue of a man does nothing but sit in its house. 14A man cuts down cedar, cypress, or maybe oak trees. (That man did not make the trees grow—those trees grew by their own power in the forest. If a man plants a pine tree, the rain makes the tree grow.) 15Then that man uses the tree to burn in his fire. The man cuts the tree into small pieces of wood. And he uses the wood to cook and keep him warm. The man starts a fire with some of the wood and bakes his bread. But the man still uses part of that wood to make a god—and the man worships that god! That god is a statue that the man made—but the man bows down before the statue! 16The man burns half of the wood in the fire. The man uses the fire to cook his meat and eats the meat until he is full. The man burns the wood to keep himself warm. The man says, “Good! Now I am warm, and I can see because there is light from the fire.” 17But a little wood is left, so the man makes a statue from that wood and calls it his god. He bows down before this god and worships it. The man prays to the god and says, “You are my god, save me!” 18Those people don’t know what they are doing. They don’t understand! It is like their eyes are covered so they can’t see. Their hearts ˻(minds)˼ don’t try to understand. 19Those people have not thought about these things. The people don’t understand, so they have never thought to themselves, “I burned half of the wood in the fire. I used the hot coals to bake my bread and cook my meat. Then I ate the meat. And I used the wood that was left to make this terrible thing. I am worshiping a block of wood!” 20That man does not know what he is doing. He is confused, so his heart leads him the wrong way. That man can’t save himself. And he can’t see that he is doing wrong. That man will not say, “This statue I am holding is a false god.” 21“Jacob, remember these things! Israel, remember, you are my servant. I made you. You are my servant. So Israel, don’t forget me. 22Your sins were like a big cloud. But I wiped away those sins. Your sins are gone, like a cloud that disappeared into thin air. I rescued and protected you, so come back to me!” 23The skies are happy because the Lord did great things. The earth is happy, even deep down under the earth! The mountains sing with thanks to God. All the trees in the forest are happy! Why? Because the Lord saved Jacob. The Lord did great things for Israel. 24The Lord made you what you are. The Lord did this while you were still in your mother’s body. The Lord says, “I, the Lord, made everything! I put the skies there myself! I spread the earth before me.” 25False prophets tell lies, but the Lord shows their lies are false. The Lord makes foolish people of the men that do magic. The Lord confuses even wise men. They think they know much, but the Lord makes them look foolish. 26The Lord sends his servants to tell messages to the people. And the Lord makes those messages true. The Lord sends messengers to tell the people the things they should do. And the Lord shows their advice is good. The Lord says to Jerusalem, ”People will live in you again!” The Lord says to the cities of Judah, ”You will be built again!” The Lord says to the cities that were destroyed, “I will make you cities again!” 27The Lord tells the deep waters, ”Become dry! I will make your streams dry too!” 28The Lord says to Cyrus, ”You are my shepherd. You will do the things I want. You will say to Jerusalem, 'You will be built again!’ You will tell the temple, 'Your foundations will be built again!’”

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