Isaiah 48

The Lord warns his people

1 Listen to this, family of Jacob. You are called ‘Israel’, and you are Judah's descendants. You use the name of the Lord when you make promises. You pray to Israel's God. But you do not do those things honestly and fairly. 2 Your people are proud to say that they live in the holy city. They trust in Israel's God, whose name is the Lord Almighty.

48:1Jacob was the ancestor of the Israelite people. God gave to him the new name ‘Israel’. Judah was one of Jacob's 12 sons.

3 The Lord says to his people,

‘I already spoke about things that would happen at a future time.

A long time ago I told you what would happen.

Then I suddenly did my work,

and I caused those things to happen!

4 I did it because I know what you are like.

You refuse to obey me.

You do not want to change the way that you live.

Your neck is like iron and it will not bend!

Your head is as hard as bronze!

5 So I told you about these things a long time ago.

Before they happened, I told you about them.

Then you could not say, “My idol did them.

Yes, my wooden image and my idol made of metal

decided that these things would happen.”

6 You heard what I said would happen,

and now you have seen it happen.

Agree that what I say is true!

Now I will tell you about new things that will happen.

They are secret things that you do not yet know about.

7 They are not things that started long ago.

I am causing them to happen now.

You did not hear about them before today.

So you cannot say, “Yes, I already knew about them.”

8 You have not heard about them before.

You know nothing about them.

From long ago you refused to listen to me.

I know that you are never honest.

Since you first became a nation,

you have refused to obey me.

9 Because of who I am,

I will keep my anger until later.

I will not destroy you now,

so that people will praise my name.

10 Listen! I have made you pure.

But I have not done it in the way that people make silver pure.

Instead, I have sent pain and trouble to you.

That is how I make you pure.

11 I do these things to show who I am.

That is why I do it!

I will not let people insult my good name.

I will not let anybody else share my glory.

12 So listen to me, descendants of Jacob!

I called you to belong to me, you Israelite people.

I am the only One.

I am the first, and I am also the last.

13 I created the earth with my own hand.

With my right hand, I hung up the sky like a curtain.

When I call to the stars,

they all appear in their places.

14 All of you, come together and listen to me.

Not one of your idols has said

what will happen now.

I, the Lord, have chosen a friend to attack Babylon.

He will do what I want.

He will have the power to punish the Babylonians.

15 Yes, that is what I have commanded.

I have called him to do this work.

I have shown him what he must do,

and he will do it!

16 Come near to me! Listen to my message!

From the beginning, I have not spoken secretly.

When these things happen, I will already be there.’

Now the Lord God has sent me, with the power of his Spirit.

48:16These may be the words of Isaiah, as he brings God's message to his people. Or they may be the words of Cyrus, the king that God had chosen to punish the Babylonians.

17 The Lord is your Redeemer, Israel's Holy God. He says,

‘I am the Lord your God.

I teach you what will be good for you.

I lead you along a good path in life.

18 You should have obeyed my commands.

Then you would have had peace in your lives,

like a river that runs quietly.

You would have been safe and well,

like the strong waves in the sea.

19 You would have had many descendants,

as much as the sand on the shore of the sea.

I would not need to destroy them.

Their family name would continue for ever.’

20 Now leave Babylon as free people!

No longer serve the Babylonians!

Shout the news with joy!

Tell everyone about it, all over the world.

Tell them that the Lord has redeemed his people,

his servants, the Israelites.

21 When he led them through the desert,

they did not become thirsty.

He broke open a rock for them,

so that water poured out.

They could drink as much as they needed.

22 But the Lord says, ‘Wicked people will have no peace in their lives.’