Isaiah 56:9-57:13

God warns Israel's leaders

9 ‘Come here, you wild animals!

Come, you wild animals that live in the forest!

Come and eat my people!

56:9God is speaking to Israel's enemies as if they are wild animals. He is telling them to come and punish his people.

10 Israel's guards are blind!

They do not see what is happening.

They are all like dogs that cannot make a noise.

They cannot warn people about danger.

They love to lie on the ground

and they dream while they sleep.

11 They are like dogs who are always hungry.

They eat a lot but they never have enough.

They are like shepherds

who do not understand what to do.

They do whatever they want to do,

so that it will help them get what they want.

12 They say to each other,

“Come! We must go and find more wine to drink!

We can drink as much beer as we want!

Tomorrow we can do it all again!

It might be even better than today!” ’

Isaiah 57

1 When somebody who worships God dies,

nobody else may think much about it.

An honest person may suddenly die.

Nobody really understands what is happening.

God takes away his servants,

so that evil things will not hurt them any more.

2 When somebody who has lived in a good way dies,

he goes to a place where there is peace.

In death, people like that rest on their beds.

3 The Lord says,

‘But you magicians, come here!

You use magic to learn about future times.

You are the family of an adulteress and a prostitute.

4 Who do you think you are laughing at?

Who are you insulting?

Who are you pointing at with your tongue?

You are people who have turned against God.

You love to tell lies.

5 You worship your idols among the big trees,

and you have sex at the same time.

57:5They worshipped false gods that they thought would give them many children. So they had sex in a wrong way when they met together.

You kill your children as sacrifices to your false gods.

You do that beside streams

and in caves among the rocks.

6 You take big stones from the streams,

and they become your idols.

They are the gods that you love to worship.

You pour drink offerings over them.

You offer grain to them.

Because of what you do,

should I not punish you?

7 You go up to the tops of high hills,

and you lie down there to have sex.

You go there to offer sacrifices to your gods.

8 You put your images behind the doors of your rooms.

Then you turn your backs to me,

and you get into bed with your false gods.

You have made an agreement with them.

You pay money to have sex with your lovers.

You love to see their bare bodies.

9 You take olive oil as a gift to your king,

and also many perfumes.

57:9‘your king’ may be Molech, the false god that they worshipped.

You send your people far away

to get news of other gods.

You even talk to the spirits of dead people.

10 You become very tired,

because you travel so far.

But you would never say,

“This is useless!”

Instead, you find new strength,

and you do not stop.

11 What idol are you so afraid of,

that you choose to deceive me?

You seem to have forgotten about me.

You do not think about me at all.

Have I been silent for too long?

Is that why you no longer respect me?

12 Now I will speak against the things that you do.

You think that they are good and right,

but those things will not help you.

13 Shout for help, if you like.

See if your group of idols can help you!

The wind will blow them all away.

Even a breath will carry them away.

But if people trust me to help them,

this land will belong to them.

They will worship me on my holy mountain.’

57:13‘my holy mountain’ means Mount Zion in Jerusalem, where Solomon built God's temple.