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.

The Lord promises to help his people

14 The Lord says,

‘Build a road! Make it ready for my people to travel on!

Remove everything that would cause them to fall.’

15 The Mighty God is far higher than all others. He rules from above and he lives for ever. His name is holy. He says,

‘I live in a high and holy place.

But I am also with anyone who is humble

and who is sorry when he does wrong things.

I will comfort people who are like that,

and I will give them hope.

16 I will not always speak against my people.

I will not be angry with them for ever.

I do not want them to lose hope completely.

I myself gave life to them.

17 I was angry with them because they were greedy,

which was a sin.

So I punished them.

I was angry and I turned away from them.

But they still refused to obey me.

They continued to do what they wanted to do.

18 I have seen what they are doing.

But I will make them well again.

I will be a guide for them,

and I will comfort them again.

Then people who are sad and they are weeping

19 will sing songs to praise me!

I will give them a reason to do that.

I will bring peace to all my people,

those who are far away,

and those who are near.

Yes, I will make them completely well again.’

That is what the Lord says.

20 ‘But wicked people are like a rough sea

with dangerous waves.

It cannot stay still.

Its waves throw up mud and dirt.

21 There will never be peace for wicked people.’

That is what my God says.