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God’s Faithful People Suffer

57 God’s faithful people
are dragged off and killed,
    and no one even cares.
Evil sweeps them away,
but in death they find peace
    for obeying God.[a]

The Lord Condemns Idolatry

You people are unfaithful!
You go to fortunetellers,
    and you worship idols.
Now pay close attention!
Who are you making fun of?
    Who are you sneering at?
Look how your sins
    have made fools of you.

All you think about is sex
under those green trees
    where idols are worshiped.
You sacrifice your children
on altars built in valleys
    under rocky slopes.
You have chosen to worship
    idols made of stone;[b]
you have given them offerings
of wine and grain.
    Should I be pleased?

You have spread out your beds
on the tops of high mountains,
    where you sacrifice to idols.
Even in your homes
you have placed pagan symbols
    all around your huge beds.
Yes, you have rejected me,
sold yourselves to your lovers,
    and gone to bed with them.[c]

You smear on olive oil
and all kinds of perfume
    to worship the god Molech.[d]
You even seek advice
    from spirits of the dead.
10 Though you tired yourself out
by running after idols,
    you refused to stop.
Your desires were so strong
    that they kept you going.

11 Did you forget about me
    and become unfaithful
because you were more afraid
    of someone else?
Have I been silent so long[e]
    that you no longer fear me?
12 You think you’re so good,
    but I’ll point out the truth.
13 Ask your idols to save you
    when you are in trouble.
Be careful though—
it takes only a faint breath
    to blow them over.
But if you come to me
    for protection,
this land and my holy mountain
    will always belong to you.

The Lord Helps the Helpless

14 The Lord says,
“Clear the road!
    Get it ready for my people.”

15 Our holy God lives forever
in the highest heavens,
    and this is what he says:
Though I live high above
    in the holy place,
I am here to help those
who are humble
    and depend only on me.

16 My people, I won’t stay angry
    and keep on accusing you.
After all, I am your Creator.
I don’t want you to give up
    in complete despair.
17 Your greed made me furious.
That’s why I punished you
    and refused to be found,
while you kept returning
    to your old sinful ways.

18 I know what you are like!
But I will heal you, lead you,
    and give you comfort,
until those who are mourning
19     start singing my praises.[f]
No matter where you are,
I, the Lord, will heal you[g]
    and give you peace.

20 The wicked are a restless sea
    tossing up mud.
21 But I, the Lord, have promised
that none who are evil
    will live in peace.

Footnotes

  1. 57.1,2 Evil. . . God: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 57.6 You have. . . stone: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 57.8 them: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 8.
  4. 57.9 the god Molech: Or “the king.” In Hebrew “Molech” and “king” sound alike.
  5. 57.11 so long: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  6. 57.18,19 until. . . praises: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. 57.19 heal you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

57 The righteous perish,(A)
    and no one takes it to heart;(B)
the devout are taken away,
    and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away
    to be spared from evil.(C)
Those who walk uprightly(D)
    enter into peace;
    they find rest(E) as they lie in death.

“But you—come here, you children of a sorceress,(F)
    you offspring of adulterers(G) and prostitutes!(H)
Who are you mocking?
    At whom do you sneer
    and stick out your tongue?
Are you not a brood of rebels,(I)
    the offspring of liars?
You burn with lust among the oaks(J)
    and under every spreading tree;(K)
you sacrifice your children(L) in the ravines
    and under the overhanging crags.
The idols(M) among the smooth stones of the ravines are your portion;
    indeed, they are your lot.
Yes, to them you have poured out drink offerings(N)
    and offered grain offerings.
    In view of all this, should I relent?(O)
You have made your bed on a high and lofty hill;(P)
    there you went up to offer your sacrifices.(Q)
Behind your doors and your doorposts
    you have put your pagan symbols.
Forsaking me, you uncovered your bed,
    you climbed into it and opened it wide;
you made a pact with those whose beds you love,(R)
    and you looked with lust on their naked bodies.(S)
You went to Molek[a](T) with olive oil
    and increased your perfumes.(U)
You sent your ambassadors[b](V) far away;
    you descended to the very realm of the dead!(W)
10 You wearied(X) yourself by such going about,
    but you would not say, ‘It is hopeless.’(Y)
You found renewal of your strength,(Z)
    and so you did not faint.

11 “Whom have you so dreaded and feared(AA)
    that you have not been true to me,
and have neither remembered(AB) me
    nor taken this to heart?(AC)
Is it not because I have long been silent(AD)
    that you do not fear me?
12 I will expose your righteousness and your works,(AE)
    and they will not benefit you.
13 When you cry out(AF) for help,
    let your collection of idols save(AG) you!
The wind will carry all of them off,
    a mere breath will blow(AH) them away.
But whoever takes refuge(AI) in me
    will inherit the land(AJ)
    and possess my holy mountain.”(AK)

Comfort for the Contrite

14 And it will be said:

“Build up, build up, prepare the road!(AL)
    Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.”(AM)
15 For this is what the high and exalted(AN) One says—
    he who lives forever,(AO) whose name is holy:
“I live in a high(AP) and holy place,
    but also with the one who is contrite(AQ) and lowly in spirit,(AR)
to revive the spirit of the lowly
    and to revive the heart of the contrite.(AS)
16 I will not accuse(AT) them forever,
    nor will I always be angry,(AU)
for then they would faint away because of me—
    the very people(AV) I have created.
17 I was enraged by their sinful greed;(AW)
    I punished them, and hid(AX) my face in anger,
    yet they kept on in their willful ways.(AY)
18 I have seen their ways, but I will heal(AZ) them;
    I will guide(BA) them and restore comfort(BB) to Israel’s mourners,
19     creating praise on their lips.(BC)
Peace, peace,(BD) to those far and near,”(BE)
    says the Lord. “And I will heal them.”
20 But the wicked(BF) are like the tossing sea,(BG)
    which cannot rest,
    whose waves cast up mire(BH) and mud.
21 “There is no peace,”(BI) says my God, “for the wicked.”(BJ)

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 57:9 Or to the king
  2. Isaiah 57:9 Or idols

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