Isaiah 43–44; 1 Thessalonians 2

Israel’s Only Savior

43  But now thus says the Lord,

mhe who created you, O Jacob,

he who formed you, O Israel:

nFear not, for I have redeemed you;

oI have called you by name, you are mine.

pWhen you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

pwhen you walk through fire qyou shall not be burned,

and the flame shall not consume you.

For rI am the Lord your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

sI give Egypt as your ransom,

Cush and tSeba in exchange for you.

Because you are precious in my eyes,

and honored, and I love you,

I give men in return for you,

peoples in exchange for your life.

uFear not, for I am with you;

vI will bring your offspring from the east,

and from the west I will gather you.

I will say to the north, Give up,

and to the south, Do not withhold;

bring wmy sons from afar

and wmy daughters from the end of the earth,

everyone who is called by my name,

whom I created for my glory,

whom I formed and made.

Bring out xthe people who are blind, yet have eyes,

who are deaf, yet have ears!

yAll the nations gather together,

and the peoples assemble.

Who among them can declare this,

and show us the former things?

Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right,

and let them hear and say, It is true.

10  zYou are my witnesses, declares the Lord,

and amy servant whom I have chosen,

that you may know and believe me

and understand that I am he.

bBefore me no god was formed,

nor shall there be any after me.

11  cI, I am the Lord,

and besides me there is no savior.

12  I declared and saved and proclaimed,

when there was no strange god among you;

and zyou are my witnesses, declares the Lord, and I am God.

13  Also dhenceforth I am he;

there is none who can deliver from my hand;

I work, and who can turn it back?

14  Thus says the Lord,

your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

eFor your sake I send to Babylon

and fbring them all down as fugitives,

geven the Chaldeans, in the ships in which they rejoice.

15  I am the Lord, your Holy One,

the Creator of Israel, your King.

16  Thus says the Lord,

hwho makes a way in the sea,

a path in the mighty waters,

17  who ibrings forth chariot and horse,

army and warrior;

they lie down, they cannot rise,

jthey are extinguished, kquenched like a wick:

18  lRemember not the former things,

nor consider the things of old.

19  mBehold, I am doing a new thing;

now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

nI will make a way in the wilderness

oand rivers in the desert.

20  The wild beasts will honor me,

pthe jackals and the ostriches,

qfor I give water in the wilderness,

rivers in the desert,

to give drink to my chosen people,

21  the people whom I formed for myself

rthat they might declare my praise.

22  Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob;

but syou have been weary of me, O Israel!

23  tYou have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings,

or honored me with your sacrifices.

I have not burdened you with offerings,

sor wearied you with frankincense.

24  You have not bought me sweet cane with money,

or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.

But you have burdened me with your sins;

you have wearied me with your iniquities.

25  I, I am he

uwho blots out vyour transgressions for my own sake,

and I will not remember your sins.

26  Put me in remembrance; wlet us argue together;

set forth your case, that you may be proved right.

27  xYour first father sinned,

and yyour mediators transgressed against me.

28  Therefore zI will profane the princes of the sanctuary,

and adeliver Jacob to utter destruction

and Israel to reviling.

Israel the Lord’s Chosen

44  But now hear, bO Jacob my servant,

Israel whom I have chosen!

Thus says the Lord who made you,

cwho formed you from the womb and will help you:

dFear not, O Jacob my servant,

eJeshurun whom I have chosen.

fFor I will pour water on the thirsty land,

and streams on the dry ground;

I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring,

and my blessing on your descendants.

They shall spring up among the grass

glike willows by flowing streams.

hThis one will say, I am the Lord’s,

another will call on the name of Jacob,

and another will write on his hand, The Lord’s,

and name himself by the name of Israel.

Besides Me There Is No God

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel

and ihis Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:

jI am the first and I am the last;

besides me there is no god.

kWho is like me? Let him proclaim it.1

Let him declare and set it before me,

since I appointed an ancient people.

Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.

Fear not, nor be afraid;

have I not told you from of old and declared it?

lAnd you are my witnesses!

mIs there a God besides me?

There is no nRock; I know not any.

The Folly of Idolatry

oAll who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. 10 pWho fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? 11 qBehold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.

12 pThe ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. 13 The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil.2 He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. rHe shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. 14 sHe cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire! 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. tHe prays to it and says, Deliver me, for you are my god!

18 They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. 19 No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an uabomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood? 20 vHe feeds on washes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, Is there not xa lie in my right hand?

The Lord Redeems Israel

21  Remember these things, O Jacob,

and Israel, for you are ymy servant;

I formed you; you are my servant;

zO Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.

22  aI have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud

and your sins like mist;

return to me, for I have redeemed you.

23  bSing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it;

shout, O cdepths of the earth;

break forth into singing, O mountains,

O forest, and every tree in it!

For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,

dand will be glorified3 in Israel.

24  Thus says the Lord, eyour Redeemer,

fwho formed you from the womb:

gI am the Lord, who made all things,

hwho alone stretched out the heavens,

who spread out the earth by myself,

25  who frustrates the signs of liars

and makes fools of diviners,

iwho turns wise men back

and makes their knowledge foolish,

26  jwho confirms the word of his servant

and fulfills the counsel of his messengers,

who says of Jerusalem, She shall be inhabited,

kand of the cities of Judah, They shall be built,

and I will raise up their ruins;

27  lwho says to the deep, Be dry;

I will dry up your rivers;

28  who says of mCyrus, He is nmy shepherd,

and he shall fulfill all my purpose;

saying of Jerusalem, She shall be built,

oand of the temple, Your foundation shall be laid.


Paul’s Ministry to the Thessalonians

For you yourselves know, brothers,1 that our fcoming to you gwas not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated hat Philippi, as you know, iwe had boldness in our God jto declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much kconflict. For lour appeal does not spring from merror or nimpurity or oany attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God pto be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not qto please man, but to please God rwho tests our hearts. sFor we never came with words of flattery,2 as you know, nor with a pretext for greedtGod is witness. uNor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, vthough we could have made wdemands as xapostles of Christ. But we were ygentle3 among you, zlike a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God abut also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

For you remember, brothers, bour labor and toil: we cworked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and dGod also, ehow holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, flike a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and gcharged hyou to walk in a manner worthy of God, iwho calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

13 And jwe also thank God constantly4 for this, that when you received kthe word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it lnot as the word of men5 but as what it really is, the word of God, mwhich is at work in you believers. 14 For you, brothers, nbecame imitators of othe churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For pyou suffered the same things from your own countrymen qas they did from the Jews,6 15 rwho killed both the Lord Jesus and sthe prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and toppose all mankind 16 uby hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be savedso as always vto fill up the measure of their sins. But wwrath has come upon them at last!7

Paul’s Longing to See Them Again

17 But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, xin person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire yto see you face to face, 18 because we wanted to come to youI, Paul, again and againbut Satan zhindered us. 19 For what is our hope or ajoy or crown of boasting bbefore our Lord Jesus at his ccoming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy.