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Kingdom of Heaven (ACAD: Isaiah 40)

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,     and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever. Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings;[a] lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,[b] lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the spirit of the Lord, or as his counselor has instructed him? Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice? Who taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Even the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as dust on the scales; see, he takes up the isles like fine dust. Lebanon would not provide fuel enough, nor are its animals enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him; they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.

To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? An idol? —A workman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold, and casts for it silver chains. As a gift one chooses mulberry wood[c] — wood that will not rot — then seeks out a skilled artisan to set up an image that will not topple.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in; who brings princes to naught, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.

Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows upon them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.

To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing.

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 40:9 Or O herald of good tidings to Zion
  2. Isaiah 40:9 Or O herald of good tidings to Jerusalem
  3. Isaiah 40:20 Meaning of Heb uncertain
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ACAD – Accepted: Isaiah 56

The Covenant Extended to All Who Obey

Thus says the Lord:
Maintain justice, and do what is right,
for soon my salvation will come,
and my deliverance be revealed.
Happy is the mortal who does this,
the one who holds it fast,
who keeps the sabbath, not profaning it,
and refrains from doing any evil.
Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say,
“The Lord will surely separate me from his people”;
and do not let the eunuch say,
“I am just a dry tree.”
For thus says the Lord:
To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
who choose the things that please me
and hold fast my covenant,
I will give, in my house and within my walls,
a monument and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
that shall not be cut off.
And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
and to be his servants,
all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it,
and hold fast my covenant—
these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.
Thus says the Lord God,
who gathers the outcasts of Israel,
I will gather others to them
besides those already gathered.[a]

The Corruption of Israel’s Rulers

All you wild animals,
all you wild animals in the forest, come to devour!
Israel’s[b] sentinels are blind,
they are all without knowledge;
they are all silent dogs
that cannot bark;
dreaming, lying down,
loving to slumber.
The dogs have a mighty appetite;
they never have enough.
The shepherds also have no understanding;
they have all turned to their own way,
to their own gain, one and all.
“Come,” they say, “let us[c] get wine;
let us fill ourselves with strong drink.
And tomorrow will be like today,
great beyond measure.”


Footnotes:

a. Isaiah 56:8 Heb besides his gathered ones
b. Isaiah 56:10 Heb His
c. Isaiah 56:12 Q Ms Syr Vg Tg: MT me


New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian f. Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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ACAD – Rejected: Zechariah 10

Restoration of Judah and Israel

Ask rain from the Lord
    in the season of the spring rain,
from the Lord who makes the storm clouds,
    who gives showers of rain to you,[a]
    the vegetation in the field to everyone.
For the teraphim[b] utter nonsense,
    and the diviners see lies;
the dreamers tell false dreams,
    and give empty consolation.
Therefore the people wander like sheep;
    they suffer for lack of a shepherd.

My anger is hot against the shepherds,
    and I will punish the leaders;[c]
for the Lord of hosts cares for his flock, the house of Judah,
    and will make them like his proud war-horse.
Out of them shall come the cornerstone,
    out of them the tent peg,
out of them the battle bow,
    out of them every commander.
Together they shall be like warriors in battle,
    trampling the foe in the mud of the streets;
they shall fight, for the Lord is with them,
    and they shall put to shame the riders on horses.

I will strengthen the house of Judah,
    and I will save the house of Joseph.
I will bring them back because I have compassion on them,
    and they shall be as though I had not rejected them;
    for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them.
Then the people of Ephraim shall become like warriors,
    and their hearts shall be glad as with wine.
Their children shall see it and rejoice,
    their hearts shall exult in the Lord.

I will signal for them and gather them in,
    for I have redeemed them,
    and they shall be as numerous as they were before.
Though I scattered them among the nations,
    yet in far countries they shall remember me,
    and they shall rear their children and return.
I will bring them home from the land of Egypt,
    and gather them from Assyria;
I will bring them to the land of Gilead and to Lebanon,
    until there is no room for them.
They[d] shall pass through the sea of distress,
    and the waves of the sea shall be struck down,
    and all the depths of the Nile dried up.
The pride of Assyria shall be laid low,
    and the scepter of Egypt shall depart.
I will make them strong in the Lord,
    and they shall walk in his name,
says the Lord.


Footnotes:

  1. a. Zechariah 10:1 Heb them
  2. b. Zechariah 10:2 Or household gods
  3. c. Zechariah 10:3 Or male goats
  4. d. Zechariah 10:11 Gk: Heb He


New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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ACAD – Rejected: Isaiah 53

Who has believed what we have heard?
    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He grew up before Him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him,
    nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.
He was despised and rejected by others;
    a man of suffering[a] and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces[b]
    He was despised, and we held Him of no account.

Surely He has borne our infirmities
    and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted Him stricken,
    struck down by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
    crushed for our iniquities;
upon Him was the punishment that made us whole,
    and by His bruises we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on Him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and He was afflicted,
    yet He did not open His mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so He did not open His mouth.
By a perversion of justice he was taken away.
    Who could have imagined His future?
For He was cut off from the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people.
They made His grave with the wicked
    and His tomb[c] with the rich,[d]
although He had done no violence,
    and there was no deceit in His mouth.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush Him with pain.[e]
When you make His life an offering for sin,[f]
    He shall see His offspring, and shall prolong His days;
through Him the will of the Lord shall prosper.
   Out of His anguish He shall see light;[g]
He shall find satisfaction through His knowledge.
    The righteous one,[h] my servant, shall make many righteous,
    and He shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will allot Him a portion with the great,
    and He shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because He poured out Himself to death,
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet He bore the sin of many,
    and made intercession for the transgressors.


Footnotes:

  1. a.Isaiah 53:3 Or a man of sorrows
  2. b. Isaiah 53:3 Or as one who hides his face from us
  3. c. Isaiah 53:9 Q Ms: MT and in his death
  4. d. Isaiah 53:9 Cn: Heb with a rich person
  5. e. Isaiah 53:10 Or by disease; meaning of Heb uncertain
  6. f. Isaiah 53:10 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  7. g. Isaiah 53:11 Q Mss: MT lacks light
  8. h. Isaiah 53:11 Or and he shall find satisfaction. Through his knowledge, the righteous one

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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ACAD – Rejection: Ezekiel 5

A Sword against Jerusalem
And you, O mortal, take a sharp sword; use it as a barber’s razor and run it over your head and your beard; then take balances for weighing, and divide the hair. One third of the hair you shall burn in the fire inside the city, when the days of the siege are completed; one third you shall take and strike with the sword all around the city;[a] and one third you shall scatter to the wind, and I will unsheathe the sword after them. Then you shall take from these a small number, and bind them in the skirts of your robe. From these, again, you shall take some, throw them into the fire and burn them up; from there a fire will come out against all the house of Israel.

Thus says the Lord God: This is Jerusalem; I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. But she has rebelled against my ordinances and my statutes, becoming more wicked than the nations and the countries all around her, rejecting my ordinances and not following my statutes. Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are all around you, and have not followed my statutes or kept my ordinances, but have acted according to the ordinances of the nations that are all around you; therefore thus says the Lord God: I, I myself, am coming against you; I will execute judgments among you in the sight of the nations. And because of all your abominations, I will do to you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again. Surely, parents shall eat their children in your midst, and children shall eat their parents; I will execute judgments on you, and any of you who survive I will scatter to every wind. Therefore, as I live, says the Lord God, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations—therefore I will cut you down;[b] my eye will not spare, and I will have no pity. One third of you shall die of pestilence or be consumed by famine among you; one third shall fall by the sword around you; and one third I will scatter to every wind and will unsheathe the sword after them.

My anger shall spend itself, and I will vent my fury on them and satisfy myself; and they shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken in my jealousy, when I spend my fury on them. Moreover I will make you a desolation and an object of mocking among the nations around you, in the sight of all that pass by. You shall be[c] a mockery and a taunt, a warning and a horror, to the nations around you, when I execute judgments on you in anger and fury, and with furious punishments—I, the Lord, have spoken — when I loose against you[d] my deadly arrows of famine, arrows for destruction, which I will let loose to destroy you, and when I bring more and more famine upon you, and break your staff of bread. I will send famine and wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children; pestilence and bloodshed shall pass through you; and I will bring the sword upon you. I, the Lord, have spoken.

Footnotes:

Ezekiel 5:2 Heb it
Ezekiel 5:11 Another reading is I will withdraw
Ezekiel 5:15 Gk Syr Vg Tg: Heb It shall be
Ezekiel 5:16 Heb them
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
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ACAD – Rejected: Jeremiah 6

The Imminence and Horror of the Invasion

Flee for safety, O children of Benjamin,
    from the midst of Jerusalem!
Blow the trumpet in Tekoa,
    and raise a signal on Beth-haccherem;
for evil looms out of the north,
    and great destruction.
I have likened daughter Zion
    to the loveliest pasture.[a]
Shepherds with their flocks shall come against her.
    They shall pitch their tents around her;
    they shall pasture, all in their places.
“Prepare war against her;
    up, and let us attack at noon!”
“Woe to us, for the day declines,
    the shadows of evening lengthen!”
“Up, and let us attack by night,
    and destroy her palaces!”
For thus says the Lord of hosts:
Cut down her trees;
    cast up a siege ramp against Jerusalem.
This is the city that must be punished;[b]
    there is nothing but oppression within her.
As a well keeps its water fresh,
    so she keeps fresh her wickedness;
violence and destruction are heard within her;
    sickness and wounds are ever before me.
Take warning, O Jerusalem,
    or I shall turn from you in disgust,
and make you a desolation,
    an uninhabited land.

Thus says the Lord of hosts:
Glean[c] thoroughly as a vine
    the remnant of Israel;
like a grape-gatherer, pass your hand again
    over its branches.

To whom shall I speak and give warning,
    that they may hear?
See, their ears are closed,[d]
    they cannot listen.
The word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn;
    they take no pleasure in it.
But I am full of the wrath of the Lord;
    I am weary of holding it in.

Pour it out on the children in the street,
    and on the gatherings of young men as well;
both husband and wife shall be taken,
    the old folk and the very aged.
Their houses shall be turned over to others,
    their fields and wives together;
for I will stretch out my hand
    against the inhabitants of the land,
says the Lord.

13 For from the least to the greatest of them,
    everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
and from prophet to priest,
    everyone deals falsely.
They have treated the wound of my people carelessly,
    saying, “Peace, peace,”
    when there is no peace.
They acted shamefully, they committed abomination;
    yet they were not ashamed,
    they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
    at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,
says the Lord.
Thus says the Lord:
Stand at the crossroads, and look,
    and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way lies; and walk in it,
    and find rest for your souls.
But they said, “We will not walk in it.”
Also I raised up sentinels for you:
    “Give heed to the sound of the trumpet!”
But they said, “We will not give heed.”
Therefore hear, O nations,
    and know, O congregation, what will happen to them.
Hear, O earth; I am going to bring disaster on this people,
    the fruit of their schemes,
because they have not given heed to my words;
    and as for my teaching, they have rejected it.
Of what use to me is frankincense that comes from Sheba,
    or sweet cane from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable,
    nor are your sacrifices pleasing to me.
Therefore thus says the Lord:
See, I am laying before this people
    stumbling blocks against which they shall stumble;
parents and children together,
    neighbor and friend shall perish.

Thus says the Lord:
See, a people is coming from the land of the north,
    a great nation is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth.
They grasp the bow and the javelin,
    they are cruel and have no mercy,
    their sound is like the roaring sea;
they ride on horses,
    equipped like a warrior for battle,
    against you, O daughter Zion!

“We have heard news of them,
    our hands fall helpless;
anguish has taken hold of us,
    pain as of a woman in labor.
Do not go out into the field,
    or walk on the road;
for the enemy has a sword,
    terror is on every side.”

O my poor people, put on sackcloth,
    and roll in ashes;
make mourning as for an only child,
    most bitter lamentation:
for suddenly the destroyer
    will come upon us.

I have made you a tester and a refiner[e] among my people
    so that you may know and test their ways.
They are all stubbornly rebellious,
    going about with slanders;
they are bronze and iron,
    all of them act corruptly.
The bellows blow fiercely,
    the lead is consumed by the fire;
in vain the refining goes on,
    for the wicked are not removed.
They are called “rejected silver,”
    for the Lord has rejected them.


Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 6:2 Or I will destroy daughter Zion, the loveliest pasture
  2. Jeremiah 6:6 Or the city of license
  3. Jeremiah 6:9 Cn: Heb They shall glean
  4. Jeremiah 6:10 Heb are uncircumcised
  5. Jeremiah 6:27 Or a fortress


New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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ACAD – Rejected: Psalm 89

God’s Covenant with David

A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord,[a] forever;
    with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
I declare that your steadfast love is established forever;
    your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.

You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
    I have sworn to my servant David:
‘I will establish your descendants forever,
    and build your throne for all generations.’” Selah

Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
    your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
    Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
a God feared in the council of the holy ones,
    great and awesome[b] above all that are around him?
O Lord God of hosts,
    who is as mighty as you, O Lord?
    Your faithfulness surrounds you.
You rule the raging of the sea;
    when its waves rise, you still them.
You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
    you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
The heavens are yours, the earth also is yours;
    the world and all that is in it—you have founded them.
The north and the south[c]—you created them;
    Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
You have a mighty arm;
    strong is your hand, high your right hand.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
    steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
Happy are the people who know the festal shout,
    who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance;
they exult in your name all day long,
    and extol[d] your righteousness.
For you are the glory of their strength;
    by your favor our horn is exalted.
For our shield belongs to the Lord,
    our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Then you spoke in a vision to your faithful one, and said:
    “I have set the crown[e] on one who is mighty,
    I have exalted one chosen from the people.
I have found my servant David;
    with my holy oil I have anointed him;
my hand shall always remain with him;
    my arm also shall strengthen him.
The enemy shall not outwit him,
    the wicked shall not humble him.
I will crush his foes before him
    and strike down those who hate him.
My faithfulness and steadfast love shall be with him;
    and in my name his horn shall be exalted.
I will set his hand on the sea
    and his right hand on the rivers.
He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father,
    my God, and the Rock of my salvation!’
I will make him the firstborn,
    the highest of the kings of the earth.
Forever I will keep my steadfast love for him,
    and my covenant with him will stand firm.
I will establish his line forever,
    and his throne as long as the heavens endure.
If his children forsake my law
    and do not walk according to my ordinances,
if they violate my statutes
    and do not keep my commandments,
then I will punish their transgression with the rod
    and their iniquity with scourges;
but I will not remove from him my steadfast love,
    or be false to my faithfulness.
I will not violate my covenant,
    or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
Once and for all I have sworn by my holiness;
    I will not lie to David.
His line shall continue forever,
    and his throne endure before me like the sun.
It shall be established forever like the moon,
    an enduring witness in the skies.” Selah

But now you have spurned and rejected him;
    you are full of wrath against your anointed.
You have renounced the covenant with your servant;
    you have defiled his crown in the dust.
You have broken through all his walls;
    you have laid his strongholds in ruins.
All who pass by plunder him;
    he has become the scorn of his neighbors.
You have exalted the right hand of his foes;
    you have made all his enemies rejoice.
Moreover, you have turned back the edge of his sword,
    and you have not supported him in battle.
You have removed the scepter from his hand,[f]
    and hurled his throne to the ground.
You have cut short the days of his youth;
    you have covered him with shame. Selah

How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?
    How long will your wrath burn like fire?
Remember how short my time is—[g]
    for what vanity you have created all mortals!
Who can live and never see death?
    Who can escape the power of Sheol? Selah

Lord, where is your steadfast love of old,
    which by your faithfulness you swore to David?
Remember, O Lord, how your servant is taunted;
    how I bear in my bosom the insults of the peoples,[h]
with which your enemies taunt, O Lord,
    with which they taunted the footsteps of your anointed.

Blessed be the Lord forever.
Amen and Amen.


Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 89:1 Gk: Heb the steadfast love of the Lord
  2. Psalm 89:7 Gk Syr: Heb greatly awesome
  3. Psalm 89:12 Or Zaphon and Yamin
  4. Psalm 89:16 Cn: Heb are exalted in
  5. Psalm 89:19 Cn: Heb help
  6. Psalm 89:44 Cn: Heb removed his cleanness
  7. Psalm 89:47 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  8. Psalm 89:50 Cn: Heb bosom all of many peoples


New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.