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New Living Translation

Isaiah 57:1–58:14

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Good people pass away;

the godly often die before their time.

But no one seems to care or wonder why.

No one seems to understand

that God is protecting them from the evil to come.

For those who follow godly paths

will rest in peace when they die.

Idolatrous Worship Condemned

“But you—come here, you witches’ children,

you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes!

Whom do you mock,

making faces and sticking out your tongues?

You children of sinners and liars!

You worship your idols with great passion

beneath the oaks and under every green tree.

You sacrifice your children down in the valleys,

among the jagged rocks in the cliffs.

Your gods are the smooth stones in the valleys.

You worship them with liquid offerings and grain offerings.

They, not I, are your inheritance.

Do you think all this makes me happy?

You have committed adultery on every high mountain.

There you have worshiped idols

and have been unfaithful to me.

You have put pagan symbols

on your doorposts and behind your doors.

You have left me

and climbed into bed with these detestable gods.

You have committed yourselves to them.

You love to look at their naked bodies.

You have gone to Molech*

with olive oil and many perfumes,

sending your agents far and wide,

even to the world of the dead,*

10 You grew weary in your search,

but you never gave up.

Desire gave you renewed strength,

and you did not grow weary.

11 “Are you afraid of these idols?

Do they terrify you?

Is that why you have lied to me

and forgotten me and my words?

Is it because of my long silence

that you no longer fear me?

12 Now I will expose your so-called good deeds.

None of them will help you.

13 Let’s see if your idols can save you

when you cry to them for help.

Why, a puff of wind can knock them down!

If you just breathe on them, they fall over!

But whoever trusts in me will inherit the land

and possess my holy mountain.”

God Forgives the Repentant

14 God says, “Rebuild the road!

Clear away the rocks and stones

so my people can return from captivity.”

15 The high and lofty one who lives in eternity,

the Holy One, says this:

“I live in the high and holy place

with those whose spirits are contrite and humble.

I restore the crushed spirit of the humble

and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.

16 For I will not fight against you forever;

I will not always be angry.

If I were, all people would pass away—

all the souls I have made.

17 I was angry,

so I punished these greedy people.

I withdrew from them,

but they kept going on their own stubborn way.

18 I have seen what they do,

but I will heal them anyway!

I will lead them.

I will comfort those who mourn,

19 bringing words of praise to their lips.

May they have abundant peace, both near and far,”

says the Lord, who heals them.

20 “But those who still reject me are like the restless sea,

which is never still

but continually churns up mud and dirt.

21 There is no peace for the wicked,”

says my God.

Chapter 58

True and False Worship

“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast.

Shout aloud! Don’t be timid.

Tell my people Israel* of their sins!

Yet they act so pious!

They come to the Temple every day

and seem delighted to learn all about me.

They act like a righteous nation

that would never abandon the laws of its God.

They ask me to take action on their behalf,

pretending they want to be near me.

‘We have fasted before you!’ they say.

‘Why aren’t you impressed?

We have been very hard on ourselves,

and you don’t even notice it!’

“I will tell you why!” I respond.

“It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves.

Even while you fast,

you keep oppressing your workers.

What good is fasting

when you keep on fighting and quarreling?

This kind of fasting

will never get you anywhere with me.

You humble yourselves

by going through the motions of penance,

bowing your heads

like reeds bending in the wind.

You dress in burlap

and cover yourselves with ashes.

Is this what you call fasting?

Do you really think this will please the Lord?

“No, this is the kind of fasting I want:

Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;

lighten the burden of those who work for you.

Let the oppressed go free,

and remove the chains that bind people.

Share your food with the hungry,

and give shelter to the homeless.

Give clothes to those who need them,

and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

“Then your salvation will come like the dawn,

and your wounds will quickly heal.

Your godliness will lead you forward,

and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.

Then when you call, the Lord will answer.

‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.

“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.

Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!

10 Feed the hungry,

and help those in trouble.

Then your light will shine out from the darkness,

and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.

11 The Lord will guide you continually,

giving you water when you are dry

and restoring your strength.

You will be like a well-watered garden,

like an ever-flowing spring.

12 Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.

Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls

and a restorer of homes.

13 “Keep the Sabbath day holy.

Don’t pursue your own interests on that day,

but enjoy the Sabbath

and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day.

Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day,

and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.

14 Then the Lord will be your delight.

I will give you great honor

and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob.

I, the Lord, have spoken!”

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*

57:9a Or to the king.

*

57:9b Hebrew to Sheol.

*

58:1 Hebrew Jacob. See note on 14:1.