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Prophecy Nov. 30 : Storm battered city

Some selections from Isaiah 54-55

Isaiah 54-55

Sing, barren woman, who never bore a child; break into a shout of joy, you that have never been in labor; for the deserted wife will have more children than she who lives with her husband, says YAHWEH. Enlarge the space for your dwelling, extend the curtains of your tent to the full; let out its ropes and drive the tent pegs home; for you will spread from your confines right and left, ur descendants will dispossess nations and will people cities now desolate.

Fear not, you will not be put to shame; do not be downcast, you will not suffer disgrace. It is time to forget your widowhood, for your husband is your Maker, whose name is YAHWEH of Hosts, the one who is called God of all the earth, who is your redeemer. For YAHWEH has acknowledged you a wife again, once deserted and heart broken; your God regards you as a wife still young, though you were once cast off. For a passing moment I deserted yu, but with tender affection I shall bring you home again. In an upsurge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment; but now have I pitied you with never failing love; so now I swear to you never again to be angry with you or rebuke you. Though the mountains may move and the hills shake, my love will be immovable and never fail, and my covenant promising peace shall not be shaken, says YAHWEH in pity for you.

Storm battered city, distressed and desolate, now I shall set your stones in the finest mortar and lay your foundations with sapphires; I shall make your battlements of red jasper and your gates of garnet; all your boundary stones will be precious jewels. Your children shall all be instructed by YAHWEH and they will enjoy great prosperity. You will be restored triumphantly. You will be free from oppression and have nothing to fear; you will be free from terror, for it will not come near you. Should anyone attack you, it will not be my doing; for his attempt the aggressor will perish. The weapon that will prevail against you has not been made and the accuser who rises in court against you will be refuted. These are the benefits enjoyed by the children of YAHWEH; their victory comes from me. This is the Word of YAHWEH.

Come for water, all who are thirsty, though you have no money come buy grain and eat; come, buy wine and milk, not for money, not for a price. Why spend your money for what is not food, your earnings on what fails to satisfy? Listen to me and you will fare well, you will enjoy the fat of the land. Come to me and listen to my words, hear me and you will have life. I shall make an everlasting covenant with you, to love you faithfully. I appointed him a witness to peoples, and you in turn will summon nations you do not know, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because YAHWEH your God has made you glorious.

Seek YAHWEH while God is present, call while God is close at hand. Let the wicked abandon their ways and the evil their thoughts : let them return to YAHWEH who will take pity on them, and to our God, who will freely forgive. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways. This is the Word of YAHWEH. But as the heavens are high above the earth, so a re my ways high above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts. As the rain and snow come down from the heavens and do not return there without watering the earth, making it produce grain to give seed for sowing and bread to eat, so it is with my Word which comes out of my mouth; it will not return to me empty without accomplishing my purpose and succeeding in the task for which I sent it.

You will go out with joy and be led forth in peace. Before you mountains and hills will break out into cries of joy, and all the trees in the countryside will clap their hands. Pine trees will grow in the place of thorns, myrtles instead of briars; all this will be a memorial to YAHWEH, a sign that for all time will not be cut off. Maintain justice, do what is right, for my deliverance is close at hand, and my victory will soon be revealed.

Isaiah 58-61

Shout aloud without restraint; lift up your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their transgression, to the entire house of God their sins. Although they ask gyuidance of me day after day and say they delight in knowing my ways. As if they were a peopel which had done what was right, and had not turned away and abandoned the just laws of their God, they ask me for righteous laws, and delight in approaching God.

Why should we pray if you ignore us, and you pay no heed? In fact you serve your own interests on your prayer days. You keep the slaves hard at work. Your prayers lead only to wrangling and feuding, to lashing out at people with vicious blows. On such a prayer day as you are keeping is not one that will carry your voice up to heaven. Is this the kind of prayer that I require, a day of mortification such as this, that a person should bow his head like a bulrush, and use sackcloth and ashes for a bed? Is that what you call a day of prayer, a day acceptable to YAHWEH? Rather is not this the prayer that I require, to loose the fetters of injustice, and untie the knot of the yoke, and set free the oppressed, tearing off every yoke. Is it not sharing food with the starving, and giving the homeless a home, clothing the naked and never evading your duty to your fellow human beings. Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and new skin will speedily grow over your wound; your righteousness will be your vanguard and the glory of YAHWEH your rearguard. The, when you call, YAHWEH will answer; when you cry out God will say, 'Here I am!'

If you cease to pervert justice, to point the accusing finger and lay false charges, if you feed the hungry and satisfy the urgent needs of the wretched, then light will rise for you out of darkness and dusk will be for you like noonday; YAHWEH will be your guide continually and will satisfy your needs in the bare desert; God will give you strength of limb; you will be like a well watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Buildings long in ruins will be restored by your own kindred and you will build on ancient foundations; you will be called the rebuilder of broken walls, the restorer of houses in ruins. If you consider YAHWEH's holy time worthy of honor, if you honor it by desisting from your own affairs, and not pursuing your own interests, then you will find your joy in YAHWEH, and you shall ride on the heights of the earth, and the holding of your ancestors shall be yours to enjoy. YAHWEH has spoken.

For YAHWEH's arm is not to short to save, nor are God's ears to dull to hear. But rather it is your sinful iniquities that raise a barrier between you and your God; it is your sins that veil God's face so that you are not heard. Your hands are stained with blood and your fingers with crime; your lips speak lies and your tongues utter injustice. No one makes a case with just cause, and no one makes an honest plea; all rely on empty words, they tell lies, they conceive mischief and bring forth wickedness.

They hatch snake eggs; they weave cobwebs. Whoever eats those eggs will die, for tottenness hatches from rotten eggs. Their webs are useless for making cloth; no one can use them for clothing. Their works breed wickedness and their hands are full of acts of violence. They rush headlong into crime, in furious haste to shed innocent blood; their schemes are harmful and leave behind them a trail of havoc and ruin. They are strangers to the path of peace; no justice guides their steps; all the ways they choose are crooked; no one who walks in them ever feels safe.

That is why justice is so far removed from us and righteousness is out of our reach. We look for light, but all is darkness; for daybreak, but we must walk in deep gloom. We grope like blind men a long a wall, feeling our way like those who sight has gone; we stumble at noonday as if it were nightfall, like the dead in the desolate underworld. All of growl like bears, we keep moaning like doves; we wait for justice, but there is none, for deliverance, but it is far from us.

Our transgressions against you are many, and our sins bear witness against us; our transgressions are on our minds, and well we know our guilt: we have rebelled and broken faith with our God, we have back slidden and forsaken our God; we have conceived lies in our hearts and repeated them in slanderous and treacherous words. Justice is rebuffed and flouted, while righteousness stands at a distance; truth stumbles in court and honesty is kept outside, so truth is lost to sight, and all those who shun evil withdraw.

There was no justice, and when YAHWEH saw it God was displeased. God saw that there was no help forthcoming, and was outraged that no one intervened; so God's own might brought the victory, and righteousness was the support. God put on righteousness as a breastplate and salvation as a helmet, wearing the garments of vengeance and zeal which wrapped around like a cloak.

According to their deeds God will repay : for adversaries anger; for enemies, retribution! So from the west YAHWEH's name will be feared, and God's glory revered from the rising of the sun. God's glory will come like a swift river on which the wind of YAHWEH moves. Go will come as a redeemer to those who repent of their rebellion. This is the Word of YAHWEH.

Arise, and shine, for your light has come; and over you the glory of YAHWEH has dawned. Though darkness covers the earth and dark night the nations, on you YAHWEH shines and over you God's glory will appear; nations will journey to your light and Kings to your radiance.

Raise your eyes and look around; they are all assembling, flocking back to you; your children are coming from afar. You will see this and be radiant with joy, and your heart will thrill with gladness, and the wealth of the nations shall be yours.

Camels in droves will cover the land, laden with gold and frankincense, herald's of YAHWEH's praise, acceptable offerings on God's altar.

Strangers will rebuild your walls, and their Kings will be your servants; though in wrath YAHWEH struck you down, now in favor you will be shown pity. Your gates will stand open at all times; day and night they will never be shut, so that through them maybe brought the wealth of nations and their Kings under escort.

For the nation which refuses to serve you will perish; and there will be widespread devastation among such nations.

The children of your oppressors will come forward to do homage, and all who hated you will bow low at your feet. They will address you as 'The City of YAHWEH, the Eden of the Holy One.'

No longer will you be deserted, like a wife hated and neglected. I shall make you an object of ever lasting acclaim, and a source of never ending joy. You will suck the milk of nations. Then you will know that I, YAHWEH, am your redeemer, your redeemer is the Mighty God.

For copper I shall bring you gold and for iron I shall bring you silver, copper for timber and iron for stone. I shall appoint peace to govern you and make righteousness rule over you. No longer shall the sound of violence be heard within your land, nor havoc and ruin within your borders; but your will name your walls Deliverance and your gates Praise.

The sun will no longer be your light by day, nor the moon shine on you by night; YAHWEH will be your everlasting light, your God will be your splendor. Never again will your sun set nor your moon withdraw her light; but YAHWEH will be your everlasting light and your days of sadness and mourning will ended. Your people, all of them righteous, will possess the land forever. They are a shoot of my own planting, a work of my own hands for my adornment. The few will become a thousand; the handful a great nation. At its appointed time I, YAHWEH, shall bring this swiftly to pass.

The spirit of YAHWEH God is upon me, for YAHWEH has anointed me, and has sent me to announce good news to the poor, to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, release to those in prison; to proclaim the year of YAHWEH's favor, and the day of the vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to given them a garland of praise instead of ashes, oil of gladness instead of mourner's tear's, a garment of splendor for the heavy heart. They will be called trees of righteousness, planted by YAHWEH for God's adornment. Buildings long in ruins will be rebuilt and sites long desolate restored; they will repair the ruined cities which for generations have lain desolate.

I will rejoice in YAHWEH with all my heart, and my heart will exult in my God, for I have been covered with the robe of deliverance, arrayed in the garments of salvation, like a bridegroom with a garland or as a bride is decked in her jewels. For as then earth puts forth its blossoms or what is planted in the garden bursts into flower, so will YAHWEH God make victory and renown blossom before all nations.