1 "Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance--all who seek the LORD! Consider the quarry from which you were mined, the rock from which you were cut!
2 Yes, think about your ancestors Abraham and Sarah, from whom you came. Abraham was alone when I called him. But when I blessed him, he became a great nation."
3 The LORD will comfort Israel* again and make her deserts blossom. Her barren wilderness will become as beautiful as Eden--the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found there. Lovely songs of thanksgiving will fill the air.1
4 "Listen to me, my people. Hear me, Israel, for my law will be proclaimed, and my justice will become a light to the nations.
5 My mercy and justice are coming soon. Your salvation is on the way. I will rule the nations. They will wait for me and long for my power.
6 Look up to the skies above, and gaze down on the earth beneath. For the skies will disappear like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a piece of clothing. The people of the earth will die like flies, but my salvation lasts forever. My righteous rule will never end!
7 "Listen to me, you who know right from wrong and cherish my law in your hearts. Do not be afraid of people's scorn or their slanderous talk.
8 For the moth will destroy them as it destroys clothing. The worm will eat away at them as it eats wool. But my righteousness will last forever. My salvation will continue from generation to generation."
9 Wake up, LORD! Robe yourself with strength! Rouse yourself as in the days of old when you slew Egypt, the dragon of the Nile.*2
10 Are you not the same today, the one who dried up the sea, making a path of escape when you saved your people?
11 Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return to Jerusalem,* singing songs of everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be overcome with joy and gladness.3
12 "I, even I, am the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear?
13 Yet you have forgotten the LORD, your Creator, the one who put the stars in the sky and established the earth. Will you remain in constant dread of human oppression? Will you continue to fear the anger of your enemies from morning till night?
14 Soon all you captives will be released! Imprisonment, starvation, and death will not be your fate!
15 For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea, causing its waves to roar. My name is the LORD Almighty.
16 And I have put my words in your mouth and hidden you safely within my hand. I set all the stars in space and established the earth. I am the one who says to Israel, `You are mine!' "
17 Wake up, wake up, O Jerusalem! You have drunk enough from the cup of the LORD's fury. You have drunk the cup of terror, tipping out its last drops.
18 Not one of your children is left alive to help you or tell you what to do.
19 These two things have been your lot: desolation and destruction, famine and war. And who is left to sympathize? Who is left to comfort you?
20 For your children have fainted and lie in the streets, helpless as antelopes caught in a net. The LORD has poured out his fury; God has rebuked them.
21 But now listen to this, you afflicted ones, who sit in a drunken stupor, though not from drinking wine.
22 This is what the Sovereign LORD, your God and Defender, says: "See, I am taking the terrible cup from your hands. You will drink no more of my fury. It is gone at last!
23 But I will put that cup into the hands of those who tormented you. I will give it to those who trampled you into the dust and walked on your backs."
Read Isaiah 52