A Confession of National Wickedness
59 1 Look! Listen! God's arm is not amputated - he can still save. God's ears are not stopped up - he can still hear. 2 There's nothing wrong with God; the wrong is in you. Your wrongheaded lives caused the split between you and God. Your sins got between you so that he doesn't hear. 3 Your hands are drenched in blood, your fingers dripping with guilt, Your lips smeared with lies, your tongue swollen from muttering obscenities. 4 No one speaks up for the right, no one deals fairly. They trust in illusion, they tell lies, they get pregnant with mischief and have sin-babies. 5 They hatch snake eggs and weave spider webs. Eat an egg and die; break an egg and get a snake! 6 The spider webs are no good for shirts or shawls. No one can wear these weavings! They weave wickedness, they hatch violence. 7 They compete in the race to do evil and run to be the first to murder. They plan and plot evil, think and breathe evil, and leave a trail of wrecked lives behind them. 8 They know nothing about peace and less than nothing about justice. They make tortuously twisted roads. No peace for the wretch who walks down those roads!
9 Which means that we're a far cry from fair dealing, and we're not even close to right living. We long for light but sink into darkness, long for brightness but stumble through the night. 10 Like the blind, we inch along a wall, groping eyeless in the dark. We shuffle our way in broad daylight, like the dead, but somehow walking. 11 We're no better off than bears, groaning, and no worse off than doves, moaning. We look for justice - not a sign of it; for salvation - not so much as a hint. 12 Our wrongdoings pile up before you, God, our sins stand up and accuse us. Our wrongdoings stare us down; we know in detail what we've done: 13 Mocking and denying God, not following our God, Spreading false rumors, inciting sedition, pregnant with lies, muttering malice. 14 Justice is beaten back, Righteousness is banished to the sidelines, Truth staggers down the street, Honesty is nowhere to be found, 15 Good is missing in action. Anyone renouncing evil is beaten and robbed. God looked and saw evil looming on the horizon - so much evil and no sign of Justice.
16 He couldn't believe what he saw: not a soul around to correct this awful situation. So he did it himself, took on the work of Salvation, fueled by his own Righteousness. 17 He dressed in Righteousness, put it on like a suit of armor, with Salvation on his head like a helmet, Put on Judgment like an overcoat, and threw a cloak of Passion across his shoulders. 18 He'll make everyone pay for what they've done: fury for his foes, just deserts for his enemies. Even the far-off islands will get paid off in full. 19 In the west they'll fear the name of God, in the east they'll fear the glory of God, For he'll arrive like a river in flood stage, whipped to a torrent by the wind of God. 20 "I'll arrive in Zion as Redeemer, to those in Jacob who leave their sins." God's Decree. 21 "As for me," God says, "this is my covenant with them: My Spirit that I've placed upon you and the words that I've given you to speak, they're not going to leave your mouths nor the mouths of your children nor the mouths of your grandchildren. You will keep repeating these words and won't ever stop." God's orders.
The Future Glory of Zion
60 1 "Get out of bed, Jerusalem! Wake up. Put your face in the sunlight. God's bright glory has risen for you. 2 The whole earth is wrapped in darkness, all people sunk in deep darkness, But God rises on you, his sunrise glory breaks over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, kings to your sunburst brightness. 4 Look up! Look around! Watch as they gather, watch as they approach you: Your sons coming from great distances, your daughters carried by their nannies. 5 When you see them coming you'll smile - big smiles! Your heart will swell and, yes, burst! All those people returning by sea for the reunion, a rich harvest of exiles gathered in from the nations! 6 And then streams of camel caravans as far as the eye can see, young camels of nomads in Midian and Ephah, Pouring in from the south from Sheba, loaded with gold and frankincense, preaching the praises of God. 7 And yes, a great roundup of flocks from the nomads in Kedar and Nebaioth, Welcome gifts for worship at my altar as I bathe my glorious Temple in splendor. What's That We See in the Distance? 8 "What's that we see in the distance, a cloud on the horizon, like doves darkening the sky?
9 It's ships from the distant islands, the famous Tarshish ships Returning your children from faraway places, loaded with riches, with silver and gold, And backed by the name of your God, The Holy of Israel, showering you with splendor. 10 Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings assist you in the conduct of worship. When I was angry I hit you hard. It's my desire now to be tender. 11 Your Jerusalem gates will always be open - open house day and night! - Receiving deliveries of wealth from all nations, and their kings, the delivery boys! 12 Any nation or kingdom that doesn't deliver will perish; those nations will be totally wasted. 13 The rich woods of Lebanon will be delivered - all that cypress and oak and pine - To give a splendid elegance to my Sanctuary, as I make my footstool glorious. 14 The descendants of your oppressor will come bowing and scraping to you. All who looked down at you in contempt will lick your boots. They'll confer a title on you: City of God, Zion of The Holy of Israel.
15 Not long ago you were despised refuse - out-of-the-way, unvisited, ignored. But now I've put you on your feet, towering and grand forever, a joy to look at! 16 When you suck the milk of nations and the breasts of royalty, You'll know that I, God, am your Savior, your Redeemer, Champion of Jacob. 17 I'll give you only the best - no more hand-me-downs! Gold instead of bronze, silver instead of iron, bronze instead of wood, iron instead of stones. I'll install Peace to run your country, make Righteousness your boss. 18 There'll be no more stories of crime in your land, no more robberies, no more vandalism. You'll name your main street Salvation Way, and install Praise Park at the center of town. 19 You'll have no more need of the sun by day nor the brightness of the moon at night. God will be your eternal light, your God will bathe you in splendor. 20 Your sun will never go down, your moon will never fade. I will be your eternal light. Your days of grieving are over. 21 All your people will live right and well, in permanent possession of the land. They're the green shoot that I planted, planted with my own hands to display my glory. 22 The runt will become a great tribe, the weakling become a strong nation. I am God. At the right time I'll make it happen."
Good Tidings of Salvation to Zion
61 1 The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, Announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. 2 God sent me to announce the year of his grace - a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies - and to comfort all who mourn, 3 To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, Messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Rename them "Oaks of Righteousness" planted by God to display his glory.
4 They'll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage. They'll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new. 5 You'll hire outsiders to herd your flocks and foreigners to work your fields, 6 But you'll have the title "Priests of God," honored as ministers of our God. You'll feast on the bounty of nations, you'll bask in their glory. 7 Because you got a double dose of trouble and more than your share of contempt, Your inheritance in the land will be doubled and your joy go on forever. 8 "Because I, God, love fair dealing and hate thievery and crime, I'll pay your wages on time and in full, and establish my eternal covenant with you. 9 Your descendants will become well-known all over. Your children in foreign countries Will be recognized at once as the people I have blessed."
10 I will sing for joy in God, explode in praise from deep in my soul! He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo and a bride a jeweled tiara. 11 For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers, and as a garden cascades with blossoms, So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom and puts praise on display before the nations.
62 1 Regarding Zion, I can't keep my mouth shut, regarding Jerusalem, I can't hold my tongue, Until her righteousness blazes down like the sun and her salvation flames up like a torch. 2 Foreign countries will see your righteousness, and world leaders your glory. You'll get a brand-new name straight from the mouth of God. 3 You'll be a stunning crown in the palm of God's hand, a jeweled gold cup held high in the hand of your God. 4 No more will anyone call you Rejected, and your country will no more be called Ruined. You'll be called Hephzibah (My Delight), and your land Beulah (Married), Because God delights in you and your land will be like a wedding celebration. 5 For as a young man marries his virgin bride, so your builder marries you, And as a bridegroom is happy in his bride, so your God is happy with you.
6 I've posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem. Day and night they keep at it, praying, calling out, reminding God to remember. 7 They are to give him no peace until he does what he said, until he makes Jerusalem famous as the City of Praise. 8 God has taken a solemn oath, an oath he means to keep: "Never again will I open your grain-filled barns to your enemies to loot and eat. Never again will foreigners drink the wine that you worked so hard to produce. 9 No. The farmers who grow the food will eat the food and praise God for it. And those who make the wine will drink the wine in my holy courtyards."
10 Walk out of the gates. Get going! Get the road ready for the people. Build the highway. Get at it! Clear the debris, hoist high a flag, a signal to all peoples! 11 Yes! God has broadcast to all the world: "Tell daughter Zion, 'Look! Your Savior comes, Ready to do what he said he'd do, prepared to complete what he promised.'" 12 Zion will be called new names: Holy People, God-Redeemed, Sought-Out, City-Not-Forsaken.
The Day of the LORD's Vengeance
63 1 The watchmen call out, "Who goes there, marching out of Edom, out of Bozrah in clothes dyed red? Name yourself, so splendidly dressed, advancing, bristling with power!" "It is I: I speak what is right, I, mighty to save!" 2 "And why are your robes so red, your clothes dyed red like those who tread grapes?" 3 "I've been treading the winepress alone. No one was there to help me. Angrily, I stomped the grapes; raging, I trampled the people. Their blood spurted all over me - all my clothes were soaked with blood. 4 I was set on vengeance. The time for redemption had arrived. 5 I looked around for someone to help - no one. I couldn't believe it - not one volunteer. So I went ahead and did it myself, fed and fueled by my rage. 6 I trampled the people in my anger, crushed them under foot in my wrath, soaked the earth with their lifeblood." All the Things God Has Done That Need Praising
The LORD's Goodness to Israel
7 I'll make a list of God's gracious dealings, all the things God has done that need praising, All the generous bounties of God, his great goodness to the family of Israel - Compassion lavished, love extravagant. 8 He said, "Without question these are my people, children who would never betray me." So he became their Savior. 9 In all their troubles, he was troubled, too. He didn't send someone else to help them. He did it himself, in person. Out of his own love and pity he redeemed them. He rescued them and carried them along for a long, long time. 10 But they turned on him; they grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned on them, became their enemy and fought them. 11 Then they remembered the old days, the days of Moses, God's servant: "Where is he who brought the shepherds of his flock up and out of the sea? And what happened to the One who set his Holy Spirit within them? 12 Who linked his arm with Moses' right arm, divided the waters before them, Making him famous ever after, 13 and led them through the muddy abyss as surefooted as horses on hard, level ground? 14 Like a herd of cattle led to pasture, the Spirit of God gave them rest." That's how you led your people! That's how you became so famous!
Prayer for Mercy and Help
15 Look down from heaven, look at us! Look out the window of your holy and magnificent house! Whatever happened to your passion, your famous mighty acts, Your heartfelt pity, your compassion? Why are you holding back? 16 You are our Father. Abraham and Israel are long dead. They wouldn't know us from Adam. But you're our living Father, our Redeemer, famous from eternity! 17 Why, God, did you make us wander from your ways? Why did you make us cold and stubborn so that we no longer worshiped you in awe? Turn back for the sake of your servants. You own us! We belong to you! 18 For a while your holy people had it good, but now our enemies have wrecked your holy place. 19 For a long time now, you've paid no attention to us. It's like you never knew us.