Reading for December 12th

Isaiah 10-12 (Listen)

Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees,

and the writers who keep writing oppression,

to turn aside the needy from justice

and to rob the poor of my people of their right,

that widows may be their spoil,

and that they may make the fatherless their prey!

What will you do on the day of punishment,

in the ruin that will come from afar?

To whom will you flee for help,

and where will you leave your wealth?

Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners

or fall among the slain.

For all this his anger has not turned away,

and his hand is stretched out still.

 

Judgment on Arrogant Assyria

Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger;

the staff in their hands is my fury!

Against a godless nation I send him,

and against the people of my wrath I command him,

to take spoil and seize plunder,

and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.

But he does not so intend,

and his heart does not so think;

but it is in his heart to destroy,

and to cut off nations not a few;

for he says:

“Are not my commanders all kings?

Is not Calno like Carchemish?

Is not Hamath like Arpad?

Is not Samaria like Damascus?

As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols,

whose carved images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria,

shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols

as I have done to Samaria and her images?”

 

When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes. For he says:

 

“By the strength of my hand I have done it,

and by my wisdom, for I have understanding;

I remove the boundaries of peoples,

and plunder their treasures;

like a bull I bring down those who sit on thrones.

My hand has found like a nest

the wealth of the peoples;

and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken,

so I have gathered all the earth;

and there was none that moved a wing

or opened the mouth or chirped.”

 

Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it,

or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it?

As if a rod should wield him who lifts it,

or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!

Therefore the Lord God of hosts

will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors,

and under his glory a burning will be kindled,

like the burning of fire.

The light of Israel will become a fire,

and his Holy One a flame,

and it will burn and devour

his thorns and briers in one day.

The glory of his forest and of his fruitful land

the Lord will destroy, both soul and body,

and it will be as when a sick man wastes away.

The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few

that a child can write them down.

 

The Remnant of Israel Will Return

In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness. For the Lord God of hosts will make a full end, as decreed, in the midst of all the earth.

Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts: “O my people, who dwell in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrians when they strike with the rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did. For in a very little while my fury will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction. And the Lord of hosts will wield against them a whip, as when he struck Midian at the rock of Oreb. And his staff will be over the sea, and he will lift it as he did in Egypt. And in that day his burden will depart from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck; and the yoke will be broken because of the fat.”

 

He has come to Aiath;

he has passed through Migron;

at Michmash he stores his baggage;

they have crossed over the pass;

at Geba they lodge for the night;

Ramah trembles;

Gibeah of Saul has fled.

Cry aloud, O daughter of Gallim!

Give attention, O Laishah!

O poor Anathoth!

Madmenah is in flight;

the inhabitants of Gebim flee for safety.

This very day he will halt at Nob;

he will shake his fist

at the mount of the daughter of Zion,

the hill of Jerusalem.

 

Behold, the Lord God of hosts

will lop the boughs with terrifying power;

the great in height will be hewn down,

and the lofty will be brought low.

He will cut down the thickets of the forest with an axe,

and Lebanon will fall by the Majestic One.

 

The Righteous Reign of the Branch

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,

and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.

And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,

the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the Spirit of counsel and might,

the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,

or decide disputes by what his ears hear,

but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,

and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;

and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,

and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,

and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

 

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,

and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,

and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;

and a little child shall lead them.

The cow and the bear shall graze;

their young shall lie down together;

and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,

and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.

They shall not hurt or destroy

in all my holy mountain;

for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord

as the waters cover the sea.

 

In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.

In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.

 

He will raise a signal for the nations

and will assemble the banished of Israel,

and gather the dispersed of Judah

from the four corners of the earth.

The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart,

and those who harass Judah shall be cut off;

Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah,

and Judah shall not harass Ephraim.

But they shall swoop down on the shoulder of the Philistines in the west,

and together they shall plunder the people of the east.

They shall put out their hand against Edom and Moab,

and the Ammonites shall obey them.

And the Lord will utterly destroy

the tongue of the Sea of Egypt,

and will wave his hand over the River

with his scorching breath,

and strike it into seven channels,

and he will lead people across in sandals.

And there will be a highway from Assyria

for the remnant that remains of his people,

as there was for Israel

when they came up from the land of Egypt.

 

The Lord Is My Strength and My Song

You will say in that day:

“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,

for though you were angry with me,

your anger turned away,

that you might comfort me.

 

“Behold, God is my salvation;

I will trust, and will not be afraid;

for the Lord God is my strength and my song,

and he has become my salvation.”

 

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day:

 

“Give thanks to the Lord,

call upon his name,

make known his deeds among the peoples,

proclaim that his name is exalted.

 

“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;

let this be made known in all the earth.

Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,

for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”