Passage: Isaiah 57, 58, 59 (RSV)

Isaiah 57

1The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity,
2he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness.
3But you, draw near hither, sons of the sorceress, offspring of the adulterer and the harlot.
4Of whom are you making sport? Against whom do you open your mouth wide and put out your tongue? Are you not children of transgression, the offspring of deceit,
5you who burn with lust among the oaks, under every green tree; who slay your children in the valleys, under the clefts of the rocks?
6Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion; they, they, are your lot; to them you have poured out a drink offering, you have brought a cereal offering. Shall I be appeased for these things?
7Upon a high and lofty mountain you have set your bed, and thither you went up to offer sacrifice.
8Behind the door and the doorpost you have set up your symbol; for, deserting me, you have uncovered your bed, you have gone up to it, you have made it wide; and you have made a bargain for yourself with them, you have loved their bed, you have looked on nakedness.
9You journeyed to Molech with oil and multiplied your perfumes; you sent your envoys far off, and sent down even to Sheol.
10You were wearied with the length of your way, but you did not say, "It is hopeless"; you found new life for your strength, and so you were not faint.
11Whom did you dread and fear, so that you lied, and did not remember me, did not give me a thought? Have I not held my peace, even for a long time, and so you do not fear me?
12I will tell of your righteousness and your doings, but they will not help you.
13When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you! The wind will carry them off, a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain.
14And it shall be said, "Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstruction from my people's way."
15For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16For I will not contend for ever, nor will I always be angry; for from me proceeds the spirit, and I have made the breath of life.
17Because of the iniquity of his covetousness I was angry, I smote him, I hid my face and was angry; but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart.
18I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and requite him with comfort, creating for his mourners the fruit of the lips.
19Peace, peace, to the far and to the near, says the LORD; and I will heal him.
20But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot rest, and its waters toss up mire and dirt.
21There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked."

Isaiah 58

1"Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.
2Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God.
3`Why have we fasted, and thou seest it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and thou takest no knowledge of it?' Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.
4Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a rush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD?
6"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
9Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am. "If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
11And the LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
12And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.
13"If you turn back your foot from the sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
14then you shall take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

Isaiah 59

1Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;
2but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you so that he does not hear.
3For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue mutters wickedness.
4No one enters suit justly, no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity.
5They hatch adders' eggs, they weave the spider's web; he who eats their eggs dies, and from one which is crushed a viper is hatched.
6Their webs will not serve as clothing; men will not cover themselves with what they make. Their works are works of iniquity, and deeds of violence are in their hands.
7Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, desolation and destruction are in their highways.
8The way of peace they know not, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked, no one who goes in them knows peace.
9Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we look for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
10We grope for the wall like the blind, we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among those in full vigor we are like dead men.
11We all growl like bears, we moan and moan like doves; we look for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us.
12For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities:
13transgressing, and denying the LORD, and turning away from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words.
14Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth has fallen in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter.
15Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.
16He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intervene; then his own arm brought him victory, and his righteousness upheld him.
17He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in fury as a mantle.
18According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, requital to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render requital.
19So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the LORD drives.
20"And he will come to Zion as Redeemer, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, says the LORD.
21"And as for me, this is my covenant with them, says the LORD: my spirit which is upon you, and my words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your children, or out of the mouth of your children's children, says the LORD, from this time forth and for evermore."

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