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Isaiah 45:14–47:15 (LEB)

Yahweh the Only Savior

14 Thus says Yahweh:

“The acquisition of Egypt

and the merchandise of Cush

and the Sabeans, tall men,

shall pass over to you;

they shall be yours,

and they shall walk behind you.

They shall pass over in chains,

and they shall bow down to you;

they will pray to you:

‘Surely God is with you, and there is no other.

Besides him there is no God.’ ”

15 Surely you are a God who keeps yourself hidden,

God of Israel, the savior.

16 All of them are ashamed and indeed humiliated;

the craftsmen of idols go together in insult.

17 Israel is saved by Yahweh with everlasting salvation;

you shall not be ashamed,

and you shall not be humiliated to all eternity.

18 For thus says Yahweh, who created the heavens,

he is God, who formed the earth

and who made it.

He himself established it;

he did not create it as emptiness—

he formed it for inhabiting.

“I am Yahweh and there is none besides me.

19 I have spoken not in secrecy, in a place, a land, of darkness,

I have not said to the descendants of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain!’

I, Yahweh, am speaking righteousness,

declaring uprightness.

20 Assemble and come;

draw near together, survivors of the nations!

They do not know, those who carry their wooden idols

and pray to a god who cannot save.

21 Declare and present your case,

also let them consult together!

Who made this known from former times,

declared it from of old?

Was it not I, Yahweh?

And there is no other god besides me,

a righteous God besides me,

and no savior besides me.

22 Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth,

for I am God and there is none besides me.

23 I have sworn by myself;

a word that shall not return has gone forth from my mouth in righteousness:

‘Every knee shall kneel down to me;

every tongue shall swear.’

24 ‘Only in Yahweh,’ one shall say to me, ‘are righteousness and strength.’

He shall come to him, and all those who were angry with him shall be ashamed.

25 In Yahweh all the offspring of Israel shall be in the right,

and they shall boast.”

Babylon’s Idols

46 Bel bows down;

Nebo is stooping.

Their idols are on animals and on cattle;

your cargo is carried as a burden on weary animals.

They stoop;

they bow down together.

They are not able to save the burden,

but they themselves go in captivity.

“Listen to me, house of Jacob,

and all the remnant of the house of Israel

who have been carried from the belly,

who have been carried from the womb:

Even to your old age I am he;

even to your advanced age I myself will support you.

I myself have made you,

and I myself will carry you,

and I myself will support you,

and I will save you.

To whom will you liken me,

and count as equal,

and compare with me,

as though we were alike?

Those who lavish gold from the purse

and weigh out silver in the balance scales;

hire a goldsmith

and he makes him a god;

they bow down,

indeed they bow in worship.

They carry it on their shoulder;

they support it and they set it in its place,

and it stands in position.

It cannot be removed from its place;

even when he cries out to it, it does not answer.

It does not save him from his trouble.

Remember this and pluck up courage!

Call to mind, you transgressors!

Remember the former things from a long time ago,

for I am God and there is none besides me,

God and there is none like me,

10 who from the beginning declares the end,

and from before, things that have not been done,

who says, ‘My plan shall stand,’

and, ‘I will accomplish all my wishes,’

11 who calls a bird of prey from the east,

the man of his plan from a country from afar.

Indeed I have spoken; indeed I will bring it to being.

I have formed it; indeed I will do it.

12 Listen to me, strong of heart,

far from righteousness!

13 I bring my righteousness near; it is not far.

And my salvation will not delay;

and I will put salvation in Zion,

for Israel my glory.”

Babylon’s Fall

47 Come down and sit on the dust, virgin daughter of Babylon!

Sit on the ground without a throne, daughter of Chaldea!

For they shall no longer call you tender and delicate.

Take the pair of mill stones and grind flour!

Uncover your veil,

strip off your skirt,

uncover your thigh,

pass through the rivers!

Your nakedness shall be exposed;

indeed, your shame shall become visible.

I will take vengeance

and I will not spare a person.

Our redeemer, Yahweh of hosts is his name, the holy one of Israel.

Sit silently and go into the darkness, daughter of Chaldea,

for they shall no longer call you mistress of kingdoms.

I was angry with my people;

I profaned my inheritance,

and I gave them into your hand.

You did not give them mercy;

on the aged you made your yoke very heavy.

And you said, “I shall be an eternal mistress forever!”

You did not set these things upon your heart;

you did not remember its end.

Therefore now hear this, luxuriant one who sits in security,

who says in her heart, “I am, and besides me there is no one.

I shall not sit as a widow,

and I shall not know the loss of children.”

And these two shall come to you in a moment, in one day:

the loss of children and widowhood shall come on you completely,

in spite of your many sorceries,

in spite of the power of your great enchantments.

10 And you felt secure in your wickedness;

you said, “No one sees me.”

Your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray,

and you said in your heart, “I am, and besides me there is no one.”

11 And evil shall come upon you, you will not know;

it will be on the lookout for her.

And disaster shall fall upon you; you will not be able to avert it.

And ruin shall come on you suddenly; you do not know.

12 Stand, now, in your enchantments,

and in your many sorceries with which you have labored from your youth.

Perhaps you may be able to benefit;

perhaps you may scare away.

13 You struggle with your many consultations;

let them stand, now, and save you—

those who see the stars, divide the celestial sphere,

who inform by new moons—

from those things that are coming upon you.

14 Look! They are like stubble;

the fire burns them completely.

They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame;

there is no coal for warming oneself,

no fire before which to sit.

15 So are to you those with whom you have labored,

your traders from your youth.

They wander, each to his side;

there is no one who can save you.

Luke 18:9–19:10 (LEB)

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

And he also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and looked down on everyone else: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and​ prayed these things with reference to himself: ‘God, I give thanks to you that I am not like other people—swindlers, unrighteous people, adulterers, or even like this tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far away, did not want even to raise his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than that one! For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Little Children Brought to Jesus

15 Now they were bringing even their​ babies to him so that he could touch them. But when​ the disciples saw it,​ they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to himself, saying, “Allow the children to come to me, and do not forbid them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly I say to you, whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a young child will never enter into it.”

A Rich Young Man

18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, “Good Teacher, by​ doing what will I inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’ ” 21 And he said, “All these I have observed from my youth.” 22 And when he​ heard this,​ Jesus said to him, “You still lack one thing: Sell all that you have, and distribute the proceeds​ to the poor—and you will have treasure in heaven—and come, follow me.” 23 But when he​ heard these things he became very sad, because he was extremely wealthy.

24 And Jesus took notice of him and​ said, “How difficult it is for those who possess wealth to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 So those who heard this​ said, “And who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

28 And Peter said, “Behold, we have left all that is ours and​ followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly I say to you that there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children on account of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time and in the age to come, eternal life.”

Jesus Predicts His Death and Resurrection a Third Time

31 And taking aside the twelve, he said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all the things that are written by the prophets with reference to the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 For he will be handed over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and mistreated and spit on, 33 and after​ flogging him​ they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 And they understood none of these things, and this saying was concealed from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said.

A Blind Man Healed at Jericho

35 Now it happened that as he drew near to Jericho, a certain blind man was sitting on the side of the road begging. 36 And when he​ heard a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 And they told him, “Jesus the Nazarene is passing by.” 38 And he called out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, that he should be silent, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 So Jesus stopped and​ ordered him to be brought to him. And when​ he approached, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” And he said, “Lord, that I may regain my sight. 42 And Jesus said to him, “Regain your sight! Your faith has saved you.” 43 And immediately he regained his sight and began to follow​ him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they​ saw it,​ gave praise to God.

Jesus and Zacchaeus

19 And he entered and​ traveled through Jericho. And there was a man named Zacchaeus, and he was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he was seeking to see Jesus—who he was—and he was not able to as a result of the crowd, because he was short in stature. And he ran on ahead and​ climbed up into a sycamore tree so that he could see him, because he was going to go through that way. And when he came to the place, Jesus looked up and​ said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, because it is necessary for me to stay at your house today!” And he came down quickly and welcomed him joyfully. And when they​ saw it,​ they all began to complain,​ saying, “He has gone in to find lodging with a man who is a sinner!” And Zacchaeus stopped and​ said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I am giving to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone, I am paying it​ back four times as much!” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save those who are lost.”

Job 10:11–22 (LEB)

11 You clothed me with skin and flesh,

and you knit me together with bones and sinews.

12 You have granted me life and loyal love,

and your care has preserved my spirit.

13 “ ‘Yet you hid these things in your heart;

I know that this was your purpose.

14 If I had sinned, then you would be watching me,

and you would not acquit me of my guilt.

15 If I am guilty, woe to me!

But if I am righteous, I dare not lift my head;

I am filled with shame, and just look at my misery!

16 And if my head grows bold, you would hunt me as the lion in its prime;

and you repeat your exploits against me.

17 You renew your witnesses against me,

and you increase your vexation against me;

relief forces are against me.

18 So why did you bring me forth from the womb?

I should have passed away, and no eye should have seen me.

19 I should have been as though I had not been;

I should have been brought from the womb to the grave.

20 Are not my days few? Let him leave me alone;

let him turn from me, and let me rejoice a little.

21 Before I go—and I will not return—

to the land of darkness and deep shadow,

22 to the land of darkness,

like the darkness of a deep shadow and chaos,

so that it shines forth like darkness.’ ”

August 22: Complaints (Rebecca Van Noord)

August 22

Complaining can be automatic. We complain about the weather, our children, our jobs. And we might do it for any number of reasons—even something as trivial as to keep a conversation going. Although we might complain lightly, we still betray something about our hearts. We assume that we are owed something—that we are entitled.

We might readily admit this. We might freely say that this should not be our posture before people or before God. But Job challenges our stereotype of the complainer. What can we learn from his complaints? In his outcries, we find someone struggling to understand his situation before God. He prays, “My inner self loathes my life; I want to give vent to my complaint; I want to speak out of the bitterness of my inner self. I will say to God, ‘You should not condemn me; let me know why you contend against me’ ” (Job 10:1–2). He repeats and recasts his elevated and prolonged complaints in surprising similes: “Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese?” (Job 10:10).

Although his boldness and forcefulness might be shocking to us, we also understand how someone dealing with pain and grief might wrestle with these thoughts.

The book of Job ends with God silencing Job and his friends. Job’s demeanor changes when God sets everyone’s perspective right. But how should we understand these passages? Should we complain like Job when we feel frustrated by the disappointments in life?

Job’s complaints stemmed from a sense of loss—a realization that something was not right with the current state of affairs. This doesn’t mean that all complaints are motivated by complete ingratitude. Sin, loss, injustice, hurt, and evil in the world are not reasons to dismiss our cares. Indeed, God is concerned about our cares, and He wants to know them.

But the things we wrestle with should first be brought to God. We should bring our complaints to Him, ready to have our hearts and minds examined by His Word. Not only is He very concerned about our circumstances, but He also knows our hearts and can judge our complaints rightly. He can comfort us in sorrow and provide us with all that we need. Jesus died to set right the things that are wrong with the world, so we can be completely assured of His love and care for us.

How are you responding to events in your life? How can you bring your complaints to Him?

Rebecca Van Noord is editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine. She has developed content for several Bible reference products, including Lexham Bible Dictionary and Faithlife Study Bible.

Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional

Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord

Publisher: Lexham Press

Publication Date: 2012

This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.