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Isaiah 42:10–43:28 (LEB)

A Song of Praise to Yahweh

10 Sing a new song to Yahweh;

praise him from the end of the earth,

you who go down to the sea and that which fills it,

the coastlands and their inhabitants.

11 Let the desert and its towns lift up their voice,

the villages that Kedar inhabits.

Let the inhabitants of Sela sing for joy;

let them shout loudly from the top of the mountains.

12 Let them give glory to Yahweh

and declare his praise in the coastlands.

13 Yahweh goes forth like a mighty warrior;

he stirs up zeal like a man of war.

He raises the war cry, indeed he raises the battle shout;

he prevails against his foes.

14 I have been silent for a long time;

I have kept silent;

I have restrained myself like one giving birth;

I will moan, pant, and gasp together.

15 I will cause mountains and hills to dry up,

and I will cause all their herbage to wither;

and I will make rivers like islands,

and I will cause pools to dry up.

16 And I will lead the blind by a road they do not know;

I will cause them to tread on paths they have not known.

I will make darkness in their presence into light

and rough places into level ground.

These are the things I will do,

and I will not forsake them.

17 They shall turn back;

they shall be greatly ashamed,

those who trust in an image,

who say to a cast image, “You are our gods.”

Blind and Deaf Israel

18 Deaf people, listen!

And blind people, look to see!

19 Who is blind but my servant

or deaf like my messenger whom I sent?

Who is blind like the one who is repaid

or blind like the servant of Yahweh?

20 You see many things, but you do not observe.

His ears are open, but he does not hear.

21 Yahweh was willing for the sake of his righteousness;

he showed his teaching to be great and proved it to be glorious.

22 But this is a people plundered and looted; all of them are trapped in holes,

and they are kept hidden in houses of imprisonment.

They have become like plunder, and there is no one who saves;

like booty, and there is no one who says, “Restore!”

23 Who among you will heed this,

will listen attentively and listen, for the time to come?

24 Who gave Jacob to a plunderer

and Israel to those who plunder?

Was it not Yahweh, against whom we have sinned?

And they were not willing to walk in his ways,

and they would not obey his law.

25 So he poured the wrath of his anger upon him

and the strength of war.

And it set him afire all around, but he did not understand;

and it burned him, but he did not take it to heart.

The Restorer of Israel

43 But now thus says Yahweh,

he who created you, Jacob,

and he who formed you, Israel:

“You must not fear, for I have redeemed you.

I have called you by your name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you,

and through the rivers, they shall not flow over you.

When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned,

and the flame shall not scorch you.

For I am Yahweh, your God,

the holy one of Israel, your savior.

I give you Egypt as ransom,

Cush and Seba in place of you.

Because you are precious in my eyes,

you are honored, and I myself love you,

and I give people in place of you,

and nations in place of your life.

You must not fear,

for I am with you.

I will bring your offspring from the east,

and I will gather you from the west.

I will say to the north, ‘Give!’

and to the south, ‘You must not withhold!’

Bring my sons from far away,

and my daughters from the end of the earth—

everyone who is called by my name,

and whom I created for my glory,

whom I formed,

indeed whom I made.”

Bring out the people blind yet with eyes,

and deaf, though they have ears.

Let all the nations gather together,

and let the peoples assemble.

Who among them has declared this,

and declared the former things to us?

Let them bring their witnesses, that they may be in the right,

and let them hear and say, “It is true!”

10 “You are my witnesses,” declares Yahweh,

“and my servant whom I have chosen

so that you may know and believe in me

and understand that I am he.

No god was formed before me,

and none shall be after me.

11 I myself am Yahweh,

and there is no savior besides me!

12 I myself declared and saved,

and I proclaimed. And there was no strange god among you.

And you are my witnesses,” declares Yahweh,

“and I am God.

13 Indeed, from this day I am the one,

and no one can deliver from my hand.

I perform, and who can cancel it?”

Yahweh Rescues His People

14 Thus says Yahweh, your redeemer,

the holy one of Israel:

“For your sake I will send to Babylon,

and I will cause all of them to fall down as fugitives,

and the Chaldeans, their rejoicing on the ships.

15 I am Yahweh, your holy one,

the creator of Israel, your king.”

16 Thus says Yahweh, who makes a way in the sea

and a path in the mighty waters,

17 who brings out chariot and horse,

army and mighty one.

Together they lie down;

they cannot rise.

They are extinguished,

quenched like a wick.

18 “You must not remember the former things,

and you not must consider the former things.

19 Look! I am about to do a new thing! Now it sprouts!

Do you not perceive it?

Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness,

rivers in the desert.

20 The animals of the field will honor me,

jackals and daughters of the ostrich,

for I give water in the wilderness,

rivers in the desert,

to give a drink to my chosen people,

21 this people whom I formed for myself,

so they might make known my praise.

22 But you did not call me, Jacob;

for you have become weary of me, Israel.

23 You have not brought me your sheep for a burnt offering

nor honored me with your sacrifice.

I have not made you serve with offerings,

nor have I made you weary with frankincense.

24 You have not bought me spice reed with money

or satisfied me with the fat of sacrifices.

But you have burdened me with your sins;

you have made me weary with your iniquities.

25 I, I am the one who blots out your transgressions for my sake,

and I will not remember your sins.

26 Take me to court; let us enter into judgment together.

You, make an account so that you may be in the right.

27 Your first ancestor sinned,

and your representatives transgressed against me.

28 And I profaned the princes of the sanctuary,

and I gave Jacob to destruction, and Israel to reviling.

Luke 16:1–17:10 (LEB)

The Parable of the Dishonest Manager

16 And he also said to the disciples, “A certain man was rich, who had a manager. And charges were brought to him that this person was squandering his possessions. And he summoned him and​ said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give the account of your management, because you can no longer manage.’ And the manager said to himself, ‘What should I do, because my master is taking away the management from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. I know what I should do, so that when I am removed from the management they will welcome me into their homes!’ And he summoned each one of his own master’s debtors and​ said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of olive oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your promissory note and sit down quickly and​ write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your promissory note and write eighty.’ And the master praised the dishonest manager, because he had acted shrewdly. For the sons of this age are shrewder than the sons of light with regard to their own generation. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it runs out they will welcome you into the eternal dwellings.

10 “The one who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and the one who is dishonest in very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful with unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?​ 12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you your own? 13 No domestic slave is able to serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and will despise the other. You are not able to serve God and money.”

Hypocrisy, Law, and the Kingdom of God

14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. 15 And he said to them, “You are the ones who justify themselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts! For what is considered exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

16 “The law and the prophets were until John; from that time on the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is urgently pressed into it. 17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the law to become invalid.

On Divorce

18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and the one who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “Now a certain man was rich, and dressed in purple cloth and fine linen, feasting sumptuously every day. 20 And a certain poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, lay at his gate, 21 and was longing to be filled with what fell from the table of the rich man. But even the dogs came and​ licked his sores. 22 Now it happened that the poor man died, and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s side. And the rich man also died and was buried. 23 And in Hades he lifted up his eyes as he​ was in torment and​ saw Abraham from a distance, and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out and​ said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he could dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am suffering pain in this flame!’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you received your good things during your life, and Lazarus likewise bad things. But now he is comforted here, but you are suffering pain. 26 And in addition to all these things, a great chasm has been established between us and you, so that those who want to cross over from here to you are not able to do so,​ nor can they cross over from there to us.’ 27 So he said, ‘Then I ask you, father, that you send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, so that he could warn them, in order that they also should not come to this place of torment!’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they must listen to them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent!’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone rises from the dead.’ ”

Sin, Forgiveness, Faith, and Service

17 And he said to his disciples, “It is impossible for causes for stumbling not to come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone is placed around his neck and he is thrown into the sea than that he causes one of these little ones to sin.

“Be concerned about yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times he returns to you saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” So the Lord said, “If you have faith like a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

“And which of you who has a slave plowing or shepherding sheep​ who comes in from the field will say to him, ‘Come here at once and​ recline at the table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something that I may eat, and dress yourself to serve me while I eat and drink, and after these things you will eat and drink.’ He will not be grateful to the slave because he did what was ordered, will he?​ 10 Thus you also, when you have done all the things you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done what we were obligated to do.’ ”

Job 9:25–35 (LEB)

25 “And my days are swifter than a runner;

they flee away; they do not see good.

26 They go by like papyrus skiffs,

like an eagle swoops down on its prey.

27 Though I say, ‘I will forget my complaint;

I will change my expression, and I will rejoice,’

28 I become afraid of all my sufferings;

I know that you do not consider me innocent.

29 If I shall be declared guilty,

why then should I labor in vain?

30 If I wash myself with soap,

and I cleanse my hands with lye,

31then you plunge me into the slime pit,

and my clothes abhor me.

32 “For he is not a mortal like me that I can answer him,

that we can come to trial together.

33 There is no arbiter between us

that he might lay his hand on both of us.

34 May he remove his rod from me,

and let his dread not terrify me;

35 then I would speak and not fear him,

for in myself I am not fearful.

August 21: Transitions (John D. Barry)

August 21

Life is marked by seasons—times of great difficulty and times of great joy. Usually we focus on making the transition from pain to relief as quickly as possible, but in the process, we may forget the significance of the transition itself. A transition is an opportunity to contemplate: Who is acting to move us from one season of our lives to the next? Why does winter give way to spring?

“Sing a new song to Yahweh; praise him from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea and that which fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. Let the desert and its towns lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela sing for joy; let them shout loudly from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to Yahweh and declare his praise in the coastlands” (Isa 42:10–12).

This song of praise moves from the “end of the earth” inward, from region to region, until the whole world is involved. Yahweh is renewing everything. The world is moving from a despairing place to a place of order, which is great news. But the great news is not only the joy of renewal—it’s also the way that it all comes about.

Yahweh brings war to create order (Isa 42:13). He leads the blind (Isa 42:16). He turns darkness into light (Isa 42:16). We often want healing and joy to descend on us suddenly, like a flash of lightning. But for joy to grow in our lives and in our world, great evils must first be stamped out. Like the gradual return of plants and sunlight in the spring, joy comes during and through Yahweh’s patient work. We must embrace the nature of His work, and the difficulty of it, as much as we embrace the results.

What transitions are you in? How can you depend on Yahweh in the midst of them? What are you learning about Him in the process?

John D. Barry is the publisher of Lexham Press, general editor of Faithlife Study Bible and Lexham Bible Dictionary, and the previous editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine. He is the author of The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah, Cutting Ties with Darkness, and Letters to a Christian, as well as the coauthor of Mary: Devoted to God's Plan. John is also the author of Not Your Average Bible Study volumes on Malachi, Colossians, Hebrews, James, and 1 Peter, and the coauthor of a study on 2 Peter–Jude.

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.