The Word Made Fresh
1The righteous perish, and no one cares.
The devout are taken away, but no one understands
that they are being rescued from destruction.
2Those who live right are granted rest on their beds,
and they will have peace.
3But as for you, you children of witches
and offspring of adultery and whoredom, come here.
4Who do you think you’re fooling?
Against whom do you blab and stick out your tongue?
You are children of sinners.
You are the offspring of deceitfulness.
5You burn with desire among the oaks
and under every green tree.
You have murdered your children in the valleys
and under the overhanging rocks.
6What you deserve is nothing but the worn stones in the valley.
That is your portion. They are your lot.
You poured drink offerings to them
and even have brought a grain offering.
Should I be placated in view of all these things?
7You spread out your bed on a lofty peak
and have gone up there to offer sacrifices.
8You have placed your pagan symbols behind your doorpost.
You have ignored me and uncovered your bed.
You have gone up to it and enlarged it,
and you lay with them in your bed.
You made deals with them because you loved their bed
and you stared at their nakedness.
9You traveled to visit their king
and took him gifts of oil and perfumes.
You sent your servants far and wide,
even as far as the place of the dead.
10But you grew tired from your wandering about,
though you never admitted that it was useless.
Your desires were raised, so you didn’t turn back.
11Tell me whom you were afraid of that made you lie
and forget me so that you gave me no thought.
Have I been quiet? Have my eyes been shut?
Is that why you have no fear of me?
12I’ll give you credit for your good deeds,
but they won’t save you.
13So when you cry for help let your collection of idols rescue you.
Of course, the wind will blow them away,
but whoever shelters in me shall own the land.
They are the ones who will inherit my sacred mountain.
14You will hear these words:
“Build and prepare the road.
Remove every barrier that hinders my people.”
15This is what the One who is high and lofty says,
the One who is everlasting and whose name is Holy:
My abode is in the high and holy place,
and with those who are penitent and humble.
I will revive their spirits and the hearts of the sorrowful.
16I won’t always be the accuser, and I won’t always be angry.
If I were, the people’s spirits would weaken before me –
all the lives I have made.
17I was angry because of their covetousness.
That is why I struck them down and hid from them,
but they kept repeating their same mistakes.
18Yes, I have seen their errors, but I will correct them.
I will lead them and comfort them,
and those who mourn will be blessed.
19I grant peace to those who are far and near, says the LORD,
and I will heal them.
20The wicked, however, are like the wild ocean that cannot be still,
its waves tossing up mud and mire.
21My God says there is no peace for the wicked.
1-10: The prophet reverts to his earlier diatribes against the idol worshipers of Jerusalem. He says that those who were taken into exile are the fortunate ones. Those who remained behind are the ones who will suffer the most. He castigates them for engaging in sexual rituals and for taking part in the child sacrifice practiced by other religions. They are also condemned for attempting to form alliances with foreign kings who worship other gods.
11-13: Worshipers of idols are condemned to their idols: let their idols rescue them, he says.
14-21: God stands ready to forgive and heal those who have sinned, but the wicked – that is, those who persist in sinfulness – will never enjoy peace.
We see in Isaiah’s prophesies just how much God is aggrieved by our waywardness. God’s response is to send prophets to try and guide the people back to keeping the law and thus back to God. Eventually God will take on human form and live among us to show us how God wants us to live. That story is found in the New Testament.