Encourage God's People 40 1Our God has said: “Encourage my people! Give them comfort. 2Speak kindly to Jerusalem and announce: Your slavery is past; your punishment is over. I, the LORD, made you pay double for your sins.” 3 Someone is shouting: “Clear a path in the desert! Make a straight road for the LORD our God. 4Fill in the valleys; flatten every hill and mountain. Level the rough and rugged ground. 5Then the glory of the LORD will appear for all to see. The LORD has promised this!” 6 Someone told me to shout, and I asked, “What should I shout?” We humans are merely grass, and we last no longer than wild flowers. 7At the LORD's command, flowers and grass disappear, and so do we. 8Flowers and grass fade away, but what our God has said will never change. Your God Is Here! 9There is good news for the city of Zion. Shout it as loud as you can[S] from the highest mountain. Don't be afraid to shout to the towns of Judah: “Your God is here!” 10 Look! The powerful LORD God is coming to rule with his mighty arm. He brings with him what he has taken in war, and he rewards his people. 11 The LORD cares for his nation, just as shepherds care for their flocks. He carries the lambs in his arms, while gently leading the mother sheep. Who Compares with God? 12Did any of you measure the ocean by yourself or stretch out the sky with your own hands? Did you put the soil of the earth in a bucket or weigh the hills and mountains on balance scales? 13 Has anyone told the LORD[T] what he must do or given him advice? 14Did the LORD ask anyone to teach him wisdom and justice? Who gave him knowledge and understanding? 15 To the LORD, all nations are merely a drop in a bucket or dust on balance scales; all of the islands are but a handful of sand. 16The cattle on the mountains of Lebanon would not be enough to offer as a sacrifice to God, and the trees would not be enough for the fire. 17God thinks of the nations as far less than nothing. 18 Who compares with God? Is anything like him? 19Is an idol at all like God? It is made of bronze with a thin layer of gold, and decorated with silver. 20 Or special wood may be chosen[U] because it doesn't rot— then skilled hands take care to make an idol that won't fall on its face. God Rules the Whole Earth 21Don't you know? Haven't you heard? Hasn't it been clear since the time of creation?[V] 22God is the one who rules the whole earth, and we that live here are merely insects. He spread out the heavens like a curtain or an open tent. 23God brings down rulers and turns them into nothing. 24They are like flowers freshly sprung up and starting to grow. But when God blows on them, they wilt and are carried off like straw in a storm. 25The holy God asks, “Who compares with me? Is anyone my equal?” 26 Look at the evening sky! Who created the stars? Who gave them each a name? Who leads them like an army? The LORD is so powerful that none of the stars are ever missing. The LORD Gives Strength 27You people of Israel say, “God pays no attention to us! He doesn't care if we are treated unjustly.” But how can you say that? 28Don't you know? Haven't you heard? The LORD is the eternal God, Creator of the earth. He never gets weary or tired; his wisdom cannot be measured. 29The LORD gives strength to those who are weary. 30Even young people get tired, then stumble and fall. 31But those who trust the LORD will find new strength. They will be strong like eagles soaring upward on wings; they will walk and run without getting tired.
Contemporary English Version / ©1995 American Bible Society About