Day 254 of the Holy Bible One Year CHALLENGE. Isaiah prophesies on Leviathan and Israel. 2 Corinthians 12: Paul speaks of a 3rd Heaven.

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Isaiah 27

Isaiah 28

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Psalm 106: 40-48

You're listening to the "Holy Bible One Year CHALLENGE" with Master Storyteller, Michael Wood. Featuring the Holy Bible Easy-to-Read version and used by permission from Bible League International

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Isaiah 27

It will no longer hide the proof of those murders.

At that time the LORD will judge Leviathan,

that fast-moving giant snake.

With his great sword, his sharp and powerful sword,

he will punish Leviathan, that twisting, giant snake.

He will kill the monster of the sea.

2 The LORD says, “At that time

you will sing about a pleasing vineyard. 3 I, the LORD, will care for the vineyard. I will water it at the right time.

I will guard it day and night. No one will harm it.

4 I am no longer angry at my vineyard.

But if it produces thorn bushes,

then I will go to battle against them and burn them up completely.

5 But if my people depend on me for protection

and want to make peace with me, then let them make peace.

6 In the future, the descendants of Jacob

will take root like a vine.

Yes, the people of Israel will sprout and bloom

and fill the world with their fruit.”

God Will Send Israel Away

7 Israel was not hurt as badly

as the enemy who tried to hurt it. Many of its people were killed,

but not as many as those who tried to kill them.

8 The Lord will settle his argument with Israel

by sending the people far away. He will speak harshly to Israel.

His words will burn like the hot desert wind.

9 How will Jacob’s guilt be forgiven?

What will happen so his sins can be taken away?

The rocks of the altar will be crushed to dust;

the statues* and altars for worshipping false gods will all be destroyed.

10 The great city will be empty;

it will be like a desert.

All the people will be gone— they will run away.

The city will be like an open pasture. Young cattle will eat grass there.

The cattle will eat leaves

from the branches of the vines.

11 The vines will become dry,

and the branches will break off. Women will use them for firewood. The people refuse to understand.

So God, their Maker, will not comfort them or be kind to them.

12 At that time the LORD will begin separating his people from others. He will begin at the Euphrates River and will gather his people from there† to the Brook of Egypt.‡ You people of Israel will be gathered together one by one. 13 Many of my people are now lost in Assyria. Some of my people have run away to Egypt. But at that time a great trumpet will be blown, and all those people will come back to Jerusalem. They will bow down before the LORD on that holy mountain.

Isaiah 28

Warnings to Northern Israel

Look at Samaria!

The drunks of Ephraim are proud of that city.

It sits on a hill with a rich valley around it.

The Samaritans think their city is a beautiful crown of flowers.

But they are drunk with wine,

and this “beautiful crown” is just a dying plant.

2 Look, the Lord has someone who is

strong and brave.

He will come into the country like a storm of hail and rain.

Like a powerful river of water flooding the country,

he will throw that crown down to the ground.

3 The drunks of Ephraim are proud of their beautiful crown,

but that city will be trampled down.

4 That city sits on a hill with a rich valley around it,

but that beautiful crown of flowers is just a dying plant.

It will be like the first figs of summer.

As soon as someone sees a ripe one, they pick it and eat it.

5 At that time the LORD All-Powerful

will become the “Beautiful Crown”.

He will be the “Wonderful Crown of Flowers”

for his people who are left.

6 Then he will give wisdom to the judges who rule his people.

He will give strength to the people who defend the city gates.

7 But now the leaders are drunks.

They are dizzy from wine and beer.

Even the priests and prophets stumble and fall

from drinking too much.

They are too drunk to know if their visions are from God.

They are too dizzy to stand up to give their decisions.

8 Every table is covered with vomit.

There is not a clean spot anywhere.

9 And they say, “Who is this prophet try- ing to teach?

Does he think we need his message?

Does he think we are babies

taken from their mother’s breast just yesterday?

10 It sounds like babble:

‘Saw lasaw saw lasaw Qaw laqaw qaw laqaw

Ze’er sham ze’er sham.’*”

11 So, you will have to hear it from God!

And he will use foreigners who sound just as strange

to teach you a lesson.

12 In the past he spoke to you and said: “Here is a resting place.

Let those who are tired come and rest. This is the place of peace.”

But you would not listen to him.

13 So the LORD’s words will also be senseless sounds† to you:

“Saw lasaw saw lasaw. Qaw laqaw qaw laqaw. Ze’er sham ze’er sham.”

When you people try to walk, you will fall backwards.

You will be defeated, trapped and captured.

No One Escapes God’s Judgement

14 So you should listen to the LORD’s message,

you boasting leaders in Jerusalem.

15 You say, “We have an agreement with death,

a signed promise to keep us from the grave.

So when the time for terrible punishment comes,

it will pass us by.

Our lies will keep us safe from harm. We can use our tricks to hide.”

16 Because of these things, this is what

the Lord GOD says:

“Look, I am putting a foundation stone on the ground in Zion,

a stone that has been tested.

It is a cornerstone of great value that will make a strong foundation.

It will never shift for the one who trusts in it.

17 If what you build on that foundation is not right, I will know it.

I will use justice and goodness like measuring tools to test it.

You cannot hide behind a wall built on lies.

It will be destroyed by hailstorms and washed away by floods.

18 Your agreement with death will be erased.

Your contract with Sheol will not help you.

Disaster will come to you,

and it will beat you down to the ground. 19 It will come against you day after day. Your punishment will be terrible.

It will come early in the morning,

and it will continue day and night.”

Then you will understand what God is telling you.

You will be filled with fear, as helpless

20 as a man trying to sleep on a bed that is too short,

with a blanket that is too small.

21 The LORD will fight as he did at Mount Perazim.

He will be angry as he was in Gibeon Valley.

He will do what he must do.

It will be what some stranger should do, but he will finish his work.

Yes, this is a stranger’s job.

22 Now don’t complain about these things.

If you fight against them, you will only tighten the ropes around you.

The words I heard will not change. They came from the Lord GOD All-

Powerful, the ruler of all the earth, and these things will be done.

The Lord Punishes Fairly

23 Listen closely to the message that I am telling you.

24 Does a farmer plough his field all the time?

No, he does more than work the soil.

25 He prepares the ground, and then he plants the seed.

He plants different kinds of seeds in different ways.

He scatters dill seeds, he throws cumin seeds on the ground and he plants wheat in rows.

A farmer plants barley in its special place,

and he plants spelt seeds at the edge of his field.

26 Our God is using this to teach you a lesson.

This example shows us that God is fair when he punishes his people.

27 Does a farmer use large boards with

sharp teeth to crush dill seeds?

No, and he doesn’t use a cart to crush cumin seeds.

He uses a small stick to break the husks from these seeds of grain.

28 People grind grain to make flour,

but they don’t grind it forever.

A worker drives his cart over the grain to remove the husks,

but he does not allow the horses to crush it.

29 This lesson comes from the LORD All-Powerful,

who gives wonderful advice and is very wise.

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

A Special Blessing in Paul’s Life

There is more that I must add to this boasting. It won’t help, but I will talk now about visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man† in Christ who was taken up to the third heaven. This happened 14 years ago. I don’t know if the man was in his body or out of his body, but God knows. 3–4 And I know that this man was taken up to paradise. I don’t know if he was in his body or away from his body. Only God knows. But this man heard things that he is not able to explain. He heard things that no one is allowed to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself. I will boast only about my weaknesses.

6 But if I wanted to boast, I would not be speaking as a fool, because I would be telling the truth. But I will not boast any more, because I don’t want people to think more of me than what they see me do or hear me say.

7 But I must not be too proud of the wonderful things that were shown to me. So a painful problem‡ was given to me—an angel from Satan—sent to make me suffer so that I would not think that I am better than anyone else. 8 I begged the Lord three times to take this problem away from me. 9 But the Lord said, “My grace is all you need. Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by my power.” So I will gladly boast about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can stay in me. 10 Yes, I am glad to have weaknesses if they are for Christ. I am glad to be insulted and have hard times. I am glad when I am persecuted and have problems, because it is when I am weak that I am really strong.

Psalm 106: 40-48

40 So the LORD became angry with his people

and rejected those who belonged to him.

41 He gave his people to other nations and let their enemies rule over them. 42 Their enemies controlled them

and made life hard for them.

43 He saved his people many times,

but they turned against him and did what they wanted to do.

His people did many bad things.

44 But whenever they were in trouble, he listened to their prayers.

45 He always remembered his agreement,

and because of his faithful love, he had pity on them.

46 Other nations took them as prisoners, but the Lord caused them to be kind to

his people.

47 LORD, our God, save us!

Bring us back together from those nations.

Then we will give thanks to you, the holy one,

and joyfully praise you.

48 Praise the LORD, the God of Israel! He always was and will always be wor-

thy of praise.

Let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the LORD!