Day 261 of the Holy Bible One Year CHALLENGE. God is always with His people. Paul's love for the Galatian believers.
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God Is Always With His People
Now, listen to what the LORD says.
Descendants of Jacob, he is the one who created you.
People of Israel, he who made you says, “Don’t be afraid. I have saved you.
I have named you; you are mine.
2 When you have troubles, I am with you.
When you cross rivers, you will not drown.
When you walk through fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not hurt you.
3 That’s because I, the LORD, am your God.
I, the Holy One of Israel, am your Saviour.
I gave Egypt to pay for your freedom.
I gave Ethiopia and Seba as a trade for you.
4 You are precious to me,
and I have given you a special place of honor.
I love you.
That’s why I am willing to trade others, to give up whole nations, to save your life.
5 So don’t be afraid, because I am with you.
I will gather your children and bring them to you.
I will gather them from the east and from the west.
6 I will tell the north: give my people to me.
I will tell the south: don’t keep my people in prison.
Bring my sons and daughters to me from the faraway places.
7 Bring to me all the people who are mine,
the people who have my name. I made them for myself.
I made them, and they are mine.”
8 Bring out the people who have eyes but are blind.
Bring out the people who have ears but are deaf.*
9 Let all the nations come together.
Let their people tell us about their gods.
Which of their gods has ever told the future?
Did any of them warn us about something before it happened?
Are there witnesses to prove they were right?
And can anyone know they are telling the truth?
10 The LORD says:
“You people are my witnesses and the servant I chose.
I chose you so that you would help people believe me.
I chose you so that you would understand that ‘I Am He’—I am the true God.
There was no God before me,
and there will be no God after me.
11 I myself am the LORD,
and there is no other Saviour.
12 I am the one who spoke to you, saved you and told you those things.
It was not some stranger who was with you.
You are my witnesses, and I am God.” This is what the LORD himself said.
13 “I am and always will be God.
When I do something, no one can change what I have done.
No one can save people from my power.”
14 This is what the LORD,
the Holy One of Israel, who saves you says:
“I will send armies to Babylon for you. Many people will be captured.
Those Babylonians will be taken away in their own boats.
They are so proud of those boats.*
15 I am the LORD your Holy One. I made Israel. I am your King.”
God Will Save His People Again
16 The Lord is making roads through the sea.
He is making a path for his people, even through rough waters.
This is what the LORD says:
17 “Those who fight against me with their chariots, horses
and armies will be defeated. They will never rise again;
they will be destroyed.
They will be put out like the flame in a lamp.
18 So forget what happened in earlier times.
Don’t think about those days so long ago,
19 because I am doing something new. It is already happening.
Surely you can see it!
I am making a road through the desert, and rivers will flow in that dry land.
20 The wild animals there will honor me.
The wild dogs and owls will thank me when I make rivers flow in the desert.
I will provide water for my chosen people to drink.
21 They are the people I made for myself,
to sing my praise to the world.
22 “Jacob, you did not pray to me; Israel, you became tired of me.
23 You have not brought your sheep as
sacrifices to me.
You have not honored me with your sacrifices.
I did not force you to give gifts to me like slaves.
I did not force you to burn incense until you became tired.
24 So you did not use your money to buy
things to honor me,
but you did force me to be like your slave.
You sinned until the bad things you did made me very tired.
25 “I, yes, I am the one who wipes away all your sins.
I do this to please myself.
I will not remember your sins.
26 But you should remember me.
Let’s meet together and decide what is right.
Tell your story and prove that you are innocent.
27 Your first father sinned,
and your lawyers† committed crimes against me.
28 I will make your Temple leaders unfit to serve there.
I will destroy Jacob;
bad things will happen to Israel.”
The Lord Is the Only God
“Jacob, you are my servant. Israel, I chose you. Listen to me!
2 I am the LORD, and I made you.
I am the one who formed you in your mother’s womb,
and I will help you.
Jacob, my servant, don’t be afraid. Jeshurun,† I chose you.
3 I will pour water for thirsty people,
and streams will flow through the desert. I will pour my Spirit on your children, and I will bless‡ your family.
4 They will sprout like grass in the spring and grow like trees by streams of water. 5 One man will call himself, ‘I am the LORD’s.’
Another will use the name, ‘Jacob’.
Another man will sign his name as ‘The LORD’s Hand’.
And another will use the name, ‘Israel’.”
6 The LORD, the king of Israel, is the LORD All-Powerful who will free Israel. And this is what he says:
“I am the only God. There are no other gods.
I am the Beginning and the End.
7 There is no other God like me.
If there is, that god should speak now. Let him lay out everything he has done since the time I made these ancient people.
Let him show me the signs he gave long ago
that prove he knew what would happen in the future.
8 Don’t be afraid! Don’t worry.
I am the one who always told you what would happen.
You are my proof.
There is no other God; I am the only one.
There is no other Rock; I know I am the only one.”
False Gods Are Useless
9 Some people make idols, but they are worthless.
They love their statues, which are useless.
Those who serve as witnesses for these statues cannot even see.
They don’t know enough to be ashamed.
10 Who made these false gods? Who covered these useless statues? 11 Workers made them,
and the workers are only human.
They must all gather together before me to be put on trial.
Then they will all be ashamed and afraid.
12 A metalworker uses his tools to heat
iron over hot coals.
He uses his hammer to beat the metal to shape it into a statue.
He uses his own powerful arms.
But when he gets hungry, he loses his strength.
If he does not drink water, he becomes weak.
13 A woodworker uses his measuring and
to mark a pattern on a block of wood. He uses a plane and chisel§ to carve it,
making it into the form of a statue.
He shapes the wood until it looks almost human
and puts it in a special place in his house.
14 He cuts down the cedar trees; he chooses oak or cypress trees.
To make sure he had plenty of wood, he planted some pines,
but it was the rain that made them grow.
15 When the man wanted a fire,
he took some of the wood to keep him warm.
He also used some of it to bake his bread.
But then he used that same wood to make a statue to worship as a god!
That god is only a statue that he made, but he bows down to it!
16 He burns half of the wood in the fire.
He uses the fire to cook his meat,
and he eats the meat until he is full.
He burns the wood to keep himself warm.
He says, “Good! Now I am warm,
and I can see by the light of the fire.”
17 There is a little of the wood left,
so he makes a statue and calls it his god. He bows down before it and worships it. He prays to it and says,
“You are my god, save me!”
18 People like that don’t know what they are doing!
They don’t understand.
Their eyes are shut, so they cannot see.
Their minds are closed, so they cannot understand.
19 They don’t realize what they are doing.
They aren’t smart enough to think,
“I burned half of the wood in the fire.
I used the hot coals to bake my bread and cook the meat I ate.
And I used the wood that was left to make this disgusting thing.
I am worshipping a block of wood!”
20 They don’t know what they are doing.
They have believed a lie.
They cannot save themselves, and they will not admit,
“This statue I am holding is a fake!”
The Lord, the True God, Helps Israel
21 “Jacob, remember these things! Israel, remember, you are my servant. I made you, and you are my servant. So, Israel, I will never forget you.
22 Your sins were like a big cloud,
but I wiped them all away. Your sins are gone,
like a cloud that disappeared into thin air.
I rescued and protected you, so come back to me.”
23 Skies, rejoice for what the LORD has done.
Earth, shout for joy down to your deep- est parts!
Start singing, you mountains and all you trees in the forest!
Yes, the LORD has saved Jacob.
He has shown his glory by rescuing Israel.
26 That’s because you all belong to
Christ Jesus and are God’s children through faith. 27 Yes, you were all baptized to be united with Christ. So now Christ covers you completely like a new change of clothes. 28 Now, in Christ, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or free, male or female. You are all the same in Christ Jesus. 29 You belong to Christ, so you are Abra- ham’s descendants. This means that all
the blessings God promised to Abraham belong to you.
This is what I am saying: When young children inherit all that their father owned, they are still no different from his slaves. It doesn’t matter that they own everything. 2 While they are children, they must obey those who are chosen to care for them. But when they reach the age the father set, they are free. 3 It is the same for us. We were once like children, slaves to the evil forces that rule people’s lives. 4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, who was born from a woman and lived under the law. 5 God did this so that he could buy the freedom of those who were un- der the law. God’s purpose was to make
us his children.
6 You are now God’s children. And that is why he has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. It is the Spirit inside us that cries out, “Abba,‡ Father.” 7 Now you are no longer slaves. You are God’s children, and you will receive every- thing he promised his children.
Paul’s Love for the Galatian Believers
8 In the past you did not know God. You were slaves to gods that were not real. 9 But now you know the true God. Really, though, it is God who knows you. So why do you turn back to the same kind of weak and useless forces you fol- lowed before? Do you want to be slaves to those things again? 10–11 It worries me that you follow teachings about spe- cial days, months, seasons and years.¶ I wonder if all my work for you has been wasted.
12 Brothers and sisters, I beg you to be like me, just as I became like you. You did not do anything wrong to me. 13 Surely you remember when I told you the Good News the first time. I was trav- elling through Galatia and stopped there because I was sick. 14 And my sickness made it difficult for you. But you did not avoid me out of disgust or fear.* Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel from God. You accepted me as if I were Christ Jesus himself! 15 You were very happy then. Where is that joy now? I can say without a doubt that you would have done anything to help me. If it had been possible, you would have taken out your own eyes and given them to me. 16 Am I now your enemy because I tell you the truth?
17 Those people† are eagerly showing
interest in you, but they are not seeking what is best for you. They want to keep you away from us so that you will show more interest in them. 18 It is always good to have someone show interest in you for the right purpose. That’s what I did when I was with you, and it should happen whether I am there or not. 19 My little children, I am in pain again over you, like a mother giving birth. I will feel this pain until people can look at you and see Christ. 20 I wish I could be with you now. Then maybe I could change the way I am talking to you. Now I don’t know what to do about you.
A song, a psalm of David.
God, I am ready and determined
to sing songs of praise with all my heart.
2 Harps and lyres, wake up, and let’s wake the dawn!
3 LORD, I will praise you before all people.
I will sing praises about you to every nation.
4 Your love is so great, it reaches above the sky!
Your faithfulness is as high as the clouds.
5 God, rise above the heavens!
Let all the world see your glory.
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