08/09/2009

"God Has Not Forgotten"

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ISAIAH 49:1 - 16
1   Listen to me, you islands;
    hear this, you distant nations:
  Before I was born the LORD called me;
    from my birth he has made mention of my name.

 2 He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
    in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
  he made me into a polished arrow
    and concealed me in his quiver.

3 He said to me, "You are my servant,
    Israel, in whom I will display my splendor."

4 But I said, "I have labored to no purpose;
    I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing.
  Yet what is due me is in the LORD's hand,
    and my reward is with my God."

5 And now the LORD says--
    he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
  to bring Jacob back to him
    and gather Israel to himself,
  for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD
    and my God has been my strength--

6 he says:
  "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
    to restore the tribes of Jacob
    and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
  I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
    that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."

7 This is what the LORD says--
    the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel--
  to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation,
    to the servant of rulers:
  "Kings will see you and rise up,
    princes will see and bow down,
  because of the LORD, who is faithful,
    the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you."

8 This is what the LORD says:
  "In the time of my favor I will answer you,
    and in the day of salvation I will help you;
  I will keep you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people,
  to restore the land
    and to reassign its desolate inheritances,

9 to say to the captives, `Come out,'
    and to those in darkness, `Be free!'

  "They will feed beside the roads
    and find pasture on every barren hill.

 10 They will neither hunger nor thirst,
    nor will the desert heat or the sun beat upon them.
  He who has compassion on them will guide them
    and lead them beside springs of water.

11 I will turn all my mountains into roads,
    and my highways will be raised up.

12 See, they will come from afar--
    some from the north, some from the west,
    some from the region of Aswan. "

13 Shout for joy, O heavens;
    rejoice, O earth;
    burst into song, O mountains!
  For the LORD comforts his people
    and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

14 But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me,
    the Lord has forgotten me."

15 "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
  Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you!

16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are ever before me.