God Comforts His People
1“Comfort my people,” says your God.
“Comfort them.
2Speak tenderly to the people of Jerusalem.
Announce to them
that their hard labor has been completed.
Tell them that their sin has been paid for.
Tell them the Lord has punished them enough
for all their sins.”

3A messenger is calling out,
“In the desert prepare
the way for the Lord.
Make a straight road through it
for our God.
4Every valley will be filled in.
Every mountain and hill will be made level.
The rough ground will be smoothed out.
The rocky places will be made flat.
5Then the glory of the Lord will appear.
And everyone will see it together.
The Lord has spoken.”

6Another messenger says, “Cry out.”
And I said, “What should I cry?”

“Cry out, ‘All people are like grass.
They don’t stay faithful to me any longer than wildflowers last.
7The grass dries up. The flowers fall to the ground.
That happens when the Lord makes his wind blow on them.
So people are just like grass.
8The grass dries up. The flowers fall to the ground.
But what our God says will stand forever.’ ”

9Zion, you are bringing good news to your people.
Go up on a high mountain and announce it.
Jerusalem, you are bringing good news to them.
Shout the message loudly.
Shout it out loud. Don’t be afraid.
Say to the towns of Judah,
“Your God is coming!”
10The Lord and King is coming with power.
He rules with a powerful arm.
He has set his people free.
He is bringing them back as his reward.
He has won the battle over their enemies.
11He takes care of his flock like a shepherd.
He gathers the lambs in his arms.
He carries them close to his heart.
He gently leads those that have little ones.

12Who has measured the oceans by using the palm of his hand?
Who has used the width of his hand to mark off the sky?
Who has measured out the dust of the earth in a basket?
Who has weighed the mountains on scales?
Who has weighed the hills in a balance?
13Who can ever understand the Spirit of the Lord?
Who can ever give him advice?
14Did the Lord have to ask anyone to help him understand?
Did he have to ask someone to teach him the right way?
Who taught him what he knows?
Who showed him how to understand?

15The nations are only a drop in a bucket to him.
He considers them as nothing but dust on the scales.
He weighs the islands as if they were only fine dust.
16Lebanon doesn’t have enough trees to keep his altar fires burning.
It doesn’t have enough animals to sacrifice as burnt offerings to him.
17To him, all the nations don’t amount to anything.
He considers them to be worthless.
In fact, they are less than nothing in his sight.

18So who will you compare God with?
Is there any other god like him?
19Will you compare him with a statue of a god?
Anyone who works with metal can make a statue.
Then another worker covers it with gold
and makes silver chains for it.
20But someone who is too poor to bring that kind of offering
will choose some wood that won’t rot.
Then they look for a skilled worker.
They pay the worker to make a statue of a god that won’t fall over.

21Don’t you know who made everything?
Haven’t you heard about him?
Hasn’t it been told to you from the beginning?
Haven’t you understood it ever since the earth was made?
22God sits on his throne high above the earth.
Its people look like grasshoppers to him.
He spreads out the heavens like a cover.
He sets it up like a tent to live in.
23He takes the power of princes away from them.
He reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24They are planted.
They are scattered like seeds.
They put down roots in the ground.
But as soon as that happens, God blows on them and they dry up.
Then a windstorm sweeps them away like straw.

25“So who will you compare me with?
Who is equal to me?” says the Holy One.
26Look up toward the sky.
Who created everything you see?
The Lord causes the stars to come out at night one by one.
He calls out each one of them by name.
His power and strength are great.
So none of the stars is missing.

27Family of Jacob, why do you complain,
“The Lord doesn’t notice our condition”?
People of Israel, why do you say,
“Our God doesn’t pay any attention to our rightful claims”?
28Don’t you know who made everything?
Haven’t you heard about him?
The Lord is the God who lives forever.
He created everything on earth.
He won’t become worn out or get tired.
No one will ever know how great his understanding is.
29He gives strength to those who are tired.
He gives power to those who are weak.
30Even young people become worn out and get tired.
Even the best of them trip and fall.
31But those who trust in the Lord
will receive new strength.
They will fly as high as eagles.
They will run and not get tired.
They will walk and not grow weak.