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Anguish over looming disaster
19 Oh, my suffering, my suffering!
My pain is unbearable;
my heart is in turmoil;
it throbs nonstop.
I can’t be silent, because I hear the blast of the trumpet
and the roar of the battle cry!
20 Disaster follows disaster;
the whole land is ruined.
Suddenly, my tents are destroyed,
my shelter in a moment.
21 How long must I see the battle flags
and hear the blast of the trumpet?
22 My people are foolish.
They don’t even know me!
They are thoughtless children
they are skilled at doing wrong,
inept at doing right.
23 I looked at the earth,
and it was without shape or form;
at the heavens
and there was no light.
24 I looked at the mountains
and they were quaking;
all the hills were rocking back and forth.
25 I looked and there was no one left;
every bird in the sky had taken flight.
26 I looked and the fertile land was a desert;
all its towns were in ruins
before the Lord,
before his fury.
27 The Lord proclaims:
The whole earth will become a desolation,
but I will not destroy it completely.
28 Therefore, the earth will grieve
and the heavens grow dark
because I have declared my plan
and will neither change my mind
nor cancel the plan.
29 As the horsemen and archers approach,
the people take flight.
They hide in the bushes
and escape to the cliffs.
Every city is deserted;
no one remains.
30 And you, devastated one,
why dress up in scarlet,
deck yourself in gold jewelry,
and color your eyes with paint?
In vain you get all decked out;
your lovers have rejected you
and now seek your life.
31 I hear the cry of a woman in labor,
the distress of one delivering her first child.
It is the cry of Daughter Zion,
gasping for breath,
her arms stretched out,
“I’m about to fall into the hands of murderers!”
Futile search for a good person
5 Search every street in Jerusalem,
comb the squares,
look far and wide
for one person,
even one who acts justly
and seeks truth that I may pardon her!
2 Even when making a pledge—“As the Lord lives”—
they swear falsely.
3 Lord, don’t you look for integrity?
You have struck them down,
but they didn’t even cringe.
You have crushed them,
but they have ignored your discipline.
They make their faces harder than rock
and refuse to return.
4 Then I thought to myself,
These are the poor who don’t know better!
They don’t understand the Lord’s way
or the justice of their God.
5 Let me go and speak to the powerful people,
for they will surely know the Lord’s way
and the justice of their God.
But they too have broken their yoke
and shattered the chains.
6 Therefore, a lion from the forest will attack them;
a wolf from the desert will destroy them;
a leopard prowling around their towns
will tear to pieces anyone venturing out—
because of their many crimes
and countless acts of unfaithfulness.
7 How can I pardon you?
Your children have forsaken me
and swear by gods that are not gods.
Although I could have satisfied them,
they committed adultery,
dashing off to the prostitution house.
8 They are lusty stallions roving about,
snorting for another’s wife.
9 The Lord declares:
Shouldn’t I confront these acts?
Shouldn’t I take revenge on such a nation?
Contempt for God
10 Climb through her vineyards and ravage them,
although not completely.
Prune back her branches,
because they aren’t the Lord’s.
11 The people of Israel and Judah
have been utterly faithless to me,
declares the Lord.
12 They have lied about the Lord
and said, “He’ll do nothing!
Disaster won’t come upon us;
we won’t see war or famine.”
13 The prophets are so much wind;
the word isn’t in them.
Thus and so may it be done to them.
14 Therefore, the Lord God of heavenly forces proclaims:
Because you have spoken this way,
I will put my words
in your mouth as a fire;
it will consume the people,
who are but kindling.
15 I am about to bring a distant nation against you,
people of Israel,
declares the Lord.
It is an established nation,
an ancient nation,
a nation whose language you don’t know,
whose speech you won’t understand.
16 Its weapons are deadly;
its warriors are many.
17 It will devour your harvest and food;
it will devour your sons and daughters;
it will devour your flocks and herds;
it will devour your vines and fig trees;
it will shatter your fortified towns in which you trust—
with the sword!
18 Yet even in those days, declares the Lord, I won’t completely destroy you. 19 And when they ask, “Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?” you must reply, “Just as you have abandoned me and served foreign gods in your land, so you will serve strangers in a land not your own.”
Shouldn’t you fear me?
20 Declare this to the people of Jacob,
announce it in Judah:
21 Listen, you foolish and senseless people,
who have eyes but don’t see
and ears but don’t hear.
22 Shouldn’t you fear me,
declares the Lord,
and tremble before me,
the one who set the shoreline for the sea,
an ancient boundary that it can’t pass?
Though its waves may rise and roar,
they can’t pass the limits I have set.
23 And yet the people have stubborn and rebellious hearts;
they turn and go their own way.
24 They don’t say in their hearts,
Let’s fear the Lord our God,
who provides rain in autumn and spring
and who assures us of a harvest in its season.
25 Your wrongdoing has turned these blessings away.
Your sin has robbed you of good.
26 Criminals are found among my people;
they set traps to catch people,
like hunters lying in wait.
27 Like a cage full of birds,
so their houses are full of loot.
No wonder they are rich and powerful
28 and have grown fat and sleek!
To be sure, their evil deeds exceed all limits,
and yet they prosper.
They are indifferent to the plight of the orphan,
reluctant to defend the rights of the poor.
29 Shouldn’t I punish such acts?
declares the Lord.
Shouldn’t I repay that nation for its deeds?
30 An awful, a terrible thing
has happened in the land:
31 The prophets prophesy falsely,
the priests rule at their sides,
and my people love it this way!
But what will you do when the end comes?
Prepare for war
6 Escape, people of Benjamin,
get out of Jerusalem!
Blow the trumpet in Tekoa,
sound the alarm in Beth-haccherem;
for disaster looms from the north,
2 You are like a lovely pasture, Daughter Zion.
3 Shepherds come to her with their flocks.
They pitch their tents around her
and graze in their place.
4 “Prepare for battle against her;
get ready; let’s attack by noon!
Oh, no! Daylight is fading,
and the evening shadows lengthen.
5 Get ready, let’s attack by night
and destroy her fortresses!”
6 The Lord of heavenly forces proclaims:
Cut down her trees,
and build siege ramps against Jerusalem.
This city must be held accountable,
for there’s nothing but oppression in her midst.
7 As a well brings forth fresh water,
she brings forth evil.
Violence and destruction are heard within her;
injury and wounds are ever before me.
8 Hear me out, Jerusalem,
or else I’ll turn away from you
and reduce you to ruins,
a land unfit to live in.
9 This is what the Lord of heavenly forces says:
From top to bottom, let them harvest
the remaining few in Israel.
Pick clean every
last grape on the vine!
10 To whom can I speak and warn?
How can I get someone’s attention?
Their ears are shut tight,
so they won’t hear.
They are ashamed of the Lord’s word
and take no pleasure in it.
11 But I’m filled with the Lord’s rage
and am tired of holding it in.
Pour it out on the children in the streets
and on the youths gathered together;
husband with wife will be trapped,
as will those old and gray.
12 Their homes will be turned over to others,
their fields and wives as well.
I will stretch out my hand
against the people of this land,
declares the Lord.
13 From the least to the greatest,
each is eager to profit;
from prophet to priest,
each trades in dishonesty.
14 They treat the wound of my people
as if it were nothing:
“All is well, all is well,” they insist,
when in fact nothing is well.
15 They should be ashamed
of their detestable practices,
but they have no shame;
they don’t even blush!
Therefore, they will fall among the fallen
and stumble when I bring disaster,
declares the Lord.
18 He is the head of the body, the church,
who is the beginning,
the one who is firstborn from among the dead
so that he might occupy the first place in everything.
19 Because all the fullness of God was pleased to live in him,
20 and he reconciled all things to himself through him—
whether things on earth or in the heavens.
He brought peace through the blood of his cross.
21 Once you were alienated from God and you were enemies with him in your minds, which was shown by your evil actions. 22 But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through death, to present you before God as a people who are holy, faultless, and without blame. 23 But you need to remain well established and rooted in faith and not shift away from the hope given in the good news that you heard. This message has been preached throughout all creation under heaven. And I, Paul, became a servant of this good news.
Paul’s service for the church
24 Now I’m happy to be suffering for you. I’m completing what is missing from Christ’s sufferings with my own body. I’m doing this for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I became a servant of the church by God’s commission, which was given to me for you, in order to complete God’s word. 26 I’m completing it with a secret plan that has been hidden for ages and generations but which has now been revealed to his holy people. 27 God wanted to make the glorious riches of this secret plan known among the Gentiles, which is Christ living in you, the hope of glory. 28 This is what we preach as we warn and teach every person with all wisdom so that we might present each one mature in Christ. 29 I work hard and struggle for this goal with his energy, which works in me powerfully.
2 I want you to know how much I struggle for you, for those in Laodicea, and for all who haven’t known me personally. 2 My goal is that their hearts would be encouraged and united together in love so that they might have all the riches of assurance that come with understanding, so that they might have the knowledge of the secret plan of God, namely Christ. 3 All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him. 4 I’m telling you this so that no one deceives you with convincing arguments, 5 because even though I am absent physically, I’m with you in spirit. I’m happy to see the discipline and stability of your faith in Christ.
Error threatening the church
6 So live in Christ Jesus the Lord in the same way as you received him. 7 Be rooted and built up in him, be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught.
For the music leader. According to Jeduthun. Of Asaph. A psalm.
77 I cry out loud to God—
out loud to God so that he can hear me!
2 During the day when I’m in trouble I look for my Lord.
At night my hands are still outstretched and don’t grow numb;
my whole being refuses to be comforted.
3 I remember God and I moan.
I complain, and my spirit grows tired. Selah
4 You’ve kept my eyelids from closing.
I’m so upset I can’t even speak.
5 I think about days long past;
I remember years that seem an eternity in the past.
6 I meditate with my heart at night;
I complain, and my spirit keeps searching:
7 “Will my Lord reject me forever?
Will he never be pleased again?
8 Has his faithful love come to a complete end?
Is his promise over for future generations?
9 Has God forgotten how to be gracious?
Has he angrily stopped up his compassion?” Selah
10 It’s my misfortune, I thought,
that the strong hand of the Most High is different now.
11 But I will remember the Lord’s deeds;
yes, I will remember your wondrous acts from times long past.
12 I will meditate on all your works;
I will ponder your deeds.
13 God, your way is holiness!
Who is as great a god as you, God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
you have demonstrated your strength among all peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people;
redeemed the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
16 The waters saw you, God—
the waters saw you and reeled!
Even the deep depths shook!
17 The clouds poured water,
the skies cracked thunder;
your arrows were flying all around!
18 The crash of your thunder was in the swirling storm;
lightning lit up the whole world;
the earth shook and quaked.
19 Your way went straight through the sea;
your pathways went right through the mighty waters.
But your footprints left no trace!
20 You led your people like sheep
under the care of Moses and Aaron.
More sayings of the wise
23 These are also the sayings of the wise:
Partiality in judgment isn’t good.
24 Those who say to the guilty, “You are innocent”—
the people will curse them.
Nations will condemn them.
25 But it will go well for those who rebuke them.
A rich blessing will come to them.