Look, a righteous king is coming! And honest princes will rule under him.
He will shelter Israel from the storm and the wind. He will refresh her as a river in the desert and as the cool shadow of a large rock in a hot and weary land.
Then everyone who can see will be looking for God, and those who can hear will listen to his voice.
Even the hotheads among them will be full of sense and understanding. Those who stammer in uncertainty will speak out plainly.
In that day ungodly fools will not be heroes. Wealthy cheaters will not be respected as outstanding citizens.
Everyone will recognize ungodly fools for what they are. They spread lies about the LORD; they deprive the hungry of food and give no water to the thirsty.
The smooth tricks of evil people will be exposed, including all the lies they use to oppress the poor in the courts.
But good people will be generous to others and will be blessed for all they do.
Listen, you women who lie around in lazy ease. Listen to me, and I will tell you of your reward.
In a short time -- in just a little more than a year -- you careless ones will suddenly begin to care. For your fruit crop will fail, and the harvest will never take place.
Tremble, you women of ease; throw off your unconcern. Strip off your pretty clothes, and wear sackcloth in your grief.
Beat your breasts in sorrow for your bountiful farms that will soon be gone, and for those fruitful vines of other years.
For your land will be overgrown with thorns and briers. Your joyful homes and happy cities will be gone.
The palace and the city will be deserted, and busy towns will be empty. Herds of donkeys and goats will graze on the hills where the watchtowers are,
until at last the Spirit is poured down upon us from heaven. Then the wilderness will become a fertile field, and the fertile field will become a lush and fertile forest.
Justice will rule in the wilderness and righteousness in the fertile field.
And this righteousness will bring peace. Quietness and confidence will fill the land forever.
My people will live in safety, quietly at home. They will be at rest.
Even though the forest will be destroyed and the city torn down,
God will greatly bless his people. Wherever they plant seed, bountiful crops will spring up. Their flocks and herds will graze in green pastures.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)