But the LORD will have mercy on the descendants of Jacob. Israel will be his special people once again. He will bring them back to settle once again in their own land. And people from many different nations will come and join them there and become a part of the people of Israel.
The nations of the world will help the LORD's people to return, and those who come to live in their land will serve them. Those who captured Israel will be captured, and Israel will rule over its enemies.
In that wonderful day when the LORD gives his people rest from sorrow and fear, from slavery and chains,
you will taunt the king of Babylon. You will say, "The mighty man has been destroyed. Yes, your insolence is ended.
For the LORD has crushed your wicked power and broken your evil rule.
You persecuted the people with unceasing blows of rage and held the nations in your angry grip. Your tyranny was unrestrained.
But at last the land is at rest and is quiet. Finally it can sing again!
Even the trees of the forest -- the cypress trees and the cedars of Lebanon -- sing out this joyous song: 'Your power is broken! No one will come to cut us down now!'
"In the place of the dead there is excitement over your arrival. World leaders and mighty kings long dead are there to see you.
With one voice they all cry out, 'Now you are as weak as we are!
Your might and power are gone; they were buried with you. All the pleasant music in your palace has ceased. Now maggots are your sheet and worms your blanket.'
"How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world.
For you said to yourself, 'I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God's stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north.
I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.'
But instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths.
Everyone there will stare at you and ask, 'Can this be the one who shook the earth and the kingdoms of the world?
Is this the one who destroyed the world and made it into a wilderness? Is this the king who demolished the world's greatest cities and had no mercy on his prisoners?'
"The kings of the nations lie in stately glory in their tombs,
but you will be thrown out of your grave like a worthless branch. Like a corpse trampled underfoot, you will be dumped into a mass grave with those killed in battle. You will descend to the pit.
You will not be given a proper burial, for you have destroyed your nation and slaughtered your people. Your son will not succeed you as king.
Kill the children of this sinner! Do not let them rise and conquer the land or rebuild the cities of the world."
This is what the LORD Almighty says: "I, myself, have risen against him! I will destroy his children and his children's children, so they will never sit on his throne.
I will make Babylon into a desolate land, a place of porcupines, filled with swamps and marshes. I will sweep the land with the broom of destruction. I, the LORD Almighty, have spoken!"
The LORD Almighty has sworn this oath: "It will all happen as I have planned. It will come about according to my purposes.
I will break the Assyrians when they are in Israel; I will trample them on my mountains. My people will no longer be their slaves.
I have a plan for the whole earth, for my mighty power reaches throughout the world.
The LORD Almighty has spoken -- who can change his plans? When his hand moves, who can stop him?"
This message came to me the year King Ahaz died:
Do not rejoice, you Philistines, that the king who attacked you is dead. For even though that whip is broken, his son will be worse than his father ever was. From that snake a poisonous snake will be born, a fiery serpent to destroy you!
I will feed the poor in my pasture; the needy will lie down in peace. But as for you, I will wipe you out with famine. I will destroy the few who remain.
Weep, you Philistine cities, for you are doomed! Melt in fear, for everyone will be destroyed. A powerful army is coming out of the north. Each soldier rushes forward ready to fight.
What should we tell the enemy messengers? Tell them that the LORD has built Jerusalem, and that the poor of his people will find refuge in its walls.
This message came to me concerning Moab:In one night your cities of Ar and Kir will be destroyed.
Your people in Dibon will mourn at their temples and shrines, weeping for the fate of Nebo and Medeba. They will shave their heads in sorrow and cut off their beards.
They will wear sackcloth as they wander the streets. From every home will come the sound of weeping.
The cries from the cities of Heshbon and Elealeh will be heard far away, even in Jahaz! The bravest warriors of Moab will cry out in utter terror.
My heart weeps for Moab. Its people flee to Zoar and Eglath-shelishiyah. Weeping, they climb the road to Luhith. Their crying can be heard all along the road to Horonaim.
Even the waters of Nimrim are dried up! The grassy banks are scorched, and the tender plants are gone.
The desperate refugees take only the possessions they can carry and flee across the Ravine of Willows.
The whole land of Moab is a land of weeping from one end to the other -- from Eglaim to Beer-elim.
The stream near Dibon runs red with blood, but I am still not finished with Dibon! Lions will hunt down the survivors, both those who try to run and those who remain behind.
Moab's refugees at Sela send lambs to Jerusalem as a token of alliance with the king of Judah.
The women of Moab are left like homeless birds at the shallow crossings of the Arnon River.
"Help us," they cry. "Defend us against our enemies. Protect us from their relentless attack. Do not betray us.
Let our outcasts stay among you. Hide them from our enemies until the terror is past."When oppression and destruction have ceased and enemy raiders have disappeared,
then David's throne will be established by love. From that throne a faithful king will reign, one who always does what is just and right.
Is this Moab, the proud land we have heard so much about? Its pride and insolence are all gone now!
The entire land of Moab weeps. Yes, you people of Moab, mourn for the delicacies of Kir-hareseth.
Weep for the abandoned farms of Heshbon and the vineyards at Sibmah. The wine from those vineyards used to make the rulers of the nations drunk. Moab was once like a spreading grapevine. Her tendrils spread out as far as Jazer and trailed out into the desert. Her shoots once reached as far as the Dead Sea.
But now the enemy has completely destroyed that vine. So I wail and lament for Jazer and the vineyards of Sibmah. My tears will flow for Heshbon and Elealeh, for their summer fruits and harvests have all been destroyed.
Gone now is the gladness; gone is the joy of harvest. The happy singing in the vineyards will be heard no more. The treading out of grapes in the winepresses has ceased forever. I have ended all their harvest joys.
I will weep for Moab. My sorrow for Kir-hareseth will be very great.
On the hilltops the people of Moab will pray in anguish to their idols, but it will do them no good. They will cry to the gods in their temples, but no one will come to save them.
The LORD has already said this about Moab in the past.
But now the LORD says, "Within three years, without fail, the glory of Moab will be ended, and few of its people will be left alive."
Follow God's example in everything you do, because you are his dear children.
Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him.
Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God's people.
Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes -- these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.
You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is really an idolater who worships the things of this world.
Don't be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him.
Don't participate in the things these people do.
For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it!
For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.
Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them.
It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.
But when the light shines on them, it becomes clear how evil these things are.
And where your light shines, it will expose their evil deeds. This is why it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light."
So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise.
Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days.
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)