1 The people of Israel feed on the wind; they chase after the east wind all day long. They pile up lies and violence; they are making an alliance with Assyria while sending olive oil to buy support from Egypt. 2 Now the LORD is bringing charges against Judah. He is about to punish Jacob for all his deceitful ways, and pay him back for all he has done. 3 Even in the womb, Jacob struggled with his brother; when he became a man, he even fought with God. 4 Yes, he wrestled with the angel and won. He wept and pleaded for a blessing from him. There at Bethel he met God face to face, and God spoke to him — 5 the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, the LORD is his name! 6 So now, come back to your God. Act with love and justice, and always depend on him. 7 But no, the people are like crafty merchants selling from dishonest scales— they love to cheat. 8 Israel boasts, “I am rich! I’ve made a fortune all by myself! No one has caught me cheating! My record is spotless!” 9 “But I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in Egypt. And I will make you live in tents again, as you do each year at the Festival of Shelters. 10 I sent my prophets to warn you with many visions and parables.” 11 But the people of Gilead are worthless because of their idol worship. And in Gilgal, too, they sacrifice bulls; their altars are lined up like the heaps of stone along the edges of a plowed field. 12 Jacob fled to the land of Aram, and there he earned a wife by tending sheep. 13 Then by a prophet the LORD brought Jacob’s descendants out of Egypt; and by that prophet they were protected. 14 But the people of Israel have bitterly provoked the LORD, so their Lord will now sentence them to death in payment for their sins.
1 When the tribe of Ephraim spoke, the people shook with fear, for that tribe was important in Israel. But the people of Ephraim sinned by worshiping Baal and thus sealed their destruction. 2 Now they continue to sin by making silver idols, images shaped skillfully with human hands. “Sacrifice to these,” they cry, “and kiss the calf idols!” 3 Therefore, they will disappear like the morning mist, like dew in the morning sun, like chaff blown by the wind, like smoke from a chimney. 4 “I have been the LORD your God ever since I brought you out of Egypt. You must acknowledge no God but me, for there is no other savior. 5 I took care of you in the wilderness, in that dry and thirsty land. 6 But when you had eaten and were satisfied, you became proud and forgot me. 7 So now I will attack you like a lion, like a leopard that lurks along the road. 8 Like a bear whose cubs have been taken away, I will tear out your heart. I will devour you like a hungry lioness and mangle you like a wild animal. 9 “You are about to be destroyed, O Israel— yes, by me, your only helper. 10 Now where is your king? Let him save you! Where are all the leaders of the land, the king and the officials you demanded of me? 11 In my anger I gave you kings, and in my fury I took them away. 12 “Ephraim’s guilt has been collected, and his sin has been stored up for punishment. 13 Pain has come to the people like the pain of childbirth, but they are like a child who resists being born. The moment of birth has arrived, but they stay in the womb! 14 “Should I ransom them from the grave ? Should I redeem them from death? O death, bring on your terrors! O grave, bring on your plagues! For I will not take pity on them. 15 Ephraim was the most fruitful of all his brothers, but the east wind—a blast from the LORD — will arise in the desert. All their flowing springs will run dry, and all their wells will disappear. Every precious thing they own will be plundered and carried away. 16 The people of Samaria must bear the consequences of their guilt because they rebelled against their God. They will be killed by an invading army, their little ones dashed to death against the ground, their pregnant women ripped open by swords.”
1 Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for your sins have brought you down. 2 Bring your confessions, and return to the LORD . Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises. 3 Assyria cannot save us, nor can our warhorses. Never again will we say to the idols we have made, ‘You are our gods.’ No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy.” 4 The LORD says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. 5 I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. 6 Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon. 7 My people will again live under my shade. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon. 8 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” 9 Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.
1 Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven, and the same voice I had heard before spoke to me like a trumpet blast. The voice said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” 2 And instantly I was in the Spirit, and I saw a throne in heaven and someone sitting on it. 3 The one sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones—like jasper and carnelian. And the glow of an emerald circled his throne like a rainbow. 4 Twenty-four thrones surrounded him, and twenty-four elders sat on them. They were all clothed in white and had gold crowns on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning and the rumble of thunder. And in front of the throne were seven torches with burning flames. This is the sevenfold Spirit of God. 6 In front of the throne was a shiny sea of glass, sparkling like crystal. In the center and around the throne were four living beings, each covered with eyes, front and back. 7 The first of these living beings was like a lion; the second was like an ox; the third had a human face; and the fourth was like an eagle in flight. 8 Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty— the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.” 9 Whenever the living beings give glory and honor and thanks to the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever), 10 the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever). And they lay their crowns before the throne and say, 11 “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.”