1 Look, a righteous king is coming! And honest princes will rule under him. 2 Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a parched land. 3 Then everyone who has eyes will be able to see the truth, and everyone who has ears will be able to hear it. 4 Even the hotheads will be full of sense and understanding. Those who stammer will speak out plainly. 5 In that day ungodly fools will not be heroes. Scoundrels will not be respected. 6 For fools speak foolishness and make evil plans. They practice ungodliness and spread false teachings about the LORD . They deprive the hungry of food and give no water to the thirsty. 7 The smooth tricks of scoundrels are evil. They plot crooked schemes. They lie to convict the poor, even when the cause of the poor is just. 8 But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity. 9 Listen, you women who lie around in ease. Listen to me, you who are so smug. 10 In a short time—just a little more than a year— you careless ones will suddenly begin to care. For your fruit crops will fail, and the harvest will never take place. 11 Tremble, you women of ease; throw off your complacency. Strip off your pretty clothes, and put on burlap to show your grief. 12 Beat your breasts in sorrow for your bountiful farms and your fruitful grapevines. 13 For your land will be overgrown with thorns and briers. Your joyful homes and happy towns will be gone. 14 The palace and the city will be deserted, and busy towns will be empty. Wild donkeys will frolic and flocks will graze in the empty forts and watchtowers 15 until at last the Spirit is poured out on us from heaven. Then the wilderness will become a fertile field, and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops. 16 Justice will rule in the wilderness and righteousness in the fertile field. 17 And this righteousness will bring peace. Yes, it will bring quietness and confidence forever. 18 My people will live in safety, quietly at home. They will be at rest. 19 Even if the forest should be destroyed and the city torn down, 20 the LORD will greatly bless his people. Wherever they plant seed, bountiful crops will spring up. Their cattle and donkeys will graze freely.
1 What sorrow awaits you Assyrians, who have destroyed others but have never been destroyed yourselves. You betray others, but you have never been betrayed. When you are done destroying, you will be destroyed. When you are done betraying, you will be betrayed. 2 But LORD, be merciful to us, for we have waited for you. Be our strong arm each day and our salvation in times of trouble. 3 The enemy runs at the sound of your voice. When you stand up, the nations flee! 4 Just as caterpillars and locusts strip the fields and vines, so the fallen army of Assyria will be stripped! 5 Though the LORD is very great and lives in heaven, he will make Jerusalem his home of justice and righteousness. 6 In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the LORD will be your treasure. 7 But now your brave warriors weep in public. Your ambassadors of peace cry in bitter disappointment. 8 Your roads are deserted; no one travels them anymore. The Assyrians have broken their peace treaty and care nothing for the promises they made before witnesses. They have no respect for anyone. 9 The land of Israel wilts in mourning. Lebanon withers with shame. The plain of Sharon is now a wilderness. Bashan and Carmel have been plundered. 10 But the LORD says: “Now I will stand up. Now I will show my power and might. 11 You Assyrians produce nothing but dry grass and stubble. Your own breath will turn to fire and consume you. 12 Your people will be burned up completely, like thornbushes cut down and tossed in a fire. 13 Listen to what I have done, you nations far away! And you that are near, acknowledge my might!” 14 The sinners in Jerusalem shake with fear. Terror seizes the godless. “Who can live with this devouring fire?” they cry. “Who can survive this all-consuming fire?” 15 Those who are honest and fair, who refuse to profit by fraud, who stay far away from bribes, who refuse to listen to those who plot murder, who shut their eyes to all enticement to do wrong— 16 these are the ones who will dwell on high. The rocks of the mountains will be their fortress. Food will be supplied to them, and they will have water in abundance. 17 Your eyes will see the king in all his splendor, and you will see a land that stretches into the distance. 18 You will think back to this time of terror, asking, “Where are the Assyrian officers who counted our towers? Where are the bookkeepers who recorded the plunder taken from our fallen city?” 19 You will no longer see these fierce, violent people with their strange, unknown language. 20 Instead, you will see Zion as a place of holy festivals. You will see Jerusalem, a city quiet and secure. It will be like a tent whose ropes are taut and whose stakes are firmly fixed. 21 The LORD will be our Mighty One. He will be like a wide river of protection that no enemy can cross, that no enemy ship can sail upon. 22 For the LORD is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will care for us and save us. 23 The enemies’ sails hang loose on broken masts with useless tackle. Their treasure will be divided by the people of God. Even the lame will take their share! 24 The people of Israel will no longer say, “We are sick and helpless,” for the LORD will forgive their sins.
1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. 2 We are writing to God’s holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. May God our Father give you grace and peace. 3 We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, 5 which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News. 6 This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace. 7 You learned about the Good News from Epaphras, our beloved co-worker. He is Christ’s faithful servant, and he is helping us on your behalf. 8 He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you. 9 So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. 11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. 15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. 18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. 21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. 23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it. 24 I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. 25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. 26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. 28 So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. 29 That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.