1 Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory. 2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. 3 You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. 4 For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. 5 The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire. 6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen! 8 The Lord has spoken out against Jacob; his judgment has fallen upon Israel. 9 And the people of Israel and Samaria, who spoke with such pride and arrogance, will soon know it. 10 They said, “We will replace the broken bricks of our ruins with finished stone, and replant the felled sycamore-fig trees with cedars.” 11 But the LORD will bring Rezin’s enemies against Israel and stir up all their foes. 12 The Syrians from the east and the Philistines from the west will bare their fangs and devour Israel. But even then the LORD ’s anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike. 13 For after all this punishment, the people will still not repent. They will not seek the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 14 Therefore, in a single day the LORD will destroy both the head and the tail, the noble palm branch and the lowly reed. 15 The leaders of Israel are the head, and the lying prophets are the tail. 16 For the leaders of the people have misled them. They have led them down the path of destruction. 17 That is why the Lord takes no pleasure in the young men and shows no mercy even to the widows and orphans. For they are all wicked hypocrites, and they all speak foolishness. But even then the LORD ’s anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike. 18 This wickedness is like a brushfire. It burns not only briers and thorns but also sets the forests ablaze. Its burning sends up clouds of smoke. 19 The land will be blackened by the fury of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. The people will be fuel for the fire, and no one will spare even his own brother. 20 They will attack their neighbor on the right but will still be hungry. They will devour their neighbor on the left but will not be satisfied. In the end they will even eat their own children. 21 Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, Ephraim will feed on Manasseh, and both will devour Judah. But even then the LORD ’s anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike.
1 What sorrow awaits the unjust judges and those who issue unfair laws. 2 They deprive the poor of justice and deny the rights of the needy among my people. They prey on widows and take advantage of orphans. 3 What will you do when I punish you, when I send disaster upon you from a distant land? To whom will you turn for help? Where will your treasures be safe? 4 You will stumble along as prisoners or lie among the dead. But even then the LORD ’s anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike. 5 “What sorrow awaits Assyria, the rod of my anger. I use it as a club to express my anger. 6 I am sending Assyria against a godless nation, against a people with whom I am angry. Assyria will plunder them, trampling them like dirt beneath its feet. 7 But the king of Assyria will not understand that he is my tool; his mind does not work that way. His plan is simply to destroy, to cut down nation after nation. 8 He will say, ‘Each of my princes will soon be a king. 9 We destroyed Calno just as we did Carchemish. Hamath fell before us as Arpad did. And we destroyed Samaria just as we did Damascus. 10 Yes, we have finished off many a kingdom whose gods were greater than those in Jerusalem and Samaria. 11 So we will defeat Jerusalem and her gods, just as we destroyed Samaria with hers.’” 12 After the Lord has used the king of Assyria to accomplish his purposes on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, he will turn against the king of Assyria and punish him—for he is proud and arrogant. 13 He boasts, “By my own powerful arm I have done this. With my own shrewd wisdom I planned it. I have broken down the defenses of nations and carried off their treasures. I have knocked down their kings like a bull. 14 I have robbed their nests of riches and gathered up kingdoms as a farmer gathers eggs. No one can even flap a wing against me or utter a peep of protest.” 15 But can the ax boast greater power than the person who uses it? Is the saw greater than the person who saws? Can a rod strike unless a hand moves it? Can a wooden cane walk by itself? 16 Therefore, the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, will send a plague among Assyria’s proud troops, and a flaming fire will consume its glory. 17 The LORD, the Light of Israel, will be a fire; the Holy One will be a flame. He will devour the thorns and briers with fire, burning up the enemy in a single night. 18 The LORD will consume Assyria’s glory like a fire consumes a forest in a fruitful land; it will waste away like sick people in a plague. 19 Of all that glorious forest, only a few trees will survive— so few that a child could count them! 20 In that day the remnant left in Israel, the survivors in the house of Jacob, will no longer depend on allies who seek to destroy them. But they will faithfully trust the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. 21 A remnant will return; yes, the remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God. 22 But though the people of Israel are as numerous as the sand of the seashore, only a remnant of them will return. The LORD has rightly decided to destroy his people. 23 Yes, the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, has already decided to destroy the entire land. 24 So this is what the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, says: “O my people in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians when they oppress you with rod and club as the Egyptians did long ago. 25 In a little while my anger against you will end, and then my anger will rise up to destroy them.” 26 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies will lash them with his whip, as he did when Gideon triumphed over the Midianites at the rock of Oreb, or when the LORD ’s staff was raised to drown the Egyptian army in the sea. 27 In that day the LORD will end the bondage of his people. He will break the yoke of slavery and lift it from their shoulders. 28 Look, the Assyrians are now at Aiath. They are passing through Migron and are storing their equipment at Micmash. 29 They are crossing the pass and are camping at Geba. Fear strikes the town of Ramah. All the people of Gibeah, the hometown of Saul, are running for their lives. 30 Scream in terror, you people of Gallim! Shout out a warning to Laishah. Oh, poor Anathoth! 31 There go the people of Madmenah, all fleeing. The citizens of Gebim are trying to hide. 32 The enemy stops at Nob for the rest of that day. He shakes his fist at beautiful Mount Zion, the mountain of Jerusalem. 33 But look! The Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, will chop down the mighty tree of Assyria with great power! He will cut down the proud. That lofty tree will be brought down. 34 He will cut down the forest trees with an ax. Lebanon will fall to the Mighty One.
1 When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles . . . 2 assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles. 3 As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. 4 As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. 5 God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets. 6 And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. 7 By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News. 8 Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. 9 I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning. 10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. 13 So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored. 14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.