Habakkuk 1; Habakkuk 2; Habakkuk 3; Zephaniah 1; Zephaniah 2; Zephaniah 3

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Habakkuk 1

1 This is the message Habakkuk the prophet received.
2 Lord, how long must I ask for help and you ignore me? I cry out to you about violence, but you do not save us!
3 Why do you make me see wrong things and make me look at trouble? People are destroying things and hurting others in front of me; they are arguing and fighting.
4 So the teachings are weak, and justice never comes. Evil people gain while good people lose; the judges no longer make fair decisions.
5 "Look at the nations! Watch them and be amazed and shocked. I will do something in your lifetime that you won't believe even when you are told about it.
6 I will use the Babylonians, those cruel and wild people who march across the earth and take lands that don't belong to them.
7 They scare and frighten people. They do what they want to do and are good only to themselves.
8 Their horses are faster than leopards and quicker than wolves at sunset. Their horse soldiers attack quickly; they come from places far away. They attack quickly, like an eagle swooping down for food.
9 They all come to fight. Nothing can stop them. Their prisoners are as many as the grains of sand.
10 They laugh at kings and make fun of rulers. They laugh at all the strong, walled cities and build dirt piles to the top of the walls to capture them.
11 Then they leave like the wind and move on. They are guilty of worshiping their own strength."
12 Lord, you live forever, my God, my holy God. We will not die. Lord, you have chosen the Babylonians to punish people; our Rock, you picked them to punish.
13 Your eyes are too good to look at evil; you cannot stand to see those who do wrong. So how can you put up with those evil people? How can you be quiet when the wicked swallow up people who are better than they are?
14 You treat people like fish in the sea, like sea animals without a leader.
15 The enemy brings them in with hooks. He catches them in his net and drags them in his fishnet. So he rejoices and sings for joy.
16 The enemy offers sacrifices to his net and burns incense to worship it, because it lets him live like the rich and enjoy the best food.
17 Will he keep on taking riches with his net? Will he go on destroying people without showing mercy?
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Habakkuk 2

1 I will stand like a guard to watch and place myself at the tower. I will wait to see what he will say to me; I will wait to learn how God will answer my complaint.
2 The Lord answered me: "Write down the vision; write it clearly on clay tablets so whoever reads it can run to tell others.
3 It is not yet time for the message to come true, but that time is coming soon; the message will come true. It may seem like a long time, but be patient and wait for it, because it will surely come; it will not be delayed.
4 The evil nation is very proud of itself; it is not living as it should. But those who are right with God will live by trusting in him.
5 "Just as wine can trick a person, those who are too proud will not last, because their desire is like a grave's desire for death, and like death they always want more. They gather other nations for themselves and collect for themselves all the countries.
6 But all the nations the Babylonians have hurt will laugh at them. and say, 'How terrible it will be for the one that steals many things. How long will that nation get rich by forcing others to pay them?'
7 "One day the people from whom you have taken money will turn against you. They will realize what is happening and make you shake with fear. Then they will take everything you have.
8 Because you have stolen from many nations, those who are left will take much from you. This is because you have killed many people, destroying countries and cities and everyone in them.
9 "How terrible it will be for the nation that becomes rich by doing wrong, thinking they will live in a safe place and escape harm.
10 Because you have made plans to destroy many people, you have made your own houses ashamed of you. Because of it, you will lose your lives.
11 The stones of the walls will cry out against you, and the boards that support the roof will agree that you are wrong.
12 "How terrible it will be for the nation that kills people to build a city, that wrongs others to start a town.
13 The Lord All-Powerful will send fire to destroy what those people have built; all the nations' work will be for nothing.
14 Then, just as water covers the sea, people everywhere will know the Lord's glory.
15 "How terrible for the nation that makes its neighbors drink, pouring from the jug of wine until they are drunk so that it can look at their naked bodies.
16 You Babylonians will be filled with disgrace, not respect. It's your turn to drink and fall to the ground like a drunk person. The cup of anger from the Lord's right hand is coming around to you. You will receive disgrace, not respect.
17 You hurt many people in Lebanon, but now you will be hurt. You killed many animals there, and now you must be afraid because of what you did to that land, those cities, and the people who lived in them.
18 "An idol does no good, because a human made it; it is only a statue that teaches lies. The one who made it expects his own work to help him, but he makes idols that can't even speak!
19 How terrible it will be for the one who says to a wooden statue, 'Come to life!' How terrible it will be for the one who says to a silent stone, 'Get up!' It cannot tell you what to do. It is only a statue covered with gold and silver; there is no life in it.
20 The Lord is in his Holy Temple; all the earth should be silent in his presence."
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Habakkuk 3

1 This is the prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, on shigionoth.
2 Lord, I have heard the news about you; I am amazed at what you have done. Lord, do great things once again in our time; make those things happen again in our own days. Even when you are angry, remember to be kind.
3 God is coming from Teman; the Holy One comes from Mount Paran. Selah His glory covers the skies, and his praise fills the earth.
4 He is like a bright light. Rays of light shine from his hand, and there he hides his power.
5 Sickness goes before him, and disease follows behind him.
6 He stands and shakes the earth. He looks, and the nations shake with fear. The mountains, which stood for ages, break into pieces; the old hills fall down. God has always done this.
7 I saw that the tents of Cushan were in trouble and that the tents of Midian trembled.
8 Lord, were you angry at the rivers, or were you angry at the streams? Were you angry with the sea when you rode your horses and chariots of victory?
9 You uncovered your bow and commanded many arrows to be brought to you. Selah You split the earth with rivers.
10 The mountains saw you and shook with fear. The rushing water flowed. The sea made a loud noise, and its waves rose high.
11 The sun and moon stood still in the sky; they stopped when they saw the flash of your flying arrows and the gleam of your shining spear.
12 In anger you marched on the earth; in anger you punished the nations.
13 You came out to save your people, to save your chosen one. You crushed the leader of the wicked ones and took everything he had, from head to toe. Selah
14 With the enemy's own spear you stabbed the leader of his army. His soldiers rushed out like a storm to scatter us. They were happy as they were robbing the poor people in secret.
15 But you marched through the sea with your horses, stirring the great waters.
16 I hear these things, and my body trembles; my lips tremble when I hear the sound. My bones feel weak, and my legs shake. But I will wait patiently for the day of disaster that will come to the people who attack us.
17 Fig trees may not grow figs, and there may be no grapes on the vines. There may be no olives growing and no food growing in the fields. There may be no sheep in the pens and no cattle in the barns.
18 But I will still be glad in the Lord; I will rejoice in God my Savior.
19 The Lord God is my strength. He makes me like a deer that does not stumble so I can walk on the steep mountains. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Zephaniah 1

1 This is the word of the Lord that came through Zephaniah while Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah. Zephaniah was the son of Cushi, who was the son of Gedaliah. Gedaliah was the son of Amariah, who was the son of Hezekiah.
2 "I will sweep away everything from the earth," says the Lord.
3 "I will sweep away the people and animals; I will destroy the birds in the air and the fish of the sea. I will ruin the evil people, and I will remove human beings from the earth," says the Lord.
4 "I will punish Judah and all the people living in Jerusalem. I will remove from this place all signs of Baal, the false priests, and the other priests.
5 I will destroy those who worship the stars from the roofs, and those who worship and make promises by both the Lord and the god Molech,
6 and those who turned away from the Lord, and those who quit following the Lord and praying to him for direction.
7 Be silent before the Lord God, because the Lord's day for judging people is coming soon. The Lord has prepared a sacrifice; he has made holy his invited guests.
8 On the day of the Lord's sacrifice, I, the Lord, will punish the princes and the king's sons and all those who wear foreign clothes.
9 On that day I will punish those who worship Dagon, those who hurt others and tell lies in the temples of their gods.
10 "On that day," says the Lord, "a cry will be heard at the Fish Gate. A wail will come from the new area of the city, and a loud crash will echo from the hills.
11 Cry, you people living in the market area, because all the merchants will be dead; all the silver traders will be gone.
12 At that time I, the Lord, will search Jerusalem with lamps. I will punish those who are satisfied with themselves, who think, 'The Lord won't help us or punish us.'
13 Their wealth will be stolen and their houses destroyed. They may build houses, but they will not live in them. They may plant vineyards, but they will not drink any wine from them.
14 "The Lord's day of judging is coming soon; it is near and coming fast. The cry will be very sad on the day of the Lord; even soldiers will cry.
15 That day will be a day of anger, a day of terror and trouble, a day of destruction and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness,
16 a day of alarms and battle cries. 'Attack the strong, walled cities! Attack the corner towers!'
17 I will make life hard on the people; they will walk around like the blind, because they have sinned against the Lord. Their blood will be poured out like dust, and their insides will be dumped like trash.
18 On the day that God will show his anger, neither their silver nor gold will save them. that will burn up the whole world; suddenly he will bring an end, yes, an end to everyone on earth."
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Zephaniah 2

1 Gather together, gather, you unwanted people.
2 Do it before it's too late, before you are blown away like chaff, before the Lord's terrible anger reaches you, before the day of the Lord's anger comes to you.
3 Come to the Lord, all you who are not proud, who obey his laws. Do what is right. Learn to be humble. Maybe you will escape on the day the Lord shows his anger.
4 No one will be left in the city of Gaza, and the city of Ashkelon will be destroyed. Ashdod will be empty by noon, and the people of Ekron will be chased away.
5 How terrible it will be for you who live by the Mediterranean Sea, you Philistines! The word of the Lord is against you, Canaan, land of the Philistines. "I will destroy you so that no one will be left."
6 The land by the Mediterranean Sea, in which you live, will become pastures, fields for shepherds, and pens for sheep.
7 It will belong to the descendants of Judah who are left alive. There they will let their sheep eat grass. At night they will sleep in the houses of Ashkelon. and will make their life good again.
8 "I have heard the insults of the country of Moab and the threats of the people of Ammon. They have insulted my people and have taken their land."
9 So the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says, "As surely as I live, Moab will be destroyed like Sodom, and Ammon will be destroyed like Gomorrahn -- a heap of weeds, a pit of salt, and a ruin forever. Those of my people who are left alive will take whatever they want from them; those who are left from my nation will take their land."
10 This is what Moab and Ammon get for being proud, because they insulted and made fun of the people of the Lord All-Powerful.
11 The Lord will frighten them, because he will destroy all the gods of the earth. Then everyone in faraway places will worship him wherever they are.
12 "You Cushites also will be killed by my sword."
13 Then the Lord will turn against the north and destroy Assyria. a ruin as dry as a desert.
14 Flocks and herds will lie down there, and all wild animals. The owls and crows will sit on the stone pillars. The owl will hoot through the windows, trash will be in the doorways, and the wooden boards of the buildings will be gone.
15 This is the happy and safe city that thinks there is no one else as strong as it is. But what a ruin it will be, a place where wild animals live. All those who pass by will make fun and shake their fists.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Zephaniah 3

1 How terrible for the wicked, stubborn city of Jerusalem, which hurts its own people.
2 It obeys no voice; it can't be taught to do right. It doesn't trust the Lord; it doesn't worship its God.
3 Its officers are like roaring lions. Its rulers are like hungry wolves that attack in the evening, and in the morning nothing is left of those they attacked.
4 Its prophets are proud; they are people who cannot be trusted. Its priests don't respect holy things; they break God's teachings.
5 But the Lord is good, and he is there in that city. He does no wrong. Every morning he governs the people fairly; every day he can be trusted. But evil people are not ashamed of what they do.
6 "I have destroyed nations; their towers were ruined. I made their streets empty so no one goes there anymore. Their cities are ruined; no one lives there at all.
7 I said, 'Surely now Jerusalem will respect me and will accept my teaching.' Then the place where they lived would not be destroyed, and I would not have to punish them. But they were still eager to do evil in everything they did.
8 Just wait," says the Lord. "Some day I will stand up as a witness. I have decided that I will gather nations and assemble kingdoms. I will pour out my anger on them, all my strong anger. My anger will be like fire that will burn up the whole world.
9 "Then I will give the people of all nations pure speech so that all of them will speak the name of the Lord and worship me together.
10 People will come from where the Nile River begins; my scattered people will come with gifts for me.
11 Then Jerusalem will not be ashamed of the wrongs done against me, because I will remove from this city those who like to brag; there will never be any more proud people on my holy mountain in Jerusalem.
12 But I will leave in the city the humble and those who are not proud, and they will trust in the Lord.
13 Those who are left alive in Israel won't do wrong or tell lies; they won't trick people with their words. They will eat and lie down with no one to make them afraid."
14 Sing, Jerusalem. Israel, shout for joy! Jerusalem, be happy and rejoice with all your heart.
15 The Lord has stopped punishing you; he has sent your enemies away. The King of Israel, the Lord, is with you; you will never again be afraid of being harmed.
16 On that day Jerusalem will be told, "Don't be afraid, city of Jerusalem. Don't give up.
17 The Lord your God is with you; the mighty One will save you. He will rejoice over you. You will rest in his love; he will sing and be joyful about you."
18 "I will take away the sadness planned for you, which would have made you very ashamed.
19 At that time I will punish all those who harmed you. I will save my people who cannot walk and gather my people who have been thrown out. I will give them praise and honor in every place where they were shamed.
20 At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you back home. I will give you honor and praise from people everywhere when I make things go well again for you, as you will see with your own eyes," says the Lord.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.