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

1 This is a vision the prophet Habakkuk received from the Lord. Here is what Habakkuk said. 2 Lord, how long do I have to call out for help? Why don't you listen to me? How long must I keep telling you that things are terrible? Why don't you save us? 3 Why do you make me watch while people treat others so unfairly? Why do you put up with the wrong things they are doing? I have to look at death. People are harming others. They are arguing and fighting all the time. 4 The law can't do what it's supposed to do. Fairness never comes out on top. Sinful people surround those who do what is right. So people are never treated fairly. 5 The LORD replies, "Look at the nations. Watch them. Be totally amazed at what you see. I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe. You would not believe it even if someone told you about it. 6 I am going to send the armies of Babylonia to attack you. They are very mean. They move quickly. They sweep across the whole earth. They take over places that do not belong to them. 7 They terrify others. They do not recognize any laws but their own. That is how proud they are. 8 Their horses are faster than leopards. They are meaner than wolves in the dark. Their horsemen charge straight into battle. They ride in from far away. They come down like an eagle diving for its food. 9 All of them are ready to destroy others. Their huge armies advance like a wind out of the desert. They gather prisoners like sand. 10 They laugh at kings and make fun of rulers. They laugh at all of the cities that have high walls around them. They build dirt ramps against the walls and capture the cities. 11 They sweep past like the wind. Then they go on their way. They are guilty. They worship their own strength." 12 Lord, haven't you existed forever? You are my holy God. So we won't die, will we? Lord, you have appointed the Babylonians to punish your people. My Rock, you have chosen them to judge us. 13 Your eyes are too pure to look at what is evil. You can't put up with the wrong things people do. So why do you put up with those who can't be trusted? The evil Babylonians swallow up those who are more godly than themselves. So why are you silent? 14 You have made men as if they were only fish in the sea. They are like sea creatures that don't have a ruler. 15 The evil Babylonians pull all of them up with hooks. They catch them in their nets. They gather them up. So they celebrate. They are glad. 16 They offer sacrifices to their nets. They burn incense to them. Their nets allow them to live in great comfort. They enjoy the finest food. 17 Are you going to let them keep on emptying their nets? Will they go on destroying nations without showing them any mercy?
1 I will go up to the lookout tower. I'll station myself on the city wall. I'll wait to see how the LORD will reply to me. Then I'll try to figure out how to answer him. 2 The LORD replies, "Write down the message I am showing you in a vision. Write it clearly on the tablets you use. Then a messenger can read it and run to announce it. 3 The message I give you waits for the time I have appointed. It speaks about what is going to happen. And all of it will come true. It might take a while. But wait for it. You can be sure it will come. It will happen when I want it to. 4 "The Babylonians are very proud. What they want is not good. "But the one who is right with God will live by faith. 5 "Wine makes the Babylonians do foolish things. They are proud. They never rest. Like the grave, they are always hungry for more. Like death, they are never satisfied. They gather all of the nations to themselves. They take their people away as prisoners. 6 "Won't those people laugh at the Babylonians? Won't they make fun of them? They will say to them, " 'How terrible it will be for you who pile up stolen goods! You get rich by cheating others. How long will that go on? 7 Those who owe you money will suddenly rise up. You charge them too much interest. So they will wake up and make you tremble with fear. Then they will take away everything you have. 8 You have robbed many nations. So the nations that are left will rob you. You have spilled man's blood. You have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.' 9 "How terrible it will be for the Babylonians! They build their kingdom with money they gained by cheating others. They have tried to make the kingdom as secure as possible. After all, they did not want to be destroyed. 10 They have planned to wipe out many nations. But they have brought shame on their own kingdom. So they must pay with their own lives. 11 The stones in the walls of their homes will cry out. And the wooden beams will echo that cry. 12 "How terrible it will be for the Babylonians! They build cities by spilling the blood of others. They establish towns by committing crimes. 13 I am the LORD who rules over all. Human effort is no better than wood that feeds a fire. So the nations wear themselves out for nothing. 14 The oceans are full of water. In the same way, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of my glory. 15 "How terrible it will be for the Babylonians! They give drinks to their neighbors. They pour the drinks from wineskins until their neighbors are drunk. They want to look at their naked bodies. 16 But the Babylonians will be filled with shame instead of glory. So now it is their turn to drink and be stripped of their clothes. The cup of anger in my powerful right hand is going to punish them. They will be covered with shame instead of glory. 17 The harm they have done to Lebanon will bring them down. Because they have killed so many animals, animals will terrify them. They have spilled man's blood. They have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them. 18 "If someone carves a statue of a god, what is it worth? What value is there in a god that teaches lies? The one who trusts in another god worships his own creation. He makes statues of gods that can't speak. 19 How terrible it will be for the Babylonians! They say to a wooden god, 'Come to life!' They say to a stone god, 'Wake up!' Can those gods give advice? They are covered with gold and silver. They can't even breathe. 20 But I am in my holy temple. Let the whole earth be silent in front of me."
1 This is a prayer of the prophet Habakkuk. It is on "shigionoth". Here is what he said. 2 Lord, I know how famous you are. I have great respect for you because of your mighty acts. Do them again for us. Make them known in our time. When you are angry, please show us your tender love. 3 God, you came from Teman. You, the Holy One, came from Mount Paran. "Selah" Your glory covered the heavens. Your praise filled the earth. 4 Your glory was like the sunrise. Rays of light flashed from your mighty hand. Your power was hidden there. 5 You sent plagues ahead of you. Sickness followed behind you. 6 When you stood up, the earth shook. When you looked at the nations, they trembled with fear. The age-old mountains crumbled. The ancient hills fell down. Your mighty acts will last forever. 7 I saw the tents of Cushan in trouble. The people of Midian were suffering greatly. 8 Lord, did your anger burn against the rivers? Were you angry with the streams? Were you angry with the Red Sea? You rode your horses and chariots to overcome it. 9 You got your bow ready to use. You asked for many arrows. "Selah" You broke up the surface of the earth with rivers. 10 The mountains saw you and shook. Floods of water swept by. The sea roared. It lifted its waves high. 11 The sun and moon stood still in the sky. They stopped because your flying arrows flashed by. Your gleaming spear shone like lightning. 12 When you were angry, you marched across the earth. Because of your anger you destroyed the nations. 13 You came out to set your people free. You saved your chosen ones. You crushed Pharaoh, the leader of that evil land of Egypt. You stripped him from head to foot. "Selah" 14 His soldiers rushed out to scatter us. They were laughing at us. They thought they would easily destroy us. They saw us as weak people who were trying to hide. So you wounded Pharaoh's head with his own spear. 15 Your horses charged into the Red Sea. They stirred up the great waters. 16 I listened and my heart pounded. My lips trembled at the sound. My bones seemed to rot. And my legs shook. But I will be patient. I'll wait for the day of trouble to come on Babylonia. It's the nation that is attacking us. 17 The fig trees might not bud. The vines might not produce any grapes. The olive crop might fail. The fields might not produce any food. There might not be any sheep in the pens. There might not be any cattle in the barns. 18 But I will still be glad because of what the LORD has done. God my Savior fills me with joy. 19 The LORD and King gives me strength. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer. He helps me walk on the highest places. This prayer is for the director of music. It should be sung while being accompanied by stringed instruments.
1 A message came to Zephaniah from the Lord. He was the son of Cushi. Cushi was the son of Gedaliah. Gedaliah was the son of Amariah. Amariah was the son of King Hezekiah. The LORD spoke to Zephaniah during the rule of Josiah. He was king of Judah and the son of Amon. 2 "I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth," announces the Lord. 3 "I will destroy people and animals alike. I will wipe out the birds of the air and the fish in the waters. I will destroy sinful people along with their gods. I will wipe man off the face of the earth," announces the Lord. 4 "I will reach out my powerful hand against Judah. I will punish all those who live in Jerusalem. I will cut off from that place what is left of Baal worship. The officials and priests who serve other gods will be removed. 5 I will wipe out those who bow down on their roofs to worship all of the stars. I will destroy those who take oaths not only in my name but also in the name of Molech. 6 I will cut off those who stop following me. They no longer look to me or ask me for advice. 7 Be silent in front of me. I am the LORD and King. The day of the LORD is near. I have prepared a sacrifice. I have set apart for myself the people I invited. 8 When my sacrifice is ready to be offered, I will punish the princes and the king's sons. I will also judge all those who follow the practices of other nations. 9 At that time I will punish all those who worship other gods. They fill the temples of their gods with lies and other harmful things. 10 "At that time people at the Fish Gate in Jerusalem will cry out," announces the Lord. "So will those at the New Quarter. The buildings on the hills will come crashing down with a loud noise. 11 Cry out, you who live in the market places. All of your merchants will be wiped out. Those who trade in silver will be destroyed. 12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps. I will punish those who are so contented. They are like wine that has not been shaken up. They think, 'The LORD won't do anything. It doesn't matter whether it's good or bad.' 13 Their wealth will be stolen. Their houses will be destroyed. They will build houses. But they will not live in them. They will plant vineyards. But they will not drink the wine they produce. 14 "The great day of the LORD is near. In fact, it is coming quickly. Listen! The cries on that day will be bitter. Even soldiers will cry out in fear. 15 At that time I will pour out my anger. There will be great suffering and pain. It will be a day of horrible trouble. It will be a time of darkness and gloom. It will be filled with the blackest clouds. 16 Trumpet blasts and battle cries will be heard. Soldiers will attack cities that have forts and corner towers. 17 I will bring trouble on the people. They will trip and fall as if they were blind. They have sinned against me. Their blood will be poured out like dust. Their bodies will lie rotting on the ground. 18 Their silver and gold will not be able to save them on the day I pour out my anger. The whole world will be burned up when my jealous anger blazes out. Everyone who lives on earth will come to a sudden end."
1 Gather your people together, you shameful nation of Judah! Gather them together! 2 Come together before the appointed time arrives. The day of the LORD will sweep in like straw blown by the wind. Soon the LORD's anger will burn against you. The day of his anger will come on you. 3 So look to him, all of you people in the land who worship him faithfully. You always do what he commands you to do. Continue to do what is right. Don't be proud. Then perhaps the LORD will keep you safe on the day he pours out his anger on the world. 4 Gaza will be deserted. Ashkelon will be destroyed. Ashdod will be emptied out at noon. Ekron will be pulled up by its roots. 5 How terrible it will be for you Kerethites who live by the Mediterranean Sea! Philistia, the LORD has spoken against you. What happened to Canaan will happen to you. The LORD says, "I will destroy you. No one will be left." 6 The Kerethites live in the land by the sea. It will become a place for shepherds and sheep pens. 7 It will belong to those who are still left alive among the people of Judah. They will find grasslands there. They will take over the houses in Ashkelon and live in them. The LORD their God will take care of them. He will bless them with great success again. 8 The LORD says, "I have heard Moab make fun of my people. The Ammonites also laughed at them. They told them that bad things would happen to their land. 9 So Moab will become like Sodom," announces the LORD who rules over all. "Ammon will be like Gomorrah. Weeds and salt pits will cover those countries. They will be dry and empty deserts forever. Those who are still left alive among my people will take all of their valuable things. So they will receive those lands as their own. And that is just as sure as I am alive." The LORD is the God of Israel. 10 Moab and Ammon will be judged because they are so proud. They made fun of the LORD's people. They laughed at them. 11 The LORD who rules over all will terrify Moab and Ammon. He will destroy all of the gods on earth. Then the nations on every shore will worship him. All of them will serve him in their own lands. 12 The LORD says, "People of Cush, you too will be killed with my sword." 13 The LORD will reach out his powerful hand against the north. He will destroy Assyria. He'll leave Nineveh totally empty. It will be as dry as a desert. 14 Flocks and herds will lie down there. So will creatures of every kind. Desert owls and screech owls will rest on its pillars. Their cries will echo through the windows. The doorways will be full of trash. The cedar beams will be showing. 15 Nineveh is a carefree city. It lived in safety. It said to itself, "I am like a god. No one is greater than I am." But it has been destroyed. Wild animals make their home there. All those who pass by laugh and shake their fists at it.
1 How terrible it will be for Jerusalem! Its people crush others. They refuse to obey the Lord. They are "unclean." 2 They don't obey anyone. They don't accept the LORD's warnings. They don't trust in him. They don't ask their God for his help. 3 Their officials are like roaring lions. Their rulers are like wolves that hunt in the evening. They don't leave anything to eat in the morning. 4 Their prophets are proud. They can't be trusted. Their priests pollute the temple. They break the law they teach others to obey. 5 In spite of that, the LORD is good to Jerusalem. He never does anything that is wrong. Every morning he does what is fair. Each new day he does the right thing. But those who do what is wrong aren't even ashamed of it. 6 The LORD says to his people, "I have cut off other nations. I have wiped out their forts. I have left their streets deserted. No one walks along them. Their cities are destroyed. Not even one person is left. 7 I said to you people of Jerusalem, 'Because I cut off other nations, you will have respect for me. Now you will accept my warning.' I wish you had returned to me. Then your homes would not have been torn down. And I would not have had to punish you so much. But you still wanted to go on sinning in every way you could. 8 So wait for me to come as judge," announces the Lord. "Wait for the day I will stand up to witness against all sinners. I have decided to gather the nations. I will bring the kingdoms together. And I will pour out all of my burning anger on them. The fire of my jealous anger will burn the whole world up. 9 "But then I will purify what all of the nations say. And they will use their words to worship me. They will serve me together. 10 My scattered people, you will come to me from beyond the rivers of Cush. You will worship me. You will bring me offerings. 11 You have done many wrong things to me. But at that time you will not be put to shame anymore. Then I will remove from this city those who take delight in their pride. You will never be proud again on my holy mountain of Zion. 12 But inside your city I will leave those who are not proud at all. They trust in me. 13 Those who are still left alive in Israel will not do anything wrong. They will not tell any lies. They will not say anything to fool others. They will eat and lie down in peace. And no one will make them afraid." 14 People of Zion, sing! Israel, shout loudly! People of Jerusalem, be glad! Let your hearts be full of joy. 15 The LORD has stopped punishing you. He has made your enemies turn away from you. The LORD is the King of Israel. He is with you. You will never again be afraid that others will harm you. 16 The time is coming when people will say to Jerusalem, "Zion, don't be afraid. Don't give up. 17 The LORD your God is with you. He is mighty enough to save you. He will take great delight in you. The quietness of his love will calm you down. He will sing with joy because of you." 18 The LORD says to his people, "You used to celebrate my appointed feasts in Jerusalem. You are sad because you can't do that anymore. So others make fun of those feasts. That was a heavy load for you to carry. But I will bring you back to your city. 19 At that time I will punish all those who crushed you. I will save those among you who are disabled. I will gather those who have been scattered. I will give you praise and honor in every land where you were put to shame. 20 At that time I will gather you together. And I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all of the nations on earth. I will bless you with great success again," says the Lord.
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