Unless the Lord builds the house, they who build it labor in vain. Psalm 127:1
Retribution for Israel’s Sin
1 Israel is a prolific vine
that produces fruit for himself.
The greater the abundance of his fruit,
the more he multiplied his pagan altars.
The more their land prospered,
the more they adorned their sacred pillars.
2 Their heart is deceitful.
Now they will be found guilty.
He will demolish their altars.
He will destroy their sacred stones.
3 Surely now they will say,
“We have no king,
for we do not fear the Lord,
and the king, what can he do for us?”
4 They make promises,
swearing falsely in making covenants.
Therefore judgment springs up
like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field.
5 The inhabitants of Samaria
will fear for the calves of Beth Aven,
for its people will mourn over it,
along with its priests who rejoiced over it,
for its glory, because it has departed from it.
6 It also will be carried to Assyria
as a present for a great king.
Ephraim will receive shame,
and Israel will be ashamed of his own counsel.
7 Samaria and her king float away,
like a twig on the water.
God’s Love for Israel
8 The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, will be destroyed.
The thorn and the thistle will come up on their altars.
They will tell the mountains, “Cover us!” and the hills, “Fall on us!”
9 “Israel, you have sinned from the days of Gibeah.
There they remained.
The battle against the children of iniquity
does not overtake them in Gibeah.
10 I will chastise them when I desire to,
and the nations will be gathered against them,
when they are bound to their two transgressions.
11 Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh,
so I will put a yoke on her beautiful neck.
I will set a rider on Ephraim.
Judah will plow.
Jacob will break his clods.
12 Sow righteousness for yourselves,
and reap according to kindness.
Break up your fallow ground,
for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes and rains righteousness on you.
13 You have plowed wickedness.
You have reaped iniquity.
You have eaten the fruit of lies,
for you trusted in your way,
in the multitude of your mighty men.
14 Therefore a battle roar will arise among your people,
and all your fortresses will be destroyed,
as Shalman destroyed Beth Arbel in the day of battle.
The mother was dashed in pieces with her children.
15 So Bethel will do to you because of your great wickedness.
At daybreak the king of Israel will be destroyed.
Out of Egypt I called My Son
1 “When Israel was a child, then I loved him,
and called my son out of Egypt.
2 The more my prophets called to them,
the farther they went.
They sacrificed to the Baals,
and burned incense to engraved images.
3 Yet I taught Ephraim to walk.
I took them by the arms,
but they did not know that it was I who healed them.
4 I drew them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love,
and I was to them like those who raise infants to their cheeks,
and I bent down and fed them.
5 They will not return to the land of Egypt,
but the Assyrian will be their king,
because they refused to repent.
6 The sword will fall on their cities,
and will destroy the bars of their gates,
and will put an end to their plans.
7 My people are determined to turn from me.
Though they call to the Most High,
he certainly will not exalt them.
God’s Mercy Toward Israel
8 How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I make you like Zeboiim?
My heart has turned within me,
my compassion is aroused.
9 I will not execute the fierceness of my anger.
I will not return to destroy Ephraim,
for I am God, and not man,
the Holy One among you.
and I will not come in wrath.
10 They will walk after the Lord,
who will roar like a lion,
for he will roar,
and the children will come trembling from the west.
11 They will come trembling like a bird out of Egypt,
and like a dove from the land of Assyria.
Then I will settle them in their houses,” says the Lord.
12 Ephraim surrounds me with lies,
and the house of Israel with deceit.
But Judah still walks with God,
and is faithful to the Holy One.
A Reproof of Ephraim, Judah, Jacob
1 Ephraim feeds on the wind,
and chases the east wind.
He continually multiplies lies and violence.
They make a covenant with Assyria,
and carry olive oil into Egypt.
2 The Lord also has a case against Judah,
and will punish Jacob according to his ways,
according to his deeds he will repay him.
3 In the womb he took his brother by the heel,
and as a man, he contended with God.
4 Indeed, he struggled with the angel and prevailed,
he wept and pleaded for his favor.
He found him at Bethel,
and there he spoke with us.
5 The Lord, the God of Hosts,
the name of him [who spoke with Jacob] is the Lord.
6 Therefore turn to your God.
Maintain kindness and justice,
and wait continually for your God.
7 A merchant has dishonest scales in his hand.
He loves to defraud.
8 Ephraim said, “Surely I have become rich,
I have found wealth for myself.
In all my wealth they won’t find in me
any iniquity that is sin.”
9 “But I am the Lord your God
from the land of Egypt.
I will yet again make you dwell in tents,
as in the days of the solemn feast.
10 I have also spoken through the prophets,
and I gave them many visions,
and have given parables through the ministry of the prophets.
11 If Gilead is wicked,
surely they are worthless.
In Gilgal they sacrifice bulls.
Indeed, their altars are like heaps in the furrows of the field.
12 Jacob fled into the country of Aram,
and Israel served to get a wife,
and for a wife he tended flocks and herds.
13 By a prophet the Lord brought Israel up out of Egypt,
and by a prophet he was preserved.
14 Ephraim has bitterly provoked his anger.
Therefore his bloodguilt will be left on him,
and his Lord will repay him for his contempt.
Ephraim’s Glory Vanishes
1 When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling.
He was exalted in Israel,
but when he became guilty in Baal, he died.
2 Now they sin more and more,
and have made themselves molten images of their silver,
idols according to their own understanding,
all of them the work of the craftsmen.
They say of them, ‘They offer human sacrifice and kiss the calves.’
3 Therefore they will be like the morning mist,
and like the dew that passes away early,
like the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind
out of the threshing floor,
and like the smoke out of the chimney.
4 “Yet I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt;
and you shall acknowledge no god but me,
and besides me there is no savior.
5 I knew you in the wilderness,
in the land of great drought.
6 According to their pasture, so were they filled.
They were filled, and their heart was exalted.
Therefore they have forgotten me.
7 Therefore I am like a lion to them.
Like a leopard, I will lurk by the path.
8 I will meet them like a bear
that is bereaved of her cubs,
and will tear the covering of their heart.
There I will devour them like a lioness.
The wild animal will tear them.
9 You are destroyed, Israel,
because you are against me, against your help.
10 Where is your king now,
that he may save you in all your cities?
And your judges, of whom you said,
‘Give me a king and princes?’
11 I have given you a king in my anger,
and have taken him away in my wrath.
12 The guilt of Ephraim is stored up.
His sin is stored up.
13 The pain of a laboring woman will come to him.
He is an unwise son,
for when it is time,
he does not come to the opening of the womb.
14 I will ransom them from the power of Sheol.
I will redeem them from death!
Death, where are your plagues?
Sheol, where is your destruction?
“Compassion will be hidden from my eyes.
15 Though he flourishes among his brothers,
an east wind will come,
the breath of the Lord coming up
from the wilderness;
and his spring will become dry,
and his fountain will be dried up.
He will plunder the storehouse of treasure.
The Judgement on Samaria
16 Samaria will bear her guilt,
for she has rebelled against her God.
They will fall by the sword.
Their infants will be dashed in pieces,
and their pregnant women will be ripped open.”
An Exhortation to Repentance
1 Israel, return to the Lord your God,
for you have fallen because of your sin.
2 Take your confessions with you,
and return to the Lord.
Tell him, “Forgive all our sins,
and receive us graciously,
and we will offer our sacrifice of praise.
3 Assyria cannot save us.
We will not ride on horses,
nor will we say any more
to the work of our hands, ‘Our gods!’
For in you the fatherless finds mercy.”
A Promise of God’s Blessing
4 “I will heal their apostasy.
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from him.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel.
He will blossom like the lily,
and send down his roots like Lebanon.
6 His branches will spread,
and his beauty will be like the olive tree,
and his fragrance like Lebanon.
7 Men will dwell in his shade.
They will revive like the grain,
and blossom like the vine.
Their fragrance will be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 Ephraim, what have I to do any more with idols?
It is I who answers and takes care of him.
I am like a green cypress tree.
It is from me that your fruit comes.”
9 Who is wise, that he may understand these things?
Who is prudent, that he may know them?
For the ways of the Lord are right,
and the righteous walk in them,
but the rebellious stumble in them.
Greetings from Jude
1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,
To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:
2 Mercy to you and peace and love be multiplied.
God’s Judgement on the Ungodly
3 Beloved, while I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I was constrained to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once and for all delivered to the saints. 4 For there are certain men who crept in secretly, those who were long ago written about for this condemnation: ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into indecency, and denying our only Master, God, and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5 Now I would like to remind you, though you already know this, that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 Angels who did not keep their first domain, but deserted their own dwelling place, he has kept in everlasting bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day. 7 Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them have similarly given themselves over to sexual immorality and perversions, they are set forth as an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.
8 Yet in the same way, these dreamers also defile the flesh, despise authority, and slander celestial beings. 9 But Michael, the archangel, when contending with the devil and arguing about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him an insulting accusation, but said, “May the Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these people denounce anything they do not understand, and the things they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, are the very things that are destroying them. 11 Woe to them! For they went the way of Cain, and ran riotously in the error of Balaam for hire, and perished in Korah’s rebellion.
12 These men are hidden rocky reefs in your love feasts, when they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding only themselves; clouds with no water, swept along by the wind; autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; wild waves of the sea, foaming out of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.
14 Enoch, the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied about these people, saying,
“The Lord is coming
with thousands of his holy ones,
15 to execute judgment on everyone,
and to convict all of the ungodly
of all of their ungodly deeds
and ways and of all the harsh things
which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
16 These are murmurers and complainers, walking after their lusts—and their mouth speaks proud things—showing respect of persons to gain advantage.
A Call to Persevere
17 But you, beloved, remember the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the end time there will be mockers, walking after their own ungodly lusts.” 19 These worldly people, not having the Spirit, cause divisions.
20 But you, beloved, keep building yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life.
22 For some, whose faith is wavering, have compassion, 23 and for some, in fear, snatch them from the fire, hating even the clothing defiled by the flesh.
24 Now to him who is able to keep them from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory in great joy, 25 to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever.
A Song of Ascents. By Solomon.
1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
they who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman guards it in vain.
2 In vain you rise up early,
and stay up late,
eating the bread of toil,
for he gives sleep to his loved ones.
3 Children are a heritage from the Lord.
The fruit of the womb is his reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
so are the children of youth.
5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.
They will not be disappointed
when they speak with their enemies in the gate.
15 The rod of correction gives wisdom,
but a child left to himself causes shame to his mother.
16 When the wicked increase, sin increases,
but the righteous will see their downfall.
17 Correct your son, and he will give you peace,
yes, he will bring delight to your soul.