God looks down from heaven on the human race, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. Psalm 53:2
Judgement Against Judah and Jerusalem
1 For the Lord, the Lord of Hosts,
is taking away supply and support
from Jerusalem and from Judah,
the whole supply of bread,
and the whole supply of water,
2 the mighty man and the man of war,
the judge and the prophet,
the diviner and the elder,
3 the captain of 50 and the dignitary,
the counselor, the skilled craftsman, and the clever enchanter.
4 I will make boys be their leaders,
and children shall rule over them.
5 The people will be oppressed,
everyone by each other,
everyone by his neighbor.
The child will behave himself proudly against the elder,
and the wicked against the honorable.
6 Indeed a man shall take hold of his brother
in the house of his father, saying,
“You have clothing, you be our ruler
and let these ruins be in your hands.”
7 In that day he will cry out,
saying, “I will not be a healer,
for in my house is neither bread nor clothing.
You shall not make me ruler of the people.”
8 For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen,
because their words and their actions are against the Lord,
defying his glorious presence.
9 The look of their faces testify against them.
They parade their sin like Sodom.
They do not hide it.
Woe to them!
For they have brought disaster upon themselves.
10 Tell the righteous “Good!”
For they shall eat the fruit of their deeds.
11 Woe to the wicked!
Disaster is upon them,
for the deeds of his hands will be paid back to him.
12 As for my people, children are their oppressors,
and women rule over them.
My people, those who lead you cause you to err
and destroy the way of your paths.
13 The Lord rises up to plead the case
and stands to judge the peoples.
14 The Lord will enter into judgment
with the elders of his people and their leaders:
“It is you who have eaten up the vineyard.
The plunder of the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean that you crush my people
and grind the face of the poor?” says the Lord, God of Hosts.
A Warning to the Daughters of Zion
16 Moreover the Lord said,
“Because the daughters of Zion are arrogant
and walk with outstretched necks and flirting eyes,
springing along, jingling ornaments on their feet,
17 therefore the Lord is bringing sores
on the crown of the head of the women of Zion,
and the Lord will make their scalps bald.”
18 In that day the Lord will take away
the beauty of their anklets, the headbands, the crescent necklaces,
19 the earrings, the bracelets, the veils,
20 the headdresses, the ankle chains, the sashes,
the perfume containers, the charms,
21 the signet rings, the nose rings,
22 the fine robes, the capes, the cloaks, the purses,
23 the hand mirrors, the fine linen garments, the tiaras, and the shawls.
24 It shall happen that instead of sweet spices,
there shall be rottenness;
instead of a belt, a rope;
instead of well set hair, baldness;
instead of a robe, a wearing of sackcloth;
and branding instead of beauty.
25 Your men shall fall by the sword,
and your mighty in the war.
26 Her gates shall lament and mourn.
She shall be desolate and sit on the ground.
A Remnant in Zion
1 On that day seven women
will take hold of one man, saying,
“We will eat our own bread,
and provide our own clothing.
Just let us be called by your name.
Take away our disgrace.”
2 On that day, the branch of the Lord
will be beautiful and glorious,
and the fruit of the land
will be the beauty and glory of the survivors of Israel.
3 It will happen that he who is left in Zion
and he who remains in Jerusalem
shall be called holy,
everyone who is written among the living in Jerusalem,
4 when the Lord shall have washed away
the filth of the daughters of Zion,
and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from within it,
by the spirit of justice and by the spirit of burning.
5 Then the Lord will create
over the whole habitation of Mount Zion
and over her assemblies,
a cloud and smoke by day,
and the shining of a flaming fire by night,
for over all the glory will be a canopy.
6 There will be a pavilion for a shade
in the daytime from the heat,
and for a refuge and for a shelter
from storm and from rain.
The Song of the Vineyard
1 Let me sing for my greatly beloved, a song of my beloved about his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fruitful hill.
2 He dug up its stones and cleared them away,
planted it with the choicest vine,
built a tower in the middle of it,
and also cut out a wine press in it.
He looked for it to yield good grapes,
but it yielded bitter grapes.
3 “Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem
and men of Judah,
I ask you to judge
between me and my vineyard.
4 What could have been done more to my vineyard,
that I have not done in it?
Why, when I looked for it to yield grapes,
did it yield wild grapes?
5 Now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard.
I will take away its hedge,
and it will be eaten up.
I will break down its wall,
and it will be trampled down.
6 I will lay it a wasteland.
It will not be pruned or cultivated,
but it will grow briers and thorns.
I will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain on it.”
7 For the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah
his pleasant plant,
and he looked for justice,
but there was oppression,
but there was a cry of distress.
Woes to the Wicked
8 Woe to those who join house to house,
who lay field to field,
until there is no room,
and you dwell alone in the middle of the land!
9 In my ears, the Lord of Hosts says:
“Surely many houses will be desolate,
great and beautiful, unoccupied.
10 For ten acres of vineyard
shall yield one gallon of wine,
and a half gallon of seed
shall yield an less than a cup of grain.”
11 Woe to those who rise up early in the morning,
looking for strong drink,
who stay late into the night,
until wine inflames them!
12 The harp, lyre, tambourine, and flute,
with wine are at their feasts,
but they do not respect the work of the Lord,
nor have they considered the work of his hands.
13 Therefore my people will go into captivity
for lack of knowledge.
Their honorable men are famished,
and their multitudes are parched with thirst.
14 Therefore the grave has enlarged its jaws
and opened wide its mouth,
and their glory, their multitude, their pomp,
and he who rejoices among them, descend into it.
15 So man is brought low,
mankind is humbled,
and the eyes of the arrogant ones are humbled,
16 but the Lord of Hosts is exalted in justice,
and the Lord, the Holy One is sanctified in righteousness.
17 Then the lambs will graze as in their pasture,
and strangers will eat the ruins of the rich.
18 Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of deceit,
and wickedness as with cart rope,
19 who say, “Let him make haste, let him hasten his work,
that we may see it.
Let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come,
that we may know it!”
20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
who turn darkness to light, and light to darkness;
who turn bitter to sweet, and sweet to bitter!
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
and clever in their own sight!
22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine
and champions at mixing strong drink,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe
but deny justice for the innocent!
24 Therefore as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
and as the dry grass sinks down in the flame,
so their root shall be as rottenness,
and their blossom shall go up as dust,
because they have rejected the law of the Lord of Hosts,
and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 Therefore the anger of the Lord burns against his people,
and he has stretched out his hand against them to strike them down.
The mountains tremble,
and their dead bodies are as refuse in the middle of the streets.
Despite all this, his anger is not turned away,
his hand is still stretched out.
26 He will lift up a banner to the nations from far away,
and he will whistle for them from the end of the earth.
Look! They will come speedily and swiftly.
27 No one shall be weary nor stumble among them.
No one shall slumber nor sleep,
nor shall the belt of their waist be untied,
nor the strap of their sandals be broken,
28 whose arrows are sharp,
and all their bows bent.
Their horses’ hoofs will be like flint
and their wheels like a whirlwind.
29 Their roaring will be like a lioness.
They will roar like young lions.
Yes, they shall roar
and seize their prey and carry it off,
and there will be no one to deliver.
30 They will roar against them in that day
like the roaring of the sea.
If one looks to the land,
he will see darkness and distress.
The light is darkened in its clouds.
2 Corinthians 11:1-15
Paul and the False Apostles
1 I hope that you would bear in a little of my foolishness, but indeed you do bear with me. 2 For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. For I married you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ.
3 But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve in his craftiness, so your minds might be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if you receive a different spirit, which you did not receive, or a different gospel, which you did not accept, you put up with that well enough.
5 For I do not consider myself in any way inferior to those “super-apostles”. 6 Although I am unskilled in public speaking, I am not unskilled in knowledge. No, we have always made this clear to you in every way.
7 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the Gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other assemblies, taking wages from them that I might serve you. 9 When I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden on anyone, for the brothers, when they came from Macedonia, supplied the measure of my need. In everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and I will continue to do so. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one will stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do.
12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off any opportunity from those who desire the chance to boast that they are equal to us. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as Christ’s apostles. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is no great thing therefore if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
The Fool Says: There is no God
For the Chief Musician. To the tune of “Mahalath.” A contemplation by David.
1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt and have done abominable iniquity.
There is no one who does good.
2 God looks down from heaven on the human race,
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.
3 Every one of them has gone back.
They have become filthy together.
There is none that do good, no, not one.
4 Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge,
who eat up my people as they eat bread
and do not call upon God?
5 There they were in great fear, where no fear was,
for God has scattered the bones of him who encamps against you.
You have put them to shame,
because God has rejected them.
6 Oh that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!
When God brings back his people from captivity,
then Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.
28 Do not move the ancient boundary stone
which your fathers have set up.
29 Do you see a man skilled in his work?
He will serve kings.
He will not serve obscure men.