Sabbath School Lesson
These Sabbath School helps are developed by staff member James Brenneman for his own personal study and for the study of those who wish to see the texts in the Sabbath School in perhaps a clearer light.
May 11-17, 2013 (God's Special People - Micah)
Memory Text: Micah 6:8 New King James Version He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Sunday – Agony of the Prophet’s Heart
Micah 1:1-9 New Living Translation 1 The LORD gave these messages to Micah of Moresheth during the years when Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah. The messages concerned both Samaria and Jerusalem, and they came to Micah in the form of visions. 2 Attention! Let all the people of the world listen! The Sovereign LORD has made accusations against you; the Lord speaks from his holy Temple. 3 Look! The LORD is coming! He leaves his throne in heaven and comes to earth, walking on the high places. 4 They melt beneath his feet and flow into the valleys like wax in a fire, like water pouring down a hill. 5 And why is this happening? Because of the sins and rebellion of Israel and Judah. Who is to blame for Israel's rebellion? Samaria, its capital city! Where is the center of idolatry in Judah? In Jerusalem, its capital! 6 "So I, the LORD, will make the city of Samaria a heap of rubble. Her streets will be plowed up for planting vineyards. I will roll the stones of her walls down into the valley below, exposing all her foundations. 7 All her carved images will be smashed to pieces. All her sacred treasures will be burned up. These things were bought with the money earned by her prostitution, and they will now be carried away to pay prostitutes elsewhere." 8 Because of all this, I will mourn and lament. I will walk around naked and barefoot in sorrow and shame. I will howl like a jackal and wail like an ostrich. 9 For my people's wound is far too deep to heal. It has reached into Judah, even to the gates of Jerusalem.
Numbers 11:10-15 Common English Bible 10 Moses heard the people crying throughout their clans, each at his tent's entrance. The LORD was outraged, and Moses was upset. 11 Moses said to the LORD, "Why have you treated your servant so badly? And why haven't I found favor in your eyes, for you have placed the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give birth to them, that you would say to me, ‘Carry them at the breast, as a nurse carries an unweaned child,' to the fertile land that you promised their ancestors? 13 Where am I to get meat for all these people? They are crying before me and saying, ‘Give us meat, so we can eat.' 14 I can't bear this people on my own. They're too heavy for me. 15 If you're going to treat me like this, please kill me. If I've found favor in your eyes, then don't let me endure this wretched situation."
1 Kings 19:1-4 New Century Version 1 King Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how Elijah had killed all the prophets with a sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "May the gods punish me terribly if by this time tomorrow I don't kill you just as you killed those prophets." 3 When Elijah heard this, he was afraid and ran for his life, taking his servant with him. When they came to Beersheba in Judah, Elijah left his servant there. 4 Then Elijah walked for a whole day into the desert. He sat down under a bush and asked to die. "I have had enough, Lord," he prayed. "Let me die. I am no better than my ancestors."
Jeremiah 8:21-9:2 New American Standard 8:21 For the brokenness of the daughter of my people I am broken ; I mourn, dismay has taken hold of me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead ? Is there no physician there ? Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people been restored ? 9:1 Oh that my head were waters And my eyes a fountain of tears, That I might weep day and night For the slain of the daughter of my people ! 2 Oh that I had in the desert A wayfarers' lodging place ; That I might leave my people And go from them! For all of them are adulterers, An assembly of treacherous men.
Ezekiel 24:15-18 New American Standard 15 And the word of the LORD came to me saying, 16"Son of man, behold, I am about to take from you the desire of your eyes with a blow ; but you shall not mourn and you shall not weep, and your tears shall not come. 17"Groan silently ; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban and put your shoes on your feet, and do not cover your mustache and do not eat the bread of men." 18 So I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. And in the morning I did as I was commanded.
2 Corinthians 11:23-27 English Standard Version 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one--I am talking like a madman--with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
1 Peter 4:14-16 English Standard Version 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
Monday – Those Who Devise Iniquity
Micah 2:1-11 New Century Version 1 How terrible it will be for people who plan wickedness, who lie on their beds and make evil plans. When the morning light comes, they do what they planned, because they have the power to do so. 2 They want fields, so they take them; they want houses, so they take them away. They cheat people to get their houses; they rob them even of their property. 3 That is why the Lord says: "Look, I am planning trouble against such people, and you won't be able to save yourselves. You will no longer walk proudly, because it will be a terrible time. 4 At that time people will make fun of you and sing this sad song about you: 'We are completely ruined; the Lord has taken away my people's land. Yes, he has taken it away from me and divided our fields among our enemies!'" 5 So you will have no one from the Lord's people to throw lots to divide the land. 6 The prophets say, "Don't prophesy to us! Don't prophesy about these things! Nothing to make us feel bad will happen!" 7 But I must say this, people of Jacob: The Lord is becoming angry about what you have done. My words are welcome to the person who does what is right. 8 But you are fighting against my people like an enemy. You take the coats from people who pass by; you rob them of their safety; you plan war. 9 You've forced the women of my people from their nice houses; you've taken my glory from their children forever. 10 Get up and leave. This is not your place of rest anymore. You have made this place unclean, and it is doomed to destruction. 11 But you people want a false prophet who will tell you nothing but lies. You want one who promises to prophesy good things for you if you give him wine and beer. He's just the prophet for you.
Micah 3 God’s Word Translation 1 Then I said: Listen, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of the nation of Israel. You should know justice. 2 You hate good and love evil. You strip the skin off my people and the flesh off their bones. 3 You eat my people's flesh. You strip off their skin. You break their bones to pieces. You chop them up like meat for a pot, like stew meat for a kettle. 4 Then you will cry to the LORD, but he will not answer you. He will hide his face from you at that time because you have done evil things. 5 This is what the LORD says about the prophets who mislead my people: When they have something to eat, they say, "All is well!" But they declare a holy war against those who don't feed them. 6 That is why you will have nights without visions. You will have darkness without revelations. The sun will set on the prophets, and the day will turn dark for them. 7 Seers will be put to shame. Those who practice witchcraft will be disgraced. All of them will cover their faces, because God won't answer them. 8 But I am filled with the power of the LORD's Spirit, with justice, and with strength. So I will tell [the descendants of] Jacob about their crimes and [the nation of] Israel about its sins. 9 Listen to this, you leaders of the descendants of Jacob, you rulers of the nation of Israel. You despise justice and pervert everything that is right. 10 You build Zion on bloodshed and Jerusalem on wickedness. 11 Your leaders exchange justice for bribes. Your priests teach for a price. Your prophets tell the future for money. But they rely on the LORD when they say, "After all, the LORD is with us. Nothing bad will happen to us." 12 Because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a pile of rubble, and the temple mountain will become a worship site covered with trees.
Tuesday – A New Ruler From Bethlehem
Micah 5:2 New King James Version "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting."
John 1:1-3 English Standard Version 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John 8:58 GOD'S WORD Translation Jesus told them, "I can guarantee this truth: Before Abraham was ever born, I am."
Colossians 1:16-17 Holman Christian Standard 16 because by Him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.
Wednesday – What Is Good
Micah 6:1-8 New International Version 1 Listen to what the LORD says: "Stand up, plead your case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say. 2 Hear, O mountains, the LORD's accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the LORD has a case against his people; he is lodging a charge against Israel. 3 "My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me. 4 I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam.5 My people, remember what Balak king of Moab counseled and what Balaam son of Beor answered. Remember [ your journey] from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD." 6 With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Matthew 23:23 New Century Version "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You give to God one-tenth of everything you earn -- even your mint, dill, and cumin. But you don't obey the really important teachings of the law -- justice, mercy, and being loyal. These are the things you should do, as well as those other things.
Thursday – Into the Depths of the Sea
Micah 7:18-20 God’s Word Translation 18 Who is a God like you? You forgive sin and overlook the rebellion of your faithful people. You will not be angry forever, because you would rather show mercy. 19 You will again have compassion on us. You will overcome our wrongdoing. You will throw all our sins into the deep sea. 20 You will be faithful to Jacob. You will have mercy on Abraham as you swore by an oath to our ancestors long ago.
May 18-24, 2013 (Trusting God's Goodness - Habakkuk)
Overall Question: What did Habakkuk not fully understand about God's ways of dealing with the sin problem?
Memory Text: Habakkuk 2:14 English Standard Version For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
Sunday – Perplexed Prophet
Habakkuk 1 New International Version 1 The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet received. 2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save? 3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted. 5 "Look at the nations and watch-- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. 6 I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own. 7 They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor. 8 Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like a vulture swooping to devour; 9 they all come bent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand. 10 They deride kings and scoff at rulers. They laugh at all fortified cities; they build earthen ramps and capture them. 11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on-- guilty men, whose own strength is their god." 12 O LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die. O LORD, you have appointed them to execute judgment; O Rock, you have ordained them to punish. 13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? 14 You have made men like fish in the sea, like sea creatures that have no ruler. 15 The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad. 16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives in luxury and enjoys the choicest food. 17 Is he to keep on emptying his net, destroying nations without mercy?
Habakkuk 1:13 The Clear Word Your eyes are too pure to watch such killing. How can you allow such violence against your people? It’s not fair! How can you be silent when foreigners come in and slaughter your chosen ones? Yes, your people have disobeyed you, but they’re still more righteous than these evil Babylonians.
Habakkuk 1:13 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY Since the sinless nature of God cannot tolerate “evil” and cannot countenance “iniquity”, the prophet is perplexed as to why God should permit the Chaldeans to “deal treacherously” against His people. They are idolaters, and far worse—at least from Habakkuk’s point of view—than Judah. How, then, can God in justice use them to punish Judah?
Monday – Living By Faith
Habakkuk 2:2-4 New Century Version 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.
Habakkuk 2:4 New King James Version "Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.
Habakkuk 2:3 COMMENTARY BY ADAM CLARKE The Chaldeans, who are to ruin Judea, shall afterwards be ruined themselves: but they must do this work before they receive their wages; therefore the vision is for an appointed time..When his work of devastation is done, his day of retribution shall take place.
Romans 1:17 King James Version For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Galatians 3:11 New International Reader's Version We know that no one is made right with God by keeping the law. Scripture says, "Those who are right with God will live by faith."
Hebrews 10:38 English Standard Version but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him."
Tuesday – For the Earth Shall Be Filled (Habakkuk 2)
Hebrews 11:1-13 New Century Version 1 Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it. 2 Faith is the reason we remember great people who lived in the past. 3 It is by faith we understand that the whole world was made by God's command so what we see was made by something that cannot be seen. 4 It was by faith that Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. God said he was pleased with the gifts Abel offered and called Abel a good man because of his faith. Abel died, but through his faith he is still speaking. 5 It was by faith that Enoch was taken to heaven so he would not die. He could not be found, because God had taken him away. Before he was taken, the Scripture says that he was a man who truly pleased God. 6 Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who truly want to find him. 7 It was by faith that Noah heard God's warnings about things he could not yet see. He obeyed God and built a large boat to save his family. By his faith, Noah showed that the world was wrong, and he became one of those who are made right with God through faith. 8 It was by faith Abraham obeyed God's call to go to another place God promised to give him. He left his own country, not knowing where he was to go. 9 It was by faith that he lived like a foreigner in the country God promised to give him. He lived in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who had received that same promise from God. 10 Abraham was waiting for the city that has real foundations -- the city planned and built by God. 11 He was too old to have children, and Sarah could not have children. It was by faith that Abraham was made able to become a father, because he trusted God to do what he had promised. 12 This man was so old he was almost dead, but from him came as many descendants as there are stars in the sky. Like the sand on the seashore, they could not be counted. 13 All these great people died in faith. They did not get the things that God promised his people, but they saw them coming far in the future and were glad. They said they were like visitors and strangers on earth.
Hebrews 1:13 COMMENTARY BY WILLIAM BURKITT not having received the promises; that is, they went to their graves before the great blessings God had promised were accomplished. Faith is contented with the promise, though it wants actual possession of the good things promised. God would have believers in all ages of the church to live by faith, and promises not actually performed: and it is a great honour to God, when we are ready to die, to go to the grave with assurance, and to profess our confidence that God will make them good.
Wednesday – Remembering God’s Fame
Habakkuk 3 New Living Translation 1 This prayer was sung by the prophet Habakkuk: 2 I have heard all about you, LORD, and I am filled with awe by the amazing things you have done. In this time of our deep need, begin again to help us, as you did in years gone by. Show us your power to save us. And in your anger, remember your mercy. 3 I see God, the Holy One, moving across the deserts from Edom and Mount Paran. His brilliant splendor fills the heavens, and the earth is filled with his praise! What a wonderful God he is! 4 Rays of brilliant light flash from his hands. He rejoices in his awesome power. 5 Pestilence marches before him; plague follows close behind. 6 When he stops, the earth shakes. When he looks, the nations tremble. He shatters the everlasting mountains and levels the eternal hills. But his power is not diminished in the least! 7 I see the peoples of Cushan and Midian trembling in terror. 8 Was it in anger, LORD, that you struck the rivers and parted the sea? Were you displeased with them? No, you were sending your chariots of salvation! 9 You were commanding your weapons of power! You split open the earth with flowing rivers! 10 The mountains watched and trembled. Onward swept the raging waters. The mighty deep cried out, lifting its hands to the LORD. 11 The lofty sun and moon began to fade, obscured by brilliance from your arrows and the flashing of your glittering spear. 12 You marched across the land in awesome anger and trampled the nations in your fury. 13 You went out to rescue your chosen people, to save your anointed ones. You crushed the heads of the wicked and laid bare their bones from head to toe. 14 With their own weapons, you destroyed those who rushed out like a whirlwind, thinking Israel would be easy prey. 15 You trampled the sea with your horses, and the mighty waters piled high. 16 I trembled inside when I heard all this; my lips quivered with fear. My legs gave way beneath me, and I shook in terror. I will wait quietly for the coming day when disaster will strike the people who invade us. 17 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains.(For the choir director: This prayer is to be accompanied by stringed instruments.)
Habakkuk 3:17 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY In this verse are presented the baleful effects of the Babylonian invasion, the destruction of the “fig” and “olive” trees, so highly prized in Palestine, along with the equally needed “vines,” grain, and cattle. Thus it will be again during the final scenes of earth’s history, when the earth will be similarly desolated.
Thursday – God Is Our Strength
Habakkuk 3:17-19 The Clear Word 17 “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines; though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no wheat; though all the sheep die and there are no cattle in the stalls, 18 I will still be joyful and sing. I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be glad that God is my Savior. 19 The Lord is my strength—whom shall I fear? The Lord is my light—of whom shall I be afraid? He helps me run as lightly as a deer and helps me climb to the heights of the mountains.”
Habakkuk 3:17-18 COMMENTARY BY ADAM CLARKE These two verses give the finest display of resignation and confidence that I have ever met with. He saw that evil was at hand, and unavoidable, he submitted to the dispensation of God, whose Spirit enabled him to paint it in all its calamitous circumstances. He knew that God was merciful and gracious. He trusted to his promise, though all appearances were against its fulfilment; for he knew that the word of Jehovah could not fail, and therefore his confidence is unshaken.
Philippines 4:11 Common English Bible I'm not saying this because I need anything, for I have learned how to be content in any circumstance.
Philippines 4:11 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY The instruction may have come with his conversion, for his [Paul’s] subsequent reactions under varied circumstances indicate that he believed that all that came to him was by the permission of God.
1. In allowing the Babylonians, worshippers of heathen gods, to conquer Judah, God may have been trying to awaken the people of Judah to what worshipping these heathen gods would lead to.
2. Habakkuk was really upset by the proposed destruction of the natural bounty that God had provided - the olive groves, the beautiful hills, etc. But these gifts were really being used to worship heathen gods, and the worshippers of these gods believed that these powerless gods had given these bounties to Judah instead of the true God.
May 25-31, 2013 (The Day of the Lord - Zephaniah along with Amos, Joel, and Nahum)
Memory Text: Zephaniah 2:11 New Revised Standard Version “The LORD will be terrible against them; he will shrivel all the gods of the earth, and to him shall bow down, each in its place, all the coasts and islands of the nations.”
Sunday – A Day of Darkness
Zephaniah 1:14-18 Common English Bible 14 The great day of the LORD is near; it is near and coming very quickly. The sound of the day of the LORD is bitter. A warrior screams there. 15 That day is a day of fury, a day of distress and anxiety, a day of desolation and devastation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and deep darkness, 16 a day for blowing the trumpet and alarm against their invincible cities and against their high towers. 17 I will make humanity suffer; they will walk like the blind because they sinned against the LORD. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their intestines like manure. 18 Moreover, their silver and their gold won't be able to deliver them on the day of the LORD's fury. His jealousy will devour the entire land with fire; he will make an end, a truly horrible one, for all the inhabitants of the land.
Joel 2:1-11 New Century Version Blow the trumpet in Jerusalem; shout a warning on my holy mountain. Let all the people who live in the land shake with fear, because the Lord's day of judging is coming; it is near. 2 It will be a dark, gloomy day, cloudy and black. Like the light at sunrise, a great and powerful army will spread over the mountains. There has never been anything like it before, and there will never be anything like it again. 3 In front of them a fire destroys; in back of them a flame burns. The land in front of them is like the garden of Eden; the land behind them is like an empty desert. Nothing will escape from them. 4 They look like horses, and they run like war horses. 5 It is like the noise of chariots rumbling over the tops of the mountains, like the noise of a roaring fire burning dry stalks. They are like a powerful army lined up for battle. 6 When they see them, nations shake with fear, and everyone's face becomes pale. 7 They charge like soldiers; they climb over the wall like warriors. They all march straight ahead and do not move off their path. 8 They do not run into each other, because each walks in line. They break through all efforts to stop them and keep coming. 9 They run into the city. They run at the wall and climb into the houses, entering through windows like thieves. 10 Before them, earth and sky shake. The sun and the moon become dark, and the stars stop shining. 11 The Lord shouts out orders to his army. His army is very large! Those who obey him are very strong! is an overwhelming and terrible day. No one can stand up against it!
Amos 5:18-20 Good News Translation 18 How terrible it will be for you who long for the day of the Lord! What good will that day do you? For you it will be a day of darkness and not of light. 19 It will be like someone who runs from a lion and meets a bear! Or like someone who comes home and puts his hand on the wall - only to be bitten by a snake! 20 The day of the Lord will bring darkness and not light; it will be a day of gloom, without any brightness.
Monday – The Humble of the Land
Zephaniah 2:1-3 New International Reader’s Version 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.
Matthew 5:3 New Living Translation "God blesses those who realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.
Psalm 76:9 Complete Jewish Bible when God arises to judge, to save all the humble of the earth. (Selah)
Isaiah 11:4 God’s Word to the Nations “He will judge the poor justly. He will make fair decisions for the humble people on earth. He will strike the earth with a rod from his mouth. He will kill the wicked with the breath from his lips.”
Amos 8:4 Bible in Basic English Give ear to this, you who are crushing the poor, and whose purpose is to put an end to those who are in need in the land.
Tuesday – A Corrupt City
Zephaniah 3:1-5 New Century Version 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.
Wednesday – God’s Greatest Delight
Zephaniah 3:9-20 New Century Version 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.
Isaiah 62:5 New International Reader's Version As a young man gets married to a young woman, your people will marry you. As a groom is happy with his bride, I will be full of joy over you."
Isaiah 65:19 Holman Christian Standard I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people. The sound of weeping and crying will no longer be heard in her.
Thursday – God’s Answer to Injustice
Nahum 1 New International Reader’s Version 1 Here is a message the LORD gave Nahum in a vision about Nineveh. It is written on a scroll. Nahum was from the town of Elkosh. Here is what he said. 2 The LORD is a jealous God who punishes people. He pays them back for the evil things they do. His anger burns against them. The LORD punishes his enemies. He holds his anger back until the right time to use it. 3 The LORD is slow to get angry. He is very powerful. The LORD will not let guilty people go without punishing them. When he marches out, he stirs up winds and storms. Clouds are the dust kicked up by his feet. 4 He controls the seas. He dries them up. He makes all of the rivers run dry. Bashan and Mount Carmel dry up. The flowers in Lebanon fade. 5 He causes the mountains to shake. The hills melt away. The earth trembles because he is there. So do the world and all those who live in it. 6 Who can stand firm when his anger burns? Who can live when he is angry? His anger blazes out like fire. He smashes the rocks to pieces. 7 The LORD is good. When people are in trouble, they can go to him for safety. He takes good care of those who trust in him. 8 But he will destroy Nineveh with a powerful flood. He will chase his enemies into the darkness of punishment. 9 The LORD will put an end to anything they plan against him. He won't allow Assyria to win the battle over his people a second time. 10 His enemies will be tangled up among thorns. Their wine will make them drunk. They'll be burned up like dry straw. 11 Nineveh, a king has marched out from you. He makes evil plans against the Lord. He gives harmful advice. 12 The LORD says, "His army has many soldiers. Other nations are helping them. But they will be cut off and pass away. Judah, I punished you. But I will not do it anymore. 13 Now I will break Assyria's yoke off your neck. I will tear off the ropes that hold you." 14 Nineveh, the LORD has given an order concerning you. He has said, "You will not have any children to carry on your name. I will destroy the wooden and metal statues that are in the temple of your gods. I will get your grave ready for you. You are worthless." 15 Look at the mountains of Judah! I see a messenger running to bring good news! He's telling us that peace has come! People of Judah, celebrate your feasts. Carry out your promises. The evil Assyrians won't attack you again. They'll be completely destroyed.
Nahum 2 New Century Version 1 The destroyer is coming to attack you, Nineveh. Guard the defenses. Watch the road. Get ready. Gather all your strength! 2 Destroyers have destroyed God's people and ruined their vines, but the Lord will bring back Jacob's greatness like Israel's greatness. 3 The shields of his soldiers are red; the army is dressed in red. The metal on the chariots flashes like fire when they are ready to attack; their horses are excited. 4 The chariots race through the streets and rush back and forth through the city squares. They look like torches; they run like lightning. 5 Hen calls his officers, but they stumble on the way. They hurry to the city wall, and the shield is put into place. 6 The river gates are thrown open, and the palace is destroyed. 7 It has been announced that the people of Nineveh will be captured and carried away. The slave girls moan like doves and beat their breasts, because they are sad. 8 Nineveh is like a pool, and now its water is draining away. "Stop! Stop!" the people yell, but no one turns back. 9 Take the silver! Take the gold! There is no end to the treasure -- piles of wealth of every kind. 10 Nineveh is robbed, ruined, and destroyed. The people lose their courage, and their knees knock. Stomachs ache, and everyone's face grows pale. 11 Where is the lions' den and the place where they feed their young? Where did the lion, lioness, and cubs go without being afraid? 12 The lion killed enough for his cubs, enough for his mate. He filled his cave with the animals he caught; he filled his den with meat he had killed. 13 "I am against you, Nineveh," says the Lord All-Powerful. "I will burn up your chariots in smoke, and the sword will kill your young lions. I will stop you from hunting down others on the earth, and your messengers' voices will no longer be heard."
Nahum 3 New Century Version 1 How terrible it will be for the city that has killed so many. It is full of lies and goods stolen from other countries. It is always killing somebody. 2 Hear the sound of whips and the noise of the wheels. Hear horses galloping and chariots bouncing along! 3 Horses are charging, swords are shining, spears are gleaming! Many are dead; their bodies are piled up -- too many to count. People stumble over the dead bodies. 4 The city was like a prostitute; she was charming and a lover of magic. She made nations slaves with her prostitution and her witchcraft. 5 "I am against you, Nineveh," says the Lord All-Powerful. "I will pull your dress up over your face and show the nations your nakedness and the kingdoms your shame. 6 I will throw filthy garbage on you and make a fool of you. I will make people stare at you. 7 Everyone who sees you will run away and say, 'Nineveh is in ruins. Who will cry for her?' Nineveh, where will I find anyone to comfort you?" 8 You are no better than Thebes, who sits by the Nile River with water all around her. The river was her defense; the waters were like a wall around her. 9 Cush and Egypt gave her endless strength; Put and Libya supported her. 10 But Thebes was captured and went into captivity. Her small children were beaten to death at every street corner. Lots were thrown for her important men, and all of her leaders were put in chains. 11 Nineveh, you will be drunk, too. You will hide; you will look for a place safe from the enemy. 12 All your defenses are like fig trees with ripe fruit. When the tree is shaken, the figs fall into the mouth of the eater. 13 Look at your soldiers. They are all women! The gates of your land are wide open for your enemies; fire has burned the bars of your gates. 14 Get enough water before the long war begins. Make your defenses strong! Get mud, mix clay, make bricks! 15 There the fire will burn you up. The sword will kill you; like grasshoppers eating crops, the battle will completely destroy you. Grow in number like hopping locusts; grow in number like swarming locusts! 16 Your traders are more than the stars in the sky, but like locusts, they strip the land and then fly away. 17 Your guards are like locusts. Your officers are like swarms of locusts that hang on the walls on a cold day. When the sun comes up, they fly away, and no one knows where they have gone. 18 King of Assyria, your rulers are asleep; your important men lie down to rest. Your people have been scattered on the mountains, and there is no one to bring them back. 19 Nothing can heal your wound; your injury will not heal. Everyone who hears about you applauds, because everyone has felt your endless cruelty.