1Don't think that the LORD is too weak to save you or too deaf to hear your call for help! 2It is because of your sins that he doesn't hear you. It is your sins that separate you from God when you try to worship him. 3You are guilty of lying, violence, and murder.
4You go to court, but you haven't got justice on your side. You depend on lies to win your case. You carry out your plans to hurt others. 5-6The evil plots you make are as deadly as the eggs of a poisonous snake. Crush an egg, out comes a snake! But your plots will do you no good — they are as useless as clothing made of cobwebs! 7You are always planning something evil, and you can hardly wait to do it. You never hesitate to murder innocent people. You leave ruin and destruction wherever you go, 8and no one is safe when you are about. Everything you do is unjust. You follow a crooked path, and no one who walks that path will ever be safe.
The People Confess their Sin
9The people say, “Now we know why God does not save us from those who oppress us. We hope for light to walk by, but there is only darkness, 10and we grope about like blind people. We stumble at noon, as if it were night, as if we were in the dark world of the dead. 11We are frightened and distressed. We long for God to save us from oppression and wrong, but nothing happens.
12“LORD, our crimes against you are many. Our sins accuse us. We are well aware of them all. 13We have rebelled against you, rejected you, and refused to follow you. We have oppressed others and turned away from you. Our thoughts are false; our words are lies. 14Justice is driven away, and right cannot come near. Truth stumbles in the public square, and honesty finds no place there. 15There is so little honesty that those who stop doing evil find themselves the victims of crime.”
The LORD Prepares to Rescue his People
The LORD has seen this, and he is displeased that there is no justice. 16He is astonished to see that there is no one to help the oppressed. So he will use his own power to rescue them and to win the victory. 17He will wear justice like a coat of armour and saving power like a helmet. He will clothe himself with the strong desire to set things right and to punish and avenge the wrongs that people suffer. 18He will punish his enemies according to what they have done, even those who live in distant lands. 19From east to west everyone will fear him and his great power. He will come like a rushing river, like a strong wind.
20The LORD says to his people, “I will come to Jerusalem to defend you and to save all of you that turn from your sins. 21And I make a covenant with you: I have given you my power and my teachings to be yours for ever, and from now on you are to obey me and teach your children and your descendants to obey me for all time to come.”
1“Who is this coming from the city of Bozrah in Edom? Who is this so splendidly dressed in red, marching along in power and strength?”
“It is the LORD, powerful to save, coming to announce his victory.”
2“Why is his clothing so red, like that of someone who tramples grapes to make wine?”
3The LORD answers, “I have trampled the nations like grapes, and no one came to help me. I trampled them in my anger, and their blood has stained all my clothing. 4I decided that the time to save my people had come; it was time to punish their enemies. 5I was amazed when I looked and saw that there was no one to help me. But my anger made me strong, and I won the victory myself. 6In my anger I trampled whole nations and shattered them. I poured out their lifeblood on the ground.”
The LORD's Goodness to Israel
7I will tell of the LORD's unfailing love;
I praise him for all he has done for us.
He has richly blessed the people of Israel
because of his mercy and constant love.
8The LORD said, “They are my people; they will not deceive me.” And so he saved them 9from all their suffering. It was not an angel, but the LORD himself who saved them. In his love and compassion he rescued them. He had always taken care of them in the past, 10but they rebelled against him and made his Holy Spirit sad. So the LORD became their enemy and fought against them.
11But then they remembered the past, the days of Moses, the servant of the LORD, and they asked, “Where now is the LORD, who saved the leaders of his people from the sea? Where is the LORD, who gave his Spirit to Moses? 12-13Where is the LORD, who by his power did great things through Moses, dividing the waters of the sea and leading his people through the deep water, to win everlasting fame for himself?”
Led by the LORD, they were as sure-footed as wild horses, and never stumbled. 14As cattle are led into a fertile valley, so the LORD gave his people rest. He led his people and brought honour to his name.
A Prayer for Mercy and Help
15LORD, look upon us from heaven, where you live in your holiness and glory. Where is your great concern for us? Where is your power? Where are your love and compassion? Do not ignore us. 16You are our father. Our ancestors Abraham and Jacob do not acknowledge us, but you, LORD, are our father, the one who has always rescued us. 17Why do you let us stray from your ways? Why do you make us so stubborn that we turn away from you? Come back, for the sake of those who serve you, for the sake of the people who have always been yours.
18We, your holy people, were driven out by our enemies for a little while: they trampled down your sanctuary.19You treat us as though you had never been our ruler, as though we had never been your people.
1Why don't you tear the sky apart and come down? The mountains would see you and shake with fear. 2They would tremble like water boiling over a hot fire. Come and reveal your power to your enemies, and make the nations tremble at your presence! 3There was a time when you came and did terrifying things that we did not expect; the mountains saw you and shook with fear. 4No one has ever seen or heard of a God like you, who does such deeds for those who put their hope in him. 5You welcome those who find joy in doing what is right, those who remember how you want them to live. You were angry with us, but we went on sinning; in spite of your great anger we have continued to do wrong since ancient times.6All of us have been sinful; even our best actions are filthy through and through. Because of our sins we are like leaves that wither and are blown away by the wind. 7No one turns to you in prayer; no one goes to you for help. You have hidden yourself from us and have abandoned us because of our sins.
8But you are our father, LORD. We are like clay, and you are like the potter. You created us, 9so do not be too angry with us or hold our sins against us for ever. We are your people; be merciful to us. 10Your sacred cities are like a desert; Jerusalem is a deserted ruin, 11and our Temple, the sacred and beautiful place where our ancestors praised you, has been destroyed by fire. All the places we loved are in ruins. 12LORD, are you unmoved by all this? Are you going to do nothing and make us suffer more than we can endure?