AUGUST 20 (Year One)
People of Israel, listen to this message! This is what the Lord said about you, Israel. This message is about all the families that I brought from the land of Egypt. “There are many families on earth, but you are the only family I chose to know in a special way. And you turned against me, so I will punish you for all your sins.”
Two people will not walk together
unless they have agreed to do so.
A lion will roar in the forest
only if it catches its prey.
A young lion roaring in his cave
means he has caught something to eat.
A bird doesn’t fly into a trap
unless there is food in it.
If a trap closes,
it will catch the bird.
If people hear the warning blast of a trumpet,
they shake with fear.
If trouble comes to a city,
the Lord caused it to happen.
When the Lord God decides to do something, he will first tell his servants, the prophets. When a lion roars, people are frightened. When the Lord God speaks, a prophet must prophesy.
Go to the high towers in Ashdod and in Egypt and announce this message from the Lord: “Come together on the mountains of Samaria. See the great confusion there because the people don’t know how to live right. See how cruel they are to others. They take things from people to hide in their high towers. Their treasuries are filled with the things they have taken in war.”
So the Lord God says, “An enemy will surround your land. They will break down your strong walls and take the things you have hidden in your high towers.”
The Lord says,
“A lion might attack a lamb,
and a shepherd might try to save the lamb.
But the shepherd will save
only a part of that lamb.
He might pull two legs
or a part of an ear from the lion’s mouth.
In the same way, most of the people of Israel will not be saved.
Those who live in Samaria will save only a corner from a bed,
or a piece of cloth from a couch.”
This is what the Lord God All-Powerful says: “Warn the family of Jacob about these things. Israel sinned, and I will punish them for their sins. And when I do, I will also destroy the altars at Bethel. The horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground. I will destroy the winter house with the summer house. The houses of ivory will be destroyed. Many houses will be destroyed.” This is what the Lord said.
Listen to me, you cows of Bashan on Samaria’s mountain. You hurt the poor and crush those in need. You tell your husbands, “Bring us something to drink!”
The Lord God made a promise. He promised by his holiness that troubles will come to you. People will use hooks and take you away as prisoners. They will use fishhooks to take away your children. Your city will be destroyed. The women will rush out through cracks in the wall and throw themselves onto the pile of dead bodies.
This is what the Lord says: “Go to Bethel and sin. Go to Gilgal and sin even more. Offer your sacrifices in the morning. Bring a tenth of your crops for the three-day festival. And offer a thank offering made with yeast. Tell everyone about the freewill offerings. Israel, you love to do those things. So go and do them.” This is what the Lord God said.
“I didn’t give you any food to eat. There was no food in any of your cities, but you didn’t come back to me.” This is what the Lord said.
“I also stopped the rain, and it was three months before harvest time. So no crops grew. Then I let it rain on one city, but not on another city. Rain fell on one part of the country, but on the other part of the country, the land became very dry. So the people from two or three cities staggered to another city to get water, but there was not enough water for everyone. Still you didn’t come to me for help.” This is what the Lord said.
“I made your crops die from heat and disease. I destroyed your gardens and your vineyards. Locusts ate your fig trees and olive trees. But you still didn’t come to me for help.” This is what the Lord said.
“I sent diseases against you, as I did to Egypt. I killed your young men with swords. I took away your horses. I made your camp smell very bad from all the dead bodies, but still you didn’t come back to me for help.” This is what the Lord said.
“I destroyed you as I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. And those cities were completely destroyed. You were like a burned stick pulled from a fire, but still you didn’t come back to me for help.” This is what the Lord says.
“So, Israel, this is what I will do to you. You people of Israel, prepare to meet your God.”
He is the one who made the mountains.
He created the wind.
He lets people know his thoughts.
He changes the darkness into dawn.
He walks over the mountains of the earth.
His name is Yahweh, Lord God All-Powerful.