28 Woe to the majestic crown of Ephraim’s drunkards,
and to the fading flower of its beautiful splendor,
which is on the summit above the rich valley.
Woe to those overcome with wine.
2 Look, the Lord has a strong and mighty one—
like a devastating hail storm,
like a storm with strong flooding water.
He will bring it across the land with his hand.
3 The majestic crown of Ephraim’s drunkards
will be trampled underfoot.
4 The fading flower of his beautiful splendor,
which is on the summit above the rich valley,
will be like a ripe fig before the summer harvest.
Whoever sees it will swallow it
while it is still in his hand.
5 On that day
the Lord of Armies will become a crown of beauty
and a diadem of splendor
to the remnant of his people,
6 a spirit of justice
to the one who sits in judgment,
to those who repel attacks at the city gate.
7 Even these stagger because of wine
and stumble under the influence of beer:
Priest and prophet stagger because of beer.
They are confused by wine.
They stumble because of beer.
They are muddled in their visions.
They stumble in their judgments.
8 Indeed, all their tables are covered with vomit;
there is no place without a stench.
9 Who is he trying to teach?
Who is he trying to instruct?
Infants[a] just weaned from milk?
Babies[b] removed from the breast?
10 “Law after law, law after law,
line after line, line after line,
a little here, a little there.”[c]
11 For he will speak to this people
with stammering speech
and in a foreign language.
12 He had said to them,
“This is the place of rest;
let the weary rest;
this is the place of repose.”
But they would not listen.
13 The word of the Lord will come to them:
“Law after law, law after law,
line after line, line after line,
a little here, a little there,”
so they go stumbling backward,
to be broken, trapped, and captured.
A Deal with Death
14 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers
who rule this people in Jerusalem.
15 For you said, “We have made a covenant with Death,
and we have an agreement with Sheol;
when the overwhelming catastrophe[d] passes through,
it will not touch us,
because we have made falsehood our refuge
and have hidden behind treachery.”
16 Therefore the Lord God said:
“Look, I have laid a stone in Zion,
a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation;
the one who believes will be unshakable.[e]
17 And I will make justice the measuring line
and righteousness the mason’s level.”
Hail will sweep away the false refuge,
and water will flood your hiding place.
18 Your covenant with Death will be dissolved,
and your agreement with Sheol will not last.
When the overwhelming catastrophe passes through,
you will be trampled.
19 Every time it passes through,
it will carry you away;
it will pass through every morning—
every day and every night.
Only terror will cause you
to understand the message.[f]
20 Indeed, the bed is too short to stretch out on,
and its cover too small to wrap up in.
21 For the Lord will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim.
He will rise in wrath, as at the Valley of Gibeon,
to do his work, his unexpected work,
and to perform his task, his unfamiliar task.
22 So now, do not scoff,
or your shackles will become stronger.
Indeed, I have heard from the Lord God of Armies
a decree of destruction for the whole land.
God’s Wonderful Advice
23 Listen and hear my voice.
Pay attention and hear what I say.
24 Does the plowman plow every day to plant seed?
Does he continuously break up and cultivate the soil?
25 When he has leveled its surface,
does he not then scatter black cumin and sow cumin?
He plants wheat in rows and barley in plots,
with spelt as their border.
26 His God teaches him order;
he instructs him.
27 Certainly black cumin is not threshed
with a threshing board,
and a cart wheel is not rolled over the cumin.
But black cumin is beaten out with a stick,
and cumin with a rod.
28 Bread grain is crushed,
but is not threshed endlessly.
Though the wheel of the farmer’s cart rumbles,
his horses do not crush it.
29 This also comes from the Lord of Armies.
He gives wondrous advice;
he gives great wisdom.
Woe to Jerusalem
29 Woe to Ariel,[g] Ariel,
the city where David camped!
Continue year after year;
let the festivals recur.
2 I will oppress Ariel,
and there will be mourning and crying,
and she will be to me like an Ariel.
3 I will camp in a circle around you;
I will besiege you with earth ramps,
and I will set up my siege towers against you.
4 You will be brought down;
you will speak from the ground,
and your words will come from low in the dust.
Your voice will be like that of a spirit from the ground;
your speech will whisper from the dust.
5 Your many foes[h] will be like fine dust,
and many of the ruthless, like blowing chaff.
Then suddenly, in an instant,
6 you will be punished by the Lord of Armies
with thunder, earthquake, and loud noise,
storm, tempest, and a flame of consuming fire.
7 All the many nations
going out to battle against Ariel—
all the attackers, the siege works against her,
and those who oppress her—
will then be like a dream, a vision in the night.
8 It will be like a hungry one who dreams he is eating,
then wakes and is still hungry;
and like a thirsty one who dreams he is drinking,
then wakes and is still thirsty, longing for water.
So it will be for all the many nations
who go to battle against Mount Zion.
9 Stop and be astonished;
blind yourselves and be blind!
They are drunk,[i] but not with wine;
they stagger,[j] but not with beer.
10 For the Lord has poured out on you
an overwhelming urge to[k] sleep;
he has shut your eyes (the prophets)
and covered your heads (the seers).
11 For you the entire vision will be like the words of a sealed document. If it is given to one who can read and he is asked to read it,[l] he will say, “I can’t read it, because it is sealed.” 12 And if the document is given to one who cannot read and he is asked to read it,[m] he will say, “I can’t read.”
13 The Lord said:
These people approach me with their speeches
to honor me with lip-service,[n]
yet their hearts are far from me,
and human rules direct their worship of me.[o]
14 Therefore, I will again confound these people
with wonder after wonder.
The wisdom of their wise will vanish,
and the perception of their perceptive will be hidden.
15 Woe to those who go to great lengths
to hide their plans from the Lord.
They do their works in the dark,
and say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
16 You have turned things around,
as if the potter were the same as the clay.
How can what is made say about its maker,
“He didn’t make me”?
How can what is formed
say about the one who formed it,
“He doesn’t understand what he’s doing”?
17 Isn’t it true that in just a little while
Lebanon will become an orchard,
and the orchard will seem like a forest?
18 On that day the deaf will hear
the words of a document,
and out of a deep darkness
the eyes of the blind will see.
19 The humble will have joy
after joy in the Lord,
and the poor people will rejoice
in the Holy One of Israel.
20 For the ruthless one will vanish,
the scorner will disappear,
and all those who lie in wait with evil intent
will be killed—
21 those who, with their speech,
accuse a person of wrongdoing,
who set a trap for the one mediating at the city gate
and without cause deprive the righteous of justice.
22 Therefore, the Lord who redeemed Abraham says this about the house of Jacob:
Jacob will no longer be ashamed,
and his face will no longer be pale.
23 For when he sees his children,
the work of my hands within his nation,
they will honor my name,
they will honor the Holy One of Jacob
and stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24 Those who are confused will gain understanding,
and those who grumble will accept instruction.
Condemnation of the Egyptian Alliance
30 Woe to the rebellious children!
This is the Lord’s declaration.
They carry out a plan, but not mine;
they make an alliance,
but against my will,
piling sin on top of sin.
2 Without asking my advice
they set out to go down to Egypt
in order to seek shelter under Pharaoh’s protection
and take refuge in Egypt’s shadow.
3 But Pharaoh’s protection will become your shame,
and refuge in Egypt’s shadow your humiliation.
4 For though his[p] princes are at Zoan
and his messengers reach as far as Hanes,
5 everyone will be ashamed
because of a people who can’t help.
They are of no benefit, they are no help;
they are good for nothing but shame and disgrace.
6 A pronouncement concerning the animals of the Negev:[q]
Through a land of trouble and distress,
of lioness and lion,
of viper and flying serpent,
they carry their wealth on the backs of donkeys
and their treasures on the humps of camels,
to a people who will not help them.
7 Egypt’s help is completely worthless;
therefore, I call her:
Rahab Who Just Sits.
8 Go now, write it on a tablet in their presence
and inscribe it on a scroll;
it will be for the future,
forever and ever.
9 They are a rebellious people,
children who do not want to listen to the Lord’s instruction.
10 They say to the seers, “Do not see,”
and to the prophets,
“Do not prophesy the truth to us.
Tell us flattering things.
11 Get out of the way!
Leave the pathway.
Rid us of the Holy One of Israel.”
12 Therefore the Holy One of Israel says:
“Because you have rejected this message
and have trusted in oppression and deceit,
and have depended on them,
13 this iniquity of yours will be
like a crumbling gap,
a bulge in a high wall
whose collapse will come in an instant—suddenly!
14 Its collapse will be like the shattering
of a potter’s jar, crushed to pieces,
so that not even a fragment of pottery
will be found among its shattered remains—
no fragment large enough to take fire from a hearth
or scoop water from a cistern.”
15 For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said:
“You will be delivered by returning and resting;
your strength will lie in quiet confidence.
But you are not willing.”
16 You say, “No!
We will escape on horses”—
therefore you will escape!—
and, “We will ride on fast horses”—
but those who pursue you will be faster.
17 One thousand will flee at the threat of one,
at the threat of five you will flee,
until you remain
like a solitary pole on a mountaintop
or a banner on a hill.
The Lord’s Mercy to Israel
18 Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy,
and is rising up to show you compassion,
for the Lord is a just God.
All who wait patiently for him are happy.
19 For people will live on Zion in Jerusalem. You will never weep again; he will show favor to you at the sound of your outcry; as soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 The Lord will give you meager bread and water during oppression, but your Teacher[r] will not hide any longer. Your eyes will see your Teacher, 21 and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: “This is the way. Walk in it.” 22 Then you will defile your silver-plated idols and your gold-plated images. You will throw them away like menstrual cloths, and call them filth.
23 Then he will send rain for your seed that you have sown in the ground, and the food, the produce of the ground, will be rich and plentiful. On that day your cattle will graze in open pastures. 24 The oxen and donkeys that work the ground will eat salted fodder scattered with winnowing shovel and fork. 25 Streams flowing with water will be on every high mountain and every raised hill on the day of great slaughter when the towers fall. 26 The moonlight will be as bright as the sunlight, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter—like the light of seven days—on the day that the Lord bandages his people’s injuries and heals the wounds he inflicted.
Annihilation of the Assyrians
27 Look! The name of the Lord is coming from far away,
his anger burning and heavy with smoke.[s]
His lips are full of fury,
and his tongue is like a consuming fire.
28 His breath is like an overflowing torrent
that rises to the neck.
He comes to sift the nations in a sieve of destruction
and to put a bridle on the jaws of the peoples
to lead them astray.
29 Your singing will be like that
on the night of a holy festival,
and your heart will rejoice
like one who walks to the music of a flute,
going up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the Rock of Israel.
30 And the Lord will make the splendor of his voice heard
and reveal his arm striking in angry wrath
and a flame of consuming fire,
in driving rain, a torrent, and hailstones.
31 Assyria will be shattered by the voice of the Lord.
He will strike with a rod.
32 And every stroke of the appointed[t] staff
that the Lord brings down on him
will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres;
he will fight against him with brandished weapons.
33 Indeed! Topheth has been ready
for the king for a long time.
Its funeral pyre is deep and wide,
with plenty of fire and wood.
The breath of the Lord, like a torrent of burning sulfur,
God gives wonderful advice. That verse makes me think of Proverbs 3 where Solomon tells us to Trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. How often do we take things into our own hands and try to work them out when God is simply saying…trust me…I know you, I created you, and I have a plan for you. Determine in your heart that you will seek wisdom that only God can give and you will trust in him with everything that you are.