This is a message about Moab: One night armies took the wealth from Ar in Moab, and the city was destroyed. One night armies took the wealth from Kir in Moab, and the city was destroyed.
The king's family and the people of Dibon go to the places of worship to cry. The people of Moab are crying for Nebo and Medeba. They have shaved their heads and beards to show their sadness.
Everywhere in Moab, on the housetops and in the streets, people are wearing sackcloth. Everyone is crying.
In Heshbon and Elealeh they are crying loudly. You can hear their voices as far away as Jahaz. Even the soldiers are frightened. They are shaking with fear.
My heart cries in sorrow for Moab. Its people run away to Zoar for safety. They run to Eglath Shelishiyah. The people are crying as they go up the road to Luhith. They are crying loudly as they walk on the road to Horonaim.
But Nimrim Brook is as dry as a desert. The grass has dried up, and all the plants are dead. Nothing is green.
So the people gather up everything they own and cross the border at Arabah stream.
You can hear crying everywhere in Moab� as far away as Eglaim and Beer Elim.
The water of Dimon is full of blood, and I will bring even more troubles to Dimon. A few people living in Moab have escaped the enemy, but I will send lions to eat them.
You people should send a gift to the king of the land. You should send a lamb from Sela, through the desert, to the mountain of Daughter Zion.
The women of Moab try to cross the river Arnon. They run around looking for help, like little birds that have fallen from their nest.
They say, "Help us! Tell us what to do. Protect us from our enemies as shade protects us from the noon sun. We are running from our enemies. Hide us! Don't give us to our enemies.
People from Moab were forced to leave their homes. So let them live in your land. Hide them from their enemies." The robbing will stop. The enemy will be defeated. The men who hurt the people will be gone from the land.
Then a new king will come. He will be from David's family. He will be loyal, loving, and kind. He will be a king who judges fairly. He will do what is right and good.
We have heard that the people of Moab are very proud and conceited. They are hot-tempered braggers, but their boasts are only empty words.
Because of their pride, everyone in Moab will mourn. They will wish for the way things used to be. They will wish for the fig-cakes from Kir Hareseth.
The fields of Heshbon and the vines of Sibmah no longer grow grapes. Foreign rulers have destroyed the vines. The enemy has reached Jazer and has spread into the desert and down to the sea.
I will cry with the people of Jazer and Sibmah, because the grapes have been destroyed. I will cry with the people of Heshbon and Elealeh because there will be no harvest. There will be no summer fruit, and there will be no shouts of joy for the harvest.
There will be no joy and happiness in the orchard. I will end the happy singing and shouting in the vineyard. The grapes are ready to make wine, but they will all be ruined.
So I will hum a sad song for Moab and Kir Heres, like a harp playing a funeral song.
The people of Moab will go to their high places to worship. They will go to their temple to pray, but it will not help them.
The Lord said these things about Moab many times.
And now the Lord says, "In three years (counting as exactly as a hired worker would) all those people and the things they are proud of will be gone. Only a few of their weakest people will be left."
This is a message about Damascus: "Damascus is now a city, but it will be destroyed. Only ruined buildings will be left there.
People will leave the cities of Aroer. Flocks of sheep will wander freely in those empty towns; there will be no one to bother them.
The fort cities of Ephraim will be destroyed. The government in Damascus will be finished. Those left in Aram will lose everything, just like the people of Israel, " says the Lord All-Powerful.
"At that time Jacob's wealth will all be gone. Yes, Israel will be like a sick man who has become weak and thin.
"That time will be like the grain harvest in Rephaim Valley. The workers gather the plants that grow in the field. Then they cut the heads of grain from the plants and collect the grain.
"That time will also be like the olive harvest. People knock olives from the trees, but a few olives are usually left at the top of each tree. Four or five olives are left on some of the top branches. It will be the same for those cities," says the Lord All-Powerful.
Then the people will look up to the one who made them. Their eyes will see the Holy One of Israel.
They will not trust in the great things they have made. They will not go to the special gardens and altars they made for false gods.
At that time all the walled cities will be empty. They will be like the mountains and the forests in the land before the Israelites came. In the past, all the people ran away because the Israelites were coming. In the future, the country will be empty again.
This will happen because you have forgotten the God who saves you. You have not remembered that God is your place of safety. You brought some very good grapevines from faraway places. You might plant those grapevines, but they will not grow.
You will plant your grapevines one day and try to make them grow, and the next day they will blossom. But at harvest time, you will go to gather the fruit from the plants, and you will see that everything is dead. A sickness will kill all the plants.
Listen to all these people! Their loud crying sounds like the noise from the sea. Listen, it is like the crashing of waves in the sea.
And like the waves, they will rush away when God speaks harshly to them. They will be like chaff blown away by the wind. They will be like tumbleweeds chased by a storm.
That night, the people will be frightened. By morning, nothing will be left. So our enemies will get nothing. They will come to our land, but nothing will be there.
Look at the land along the rivers of Ethiopia where you can hear the buzzing of insect wings.
That land sends people down the Nile River in reed boats. Fast messengers, go to the people who are tall and smooth, who are feared far and wide. Go to that powerful nation that defeats other countries and whose land is divided by rivers. Go warn them!
Like a flag on a hill, everyone on earth will see what happens. Like a trumpet call, everyone in the country will hear it.
The Lord said, "I will be in the place prepared for me. I will quietly watch these things happen: On a beautiful summer day, at noon, people will be resting. (It will be during the hot harvest time when there is no rain, but only early morning dew.)
Then something terrible will happen. Earlier in the year, the flowers bloomed and the new grapes formed buds and began to grow. But before the crop is harvested, the enemy will come and cut the plants. They will break the vines and throw them away.
The vines will be left for the birds from the mountains and the wild animals to eat. The birds will feed on them throughout the summer, and that winter the wild animals will eat the vines."
At that time a special offering will be brought to the Lord All-Powerful from the people who are tall and smooth, from those who are feared far and wide, from that powerful nation that defeats other countries and whose land is divided by rivers. This offering will be brought to the Lord's place on Mount Zion.
The law gave us only an unclear picture of the good things coming in the future. The law is not a perfect picture of the real things. The law tells people to offer the same sacrifices every year. Those who come to worship God continue to offer those sacrifices. But the law can never make them perfect.
If the law could make people perfect, those sacrifices would have already stopped. They would already be clean from their sins, and they would not still feel guilty.
But that's not what happens. Their sacrifices make them remember their sins every year,
because it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
So when Christ came into the world he said, "You don't want sacrifices and offerings, but you have prepared a body for me.
You are not pleased with the sacrifices of animals killed and burned or with offerings to take away sins.
Then I said, 'Here I am, God. It is written about me in the book of the law. I have come to do what you want.'"
Christ first said, "You don't want sacrifices and offerings. You are not pleased with animals killed and burned or with sacrifices to take away sin." (These are all sacrifices that the law commands.)
Then he said, "Here I am, God. I have come to do what you want." So God ends that first system of sacrifices and starts his new way.
Jesus Christ did the things God wanted him to do. And because of that, we are made holy through the sacrifice of Christ's body. Christ made that sacrifice one time� enough for all time.
Every day the priests stand and do their religious service. Again and again they offer the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
But Christ offered only one sacrifice for sins, and that sacrifice is good for all time. Then he sat down at the right side of God.
And now Christ waits there for his enemies to be put under his power.
With one sacrifice Christ made his people perfect forever. They are the ones who are being made holy.
The Holy Spirit also tells us about this. First he says,
"This is the agreement I will make with my people in the future, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts. I will write my laws in their minds."
Then he says, "I will forgive their sins and never again remember the evil they have done."
And after everything is forgiven, there is no more need for a sacrifice to pay for sins.
And so, brothers and sisters, we are completely free to enter the Most Holy Place. We can do this without fear because of the blood sacrifice of Jesus.
We enter through a new way that Jesus opened for us. It is a living way that leads through the curtain �Christ's body.
And we have a great priest who rules the house of God.
Sprinkled with the blood of Christ, our hearts have been made free from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. So come near to God with a sincere heart, full of confidence because of our faith in Christ.
We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what he promised.
We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works.
We must not quit meeting together, as some are doing. No, we need to keep on encouraging each other. This becomes more and more important as you see the Day getting closer.
If we decide to continue sinning after we have learned the truth, then there is no other sacrifice that will take away sins.
If we continue sinning, all that is left for us is a fearful time of waiting for the judgment and the angry fire that will destroy those who live against God.
Whoever refused to obey the Law of Moses was found guilty from the testimony given by two or three witnesses. Such people were not forgiven. They were killed.
So think how much more punishment people deserve who show their hate for the Son of God�people who show they have no respect for the blood sacrifice that began the new agreement and once made them holy or who insult the Spirit of God's grace.
We know that God said, "I will punish people for the wrongs they do; I will repay them." And he also said, "The Lord will judge his people."
It is a terrible thing to face punishment from the living God.
Remember the days when you first learned the truth. You had a hard struggle with much suffering, but you continued strong.
Sometimes people said hateful things to you and mistreated you in public. And sometimes you helped others who were being treated that same way.
Yes, you helped them in prison and shared in their suffering. And you were still happy when everything you owned was taken away from you. You continued to be happy, because you knew that you had something much better�something that would continue forever.
So don't lose the courage that you had in the past. Your courage will be rewarded richly.
You must be patient. After you have done what God wants, you will get what he promised you.
He says, "Very soon now, the one who is coming will come and will not be late.
The person who is right with me will live by trusting in me. But I will not be pleased with the one who turns back in fear."
But we are not those who turn back and are lost. No, we are the people who have faith and are saved.