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A Call to Turn from Sin

Hear this word, O people of Israel, this song of sorrow which I sing for you: “The young pure woman Israel has fallen, and she will not rise again. She is left alone on her land. There is no one to raise her up.” For the Lord God says, “The city of Israel that sends out a thousand soldiers will have a hundred left. And the one that sends out a hundred will have ten left.”

The Lord says to the people of Israel, “Look for Me and live. But do not look for Bethel. Do not go to Gilgal or cross over to Beersheba. For the people of Gilgal will be taken away to a strange land, and Bethel will come to nothing.” Look for the Lord and live, or He will break out like fire in the family of Joseph. It will destroy, and no one in Bethel will be able to stop it. You turn what is right into something bitter. You throw what is right and good down to the earth.

The Lord made the stars of Pleiades and Orion. He changes darkness into morning, and turns day into night. He calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the earth. The Lord is His name. He destroys the strong, so that the strong city is laid waste.

10 They hate him who speaks strong words in the gate. They hate him who speaks the truth. 11 You crush the poor under foot and make them pay taxes with their grain. Because of this, even though you have built houses of cut stone, you will not live in them and even though you have planted beautiful grape-fields, you will not drink their wine. 12 For I know that you have done much wrong and your sins are many. You make trouble for those who are right and good, and you take pay in secret for wrong-doing. You will not be fair to the poor. 13 The wise man keeps quiet at such a time, for it is a sinful time.

14 Look for good and not sin, that you may live. Then the Lord God of All will be with you, just as you have said. 15 Hate sin, and love good. And let what is fair be done at the gate. It may be that the Lord God of All will show kindness to those left of Joseph.

The Day of the Lord

16 So the Lord, the Lord God of All, says, “There is a loud crying in the city. In all the streets they say, ‘It is bad! It is bad!’ They call the farmers to cry in sorrow. They call those whose work is to cry over the dead to sing songs of sorrow. 17 And there are cries of sorrow in all the grape-fields, because I will pass among you,” says the Lord.

18 It is bad for you who want the day of the Lord to come. For what will the day of the Lord be to you? It will be darkness and not light. 19 It will be as when a man runs away from a lion and is met by a bear. It will be as when a man goes home and rests with his hand against the wall, and gets bitten by a snake. 20 Will not the day of the Lord be darkness instead of light, very dark with nothing bright in it?

21 “I hate your special suppers. I will have nothing to do with them. And I am not pleased with your religious meetings. 22 Even if you give Me burnt gifts and grain gifts in worship, I will not receive them. I will not even look at the peace gifts of your fat animals. 23 Take the noise of your songs away from Me. I will not listen to the sound of your harps. 24 But let what is fair roll down like waters. Let what is right and good flow forever like a river.

25 “O people of Israel, was it to Me you gave gifts of animals and grain on the altar for forty years in the desert? 26 You also carried with you Sikkuth your king and Kiyyun your star god, the false gods you made for yourselves. 27 So I will make you go as prisoners to the other side of Damascus,” says the Lord, Whose name is the God of All.

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