Zechariah 9:1-17 (The Message)
The Whole World Has Its Eyes on God
1-6 War Bulletin:
God's Message challenges the country of Hadrach.
It will settle on Damascus.
The whole world has its eyes on God.
Israel isn't the only one.
That includes Hamath at the border,
and Tyre and Sidon, clever as they think they are.
Tyre has put together quite a kingdom for herself;
she has stacked up silver like cordwood,
piled gold high as haystacks.
But God will certainly bankrupt her;
he will dump all that wealth into the ocean
and burn up what's left in a big fire.
Ashkelon will see it and panic,
Gaza will wring its hands,
Ekron will face a dead end.
Gaza's king will die.
Ashkelon will be emptied out,
And a villain will take over in Ashdod.
6-8"I'll take proud Philistia down a peg:
I'll make him spit out his bloody booty
and abandon his vile ways."
What's left will be all God's—a core of survivors,
a family brought together in Judah—
But enemies like Ekron will go the way of the Jebusites,
into the dustbin of history.
"I will set up camp in my home country
and defend it against invaders.
Nobody is going to hurt my people ever again.
I'm keeping my eye on them.
A Humble King Riding a Donkey
9-10"Shout and cheer, Daughter Zion!
Raise the roof, Daughter Jerusalem!
Your king is coming!
a good king who makes all things right,
a humble king riding a donkey,
a mere colt of a donkey.
I've had it with war—no more chariots in Ephraim,
no more war horses in Jerusalem,
no more swords and spears, bows and arrows.
He will offer peace to the nations,
a peaceful rule worldwide,
from the four winds to the seven seas.
11-13"And you, because of my blood covenant with you,
I'll release your prisoners from their hopeless cells.
Come home, hope-filled prisoners!
This very day I'm declaring a double bonus—
everything you lost returned twice-over!
Judah is now my weapon, the bow I'll pull,
setting Ephraim as an arrow to the string.
I'll wake up your sons, O Zion,
to counter your sons, O Greece.
From now on
people are my swords."
14-17Then God will come into view,
his arrows flashing like lightning!
Master God will blast his trumpet
and set out in a whirlwind.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies will protect them—
The war to end all wars,
no holds barred.
Their God will save the day. He'll rescue them.
They'll become like sheep, gentle and soft,
Or like gemstones in a crown,
catching all the colors of the sun.
Then how they'll shine! shimmer! glow!
the young men robust, the young women lovely!
Revelation 17:1-18 (The Message)
Great Babylon, Mother of Whores
1-2One of the Seven Angels who carried the seven bowls came and invited me, "Come, I'll show you the judgment of the great Whore who sits enthroned over many waters, the Whore with whom the kings of the earth have gone whoring, show you the judgment on earth dwellers drunk on her whorish lust."
3-6In the Spirit he carried me out in the desert. I saw a woman mounted on a Scarlet Beast. Stuffed with blasphemies, the Beast had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, festooned with gold and gems and pearls. She held a gold chalice in her hand, brimming with defiling obscenities, her foul fornications. A riddle-name was branded on her forehead: great babylon, mother of whores and abominations of the earth. I could see that the woman was drunk, drunk on the blood of God's holy people, drunk on the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
6-8Astonished, I rubbed my eyes. I shook my head in wonder. The Angel said, "Does this surprise you? Let me tell you the riddle of the woman and the Beast she rides, the Beast with seven heads and ten horns. The Beast you saw once was, is no longer, and is about to ascend from the Abyss and head straight for Hell. Earth dwellers whose names weren't written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world will be dazzled when they see the Beast that once was, is no longer, and is to come.
9-11"But don't drop your guard. Use your head. The seven heads are seven hills; they are where the woman sits. They are also seven kings: five dead, one living, the other not yet here—and when he does come his time will be brief. The Beast that once was and is no longer is both an eighth and one of the seven—and headed for Hell.
12-14"The ten horns you saw are ten kings, but they're not yet in power. They will come to power with the Scarlet Beast, but won't last long—a very brief reign. These kings will agree to turn over their power and authority to the Beast. They will go to war against the Lamb but the Lamb will defeat them, proof that he is Lord over all lords, King over all kings, and those with him will be the called, chosen, and faithful."
15-18The Angel continued, "The waters you saw on which the Whore was enthroned are peoples and crowds, nations and languages. And the ten horns you saw, together with the Beast, will turn on the Whore—they'll hate her, violate her, strip her naked, rip her apart with their teeth, then set fire to her. It was God who put the idea in their heads to turn over their rule to the Beast until the words of God are completed. The woman you saw is the great city, tyrannizing the kings of the earth."
Psalm 145:1-21 (The Message)
1 I lift you high in praise, my God, O my King! and I'll bless your name into eternity.
2 I'll bless you every day,
and keep it up from now to eternity.
3 God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough.
There are no boundaries to his greatness.
4 Generation after generation stands in awe of your work;
each one tells stories of your mighty acts.
5 Your beauty and splendor have everyone talking;
I compose songs on your wonders.
6 Your marvelous doings are headline news;
I could write a book full of the details of your greatness.
7 The fame of your goodness spreads across the country;
your righteousness is on everyone's lips.
8 God is all mercy and grace—
not quick to anger, is rich in love.
9 God is good to one and all;
everything he does is suffused with grace.
10-11 Creation and creatures applaud you, God;
your holy people bless you.
They talk about the glories of your rule,
they exclaim over your splendor,
12 Letting the world know of your power for good,
the lavish splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is a kingdom eternal;
you never get voted out of office.
God always does what he says,
and is gracious in everything he does.
14 God gives a hand to those down on their luck,
gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.
15 All eyes are on you, expectant;
you give them their meals on time.
16 Generous to a fault,
you lavish your favor on all creatures.
17 Everything God does is right—
the trademark on all his works is love.
18 God's there, listening for all who pray,
for all who pray and mean it.
19 He does what's best for those who fear him—
hears them call out, and saves them.
20 God sticks by all who love him,
but it's all over for those who don't.
21 My mouth is filled with God's praise.
Let everything living bless him,
bless his holy name from now to eternity!
Proverbs 30:32 (The Message)
32-33 If you're dumb enough to call attention to yourself
by offending people and making rude gestures,
Don't be surprised if someone bloodies your nose.
Churned milk turns into butter;
riled emotions turn into fist fights.
Verse of the Day
“Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”- Luke 2:28-32
Today's passage is from the New International Version.