26 At that time people will sing this song in Judah:
We have a strong city with strong walls and defenses.
But God gives us our salvation.[a]
2 Open the gates for the good people to enter.
They are the God’s faithful followers.
3 God, you give true peace
to people who depend on you,
to those who trust in you.
4 So trust the Lord always,
because in the Lord Yah[b] you have a place of safety forever.
5 But he will destroy the proud city
and punish those who live there.
He will throw that high city down to the ground.
It will fall into the dust.
6 Then poor and humble people will walk on those ruins.
7 Honesty is the path good people follow.
They follow the path that is straight and true.
And God, you make that way smooth
and easy to follow.
8 But, Lord, we are waiting for your way of justice.
We want to honor you and your name.
9 At night my soul longs to be with you,
and the spirit in me wants to be with you at the dawn of every new day.
When your way of justice comes to the world,
people will learn the right way of living.
10 Evil people will not learn to do good,
even if you show them only kindness.
They will still do wrong, even if they live in a good world.
They never see the Lord’s greatness.
11 Lord, your arm is raised to punish them,
but they don’t see it.
Show them how strong your love[c] is for your people.
Then those who are evil will be ashamed.
Yes, your fire will destroy your enemies.
12 Lord, you have succeeded in doing everything we tried to do,
so give us peace.
13 Lord, you are our God,
but in the past, we followed other lords.
We belonged to other masters,[d]
but now we want people to remember only one name—yours.
14 Those dead lords will not come to life.
Those ghosts will not rise from death.
You decided to destroy them,
and you destroyed everything that makes us think about them.
15 Lord, you have helped the nation you love.
You made our nation grow
and brought honor to yourself.[e]
16 Lord, people remember you
when they are in trouble.
So because of your punishment,
we called out to you.
17 Lord, because of you we were in pain,
like a woman giving birth,
who struggles and cries out when it is time.
18 But we struggled in pain for nothing.
We gave birth only to wind.
We did nothing to save the land.
No one was born to live in the world.
19 But the Lord says,
“Your people have died,
but they will live again.
The bodies of my people
will rise from death.
Dead people in the ground,
stand and be happy!
The dew covering you is like
the dew sparkling in the light of a new day.
It shows that a new time is coming,
when the earth will give birth to the dead who are in it.”
20 My people, go into your rooms
and lock your doors.
Hide in there for a short time
until God’s anger is finished.
21 Look! The Lord is coming out from his place[f]
to judge the people of the world for the bad things they have done.
The earth will reveal the blood that has been spilled on it.
It will no longer hide the proof of those murders.
27 At that time the Lord will judge Leviathan,[g]
the crooked snake.
He will use his great sword, his hard and powerful sword,
to punish Leviathan, that twisting, turning snake.
He will kill the monster of the sea.[h]
2 At that time people will sing
about the pleasant vineyard.
3 “I, the Lord, will care for the vineyard.
I will water it at the right time.
I will guard it day and night.
No one will hurt it.
4 I am not angry.
But if there is war and someone builds a wall of thornbushes,[i]
then I will march to it and burn it.
5 But if anyone comes to me for safety
and wants to make peace with me,
then let them come and make peace.
6 In the future, Jacob will take root firmly on his soil.
Then Israel will sprout and bloom,
and the world will be filled with his fruit.”
7 Israel was not hurt as badly as the enemy who tried to hurt it. Not as many of its people were killed as those who tried to kill them.
8 The Lord will settle his argument with Israel by sending the people far away. He will speak harshly to Israel. His words will burn like the hot desert wind.
9 How will Jacob’s guilt be forgiven? What will happen so his sins can be taken away? The rocks of the altar will be crushed to dust; the statues[j] and altars for worshiping false gods will all be destroyed.
10 The great city will be empty; it will be like a desert. All the people will be gone—they will run away. The city will be like an open pasture. Young cattle will eat grass there. The cattle will eat leaves from the branches of the vines. 11 The vines will become dry, and the branches will break off. Women will use them for firewood.
The people refuse to understand. So God, their Maker, will not comfort them or be kind to them.
You people of Israel will be gathered together one by one. 13 Many of my people are now lost in Assyria. Some of my people have run away to Egypt. But at that time a great trumpet will be blown, and all those people will come back to Jerusalem. They will bow down before the Lord on that holy mountain.
2 Think about what we have in Christ: the encouragement he has brought us, the comfort of his love, our sharing in his Spirit, and the mercy and kindness he has shown us. If you enjoy these blessings, 2 then do what will make my joy complete: Agree with each other, and show your love for each other. Be united in your goals and in the way you think. 3 In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. 4 Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too.
5 In your life together, think the way Christ Jesus thought.
6 He was like God in every way,
but he did not think that his being equal with God was something to use for his own benefit.
7 Instead, he gave up everything, even his place with God.
He accepted the role of a servant, appearing in human form.
During his life as a man,
8 he humbled himself by being fully obedient to God,
even when that caused his death—death on a cross.
9 So God raised him up to the most important place
and gave him the name that is greater than any other name.
10 God did this so that every person will bow down to honor the name of Jesus.
Everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth will bow.
11 They will all confess, “Jesus Christ is Lord,”
and this will bring glory to God the Father.
12 My dear friends, you always obeyed what you were taught. Just as you obeyed when I was with you, it is even more important for you to obey now that I am not there. So you must continue to live in a way that gives meaning to your salvation. Do this with fear and respect for God. 13 Yes, it is God who is working in you. He helps you want to do what pleases him, and he gives you the power to do it.
14 Do everything without complaining or arguing 15 so that you will be blameless and pure, children of God without any fault. But you are living with evil people all around you, who have lost their sense of what is right. Among those people you shine like lights in a dark world, 16 and you offer them the teaching that gives life. So I can be proud of you when Christ comes again. You will show that my work was not wasted—that I ran in the race and won.
17 Your faith makes you give your lives as a sacrifice in serving God. Maybe I will have to offer my own life with your sacrifice. But if that happens, I will be glad, and I will share my joy with all of you. 18 You also should be glad and share your joy with me.
19 With the blessing of the Lord Jesus, I hope I will be able to send Timothy to you soon. I will be glad to learn how you are. 20 I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares for you. 21 Others are interested only in their own lives. They don’t care about the work of Christ Jesus. 22 You know the kind of person Timothy is. He has served with me in telling the Good News like a son with his father. 23 I plan to send him to you quickly, as soon as I know what will happen to me. 24 I am sure the Lord will help me come to you soon.
25 For now, I think I must send Epaphroditus back to you. He is my brother in God’s family, who works and serves with me in the Lord’s army. When I needed help, you sent him to me, 26 but now he wants very much to see all of you again. He is worried because you heard that he was sick. 27 He was sick and near death. But God helped him and me too, so that I would not have even more grief. 28 So I want very much to send him to you. When you see him, you can be happy. And I can stop worrying about you. 29 Welcome him in the Lord with much joy. Give honor to people like Epaphroditus. 30 He should be honored because he almost died for the work of Christ. He put his life in danger so that he could help me. This was help that you could not give me.