SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
9:1 This is an oracle, the Lord’s message concerning the land of Hadrach, with its focus on Damascus:
The eyes of all humanity, especially of the tribes of Israel, are toward the Lord, 2 as are those of Hamath also, which adjoins Damascus, Tyre, and Sidon, though they consider themselves to be very wise. 3 Tyre built herself a fortification and piled up silver like dust and gold like the mud of the streets. 4 Nevertheless the Lord will evict her and shove her fortifications into the sea—she will be consumed by fire. 5 Ashkelon will see and be afraid; Gaza will be in great anguish, as will Ekron, for her hope will have been dried up. Gaza will lose her king, and Ashkelon will no longer be inhabited. 6 A mongrel people will live in Ashdod, for I will greatly humiliate the Philistines. 7 I will take away their abominable religious practices; then those who survive will become a community of believers in our God, like a clan in Judah, and Ekron will be like the Jebusites. 8 Then I will surround my temple to protect it like a guard from anyone crossing back and forth; so no one will cross over against them anymore as an oppressor, for now I myself have seen it.
9 Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion!
Shout, daughter of Jerusalem!
Look! Your king is coming to you:
He is legitimate and victorious,
humble and riding on a donkey—
on a young donkey, the foal of a female donkey.
10 I will remove the chariot from Ephraim
and the warhorse from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow will be removed.
Then he will announce peace to the nations.
His dominion will be from sea to sea
and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.
11 Moreover, as for you, because of our covenant relationship secured with blood, I will release your prisoners from the waterless pit. 12 Return to the stronghold, you prisoners, with hope; today I declare that I will return double what was taken from you. 13 I will bend Judah as my bow; I will load the bow with Ephraim, my arrow. I will stir up your sons, Zion, against your sons, Greece, and I will make you, Zion, like a warrior’s sword.
14 Then the Lord will appear above them, and his arrow will shoot forth like lightning; the Sovereign Lord will blow the trumpet and will proceed in the southern storm winds. 15 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies will guard them, and they will prevail and overcome with sling stones. Then they will drink and will become noisy like drunkards, full like the sacrificial basin or like the corners of the altar. 16 On that day the Lord their God will deliver them as the flock of his people, for they are the precious stones of a crown sparkling over his land. 17 How precious and fair! Grain will make the young men flourish, and new wine the young women.
10:1 Ask the Lord for rain in the season of the late spring rains—the Lord who causes thunderstorms—and he will give everyone showers of rain and green growth in the field. 2 For the household gods have spoken wickedness, the soothsayers have seen a lie, and the dreamers have disclosed emptiness and give comfort in vain. Therefore the people set out like sheep and become scattered because they have no shepherd. 3 “I am enraged at the shepherds and will punish the lead goats.
“For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has brought blessing to his flock, the house of Judah, and will transform them into his majestic warhorse. 4 From him will come the cornerstone, the wall peg, the battle bow, and every ruler. 5 And they will be like warriors trampling the mud of the streets in battle. They will fight, for the Lord will be with them, and will defeat the enemy cavalry.
6 “I (says the Lord) will strengthen the kingdom of Judah and deliver the people of Joseph and will bring them back because of my compassion for them. They will be as though I had never rejected them, for I am the Lord their God, and therefore I will hear them. 7 The Ephraimites will be like warriors and will rejoice as if they had drunk wine. Their children will see it and rejoice; they will celebrate in the things of the Lord. 8 I will signal for them and gather them, for I have already redeemed them; then they will become as numerous as they were before. 9 Though I scatter them among the nations, they will remember in far-off places—they and their children will survive and return. 10 I will bring them back from Egypt and gather them from Assyria. I will bring them to the lands of Gilead and Lebanon, and there will not be enough room for them. 11 The Lord will cross the sea of storms and will calm its turbulence. The depths of the Nile will dry up, the pride of Assyria will be humbled, and the domination of Egypt will be no more. 12 Thus I will strengthen them by my power, and they will walk about in my name,” says the Lord.
11:1 Open your gates, Lebanon,
so that the fire may consume your cedars.
2 Howl, fir tree,
because the cedar has fallen;
the majestic trees have been destroyed.
Howl, oaks of Bashan,
because the impenetrable forest has fallen.
3 Listen to the howling of shepherds,
because their magnificence has been destroyed.
Listen to the roaring of young lions,
because the thickets of the Jordan have been devastated.
4 The Lord my God says this: “Shepherd the flock set aside for slaughter. 5 Those who buy them slaughter them and are not held guilty; those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the Lord, for I am rich.’ Their own shepherds have no compassion for them. 6 Indeed, I will no longer have compassion on the people of the land,” says the Lord, “but instead I will turn every last person over to his neighbor and his king. They will devastate the land, and I will not deliver it from them.”
7 So I began to shepherd the flock destined for slaughter, the most afflicted of all the flock. Then I took two staffs, calling one “Pleasantness” and the other “Union,” and I tended the flock. 8 Next I eradicated the three shepherds in one month, for I ran out of patience with them and, indeed, they detested me as well. 9 I then said, “I will not shepherd you. What is to die, let it die, and what is to be eradicated, let it be eradicated. As for those who survive, let them eat each other’s flesh!”
10 Then I took my staff “Pleasantness” and cut it in two to annul my covenant that I had made with all the people. 11 So it was annulled that very day, and then the most afflicted of the flock who kept faith with me knew that it was the Lord’s message.
12 Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, pay me my wages, but if not, forget it.” So they weighed out my payment—30 pieces of silver. 13 The Lord then said to me, “Throw to the potter that exorbitant sum at which they valued me!” So I took the 30 pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the temple of the Lord. 14 Then I cut the second staff “Union” in two in order to annul the covenant of brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
15 Again the Lord said to me, “Take up once more the equipment of a foolish shepherd. 16 Indeed, I am about to raise up a shepherd in the land who will not take heed of the sheep headed to slaughter, will not seek the scattered, and will not heal the injured. Moreover, he will not nourish the one that is healthy, but instead will eat the meat of the fat sheep and tear off their hooves.
17 “Woe to the worthless shepherd
who abandons the flock!
May a sword fall on his arm and his right eye!
May his arm wither completely away
and his right eye become completely blind!”