Scripture to consider:
3 1 See now, the Lord, the Lord Almighty, is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support: all supplies of food and all supplies of water, 2 the hero and the warrior, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder, 3 the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter. 4 “I will make mere youths their officials; children will rule over them.”
5 People will oppress each other—man against man, neighbor against neighbor. The young will rise up against the old, the nobody against the honored. 6 A man will seize one of his brothers in his father’s house, and say, “You have a cloak, you be our leader; take charge of this heap of ruins!” 7 But in that day he will cry out, “I have no remedy. I have no food or clothing in my house; do not make me the leader of the people.”
8 Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling; their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence. 9 The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves. 10 Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. 11 Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done. 12 Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. My people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path.
13 The Lord takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people. 14 The Lord enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: “It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses. 15 What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?” declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty. 16 The Lord says, “The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, strutting along with swaying hips, with ornaments jingling on their ankles. 17 Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the Lord will make their scalps bald.”
18 In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, 19 the earrings and bracelets and veils, 20 the headdresses and anklets and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, 21 the signet rings and nose rings, 22 the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses 23 and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls. 24 Instead of fragrance there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-dressed hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; instead of beauty, branding. 25 Your men will fall by the sword, your warriors in battle. 26 The gates of Zion will lament and mourn; destitute, she will sit on the ground. 4 1 In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, “We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace!”
2 In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. 3 Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. 5 Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over everything the glory will be a canopy. 6 It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.
Thought to ponder:
“We as humans . . . have said that the fulfillment of our personal needs is ultimate, and we have understood with Nietzsche that the only way to do that is to gain power for ourselves. But that way is disaster. If we are the greatest beings in the universe, then there is no meaning in the universe and Death is the lord of all. Whatever we may achieve, he stands at the end of the road, laughing at all our pretensions. Why should we pay any attention to humans? Of what worth is a blob of protoplasm? In our attempt to exalt ourselves, we have in fact reduced ourselves to nothing.“
—John Oswalt, 103