1 I will stand like a guard and watch.
I will wait to see what the LORD will say to me.
I will wait and learn how he answers my questions.
God Answers Habakkuk
The LORD answered me, “Write down what I show you. Write it clearly on a sign so that the message will be easy to read.* 3
This message is about a special time in the future. This message is about the end, and it will come true. Just be patient and wait for it. That time will come; it will not be late. 4
This message cannot help those who refuse to listen to it, but those who are good will live because they believe it.
5 “Wine can trick a person. In the same way a strong man’s pride can fool him, but he will not find peace. He is like death—he always wants more and more. And, like death, he will never be satisfied. He will continue to defeat other nations and to make those people his prisoners. 6 But soon enough, all those people will laugh at him and tell stories about his defeat. They will laugh and say, ‘It’s too bad that the man who took so many things will not get to keep them! He made himself rich by collecting debts.’
7 “Strong man, you have taken money from people. One day they will wake up and realize what is happening, and they will stand against you. Then they will take things from you, and you will be very afraid. 8 You have stolen things from many nations, so they will take much from you. You have killed many people and destroyed lands and cities. You have killed all the people there.
“Look at you people! You get rich by cheating people, and it hurts your own family! You build your houses high on the cliffs to protect yourself from danger. 10
You planned shameful things, and that will bring shame to your own family. You have done wrong, and it will cost you your life. 11
The stones of the walls will cry out against you. Even the wooden rafters†
in your own house will prove that you are wrong.
“Look at them! They kill people to build their city and do wicked things to make their walled city strong. 13
But the LORD All-Powerful has decided that a fire will destroy everything that those people worked to build. All their work will be for nothing. 14
Then people everywhere will know about the Glory of the LORD. This news will spread just as water spreads out into the sea. 15
It will be very bad for those who become angry and make other people suffer. Like an angry drunk, they knock others to the ground and strip them naked, just to see their naked bodies.‡
16 “But they will know the Lord’s anger. It will be like a cup of poison in the LORD’S right hand. They will taste that anger, and then they will fall to the ground like drunks.
“Evil ruler, you will drink from that cup. You will get shame, not honor. 17 You hurt many people in Lebanon and stole many animals there. So you will be afraid because of the people who died and because of the bad things you did to that country. You will be afraid because of what you did to those cities and to the people who lived there.”
The Message About Idols
18 Their false god will not help them, because it is only a statue that someone covered with metal. It is only a statue, so whoever made it cannot expect it to help. That statue cannot even speak! 19 Look at them! They speak to a wooden statue and tell it, “Get up! Rescue me.” They talk to a stone that cannot speak and say, “Wake up!” Don’t you know those things cannot help you? That statue may be covered with gold and silver, but there is no life in it.
20 But the LORD is in his holy temple, so the whole earth should be silent in his presence and show him respect.