The 13th Day of Advent.
Could Lebanon really wither away?
Ah, you destroyer,
who yourself have not been destroyed;
you treacherous one,
with whom no one has dealt treacherously!
When you have ceased to destroy,
you will be destroyed;
and when you have stopped dealing treacherously,
you will be dealt with treacherously.
O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you.
Be our arm every morning,
our salvation in the time of trouble.
At the sound of tumult, peoples fled;
before your majesty, nations scattered.
Spoil was gathered as the caterpillar gathers;
as locusts leap, they leapt upon it.
The Lord is exalted, he dwells on high;
he filled Zion with justice and righteousness;
he will be the stability of your times,
abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
the fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.
Listen! the valiant cry in the streets;
the envoys of peace weep bitterly.
The highways are deserted,
travellers have left the road.
The treaty is broken,
its oaths are despised,
its obligation is disregarded.
The land mourns and languishes;
Lebanon is confounded and withers away;
Sharon is like a desert;
and Bashan and Carmel shake off their leaves.
‘Now I will arise,’ says the Lord,
‘now I will lift myself up;
now I will be exalted.
You conceive chaff, you bring forth stubble;
your breath is a fire that will consume you.
And the peoples will be as if burned to lime,
like thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire.’
Hear, you who are far away, what I have done;
and you who are near, acknowledge my might.
The sinners in Zion are afraid;
trembling has seized the godless:
‘Who among us can live with the devouring fire?
Who among us can live with everlasting flames?’
Those who walk righteously and speak uprightly,
who despise the gain of oppression,
who wave away a bribe instead of accepting it,
who stop their ears from hearing of bloodshed
and shut their eyes from looking on evil,
they will live on the heights;
their refuge will be the fortresses of rocks;
their food will be supplied, their water assured.
Your eyes will see the king in his beauty;
they will behold a land that stretches far away.
Your mind will muse on the terror:
‘Where is the one who counted?
Where is the one who weighed the tribute?
Where is the one who counted the towers?’
No longer will you see the insolent people,
the people of an obscure speech that you cannot comprehend,
stammering in a language that you cannot understand.
Look on Zion, the city of our appointed festivals!
Your eyes will see Jerusalem,
a quiet habitation, an immovable tent,
whose stakes will never be pulled up,
and none of whose ropes will be broken.
But there the Lord in majesty will be for us
a place of broad rivers and streams,
where no galley with oars can go,
nor stately ship can pass.
For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler,
the Lord is our king; he will save us.
Gabriel’s Message: “All hail,” said he.
O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power
and come among us,
and with great might succour us;
that whereas, through our sins and wickedness
we are grievously hindered
in running the race that is set before us,
your bountiful grace and mercy
may speedily help and deliver us;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honour and glory, now and for ever.