The Regrets of the Wicked 5 1On that day someone righteous, full of confidence, will stand before those who oppressed him and made light of his labors. 2They will be amazed to see him safe and will tremble with terrible fear. 3Then they will regret what they did, and groaning in anguish they will say to each other: 4“This is the one we made fun of. We thought he was a joke. What fools we were! We thought he was crazy to live the way he did, and when he died, we didn't honor him. 5And now here he is, one of God's own children, with a place of his own among God's people. 6We were the ones who wandered off the right road. We never lived in the light of righteousness; we never caught the first glimmer of its light. 7All our lives we wandered across unmarked deserts, instead of following the road which the Lord wanted us to travel. And this lawlessness led us to ruin. 8We were so proud of ourselves—we bragged about how rich we were—and now, what good has it done us? 9All those things are gone now; they have disappeared like a shadow, like something you hear and then forget. 10“A ship sails across the waves of the ocean, but when it is gone, it leaves no trace. You cannot tell it was ever there. 11A bird flies through the air, but leaves no sign that it has been there. It speeds along, riding through the thin air by the force of its wings, leaving behind no trace of its passing. 12An arrow splits the air when it is shot at a target, but at once the air closes up behind it, and no one can tell where it passed. 13It is the same with us—we were born, and then we ceased to be. We left no sign of virtue behind us; we were destroyed by our wickedness.” 14What hope do wicked people have? Only the hope of straw blown about in the wind, the hope of ocean foam[C] that disappears in the storm, the hope of smoke in the breeze. Their hope lasts no longer than our memory of a guest who stays one day and leaves the next. 15But the righteous live on forever. The Lord will reward them; the Most High will protect them. 16He will give them royal splendor and a magnificent crown. He will shield them with his powerful arm. 17 He will go out into battle determined to defeat his enemies, and use the creation itself as a weapon. 18Righteousness will be his armor, genuine justice will be his helmet, 19holiness will be his invincible shield. 20He will sharpen his stern anger into a sword, and the forces of nature will join him in battle against those who are foolish enough to oppose him. 21Bolts of lightning will strike right on target, as if the Lord had made a bow out of the clouds and was shooting arrows. 22Hailstones will beat down on his enemies with terrible force. The oceans and rivers will come rushing over them in a devastating flood. 23Great windstorms will blow them away like straw. Lawlessness will be the ruin of the whole world. Evil actions will cause governments to fall.
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