"Son of man, your brothers - I mean the whole people of Israel who are in exile with you - are the people of whom the citizens of Jerusalem are saying, 'They're in the far country, far from God. This land has been given to us to own.'
"Well, tell them this: 'This is your Message from God, the Master. True, I sent you to the far country and scattered you through other lands. All the same, I've provided you a temporary sanctuary in the countries where you've gone.
I will gather you back from those countries and lands where you've been scattered and give you back the land of Israel.
You'll come back and clean house, throw out all the rotten images and obscene idols.
I'll give you a new heart. I'll put a new spirit in you. I'll cut out your stone heart and replace it with a red-blooded, firm-muscled heart.
Then you'll obey my statutes and be careful to obey my commands. You'll be my people! I'll be your God!
"'But not those who are self-willed and addicted to their rotten images and obscene idols! I'll see that they're paid in full for what they've done.' Decree of God, the Master."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)