God's Message came to me:
"Son of man, when a country sins against me by living faithlessly and I reach out and destroy its food supply by bringing on a famine, wiping out humans and animals alike,
even if Noah, Daniel, and Job - the Big Three - were alive at the time, it wouldn't do the population any good. Their righteousness would only save their own lives." Decree of God, the Master.
"Or, if I make wild animals go through the country so that everyone has to leave and the country becomes wilderness and no one dares enter it anymore because of the wild animals,
even if these three men were living there, as sure as I am the living God, neither their sons nor daughters would be rescued, but only those three, and the country would revert to wilderness.
"Or, if I bring war on that country and give the order, 'Let the killing begin!' leaving both people and animals dead,
even if those three men were alive at the time, as sure as I am the living God, neither sons nor daughters would be rescued, but only these three.
"Or, if I visit a deadly disease on that country, pouring out my lethal anger, killing both people and animals,
and Noah, Daniel, and Job happened to be alive at the time, as sure as I am the living God, not a son, not a daughter, would be rescued. Only these three would be delivered because of their righteousness.
"Now then, that's the picture," says God, the Master, "once I've sent my four catastrophic judgments on Jerusalem - war, famine, wild animals, disease - to kill off people and animals alike. But look!
Believe it or not, there'll be survivors. Some of their sons and daughters will be brought out. When they come out to you and their salvation is right in your face, you'll see for yourself the life they've been saved from. You'll know that this severe judgment I brought on Jerusalem was worth it, that it had to be.
Yes, when you see in detail the kind of lives they've been living, you'll feel much better. You'll see the reason behind all that I've done in Jerusalem." 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)