But Zion said, "I don't get it. God has left me. My Master has forgotten I even exist."
"Can a mother forget the infant at her breast, walk away from the baby she bore? But even if mothers forget, I'd never forget you - never.
Look, I've written your names on the backs of my hands. The walls you're rebuilding are never out of my sight.
Your builders are faster than your wreckers. The demolition crews are gone for good.
Look up, look around, look well! See them all gathering, coming to you? As sure as I am the living God" - God's Decree - "you're going to put them on like so much jewelry, you're going to use them to dress up like a bride.
"And your ruined land? Your devastated, decimated land? Filled with more people than you know what to do with! And your barbarian enemies, a fading memory.
The children born in your exile will be saying, 'It's getting too crowded here. I need more room.'
And you'll say to yourself, 'Where on earth did these children come from? I lost everything, had nothing, was exiled and penniless. So who reared these children? How did these children get here?'"
The Master, God, says: "Look! I signal to the nations, I raise my flag to summon the people. Here they'll come: women carrying your little boys in their arms, men carrying your little girls on their shoulders.
Kings will be your babysitters, princesses will be your nursemaids. They'll offer to do all your drudge work - scrub your floors, do your laundry. You'll know then that I am God. No one who hopes in me ever regrets it."
Can plunder be retrieved from a giant, prisoners of war gotten back from a tyrant?
But God says, "Even if a giant grips the plunder and a tyrant holds my people prisoner, I'm the one who's on your side, defending your cause, rescuing your children.
And your enemies, crazed and desperate, will turn on themselves, killing each other in a frenzy of self-destruction. Then everyone will know that I, God, have saved you - I, the Mighty One of Jacob."
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)