Some of Israel's leaders came to me and sat down in front of me.
Then the LORD spoke his word to me. He said,
"Son of man, these people are devoted to their idols, and they are allowing themselves to fall into sin. Should they be allowed to ask me for help?
"So speak to them. Tell them, 'This is what the LORD says: Suppose an Israelite is devoted to idols and allows himself to fall into sin. Suppose he goes to a prophet [to ask for my help]. I, the LORD, will give that Israelite an answer, the answer that his many idols deserve.
I will do this to recapture the hearts of the nation of Israel. They have deserted me because of their disgusting idols.'
"So tell the nation of Israel, 'This is what the Almighty LORD says: Change the way you think and act! Turn away from your idols, and don't return to any of your disgusting things.
Suppose an Israelite or a foreigner who lives in Israel deserts me by devoting himself to idols and by allowing himself to fall into sin. If he goes to a prophet to ask for my help, I, the LORD, will give him an answer.
I will reject him, and I will make an example of him. I will exclude him from my people. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
"'If a prophet is tricked into giving a prophecy, it is I, the LORD, who tricked the prophet. I will use my power against you and destroy you from among my people Israel.
Both of you will suffer for your sins. The prophet will be as guilty as you are when you ask for his help.
Then the people of Israel will no longer wander away from me. They will no longer dishonor me with all their sins. Then they will be my people, and I will be their God, declares the Almighty LORD.'"
The LORD spoke his word to me. He said,
"Son of man, suppose a country sins against me by being unfaithful to me. I will use my power against it, cut off its food supply, send a famine to it, and destroy its people and animals.
Even if these three men--Noah, Daniel, and Job--were in that country, they would, by their righteousness, rescue only themselves," declares the Almighty LORD.
"Suppose I send wild animals through that country and they make it childless and turn it into such a wasteland that no one travels through it because of the animals.
As I live, declares the Almighty LORD, not even Noah, Daniel, and Job could rescue their own sons or daughters. They could rescue only themselves. And the country would become a wasteland.
"Suppose I bring a war against that country by saying, 'I will let a war go throughout this country.' Suppose I destroy the people and the animals in it.
As I live, declares the Almighty LORD, not even Noah, Daniel, and Job could rescue their sons or daughters. They could rescue only themselves.
"Suppose I send a plague into that country or pour out my fury on it by killing people and destroying animals.
As I live, declares the Almighty LORD, not even Noah, Daniel, and Job could, by their righteousness, rescue their sons or daughters. They could rescue only themselves.
"This is what the Almighty LORD says: I will surely send four terrible punishments against Jerusalem. I will send wars, famines, wild animals, and plagues. They will destroy people and animals.
But some people will survive. Some of your sons and daughters will be brought out. When they come out to you, you will see how they live. Then you will be comforted after the disasters that I will bring on Jerusalem, after every disaster that I will bring against it.
You will be comforted when you see how they live. Then you will know that everything I have done was done for a reason," declares the Almighty LORD.