God's Message came to me:
"Son of man, preach against the prophets of Israel who are making things up out of their own heads and calling it 'prophesying.'
God, the Master, pronounces doom on the empty-headed prophets who do their own thing and know nothing of what's going on!
Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals scavenging through the ruins.
They haven't lifted a finger to repair the defenses of the city and have risked nothing to help Israel stand on God's Day of Judgment.
All they do is fantasize comforting illusions and preach lying sermons. They say 'God says . . .' when God hasn't so much as breathed in their direction. And yet they stand around thinking that something they said is going to happen.
"Haven't you fantasized sheer nonsense? Aren't your sermons tissues of lies, saying 'God says . . .' when I've done nothing of the kind?
Therefore - and this is the Message of God, the Master, remember - I'm dead set against prophets who substitute illusions for visions and use sermons to tell lies.
I'm going to ban them from the council of my people, remove them from membership in Israel, and outlaw them from the land of Israel. Then you'll realize that I am God, the Master.
"The fact is that they've lied to my people. They've said, 'No problem; everything's just fine,' when things are not at all fine. When people build a wall, they're right behind them slapping on whitewash.
Tell those who are slapping on the whitewash, 'When a torrent of rain comes and the hailstones crash down and the hurricane sweeps in
and the wall collapses, what's the good of the whitewash that you slapped on so liberally, making it look so good?'
"And that's exactly what will happen. I, God, the Master, say so: 'I'll let the hurricane of my wrath loose, a torrent of my hailstone-anger.
I'll make that wall you've slapped with whitewash collapse. I'll level it to the ground so that only the foundation stones will be left. And in the ruin you'll all die. You'll realize then that I am God.
"'I'll dump my wrath on that wall, all of it, and on those who plastered it with whitewash. I will say to them, There is no wall, and those who did such a good job of whitewashing it wasted their time,
those prophets of Israel who preached to Jerusalem and announced all their visions telling us things were just fine when they weren't at all fine. Decree of God, the Master.'
"And the women prophets - son of man, take your stand against the women prophets who make up stuff out of their own minds. Oppose them.
Say 'Doom' to the women who sew magic bracelets and head scarves to suit every taste, devices to trap souls. Say, 'Will you kill the souls of my people, use living souls to make yourselves rich and popular?
You have profaned me among my people just to get ahead yourselves, used me to make yourselves look good - killing souls who should never have died and coddling souls who shouldn't live. You've lied to people who love listening to lies.'
"Therefore God says, 'I am against all the devices and techniques you use to hunt down souls. I'll rip them out of your hands. I'll free the souls you're trying to catch.
I'll rip your magic bracelets and scarves to shreds and deliver my people from your influence so they'll no longer be victimized by you. That's how you'll come to realize that I am God.
"'Because you've confounded and confused good people, unsuspecting and innocent people, with your lies, and because you've made it easy for others to persist in evil so that it wouldn't even dawn on them to turn to me so I could save them,
as of now you're finished. No more delusion-mongering from you, no more sermonic lies. I'm going to rescue my people from your clutches. And you'll realize that I am God.'"
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)