At that time God will unsheathe his sword, his merciless, massive, mighty sword. He'll punish the serpent Leviathan as it flees, the serpent Leviathan thrashing in flight. He'll kill that old dragon that lives in the sea.
"At that same time, a fine vineyard will appear. There's something to sing about!
I, God, tend it. I keep it well-watered. I keep careful watch over it so that no one can damage it.
I'm not angry. I care. Even if it gives me thistles and thornbushes, I'll just pull them out and burn them up.
Let that vine cling to me for safety, let it find a good and whole life with me, let it hold on for a good and whole life."
The days are coming when Jacob shall put down roots, Israel blossom and grow fresh branches, and fill the world with its fruit.
Has God knocked them to the ground as he knocked down those who hit them? Oh, no. Were they killed as their killers were killed? Again, no.
He was hard on them all right. The exile was a harsh sentence. He blew them away on a fierce blast of wind.
But the good news is that through this experience Jacob's guilt was taken away. The evidence that his sin is removed will be this: He will tear down the alien altars, take them apart stone by stone, And then crush the stones into gravel and clean out all the sex-and-religion shrines.
For there's nothing left of that pretentious grandeur. Nobody lives there anymore. It's unlivable. But animals do just fine, browsing and bedding down.
And it's not a bad place to get firewood. Dry twigs and dead branches are plentiful. It's the leavings of a people with no sense of God. So, the God who made them Will have nothing to do with them. He who formed them will turn his back on them.
At that time God will thresh from the River Euphrates to the Brook of Egypt, And you, people of Israel, will be selected grain by grain.
At that same time a great trumpet will be blown, calling home the exiles from Assyria, Welcoming home the refugees from Egypt to come and worship God on the holy mountain, Jerusalem.
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)