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)