God's Message to Jeremiah when King Zedekiah sent Pashur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah to him with this request:
"Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, has waged war against us. Pray to God for us. Ask him for help. Maybe God will intervene with one of his famous miracles and make him leave."
But Jeremiah said, "Tell Zedekiah:
'This is the God of Israel's Message to you: You can say good-bye to your army, watch morale and weapons flushed down the drain. I'm going to personally lead the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans, against whom you're fighting so hard, right into the city itself.
I'm joining their side and fighting against you, fighting all-out, holding nothing back. And in fierce anger.
I'm prepared to wipe out the population of this city, people and animals alike, in a raging epidemic.
And then I will personally deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, his princes, and any survivors left in the city who haven't died from disease, been killed, or starved. I'll deliver them to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon - yes, hand them over to their enemies, who have come to kill them. He'll kill them ruthlessly, showing no mercy.'
"And then tell the people at large, 'God's Message to you is this: Listen carefully. I'm giving you a choice: life or death.
Whoever stays in this city will die - either in battle or by starvation or disease. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Chaldeans who have surrounded the city will live. You'll lose everything - but not your life.
I'm determined to see this city destroyed. I'm that angry with this place! God's Decree. I'm going to give it to the king of Babylon, and he's going to burn it to the ground.'
"To the royal house of Judah, listen to God's Message!
House of David, listen - God's Message to you: 'Start each day by dealing with justice. Rescue victims from their exploiters. Prevent fire - the fire of my anger - for once it starts, it can't be put out. Your evil regime is fuel for my anger.
Don't you realize that I'm against you, yes, against you. You think you've got it made, all snug and secure. You say, "Who can possibly get to us? Who can crash our party?"
Well, I can - and will! I'll punish your evil regime. I'll start a fire that will rage unchecked, burn everything in sight to cinders.'"
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)