"Hear this, nations! God's Message! Broadcast this all over the world! Tell them, 'The One who scattered Israel will gather them together again. From now on he'll keep a careful eye on them, like a shepherd with his flock.'
I, God, will pay a stiff ransom price for Jacob; I'll free him from the grip of the Babylonian bully.
The people will climb up Zion's slopes shouting with joy, their faces beaming because of God's bounty - Grain and wine and oil, flocks of sheep, herds of cattle. Their lives will be like a well-watered garden, never again left to dry up.
Young women will dance and be happy, young men and old men will join in. I'll convert their weeping into laughter, lavishing comfort, invading their grief with joy.
I'll make sure that their priests get three square meals a day and that my people have more than enough.'" God's Decree.
Again, God's Message: "Listen to this! Laments coming out of Ramah, wild and bitter weeping. It's Rachel weeping for her children, Rachel refusing all solace. Her children are gone, gone - long gone into exile."
But God says, "Stop your incessant weeping, hold back your tears. Collect wages from your grief work." God's Decree. "They'll be coming back home!
There's hope for your children." God's Decree.
"I've heard the contrition of Ephraim. Yes, I've heard it clearly, saying, 'You trained me well. You broke me, a wild yearling horse, to the saddle. Now put me, trained and obedient, to use. You are my God.
After those years of running loose, I repented. After you trained me to obedience, I was ashamed of my past, my wild, unruly past. Humiliated, I beat on my chest. Will I ever live this down?'
"Oh! Ephraim is my dear, dear son, my child in whom I take pleasure! Every time I mention his name, my heart bursts with longing for him! Everything in me cries out for him. Softly and tenderly I wait for him." God's Decree.
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)