Then some of the leaders of Israel visited me, and while they were there,
this message came to me from the LORD:
"Son of man, these leaders have set up idols in their hearts. They have embraced things that lead them into sin. Why should I let them ask me anything?
Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD: I, the LORD, will punish the people of Israel who set up idols in their hearts so they fall into sin and then come to a prophet asking for help.
I will do this to capture the minds and hearts of all my people who have turned from me to worship their detestable idols.
"Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign LORD: Repent and turn away from your idols, and stop all your loathsome practices.
I, the LORD, will punish all those, both Israelites and foreigners, who reject me and set up idols in their hearts so they fall into sin, and who then come to a prophet asking for my advice.
I will turn against such people and make a terrible example of them, destroying them. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
And if a prophet is deceived and gives a message anyway, it is because I, the LORD, have deceived that prophet. I will stand against such prophets and cut them off from the community of Israel.
False prophets and hypocrites -- evil people who claim to want my advice -- will all be punished for their sins.
In this way, the people of Israel will learn not to stray from me, polluting themselves with sin. They will be my people, and I will be their God, says the Sovereign LORD."
Then this message came to me from the LORD:
"Son of man, suppose the people of a country were to sin against me, and I lifted my fist to crush them, cutting off their food supply and sending a famine to destroy both people and animals alike.
Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, their righteousness would save no one but themselves, declares the Sovereign LORD.
"Or suppose I were to send an invasion of dangerous wild animals to devastate the land and kill the people.
Even if these three men were there, the Sovereign LORD swears that it would do no good -- it wouldn't save the people from destruction. Those three alone would be saved, but the land would be devastated.
"Or suppose I were to bring war against the land, and I told enemy armies to come and destroy everything.
Even if these three men were in the land, the Sovereign LORD swears that they could not save the people. They alone would be saved.
"Or suppose I were to pour out my fury by sending an epidemic of disease into the land, and the plague killed people and animals alike.
Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were living there, the Sovereign LORD swears that they could not save the people. They alone would be saved by their righteousness.
"Now this is what the Sovereign LORD says: How terrible it will be when all four of these fearsome punishments fall upon Jerusalem -- war, famine, beasts, and plague -- destroying all her people and animals.
Yet there will be survivors, and they will come here to join you as exiles in Babylon. You will see with your own eyes how wicked they are, and then you will feel better about what I have done to Jerusalem.
When you meet them and see their behavior, you will agree that these things are not being done to Israel without cause, says the Sovereign LORD."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)