"Listen to me, O family of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel and born into the family of Judah. Listen, you who take oaths in the name of the LORD and call on the God of Israel. You don't follow through on any of your promises,
even though you call yourself the holy city and talk about depending on the God of Israel, whose name is the LORD Almighty.
Time and again I warned you about what was going to happen in the future. Then suddenly I took action, and all my predictions came true.
"I know how stubborn and obstinate you are. Your necks are as unbending as iron. You are as hardheaded as bronze.
That is why I told you ahead of time what I was going to do. That way, you could never say, 'My idols did it. My wooden image and metal god commanded it to happen!'
You have heard my predictions and seen them fulfilled, but you refuse to admit it. Now I will tell you new things I have not mentioned before, secrets you have not yet heard.
They are brand new, not things from the past. So you cannot say, 'We knew that all the time!'
"Yes, I will tell you of things that are entirely new, for I know so well what traitors you are. You have been rebels from your earliest childhood, rotten through and through.
Yet for my own sake and for the honor of my name, I will hold back my anger and not wipe you out.
I have refined you but not in the way silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.
I will rescue you for my sake -- yes, for my own sake! That way, the pagan nations will not be able to claim that their gods have conquered me. I will not let them have my glory!
"Listen to me, O family of Jacob, Israel my chosen one! I alone am God, the First and the Last.
It was my hand that laid the foundations of the earth. The palm of my right hand spread out the heavens above. I spoke, and they came into being.
"Have any of your idols ever told you this? Come, all of you, and listen: 'The LORD has chosen Cyrus as his ally. He will use him to put an end to the empire of Babylon, destroying the Babylonian a armies.'
I have said it: I am calling Cyrus! I will send him on this errand and will help him succeed.
Come closer and listen. I have always told you plainly what would happen so you would have no trouble understanding."And now the Sovereign LORD and his Spirit have sent me with this message:
"The LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, says: I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good and leads you along the paths you should follow.
Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling like waves.
Then you would have become as numerous as the sands along the seashore -- too many to count! There would have been no need for your destruction."
Yet even now, be free from your captivity! Leave Babylon and the Babylonians, b singing as you go! Shout to the ends of the earth that the LORD has redeemed his servants, the people of Israel. c21
They were not thirsty when he led them through the desert. He divided the rock, and water gushed out for them to drink.
"But there is no peace for the wicked," says the 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)