The LORD says, "People who never before inquired about me are now asking about me. I am being found by people who were not looking for me. To them I have said, 'I am here!'
"I opened my arms to my own people all day long, but they have rebelled. They follow their own evil paths and thoughts.
All day long they insult me to my face by worshiping idols in their sacred gardens. They burn incense on the rooftops of their homes.
At night they go out among the graves and secret places to worship evil spirits. They also eat pork and other forbidden foods.
Yet they say to each other, 'Don't come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!' They are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away.
"Look, my decree is written out in front of me: I will not stand silent; I will repay them in full! Yes, I will repay them --
both for their own sins and for those of their ancestors," says the LORD. "For they also burned incense on the mountains and insulted me on the hills. I will pay them back in full!
"But I will not destroy them all," says the LORD. "For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones (and someone will say, 'Don't throw them all away -- there are some good grapes there!'), so I will not destroy all Israel. For I still have true servants there.
I will preserve a remnant of the people of Israel a and of Judah to possess my land. Those I choose will inherit it and serve me there.
For my people who have searched for me, the plain of Sharon will again be filled with flocks, and the valley of Achor will be a place to pasture herds.
"But because the rest of you have forsaken the LORD and his Temple and worship the gods of Fate and Destiny,
I will 'destine' you to the sword. All of you will bow before the executioner, for when I called, you did not answer. When I spoke, you did not listen. You deliberately sinned -- before my very eyes -- and chose to do what you know I despise."
Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "You will starve, but my servants will eat. You will be thirsty, but they will drink. You will be sad and ashamed, but they will rejoice.
You will cry in sorrow and despair, while my servants sing for joy.
Your name will be a curse word among my people, for the Sovereign LORD will destroy you and call his true servants by another name.
All who invoke a blessing or take an oath will do so by the God of truth. For I will put aside my anger and forget the evil of earlier days.
"Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth -- so wonderful that no one will even think about the old ones anymore.
Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem and delight in my people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard no more.
"No longer will babies die when only a few days old. No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life. No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only sinners will die that young!
In those days, people will live in the houses they build and eat the fruit of their own vineyards.
It will not be like the past, when invaders took the houses and confiscated the vineyards. For my people will live as long as trees and will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains.
They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the LORD, and their children, too, will be blessed.
I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking to me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!
The wolf and lamb will feed together. The lion will eat straw like the ox. Poisonous snakes will strike no more. In those days, no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
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)