The LORD says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name.
All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people. But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes.
All day long they insult me to my face by worshiping idols in their sacred gardens. They burn incense on pagan altars.
At night they go out among the graves, worshiping the dead. They eat the flesh of pigs and make stews with other forbidden foods.
Yet they say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ These people 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— some of those grapes are good!’), so I will not destroy all Israel. For I still have true servants there.
I will preserve a remnant of the people of Israel and of Judah to possess my land. Those I choose will inherit it, and my servants will live there.
The plain of Sharon will again be filled with flocks for my people who have searched for me, and the valley of Achor will be a place to pasture herds.
“But because the rest of you have forsaken the LORD and have forgotten his Temple, and because you have prepared feasts to honor the god of Fate and have offered mixed wine to the god of Destiny,
now I will ‘destine’ you for the sword. All of you will bow down 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: “My servants will eat, but you will starve. My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty. My servants will rejoice, but you will be sad and ashamed.
My servants will sing for joy, but you will cry in sorrow and despair.
Your name will be a curse word among my people, for the Sovereign LORD will destroy you and will 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, and 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 over Jerusalem and delight in my people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard in it 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 the cursed will die that young!
In those days people will live in the houses they build and eat the fruit of their own vineyards.
Unlike the past, invaders will not take their houses and confiscate their vineyards. For my people will live as long as trees, and my chosen ones 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 about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!
The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. But the snakes will eat dust. In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the LORD, have spoken!”