The LORD says, "My people act as though their evil ways are laws to be obeyed, inscribed with a diamond point on their stony hearts, or with an iron chisel on the corners of their altars.
Even their children go to worship at their sacred altars and Asherah poles, beneath every green tree and on every high hill.
So I will give all your wealth and treasures -- together with your pagan shrines -- as plunder to your enemies, for sin runs rampant in your land.
The wonderful inheritance I have reserved for you will slip out of your hands, and I will send you away as captives to a foreign land. For you have kindled my anger into a roaring fire that will burn forever."
This is what the LORD says: "Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans and turn their hearts away from the LORD.
They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, on the salty flats where no one lives.
"But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit.
"The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?
But I know! I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve."
Like a bird that hatches eggs she has not laid, so are those who get their wealth by unjust means. Sooner or later they will lose their riches and, at the end of their lives, will become poor old fools.
But we worship at your throne -- eternal, high, and glorious!
O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who turn away from you will be disgraced and shamed. They will be buried in a dry and dusty grave, for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water.
O LORD, you alone can heal me; you alone can save. My praises are for you alone!
People scoff at me and say, "What is this 'message from the LORD' you keep talking about? Why don't your predictions come true?"
LORD, I have not abandoned my job as a shepherd for your people. I have not urged you to send disaster. It is your message I have given them, not my own.
LORD, do not desert me now! You alone are my hope in the day of disaster.
Bring shame and terror on all who persecute me, but give me peace. Yes, bring double destruction upon them!
Then the LORD said to me, "Go and stand in the gates of Jerusalem, first at the gate where the king goes out, and then at each of the other gates.
Say to all the people, 'Listen to this message from the LORD, you kings of Judah and all you people of Judah and everyone living in Jerusalem.
This is what the LORD says: Listen to my warning and live! Stop carrying on your trade at Jerusalem's gates on the Sabbath day.
Do not do your work on the Sabbath, but make it a holy day. I gave this command to your ancestors,
but they did not listen or obey. They stubbornly refused to pay attention and would not respond to discipline.
"'But if you obey me, says the LORD, and do not carry on your trade or work on the Sabbath day, and if you keep it holy,
then this nation will continue forever. There will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. Kings and their officials will always ride among the people of Judah in chariots and on horses, and this city will remain forever.
And from all around Jerusalem, from the towns of Judah and Benjamin, from the western foothills a and the hill country and the Negev, the people will come with their burnt offerings and sacrifices. They will bring their grain offerings, incense, and thanksgiving offerings to the LORD's Temple.
"'But if you do not listen to me and refuse to keep the Sabbath holy, and if on the Sabbath day you bring loads of merchandise through the gates of Jerusalem just as on other days, then I will set fire to these gates. The fire will spread to the palaces, and no one will be able to put out the roaring flames.'"
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)