Jeremiah 4 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 "If you want to come back, O Israel, you must really come back to me. You must get rid of your stinking sin paraphernalia and not wander away from me anymore. 1 "If you will return, O Israel, return to me," declares the LORD. "If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray,
2 Then you can say words like, 'As God lives . . . ' and have them mean something true and just and right. And the godless nations will get caught up in the blessing and find something in Israel to write home about." 2 and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, 'As surely as the LORD lives,' then the nations will be blessed by him and in him they will glory."
3 Here's another Message from God to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: "Plow your unplowed fields, but then don't plant weeds in the soil! 3 This is what the LORD says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: "Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns.
4 Yes, circumcise your lives for God's sake. Plow your unplowed hearts, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem. Prevent fire - the fire of my anger - for once it starts it can't be put out. Your wicked ways are fuel for the fire. God's Sledgehammer Anger 4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts, you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem, or my wrath will break out and burn like fire because of the evil you have done-- burn with no one to quench it.
5 "Sound the alarm in Judah, broadcast the news in Jerusalem. Say, 'Blow the ram's horn trumpet through the land!' Shout out - a bullhorn bellow! - 'Close ranks! Run for your lives to the shelters!' 5 "Announce in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem and say: 'Sound the trumpet throughout the land!' Cry aloud and say: 'Gather together! Let us flee to the fortified cities!'
6 Send up a flare warning Zion: 'Not a minute to lose! Don't sit on your hands!' Disaster's descending from the north. I set it off! When it lands, it will shake the foundations. 6 Raise the signal to go to Zion! Flee for safety without delay! For I am bringing disaster from the north, even terrible destruction."
7 Invaders have pounced like a lion from its cover, ready to rip nations to shreds, Leaving your land in wrack and ruin, your cities in rubble, abandoned. 7 A lion has come out of his lair; a destroyer of nations has set out. He has left his place to lay waste your land. Your towns will lie in ruins without inhabitant.
8 Dress in funereal black. Weep and wail, For God's sledgehammer anger has slammed into us head-on. 8 So put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned away from us.
9 "When this happens" - God's Decree - "King and princes will lose heart; priests will be baffled and prophets stand dumbfounded." 9 "In that day," declares the LORD, "the king and the officials will lose heart, the priests will be horrified, and the prophets will be appalled."
10 Then I said, "Alas, Master God! You've fed lies to this people, this Jerusalem. You assured them, 'All is well, don't worry,' at the very moment when the sword was at their throats." 10 Then I said, "Ah, Sovereign LORD, how completely you have deceived this people and Jerusalem by saying, 'You will have peace,' when the sword is at our throats."
11 At that time, this people, yes, this very Jerusalem, will be told in plain words: "The northern hordes are sweeping in from the desert steppes - 11 At that time this people and Jerusalem will be told, "A scorching wind from the barren heights in the desert blows toward my people, but not to winnow or cleanse;
12 a gale-force wind. I ordered this wind. I'm pronouncing my hurricane judgment on my people." Your Evil Life Is Piercing Your Heart 12 a wind too strong for that comes from me. Now I pronounce my judgments against them."
13 Look at them! Like banks of storm clouds, racing, tumbling, their chariots a tornado, Their horses faster than eagles! Woe to us! We're done for! 13 Look! He advances like the clouds, his chariots come like a whirlwind, his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us! We are ruined!
14 Jerusalem! Scrub the evil from your lives so you'll be fit for salvation. How much longer will you harbor devious and malignant designs within you? 14 O Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved. How long will you harbor wicked thoughts?
15 What's this? A messenger from Dan? Bad news from Ephraim's hills! 15 A voice is announcing from Dan, proclaiming disaster from the hills of Ephraim.
16 Make the report public. Broadcast the news to Jerusalem: "Invaders from far off are raising war cries against Judah's towns. 16 "Tell this to the nations, proclaim it to Jerusalem: 'A besieging army is coming from a distant land, raising a war cry against the cities of Judah.
17 They're all over her, like a dog on a bone. And why? Because she rebelled against me." God's Decree. 17 They surround her like men guarding a field, because she has rebelled against me,' " declares the LORD.
18 "It's the way you've lived that's brought all this on you. The bitter taste is from your evil life. That's what's piercing your heart." 18 "Your own conduct and actions have brought this upon you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!"
19 I'm doubled up with cramps in my belly - a poker burns in my gut. My insides are tearing me up, never a moment's peace. The ram's horn trumpet blast rings in my ears, the signal for all-out war. 19 Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent. For I have heard the sound of the trumpet; I have heard the battle cry.
20 Disaster hard on the heels of disaster, the whole country in ruins! In one stroke my home is destroyed, the walls flattened in the blink of an eye. 20 Disaster follows disaster; the whole land lies in ruins. In an instant my tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment.
21 How long do I have to look at the warning flares, listen to the siren of danger? Experts at Evil 21 How long must I see the battle standard and hear the sound of the trumpet?
22 "What fools my people are! They have no idea who I am. A company of half-wits, dopes and donkeys all! Experts at evil but klutzes at good." 22 "My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good."
23 I looked at the earth - it was back to pre-Genesis chaos and emptiness. I looked at the skies, and not a star to be seen. 23 I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone.
24 I looked at the mountains - they were trembling like aspen leaves, And all the hills rocking back and forth in the wind. 24 I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills were swaying.
25 I looked - what's this! Not a man or woman in sight, and not a bird to be seen in the skies. 25 I looked, and there were no people; every bird in the sky had flown away.
26 I looked - this can't be! Every garden and orchard shriveled up. All the towns were ghost towns. And all this because of God, because of the blazing anger of God. 26 I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert; all its towns lay in ruins before the LORD, before his fierce anger.
27 Yes, this is God's Word on the matter: "The whole country will be laid waste - still it won't be the end of the world. 27 This is what the LORD says: "The whole land will be ruined, though I will not destroy it completely.
28 The earth will mourn and the skies lament Because I've given my word and won't take it back. I've decided and won't change my mind." You're Not Going to Seduce Anyone 28 Therefore the earth will mourn and the heavens above grow dark, because I have spoken and will not relent, I have decided and will not turn back."
29 Someone shouts, "Horsemen and archers!" and everybody runs for cover. They hide in ditches, they climb into caves. The cities are emptied, not a person left anywhere. 29 At the sound of horsemen and archers every town takes to flight. Some go into the thickets; some climb up among the rocks. All the towns are deserted; no one lives in them.
30 And you, what do you think you're up to? Dressing up in party clothes, Decking yourselves out in jewelry, putting on lipstick and rouge and mascara! Your primping goes for nothing. You're not going to seduce anyone. They're out to kill you! 30 What are you doing, O devastated one? Why dress yourself in scarlet and put on jewels of gold? Why shade your eyes with paint? You adorn yourself in vain. Your lovers despise you; they seek your life.
31 And what's that I hear? The cry of a woman in labor, the screams of a mother giving birth to her firstborn. It's the cry of Daughter Zion, gasping for breath, reaching out for help: "Help, oh help me! I'm dying! The killers are on me!" 31 I hear a cry as of a woman in labor, a groan as of one bearing her first child-- the cry of the Daughter of Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands and saying, "Alas! I am fainting; my life is given over to murderers."