"The sin of the people of Judah is written with an iron tool. Their sins were cut with a hard point into the stone that is their hearts. Their sins were cut into the corners of their altars.
Even their children remember their altars to idols and their Asherah idols beside the green trees and on the high hills.
My mountain in the open country and your wealth and treasures I will give away to other people. I will give away the places of worship in your country, because you sinned by worshiping there.
You will lose the land I gave you, and it is your own fault. I will let your enemies take you as their slaves to a land you have never known. This is because you have made my anger burn like a hot fire, and it will burn forever."
This is what the Lord says: "A curse is placed on those who trust other people, who depend on humans for strength, who have stopped trusting the Lord.
They are like a bush in a desert that grows in a land where no one lives, a hot and dry land with bad soil. They don't know about the good things God can give.
"But the person who trusts in the Lord will be blessed. The Lord will show him that he can be trusted.
He will be strong, like a tree planted near water that sends its roots by a stream. It is not afraid when the days are hot; its leaves are always green. It does not worry in a year when no rain comes; it always produces fruit.
"More than anything else, a person's mind is evil and cannot be healed. No one truly understands it.
But I, the Lord, look into a person's heart and test the mind. So I can decide what each one deserves; I can give each one the right payment for what he does."
Like a bird hatching an egg it did not lay, so are the people who get rich by cheating. When their lives are half finished, they will lose their riches. At the end of their lives, it will be clear they were fools.
From the beginning, our Temple has been honored as a glorious throne for God.
Lord, hope of Israel, those who leave you will be shamed. People who quit following the Lord will be like a name written in the dust, because they have left the Lord, the spring of living water.
Lord, heal me, and I will truly be healed. Save me, and I will truly be saved. You are the one I praise.
The people of Judah keep asking me, "Where is the word from the Lord? Let's see that message come true!"
Lord, I didn't run away from being the shepherd you wanted. I didn't want the terrible day to come. You know everything I have said; you see all that is happening.
Don't be a terror to me. I run to you for safety in times of trouble.
Make those who are hurting me be ashamed, but don't bring shame to me. Let them be terrified, but keep me from terror. Bring the day of disaster on my enemies. Destroy them, and destroy them again.
This is what the Lord said to me: "Go and stand at the People's Gate of Jerusalem, where the kings of Judah go in and out. And then go to all the other gates of Jerusalem.
Say to them there: 'Hear the word of the Lord, kings of Judah, all you people of Judah, and all who live in Jerusalem, who come through these gates into the city.
This is what the Lord says: Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem.
Don't take a load out of your houses on the Sabbath or do any work on that day. But keep the Sabbath as a holy day, as I commanded your ancestors.
But your ancestors did not listen or pay attention to me. They were very stubborn and did not listen. I punished them, but it didn't do any good.
But you must be careful to obey me, says the Lord. You must not bring a load through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath, but you must keep the Sabbath as a holy day and not do any work on that day.
"'If you obey this command, kings who sit on David's throne will come through the gates of Jerusalem with their officers. They will come riding in chariots and on horses, along with the people of Judah and Jerusalem. And the city of Jerusalem will have people living in it forever.
People will come to Jerusalem from the villages around it, from the towns of Judah, from the land of Benjamin, from the western hills, from the mountains, and from southern Judah. They will all bring to the Temple of the Lord burnt offerings, sacrifices, grain offerings, incense, and offerings to show thanks to God.
But you must obey me and keep the Sabbath day as a holy day. You must not carry any loads into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. If you don't obey me, I will start a fire at the gates of Jerusalem, and it will burn until it burns even the strong towers. And it will not be put out.'"
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.