Heavens, listen to me. Then I will speak. Earth, hear the words of my mouth.
Let my teaching fall like rain. Let my words come down like dew. Let them be like raindrops on new grass. Let them be like rain on tender plants.
I will make known the name of the Lord. Praise God! How great he is!
He is the Rock. His works are perfect. All of his ways are right. He is faithful. He doesn't do anything wrong. He is honest and fair.
Israel, you have sinned against him very much. It's too bad for you that you aren't his children anymore. You have become a twisted and evil nation.
Is that how you thank the LORD? You aren't wise. You are foolish. Remember, he's your Father. He's your Creator. He made you. He formed you.
Remember the days of old. Think about what the LORD did through those many years. Ask your father. He will tell you. Ask your elders. They'll explain it to you.
The Most High God gave the nations their lands. He divided up the human race. He set up borders for the nations. He did it based on the number of the sons of Israel.
The LORD's people are his share. Jacob is the nation he has received.
The LORD found Israel in a desert land. He found them in an empty and windy wasteland. He took care of them and kept them safe. He guarded them as he would guard his own eyes.
He was like an eagle that stirs up its nest. It hovers over its little ones. It spreads out its wings to catch them. It carries them on its feathers.
The LORD was the only one who led Israel. No other god was with them.
The LORD made them ride on the highest places in the land. He fed them what grew in the fields. He gave them the sweetest honey. He fed them olive oil from a rocky hillside.
He gave them butter and milk from the herds and flocks. He fed them the fattest lambs and goats. He gave them the best of Bashan's rams. He fed them the finest wheat. They drank the bubbling red juice of grapes.
When Israel grew fat, they became stubborn. When they were filled with food, they became fat and heavy. They left the God who made them. They turned away from the Rock who saved them.
They made him jealous by serving strange gods. They made him angry by worshiping statues of gods. He hated those gods.
The people sacrificed to demons, not to God. The demons were gods they hadn't known anything about. Those gods were new to them. Their people long ago didn't worship them.
But then they deserted the Rock. He was their Father. They forgot the God who created them.
When the LORD saw that, he turned away from them. His sons and daughters made him angry.
"I will turn my face away from them," he said. "I will see what will happen to them in the end. They are sinful people. They are unfaithful children.
They made me jealous by serving what is not even a god. They made me angry by worshiping worthless statues of gods. I will use people who are not a nation to make them jealous. I will use a nation that has no understanding to make them angry.
My anger has started a fire. It burns down to the kingdom of the dead. It will eat up the earth and its crops. It will set the base of the mountains on fire.
"I will pile troubles on my people. I will shoot all of my arrows at them.
I will send them hunger. It will make them weak. I will send terrible sickness. I will send deadly plagues. I will send wild animals that will tear them apart. Snakes that glide through the dust will bite them.
In the streets their children will be killed with swords. Their homes will be filled with terror. Young men and women will die. Babies and old people will die.
I said I would scatter them. I said I would wipe them from human memory.
But I was afraid their enemies would make fun of that. I was afraid their attackers would not understand. I was sure they would say, 'We're the ones who've beaten them! The LORD isn't the one who did it.' "
Israel is a nation that doesn't have any sense. They can't understand anything.
I wish they were wise. Then they would understand what's coming. They'd realize what would happen to them in the end.
How could one person chase a thousand? How could two make ten thousand run away? It couldn't happen unless their Rock had deserted them. It couldn't take place unless the LORD had given them up.
Their rock is not like our Rock. Even our enemies know that.
Their vine comes from the vines of Sodom. It comes from the vineyards of Gomorrah. Their grapes are filled with poison. Their bunches of grapes taste bitter.
Their wine is like the poison of snakes. It's like the deadly poison of cobras.
The LORD says, "I have kept all of those terrible things stored away. I have kept them sealed up in my strongbox.
I punish people. I will pay them back. The time will come when their feet will slip. Their day of trouble is near. Very soon they will be destroyed."
The LORD will judge his people. He'll show tender love to those who serve him. He will know when their strength is gone. He'll see that no one at all is left.
He'll say, "Where are their gods now? Where is the rock they went to for safety?
Where are the gods who ate the fat of their sacrifices? Where are the gods who drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up to help you! Let them keep you safe!
"Look! I am the One! There is no other God except me. I put some people to death. I bring others to life. I have wounded, and I will heal. No one can save you from my powerful hand.
I raise my hand to heaven. Here is the oath I take. You can be sure that I live forever.
And you can be just as sure that I will sharpen my flashing sword. My hand will hold it when I judge. I will get even with my enemies. I will pay back those who hate me.
I will make my arrows drip with blood. My sword will destroy people. It will kill some. It will even kill prisoners. It will cut off the heads of enemy leaders."
You nations, be full of joy. Be joyful together with God's people. The LORD will get even with his enemies. He will pay them back for killing those who serve him. He will wipe away the sin of his land and people.
I spoke all of the words of that song to the people. Joshua, the son of Nun, was with me.
I finished speaking all of those words to all of the people of Israel.
Then I said to the people, "Think carefully about all of the words I have announced to you today. I want you to command your children to be careful to obey all of the words of this law.
They aren't just useless words for you. They are your very life. If you obey them, you will live in the land for a long time. It's the land you are going across the Jordan River to take as your own."
On that same day the LORD spoke to me. He said,
"Go up into the Abarim Mountains. Go to Mount Nebo in Moab. It is across from Jericho. From there look out over Canaan. It is the land I am giving the people of Israel to take as their own.
"You will die there on the mountain you have climbed. You will join the members of your family who have already died. In the same way, your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor. He joined the members of his family who had already died.
"You and Aaron disobeyed me in front of the Israelites. It happened at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin. You did not honor me among the Israelites as the holy God.
So you will see the land. But you will see it only from far away. You will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel."
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica. All rights reserved worldwide.