the godly often die before their time.
But no one seems to care or wonder why.
No one seems to understand
that God is protecting them from the evil to come.
will rest in peace when they die.
3 “But you—come here, you witches’ children,
you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes!
making faces and sticking out your tongues?
You children of sinners and liars!
beneath the oaks and under every green tree.
You sacrifice your children down in the valleys,
among the jagged rocks in the cliffs.
You worship them with liquid offerings and grain offerings.
They, not I, are your inheritance.
Do you think all this makes me happy?
There you have worshiped idols
and have been unfaithful to me.
on your doorposts and behind your doors.
You have left me
and climbed into bed with these detestable gods.
You have committed yourselves to them.
You love to look at their naked bodies.
9 You have gone to Molech*
with olive oil and many perfumes,
sending your agents far and wide,
even to the world of the dead,*
but you never gave up.
Desire gave you renewed strength,
and you did not grow weary.
Do they terrify you?
Is that why you have lied to me
and forgotten me and my words?
Is it because of my long silence
that you no longer fear me?
None of them will help you.
when you cry to them for help.
Why, a puff of wind can knock them down!
If you just breathe on them, they fall over!
But whoever trusts in me will inherit the land
and possess my holy mountain.”
14 God says, “Rebuild the road!
Clear away the rocks and stones
so my people can return from captivity.”
the Holy One, says this:
“I live in the high and holy place
with those whose spirits are contrite and humble.
I restore the crushed spirit of the humble
and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.
I will not always be angry.
If I were, all people would pass away—
all the souls I have made.
so I punished these greedy people.
I withdrew from them,
but they kept going on their own stubborn way.
but I will heal them anyway!
I will lead them.
I will comfort those who mourn,
May they have abundant peace, both near and far,”
says the Lord, who heals them.
which is never still
but continually churns up mud and dirt.
says my God.
1 “Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast.
Shout aloud! Don’t be timid.
Tell my people Israel* of their sins!
They come to the Temple every day
and seem delighted to learn all about me.
They act like a righteous nation
that would never abandon the laws of its God.
They ask me to take action on their behalf,
pretending they want to be near me.
‘Why aren’t you impressed?
We have been very hard on ourselves,
and you don’t even notice it!’
“I will tell you why!” I respond.
“It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves.
Even while you fast,
you keep oppressing your workers.
when you keep on fighting and quarreling?
This kind of fasting
will never get you anywhere with me.
by going through the motions of penance,
bowing your heads
like reeds bending in the wind.
You dress in burlap
and cover yourselves with ashes.
Is this what you call fasting?
Do you really think this will please the Lord?
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.
Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
and a restorer of homes.
Don’t pursue your own interests on that day,
but enjoy the Sabbath
and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day.
Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day,
and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.
I will give you great honor
and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”