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God’s Faithful People Suffer

57 God’s faithful people
are dragged off and killed,
    and no one even cares.
Evil sweeps them away,
but in death they find peace
    for obeying God.[a]

The Lord Condemns Idolatry

You people are unfaithful!
You go to fortunetellers,
    and you worship idols.
Now pay close attention!
Who are you making fun of?
    Who are you sneering at?
Look how your sins
    have made fools of you.

All you think about is sex
under those green trees
    where idols are worshiped.
You sacrifice your children
on altars built in valleys
    under rocky slopes.
You have chosen to worship
    idols made of stone;[b]
you have given them offerings
of wine and grain.
    Should I be pleased?

You have spread out your beds
on the tops of high mountains,
    where you sacrifice to idols.
Even in your homes
you have placed pagan symbols
    all around your huge beds.
Yes, you have rejected me,
sold yourselves to your lovers,
    and gone to bed with them.[c]

You smear on olive oil
and all kinds of perfume
    to worship the god Molech.[d]
You even seek advice
    from spirits of the dead.
10 Though you tired yourself out
by running after idols,
    you refused to stop.
Your desires were so strong
    that they kept you going.

11 Did you forget about me
    and become unfaithful
because you were more afraid
    of someone else?
Have I been silent so long[e]
    that you no longer fear me?
12 You think you’re so good,
    but I’ll point out the truth.
13 Ask your idols to save you
    when you are in trouble.
Be careful though—
it takes only a faint breath
    to blow them over.
But if you come to me
    for protection,
this land and my holy mountain
    will always belong to you.

The Lord Helps the Helpless

14 The Lord says,
“Clear the road!
    Get it ready for my people.”

15 Our holy God lives forever
in the highest heavens,
    and this is what he says:
Though I live high above
    in the holy place,
I am here to help those
who are humble
    and depend only on me.

16 My people, I won’t stay angry
    and keep on accusing you.
After all, I am your Creator.
I don’t want you to give up
    in complete despair.
17 Your greed made me furious.
That’s why I punished you
    and refused to be found,
while you kept returning
    to your old sinful ways.

18 I know what you are like!
But I will heal you, lead you,
    and give you comfort,
until those who are mourning
19     start singing my praises.[f]
No matter where you are,
I, the Lord, will heal you[g]
    and give you peace.

20 The wicked are a restless sea
    tossing up mud.
21 But I, the Lord, have promised
that none who are evil
    will live in peace.

Footnotes

  1. 57.1,2 Evil. . . God: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 57.6 You have. . . stone: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 57.8 them: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 8.
  4. 57.9 the god Molech: Or “the king.” In Hebrew “Molech” and “king” sound alike.
  5. 57.11 so long: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  6. 57.18,19 until. . . praises: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. 57.19 heal you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

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