Do not trust in Egypt's power
1 The Lord says, ‘It will be very bad for you, my children who have turned against me. You have decided what to do, but you did not ask me about it. You have made an agreement with Egypt, but without my Spirit's help. In that way, you continue to do more and more sins.
2 Your leaders travel to Egypt to ask for Pharaoh's help to keep them safe. But they did not ask me what I think about it. They think that Egypt has the power to protect them. 3 But Pharaoh's help will only make you ashamed. If you trust in Egypt's power, that will bring you down low.
4 Judah's officers have arrived in Zoan, and some of them have gone to Hanes. 5 But the people of Egypt will not be able to help you. So everyone in Judah will become ashamed. If you trust in Egypt, they will give you shame instead of help.’
30:4Zoan and Hanes are two places in Egypt.
6 Here is a message about the animals that travel in the Negev desert: It is a place where there is trouble and danger. There are dangerous lions there, both male and female. There are different kinds of dangerous snakes. People are carrying their valuable things on the backs of donkeys and camels. They are taking their riches as gifts to a nation that cannot help them! 7 Help from Egypt is useless! So, I call Egypt ‘Rahab who does nothing.’
30:7Rahab was another name for Egypt. See Psalm 87:4. It was also the name for a monster that lived in the sea.
8 Go and write this message down for them to see. Yes, write it in a book so that it will always be there to read. In the future, it will always show what is true.
9 These people have turned against the Lord. They are his children but they love to tell lies. They do not want to obey his law. 10 They say to the seers, ‘Do not see any more visions!’ They say to the prophets, ‘Do not tell us messages about what is right! Tell us nice things, even if they are not true. 11 Leave this path. Get out of our way! Stop telling us about the Holy God of Israel.’
12 Because of that, this is what the Holy God of Israel says:
‘You have not accepted my message. Instead, you like to be cruel and to deceive people. You believe that it will help you.
13 So your sin will cause you to fall down. You will be like a high wall that has a weak place. It is not safe and it will bend and fall down. Very suddenly it will fall with a great bang!
14 That wall will break into pieces, like the pieces of a pot. It will be completely broken so that it is all useless. There will be no piece that is big enough to carry coal from a fire, or water from a well.’
15 The Lord God, Israel's Holy God says this:
‘Turn back to me and wait for me to help you. Be quiet and trust in me. Then you will be safe and you will be strong again.’
But you do not want to trust in God. 16 Instead, you say, ‘No! We will run away on horses and we will escape.’ Yes, you will run away! You say, ‘Our horses will run very fast!’ But your enemies who chase you will also be very fast!
17 When one soldier from your enemy chases after you, one thousand of your men will run away from him! Five of them will chase away your whole army! Only a few of you will remain, like a stick with a flag on the top of a hill.
God will take care of his people
18 So the Lord is waiting for the right time to be kind to you. He is ready to show his great love for you. The Lord God does what is right and fair. Everyone who waits for him to come and help them is a happy person!
19 People will live in Zion again. You people who live in Jerusalem will not weep any longer. When you call to the Lord for help, he will be kind to you. When he hears you, he will answer you.
20 The Lord God has given trouble to you, like bread that you must eat. He has given pain to you, as water that you must drink. But he will no longer hide himself from you. He will be with you, to teach you and to be your guide. 21 You will hear his voice behind you. When you turn off the path, to the right or to the left, it will say, ‘This is the right way. Walk in it.’ 22 Then you will destroy your idols and your images of false gods. You used silver or gold to make them beautiful. But now you will throw them away like a piece of dirty cloth. You will tell them, ‘Go away!’
23 The Lord will send rain for the seeds that you have planted. The ground will give you plenty of good food. At that time, your cows will have lots of grass to eat in wide fields. 24 The bulls and the donkeys that work on your farms will eat the best food. They will eat the same grain that people eat. 25 Streams of water will pour down from every tall mountain and every high hill. That will happen at the time when your enemies are destroyed. Their strong towers will fall down. 26 At that time, the moon will shine as bright as the sun. Light from the sun will be seven times brighter. It will be like the light of seven days at the same time! At that time, the Lord will make the wounds of his people better. He has hurt them, but now he will make them better.
27 Look! The Lord is coming with his great power from a place that is far away. He is very angry. Thick clouds of smoke are all round him. He speaks angry words that destroy like fire. 28 His breath is like a flood of water that pours out over his enemies. The water reaches as high as their necks. He shakes the nations in a sieve to destroy the bad parts. He leads them away from their bad ways, like a man who leads a horse with a rope.
29 Then you, the Lord's people, will sing! It will be like the happy songs that you sing in the evening at your special feasts. You will be very happy. It will seem like you are making music as you go up to Mount Zion to worship the Lord there. He is the Rock where Israel can be safe.
30 Then the Lord will shout with royal authority. People will know that he has come with great power to punish his enemies. His anger will be like a fire that burns everything. He will come with a great storm of rain, thunder and hail that destroys everything.
31 When the Lord shouts, his command will destroy the Assyrian army. He will knock them down with his heavy stick. 32 He will punish them with a big stick. He will use his weapons to attack them. As he does that, there will be happy music from harps and tambourines!
33 The Lord has already prepared a place to burn the bodies of the dead people. It is ready for the king of Assyria! There is a place for him that is deep and wide. There is plenty of wood for the fire. The Lord's breath will be like a stream of hot sulphur. He will breathe out on the heap of wood and the fire will burn!