1 Know this! The hand of the Lord is not too short to save you. Neither is his ear too weak to hear you.
2 But the wrong things that you have done have made you separate from your God. Your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not listen to you.
3-4 That is true for these reasons:
· Blood makes your hands red. The wrong things that you do are on your fingers.
· Your lips have said things that are not true. Also, your tongue quietly says bad things.
· Nobody asks for a judge to be fair. Nobody says things that are honest.
· People give reasons that do not mean anything. People say things that are not true.
· People think about how they can cause trouble. And then they do bad things.
5 A snake causes young snakes to come out of the snake's eggs. And they are like that. And they are always making spiders' webs. People who eat the eggs of spiders will die. And when they break a snake's egg a worse snake will come out.
6 They cannot use spiders' webs to make clothes. They cannot cover themselves with the things that they make from them. The things that they do are bad. And they use their hands to hurt people.
7 They hurry along on their feet so that they can do bad things. They pour out the blood of people who have not done anything bad. They rush to do that. Their thoughts are bad thoughts. They break and destroy things. They do that everywhere that they go.
8 They do not know the way to peace. Their paths are never honest. Their roads turn away from what is good. Nobody who walks on those roads will have peace.
9 So, God's rules are a long way from us! So, righteousness does not reach us! We look for light, but everything is dark. We look for a little bit of light, but we see only dark shadows.
10 Like blind people, we touch the wall to find our way. We find our way when we touch things, like men without eyes. At midday, we fall down. We are like people who are in bad light. We are like dead people among strong people.
11 We all make angry noises, like bears make. And we make sad noises, like doves make. We look for people who will obey God's rules. But we do not find any. We look for people to help us. But they are a long way from here.
12 That is because we have done many wrong things. You, God, see those wrong things. And our sins speak against us. The wrong things that we have done are always with us. And we know about our sins.
13 We have not obeyed the Lord. And we have not tried to do what he wanted us to do. We have turned away from our God. We have spoken about plans to be cruel to people. And we have spoken about fights against God. We have thought about things in our minds that were not true. Then we have said those things.
14 So, it is like we have sent away fair rules. And righteousness is like a person who is standing a long way away. It is like true things have fallen down in the streets. We will not let people be honest.
15 People cannot find what is true anywhere. Also, good people become people that bad people try to kill.
And the Lord looked at his people. And it did not make him happy that people were never fair to other people.
16 There was nobody who would do anything about it. He saw that. And he thought that it was bad. So his own arm made his people safe. And with his own righteousness he made himself strong.
17 He always does what is right, like a soldier who always puts on his armour. His power to save people is like a soldier's metal hat. He always works hard to punish people who do wrong things. That is like the clothes that he wears.
18 He will punish people for all the bad things that they have done.
· He will be angry with the people who fight against him.
· There will be a fair punishment for his enemies.
· He will pay a fair price to the islands.
19 In the west, people will respect the name of the Lord. And from where the sun rises in the east they will see his glory. They will say that it is very good. That is because he will rush along like a river. The Spirit of the Lord will push him along.
20 ‘The Redeemer will come to Zion. He will come to the people of Jacob who are sorry because of their sins,’ says the Lord.
21 ‘Now I myself have this covenant with them,’ says the Lord. ‘My Spirit is with you and I have put my words into your mouth. They will not stop being in your mouth. They will not stop being in the mouths of your children, or in the mouths of their children. That will be true, now and for ever,’ says the Lord.