Jeremiah 10

1 People of Israel, listen to what the Lord says to you.

2 The Lord says,

‘Do not copy the way that people of other nations live.

They are afraid of strange things that they see in the sky.

But you must not be afraid of those things.

10:2Some nations worshipped the sun, the moon and the stars.

3 The customs of those people are useless.

10:3‘Customs’ are things that people do because their ancestors have always done them. They think that those things will help them to live well.

They cut down a tree in the forest.

A worker uses his tools to make it into an idol.

4 He covers it with silver and gold

to make it look beautiful.

He uses nails to fix it together

so that it will not fall down.

5 Those idols cannot speak.

They are like scarecrows that a farmer puts in his field of vegetables.

10:5‘Scarecrows’ are images of people that a farmer uses to keep birds away from his crops.

The idols cannot walk,

so people have to carry them.

So do not be afraid of them.

They cannot hurt you.

And they do not have any power to help you.’

6 There is nobody like you, Lord.

You are great and your name shows your power.

7 Everyone should respect you,

the King who rules all the nations.

You deserve that people give you honour.

There is nobody like you anywhere in the world.

Among all the wise people of the nations

and among all their kings,

there is no one like you.

8 The people of those nations are stupid and foolish.

They think that wooden idols can teach them something!

9 They bring thin silver from Spain.

They bring gold from Uphaz.

Workers who know how to use wood and metal

make the idols look beautiful.

They put valuable blue and purple clothes on the idols.

Workers who have special skills do this.

10 But the Lord is the only true God.

He is the God who is alive.

He is the King who rules for ever.

When he is angry, the earth shakes.

None of the nations can stop his anger.

11 Tell the nations this:

‘Your gods did not make the earth or the sky.

They will disappear completely from everywhere on earth

and everywhere in the sky.’

12 But the Lord used his power to make the earth.

He used his wisdom to make it strong.

He knew how to put the sky to cover the earth.

13 When he shouts like thunder,

the water in the sky roars.

He causes clouds to rise from the far places of the earth.

He causes bright lightning to show in the storms.

He opens his rooms so that the wind comes out

and it blows everywhere.

14 People who worship idols are stupid.

They do not understand what they are doing.

The men who make idols will be ashamed.

They make images of gods that are false.

None of their idols have the breath of life in them.

15 They are useless things that people should laugh at.

When the time for their punishment arrives,

God will destroy them.

16 The God that Jacob's descendants worship

is not like those idols.

He created everything.

He chose the Israelites as the people who would belong to him.

His name is the Lord Almighty.

God will soon punish the people of Judah

17 Your enemies are all around

and they are ready to attack you.

So get all your things together.

Prepare to leave your country.

18 This is what the Lord says:

‘I will now throw out the people who live in this land.

I will bring much trouble to them,

and they will be in pain.’

19 ‘A terrible thing has happened to us!

10:19These are probably the words of Jeremiah. Or they may be the words of Jerusalem's people.

We have received a very bad wound.

We thought, “We are very ill,

but one day we will get better.”

20 But now they have destroyed our tent.

They have broken the ropes that held it.

10:20The tent is probably a picture of the nation of Judah.

Our children have gone,

and none of them remain.

There is nobody still alive

who can help us build our homes again.

21 Our leaders are fools.

They do not ask the Lord for his advice.

So they have failed to take care of us,

and all their people have disappeared.

10:21Judah's leaders are called shepherds. The people that they should take care of are like their sheep.

22 Listen! We have heard the news!

There is the noise of a great army in the north.

It is marching towards us!

It is coming to attack the towns of Judah.

It will make them heaps of stones.

Only wild animals will live in them.

23 Lord, I know that nobody controls their own life.

Nobody can decide what will happen to them.

24 Lord, teach us what is right,

but do it carefully.

Please do not punish us in your anger.

That would be the end of us.

25 Instead, be angry with the nations that do not respect you.

Be angry with the people who do not worship you.

Those are the people who have destroyed Jacob's descendants.

10:25Jacob's descendants were the Israelites.

They have killed our people.

They have destroyed our land and our homes.’