Hope for the future
14 The Lord also said, ‘Listen! A better time will come. When people make a promise, they will not say, “I promise to do this as surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites safely out of Egypt.” 15 Instead they will say, “I promise to do this as surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites safely back from the land in the north. He brought them back from all the places that he had sent them to as prisoners.” Yes, at that time I will bring them back to this land that I gave to their ancestors.
16 But now I will send enemies to catch these people. They will catch them like fishermen catch fish. They will chase after them like hunters who catch wild animals. They will find them everywhere in the mountains, in the hills and in holes in the rocks. 17 I am watching them carefully all the time. They cannot hide from me. I can see all their sins. 18 I will punish them for their sins. I will make them pay twice for the wrong things that they have done. That is because they have spoiled my land. They have made it unclean with their disgusting idols that have no life. They have filled my special land with the evil things that they have done.’
16:16‘fishermen’ are people who catch fish.
19 Lord, you give me strength.
You are the safe place where I can hide.
When I am in trouble,
I can run to you and be safe.
People will come from nations all over the earth,
to give you honour.
They will say, ‘Our ancestors worshipped false gods.
Those gods were useless and they could not help us.
20 Can people make gods for themselves?
If they make them, they are not really gods.’
21 ‘So I, the Lord, will teach these people about my great power.
Then they will understand that I am the Lord,
the true God.’
16:21In this verse, the Lord says how he will teach his people the truth about himself. His words continue in chapter 17.
1 ‘The people of Judah love to do bad things.
17:1The Lord continues to speak about Judah's sins.
Their sins are deep inside them.
It is like they are written on their hearts
and on the horns of their altars.
They are written with an iron pen.
Nobody can remove the list of their sins.
2 Even their children always think about their altars
where they worship false gods.
They have put up their Asherah poles
under the big trees and on the high hills.
3 They also worship their false gods
on the mountains and in the fields.
So I will cause enemies to take all your valuable things.
They will take your riches for themselves.
That will be the price that you pay for your sins.
You have done evil things everywhere in the land.
4 I gave you this land to be your home for ever.
But it will no longer belong to you.
Your enemies will take you to a land that you do not know.
You will be their slaves.
You have made me very angry,
like a fire that nobody can stop.’