Jeremiah 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.’

Trust in the Lord

5 The Lord says,

‘I will curse those who only trust people to help them.

They think that human strength will save them,

and they turn away from me, the Lord.

6 They will be like a bush that grows in the desert.

It grows in a place where nobody can live.

The ground is very dry and is spoiled by salt.

Even when good times come,

those people will not receive any good thing.

7 The Lord blesses people who trust in him.

They know that the Lord will help them.

8 They will be like trees that grow beside a river.

Their roots reach into the water.

When the sun is hot, they are not afraid.

Their leaves continue to be green.

They give fruit each year,

even when there is no rain.

9 A person's own mind deceives him,

more than anything else does.

Nobody can change it to be better.

Nobody completely understands it.

10 But I, the Lord, look inside a person's mind.

I see what he thinks and what he feels.

I see how everyone lives,

and I see the things that they do.

I give to each one what he deserves.

11 Someone may get rich because he cheats other people.

He is like a bird that sits on eggs

that it has taken from another nest.

He will lose his riches before he is old.

At the end of his life, he will die as a fool.’

Jeremiah's prayer

12 Lord, your beautiful throne is high above.

You have ruled there from the beginning.

That is where we worship you.

17:12This may be speaking about the temple in Jerusalem which was on a high hill, Mount Zion.

13 You are the one that the Israelites hope in.

Everyone who turns away from you will be ashamed.

They will disappear,

as if their names are written in the dust.

Lord, you give life to your people,

like a spring of fresh water.

But they have turned against you.

14 Lord, please make me well again.

Then I will be completely well.

Rescue me so that I am completely safe.

You are the one that I praise!

15 People are asking me questions.

They say, ‘Nothing has happened to us yet!

When will the Lord's message become true?’

16 Lord, I have not stopped taking care of your people.

I have never asked you to destroy them on one final day.

You know that,

and you know everything that I have said.

17 Please do not make me afraid!

When I am in trouble,

I run to you to be safe.

18 Please bring shame on those who want to hurt me.

Do not make me ashamed.

Make those people afraid,

but do not make me afraid.

Destroy them with a time of great trouble.

Punish them completely!

Rules for Sabbath days

19 The Lord said to me, ‘Go and stand at the gate of the city that is called “The People's Gate”. That is the gate that the kings of Judah use to go in and out of the city. Then go and stand at the other gates of Jerusalem. 20 Stand in those places and say, “Listen, you kings of Judah, everyone who lives in Jerusalem and all the people of Judah. Hear this message from the Lord. 21 This is what the Lord says:

Be careful to obey these rules if you want to continue to live! On a Sabbath day, do not carry any loads in through the gates of Jerusalem. 22 Do not carry any loads out of your houses. Do not do any work on a Sabbath day. You must keep the Sabbath day as a special day for me. That is what I commanded your ancestors to do. 23 But they did not listen to me and they did not obey me. They refused to accept the rules that I gave to them. When I warned them, they would not change.”

17:22See Exodus 20:8.

24 The Lord says, “But you must be careful to obey me. Do not carry any loads through the gates of this city on a Sabbath day. You must keep the Sabbath day as a special day for me. Do not do any work on a Sabbath day. 25 If you obey me, kings from David's family will continue to rule. Kings and their officers will pass through these gates, together with the people of Jerusalem and all Judah. They will ride on horses and in chariots. Many people will always live in this city. 26 People will come here from everywhere in Judah. They will bring offerings to the Lord's temple. They will come from Judah's towns and from the villages around Jerusalem. They will come from the land that belongs to Benjamin's tribe. They will come from the low hills in the west and from the hill country and the wilderness in the south. They will bring burnt offerings, grain offerings, other sacrifices and incense. They will offer sacrifices to the Lord to thank him.

27 But you must remember to obey me. You must keep the Sabbath day as a special day for me. You must not carry any loads in through Jerusalem's gates on a Sabbath day. If you do not obey this rule, I will burn Jerusalem's gates with fire. The fire will destroy all the strong buildings in Jerusalem. Nobody will be able to stop that fire.” ’