I wish you would open up your heavens
and come down to us!
I wish the mountains would tremble
when you show your power!
Be like a fire that causes twigs to burn.
It also makes water boil.
So come down and make yourself known to your enemies.
Cause the nations to shake with fear
when they see your power!
Long ago you did some wonderful things we didn’t expect.
You came down, and the mountains trembled
when you showed your power.
No one’s ears have ever heard of a God like you.
No one’s eyes have ever seen a God who is greater than you.
No God but you acts for the good
of those who trust in him.
You come to help those who enjoy doing what is right.
You help those who thank you for teaching them how to live.
But when we continued to disobey you,
you became angry with us.
So how can we be saved?
All of us have become like someone who is “unclean.”
All the good things we do are like dirty rags to you.
All of us are like leaves that have dried up.
Our sins sweep us away like the wind.
No one prays to you.
No one asks you for help.
You have turned your face away from us.
You have let us feel the effects of our sins.
Lord, you are our Father.
We are the clay. You are the potter.
Your hands made all of us.
Don’t be so angry with us, Lord.
Don’t remember our sins anymore.
Please have mercy on us.
All of us belong to you.
Your sacred cities have become a desert.
Even Zion is a desert.
Jerusalem is a dry and empty place.
Our people of long ago used to praise you in our holy and glorious temple.
But now it has been burned down.
Everything we treasured has been destroyed.
Lord, won’t you help us even after everything that’s happened?
Will you keep silent and punish us more than we can stand?
The Lord says, “I made myself known to those who were not asking for me.
I was found by those who were not trying to find me.
I spoke to a nation that did not pray to me.
‘Here I am,’ I said. ‘Here I am.’
All day long I have held out my hands
to welcome a stubborn nation.
They lead sinful lives.
They go where their evil thoughts take them.
They are always making me very angry.
They do it right in front of me.
They offer sacrifices in the gardens of other gods.
They burn incense on altars that are made out of bricks.
They sit among the graves.
They spend their nights talking to the spirits of the dead.
They eat the meat of pigs.
Their cooking pots hold soup that has ‘unclean’ meat in it.
They say, ‘Keep away! Don’t come near us!
We are too sacred for you!’
Those people are like smoke in my nose.
They are like a fire that keeps burning all day.
“I will judge them. I have even written it down.
I will not keep silent.
Instead, I will pay them back for all their sins.
I will punish them for their sins.
I will also punish them for the sins of their people before them.”
This is what the Lord says.
“They burned sacrifices on the mountains.
They disobeyed me by worshiping other gods on the hills.
So I will make sure they are fully punished
for all the sins they have committed.”
The Lord says,
“Sometimes juice is still left in grapes that have been crushed.
So people say, ‘Don’t destroy them.
They are still of some benefit.’
That is what I will do for the good of those who serve me.
I will not destroy all my people.
I will give children
to the families of Jacob and Judah.
They will possess my entire land.
My chosen people will be given all of it.
Those who serve me will live there.
Their flocks will eat in the rich grasslands of Sharon.
Their herds will rest in the Valley of Achor.
That is what I will do for my people who follow me.
“But some of you have deserted me.
You no longer worship on my holy mountain of Zion.
You spread a table for the god called Good Fortune.
You offer bowls of mixed wine to the god named Fate.
So I will make it your fate to be killed by swords.
All of you will die in the battle.
That’s because I called out to you, but you did not answer me.
I spoke to you, but you did not listen.
You did what is evil in my sight.
You chose to do what does not please me.”
So the Lord and King says,
“Those who serve me will have food to eat.
But you will be hungry.
My servants will have plenty to drink.
But you will be thirsty.
Those who serve me will be full of joy.
But you will be put to shame.
My servants will sing
with joy in their hearts.
But you will cry out
because of the great pain in your hearts.
You will cry because your spirits are sad.
My chosen ones will use your names
when they curse others.
I am your Lord and King.
I will put you to death.
But I will give new names to those who serve me.
They will ask me to bless their land.
They will do it in my name.
I am the one true God.
They will make promises in their land.
They will do it in my name.
I am the one true God.
The troubles of the past will be forgotten.
They will be hidden from my eyes.
“I will create new heavens and a new earth.
The things that have happened before will not be remembered.
They will not even enter your minds.
So be glad and full of joy forever
because of what I will create.
I will cause others to take delight in Jerusalem.
They will be filled with joy
when they see its people.
And I will be full of joy because of Jerusalem.
I will take delight in my people.
Weeping and crying
will not be heard there anymore.
“Babies in Jerusalem will no longer
live only a few days.
Old people will not fail
to live for a very long time.
Those who live to the age of 100
will be thought of as mere children when they die.
Those who die before they are 100
will be considered as having been under God’s curse.
My people will build houses and live in them.
They will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They will no longer build houses
only to have others live in them.
They will no longer plant crops
only to have others eat them.
My people will live to be as old as trees.
My chosen ones will enjoy for a long time
the things they have worked for.
Their work will not be worthless anymore.
They will not have children who are sure to face sudden terror.
Instead, I will bless them.
I will also bless their children after them.
Even before they call out to me, I will answer them.
While they are still speaking, I will hear them.
Wolves and lambs will eat together.
Lions will eat straw like oxen.
Serpents will eat nothing but dust.
None of those animals will harm or destroy
anything or anyone on my holy mountain of Zion,”
says the Lord.