Israel Thrown into a Sieve
9 1-4 I saw my Master standing beside the altar at the shrine. He said:
“Hit the tops of the shrine’s pillars,
make the floor shake.
The roof’s about to fall on the heads of the people,
and whoever’s still alive, I’ll kill.
No one will get away,
no runaways will make it.
If they dig their way down into the underworld,
I’ll find them and bring them up.
If they climb to the stars,
I’ll find them and bring them down.
If they hide out at the top of Mount Carmel,
I’ll find them and bring them back.
If they dive to the bottom of the ocean,
I’ll send Dragon to swallow them up.
If they’re captured alive by their enemies,
I’ll send Sword to kill them.
I’ve made up my mind
to hurt them, not help them.”
5-6 My Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
touches the earth, a mere touch, and it trembles.
The whole world goes into mourning.
Earth swells like the Nile at flood stage;
then the water subsides, like the great Nile of Egypt.
God builds his palace—towers soaring high in the skies,
foundations set on the rock-firm earth.
He calls ocean waters and they come,
then he ladles them out on the earth.
God, your God, does all this.
* * *
7-8 “Do you Israelites think you’re any better than the far-off Cushites?” God’s Decree.
“Am I not involved with all nations? Didn’t I bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor, the Arameans from Qir? But you can be sure that I, God, the Master, have my eye on the Kingdom of Sin. I’m going to wipe it off the face of the earth. Still, I won’t totally destroy the family of Jacob.” God’s Decree.
9-10 “I’m still giving the orders around here. I’m throwing Israel into a sieve among all the nations and shaking them good, shaking out all the sin, all the sinners. No real grain will be lost, but all the sinners will be sifted out and thrown away, the people who say, ‘Nothing bad will ever happen in our lifetime. It won’t even come close.’
Blessings Like Wine Pouring off the Mountains
11-12 “But also on that Judgment Day I will restore David’s house that has fallen to pieces. I’ll repair the holes in the roof, replace the broken windows, fix it up like new. David’s people will be strong again and seize what’s left of enemy Edom, plus everyone else under my sovereign judgment.” God’s Decree. He will do this.
13-15 “Yes indeed, it won’t be long now.” God’s Decree.
“Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once—and everywhere you look, blessings! Blessings like wine pouring off the mountains and hills. I’ll make everything right again for my people Israel:
“They’ll rebuild their ruined cities.
They’ll plant vineyards and drink good wine.
They’ll work their gardens and eat fresh vegetables.
And I’ll plant them, plant them on their own land.
They’ll never again be uprooted from the land I’ve given them.”
God, your God, says so.