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The Lord Talks about Idols

10 The Lord said:

Listen to me,
    you people of Israel.
Don’t follow the customs
    of those nations
who become frightened
when they see
something strange
    happen in the sky.
Their religion is worthless!
They chop down a tree,
    carve the wood into an idol,
cover it with silver and gold,
and then nail it down
    so it won’t fall over.

An idol is no better
    than a scarecrow.
It can’t speak,
and it has to be carried,
    because it can’t walk.
Why worship an idol
    that can’t help or harm you?

Jeremiah Praises the Lord

Our Lord, great and powerful,
    you alone are God.
You are King of the nations.
    Everyone should worship you.
No human anywhere on earth
    is wiser than you.
Idols are worthless,
and anyone who worships them
    is a fool!
Idols are made by humans.
    A carver shapes the wood.
A metalworker hammers out
a covering
of gold from Uphaz
    or of silver from Tarshish.
Then the idol is dressed
    in blue and purple clothes.

10 You, Lord, are the only true
and living God.
    You will rule for all time.
When you are angry
the earth shakes,
    and nations are destroyed.

11 You told me to say
that idols did not create
    the heavens and the earth,
and that you, the Lord,
    will destroy every idol.

12 With your wisdom and power
you created the earth
    and spread out the heavens.
13 The waters in the heavens roar
    at your command.
You make clouds appear—
you send the winds
    from your storehouse
and make lightning flash
    in the rain.

14 People who make idols
    are so stupid!
They will be disappointed,
because their false gods
    are not alive.
15 Idols are merely a joke,
and when the time is right,
    they will be destroyed.

16 But you, Israel’s God,
    created all things,
and you chose Israel
    to be your very own.
Your name is the Lord
    All-Powerful.

Judah Will Be Thrown from Its Land

17 I said to the people of Judah,
“Gather your things;
    you are surrounded.
18 The Lord said these troubles
    will lead to your capture,
and he will throw you
from this land
    like a rock from a sling.”[a]

19 The people answered,
“We are wounded
    and doomed to die.
Why did we say
    we could stand the pain?
20 Our homes are destroyed;
    our children are dead.
No one is left
    to help us find shelter.”

21 But I told them,
“Our leaders were stupid failures,
    because they refused
    to listen to the Lord.
And so we’ve been scattered
    like sheep.

22 “Sounds of destruction
rumble from the north
    like distant thunder.
Soon our towns will be ruins
    where jackals[b] live.”

Jeremiah Prays

23 I know, Lord, that we humans
are not in control
    of our own lives.
24 Correct me, as I deserve,
but not in your anger,
    or I will be dead.
25 Our enemies refuse
to admit that you are God
    or to worship you.
They have wiped out our people
and left our nation
    lying in ruins.
So get angry
    and sweep them away!

Footnotes

  1. 10.18 like a rock from a sling: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 10.22 jackals: See the note at 9.11.

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