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War and Hunger

14 A message from the Lord came to Jeremiah. He told Jeremiah there wouldn’t be any rain in the land. The Lord said,

“Judah is filled with sadness.
    Its cities are wasting away.
The people weep for the land.
    Crying is heard in Jerusalem.
The nobles send their servants to get water.
    They go to the wells.
    But they do not find any water.
They return with empty jars.
    They are terrified. They do not have any hope.
    They cover their heads.
The ground is dry and cracked.
    There isn’t any rain in the land.
The farmers are terrified.
    They cover their heads.
Even the female deer in the fields
    desert their newborn fawns.
    There isn’t any grass to eat.
Wild donkeys stand on the bare hilltops.
    They long for water as wild dogs do.
Their eyesight fails
    because they do not have any food to eat.”

Lord, our sins are a witness against us.
    But do something for the honor of your name.
We have often turned away from you.
    We’ve sinned against you.
You are Israel’s only hope.
    You save us when we’re in trouble.
Why are you like a stranger to us?
    Why are you like a traveler who stays for only one night?
Why are you like a man taken by surprise?
    Why are you like a soldier who can’t save anyone?
Lord, you are among us.
    And we are your people.
    Please don’t desert us!

10 The Lord gave Jeremiah a message about these people. The Lord said,

“They really love to wander away from me.
    Their feet go down the wrong path.
I do not accept these people.
    I will remember the evil things they have done.
    I will punish them for their sins.”

11 The Lord continued, “Do not pray that things will go well with them. 12 Even if they go without food, I will not listen to their cry for help. They might sacrifice burnt offerings and grain offerings. But I will not accept them. Instead, I will destroy them with war, hunger and plague.”

13 But I said, “Lord and King, the prophets keep telling them something else. They say, ‘You won’t have to suffer from war or hunger. Instead, the Lord will give you peace and rest in this place.’ ”

14 Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them. I have not even spoken to them. Everything they tell you about their visions or secret knowledge is a lie. They pretend to bring you messages from other gods. They try to get you to believe their own mistaken ideas. 15 So here is what I am saying about the prophets who are prophesying in my name. I did not send them. But they are saying, ‘No war or hunger will come to this land.’ Those same prophets will die because of war and hunger. 16 And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem. They will die because of hunger and war. No one will bury them. No one will bury their wives and children. I will pour out trouble on them. That is exactly what they should get.

17 “Jeremiah, give them this message. Tell them,

“ ‘Let tears flow from my eyes.
    Let them pour out night and day.
    Never let them stop.
The people of my own nation
    have suffered a terrible wound.
    They have been crushed.
18 Suppose I go into the country.
    Then I see people who have been killed by swords.
Or suppose I go into the city.
    Then I see people who have died of hunger.
Prophet and priest alike have gone to a land
    they hadn’t known about before.’ ”

19 Lord, have you completely turned your back on Judah?
    Do you hate the city of Zion?
Why have you made us suffer?
    We can’t be healed.
We hoped peace would come.
    But nothing good has happened to us.
We hoped we would finally be healed.
    But all we got was terror.
20 Lord, we admit we’ve done evil things.
    We also admit that our people of long ago were guilty.
    It’s true that we’ve sinned against you.
21 For the honor of your name, don’t turn your back on us.
    Don’t bring shame on your glorious throne in the temple.
Remember the covenant you made with us.
    Please don’t break it.
22 Do any of the worthless gods of the nations bring rain?
    Do the skies send down showers all by themselves?
No. Lord our God, you send the rain.
    So we put our hope in you.
    You are the one who does all these things.

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