To Worship the Big Lie
18 1-2 God told Jeremiah, “Up on your feet! Go to the potter’s house. When you get there, I’ll tell you what I have to say.”
3-4 So I went to the potter’s house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel. Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot.
5-10 Then God’s Message came to me: “Can’t I do just as this potter does, people of Israel?” God’s Decree! “Watch this potter. In the same way that this potter works his clay, I work on you, people of Israel. At any moment I may decide to pull up a people or a country by the roots and get rid of them. But if they repent of their wicked lives, I will think twice and start over with them. At another time I might decide to plant a people or country, but if they don’t cooperate and won’t listen to me, I will think again and give up on the plans I had for them.
11 “So, tell the people of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem my Message: ‘Danger! I’m shaping doom against you, laying plans against you. Turn back from your doomed way of life. Straighten out your lives.’
12 “But they’ll just say, ‘Why should we? What’s the point? We’ll live just the way we’ve always lived, doom or no doom.’”
* * *
13-17 God’s Message:
Survey the godless nations.
Has anyone heard the likes of this?
Virgin Israel has become a slut!
Does snow disappear from the Lebanon peaks?
Do alpine streams run dry?
But my people have left me
to worship the Big Lie.
They’ve gotten off the track,
the old, well-worn trail,
And now bushwhack through underbrush
in a tangle of roots and vines.
Their land’s going to end up a mess—
a fool’s memorial to be spit on.
Travelers passing through
will shake their heads in disbelief.
I’ll scatter my people before their enemies,
like autumn leaves in a high wind.
On their day of doom, they’ll stare at my back as I walk away,
catching not so much as a glimpse of my face.”
* * *
18 Some of the people said, “Come on, let’s cook up a plot against Jeremiah. We’ll still have the priests to teach us the law, wise counselors to give us advice, and prophets to tell us what God has to say. Come on, let’s discredit him so we don’t have to put up with him any longer.”
19-23 And I said to God:
“God, listen to me!
Just listen to what my enemies are saying.
Should I get paid evil for good?
That’s what they’re doing. They’ve made plans to kill me!
Remember all the times I stood up for them before you,
speaking up for them,
trying to soften your anger?
But enough! Let their children starve!
Let them be massacred in battle!
Let their wives be childless and widowed,
their friends die and their proud young men be killed.
Let cries of panic sound from their homes
as you surprise them with war parties!
They’re all set to lynch me.
The noose is practically around my neck!
But you know all this, God.
You know they’re determined to kill me.
Don’t whitewash their crimes,
don’t overlook a single sin!
Round the bunch of them up before you.
Strike while the iron of your anger is hot!”