3 The mighty Lord All-Powerful is going to take away from Jerusalem and Judah everything you need— your bread and water, 2 soldiers and heroes, judges and prophets, leaders and army officers, 3 officials and advisors, fortunetellers and others who tell the future. 4 He will let children and babies[a] become your rulers. 5 You will each be cruel to friends and neighbors. Young people will insult their elders; no one will show respect to those who deserve it.
6 Some of you will grab hold of a relative and say, “You still have a coat. Be our leader and rule this pile of ruins.” 7 But the answer will be, “I can’t do you any good. Don’t make me your leader. There’s no food or clothing left in my house.”
8 Jerusalem and Judah, you rebelled against your glorious Lord— your words and your actions, made you stumble and fall. 9 The look on your faces shows that you are sinful as Sodom, and you don’t try to hide it. You are in for trouble, and you have brought it all on yourselves.
The Wrong Kind of Leaders
10 Tell those who obey God, “You’re very fortunate— you will be rewarded for what you have done.” 11 Tell those who disobey, “You’re in big trouble— what you did to others will come back to you.” 12 Though you are God’s people, you are ruled and abused by women and children. You are confused by leaders who guide you down the wrong path.
13 The Lord is ready to accuse and judge all nations. 14 He will even judge you rulers and leaders of his own nation. You destroyed his vineyard[b] and filled your houses by robbing the poor. 15 The Lord All-Powerful says, “You have crushed my people and rubbed in the dirt the faces of the poor.”
The Women of Jerusalem
16 The Lord says: The women of Jerusalem are proud and strut around, winking shamelessly. They wear anklets that jingle and call attention to the way they walk. 17 But I, the Lord, will cover their heads with sores, and I will uncover their private parts.
18-23 When that day comes, I will take away from those women all the fine jewelry they wear on their ankles, heads, necks, ears, arms, noses, fingers, and on their clothes. I will remove their veils, their belts, their perfume, their magic charms, their royal robes, and all their fancy dresses, hats, and purses.
24 In place of perfume, there will be a stink; in place of belts, there will be ropes; in place of fancy hairdos, they will have bald heads. Instead of expensive clothes, they will wear sackcloth; instead of beauty, they will have ugly scars. 25 The fighting men of Jerusalem will be killed in battle. 26 The city will mourn and sit in the dirt, emptied of its people.
4 When this happens, seven women will grab the same man, and each of them will say, “I’ll buy my own food and clothes! Just marry me and take away my disgrace.”[c]
The Lord Will Bless His People Who Survive
2 The time is coming when the Lord will make his land fruitful and glorious again, and the people of Israel who survive will take great pride in what the land produces. 3 Everyone who is left alive in Jerusalem will be called special, 4 after the Lord sends a fiery judgment to clean the city and its people of their violent deeds.
5 Then the Lord will cover the whole city and its meeting places with a thick cloud each day and with a flaming fire[d] each night. God’s own glory will be like a huge tent that covers everything. 6 It will provide shade from the heat of the sun and a place of shelter and protection from storms and rain.
6 My friends, you are spiritual. So if someone is trapped in sin, you should gently lead that person back to the right path. But watch out, and don’t be tempted yourself. 2 You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand.
3 If you think you are better than others, when you really aren’t, you are wrong. 4 Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But don’t compare yourself with others. 5 We each must carry our own load.
6 Share every good thing you have with anyone who teaches you what God has said.
7 You cannot fool God, so don’t make a fool of yourself! You will harvest what you plant. 8 If you follow your selfish desires, you will harvest destruction, but if you follow the Spirit, you will harvest eternal life. 9 Don’t get tired of helping others. You will be rewarded when the time is right, if you don’t give up. 10 We should help people whenever we can, especially if they are followers of the Lord.
11 You can see what big letters I make when I write with my own hand.
12 Those people who are telling you to get circumcised are only trying to show how important they are. And they don’t want to get into trouble for preaching about the cross of Christ. 13 They are circumcised, but they don’t obey the Law of Moses. All they want is to brag about having you circumcised. 14 But I will never brag about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his cross, the world is dead as far as I am concerned, and I am dead as far as the world is concerned.
15 It doesn’t matter if you are circumcised or not. All that matters is that you are a new person.
16 If you follow this rule, you will belong to God’s true people. God will treat you with undeserved kindness and will bless you with peace.
17 On my own body are scars that prove I belong to Christ Jesus. So I don’t want anyone to bother me anymore.
18 My friends, I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you! Amen.
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