I have declared from the beginning the former things [which happened in times past to Israel]; they went forth from My mouth and I made them known; then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass [says the Lord].
“And now listen to this, family of Jacob, you who are called by the name Israel: Who got you started in the loins of Judah, you who use God’s name to back up your promises and pray to the God of Israel? But do you mean it? Do you live like it? You claim to be citizens of the Holy City; you act as though you lean on the God of Israel, named God-of-the-Angel-Armies. For a long time now, I’ve let you in on the way I work: I told you what I was going to do beforehand, then I did it and it was done, and that’s that. I know you’re a bunch of hardheads, obstinate and flint-faced, So I got a running start and began telling you what was going on before it even happened. That is why you can’t say, ‘My god-idol did this.’ ‘My favorite god-carving commanded this.’ You have all this evidence confirmed by your own eyes and ears. Shouldn’t you be talking about it? And that was just the beginning. I have a lot more to tell you, things you never knew existed. This isn’t a variation on the same old thing. This is new, brand-new, something you’d never guess or dream up. When you hear this you won’t be able to say, ‘I knew that all along.’ You’ve never been good listeners to me. You have a history of ignoring me, A sorry track record of fickle attachments— rebels from the womb. But out of the sheer goodness of my heart, because of who I am, I keep a tight rein on my anger and hold my temper. I don’t wash my hands of you. Do you see what I’ve done? I’ve refined you, but not without fire. I’ve tested you like silver in the furnace of affliction. Out of myself, simply because of who I am, I do what I do. I have my reputation to keep up. I’m not playing second fiddle to either gods or people.
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