Israel Needs a Change of Heart
1Listen to this funeral song that I sing about you, people of Israel.
2“Israel has fallen.
It will not rise up again.
It was left alone in the land.
There is no one to lift it up.”
3This is what the Lord God says:
“If 1,000 soldiers leave a city,
only 100 will return.
If 100 soldiers leave a city,
only 10 will return.”
4This is what the Lord says to the nation of Israel:
“Come to me and live.
5But do not look in Bethel.
Do not go to Gilgal,
and do not go down to Beersheba.
The people of Gilgal will be taken away as captives.
And Bethel will become nothing.”
6Come to the Lord and live.
If you don’t, he will destroy the descendants of Joseph as a fire would.
The fire will burn.
But there will be no one to put it out for Bethel.
7You change the justice of the courts into something unfair.
You reject what is right.
8God is the one who made the star groups Pleiades and Orion.
He changes darkness into the morning light.
And he changes the day into the dark night.
He calls for the waters of the sea
to pour out on the earth.
The Lord is his name.
9He destroys the protected city.
And he ruins the strong, walled city.
10You hate those who speak in court against evil.
And you hate those who tell the truth.
11You walk on poor people.
You force them to give you grain.
You have built fancy houses of cut stone.
But you will not live in them.
You have planted beautiful vineyards.
But you will not drink the wine from them.
12It is because I know your many crimes.
I know your terrible sins.
You hurt people who do right.
You accept money to do wrong.
You keep the poor from getting justice in court.
13In such times the wise man will keep quiet,
because it is a bad time.
14Try to do good, not evil.
Then you will live.
And the Lord God of heaven’s armies will be with you
just as you say he is.
15Hate evil and love good.
Be fair in the courts.
Maybe the Lord God of heaven’s armies will be kind
to the people of Joseph who are left alive.
16This is what the Lord, the Lord God of heaven’s armies, says:
“People will be crying in all the public places.
They will be saying, ‘Oh, no!’ in the streets.
They will call the farmers to come and weep.
They will pay people to cry out loud for them.
17People will be crying in all the vineyards.
This is because I will pass among you to punish you,” says the Lord.
The Lord’s Day of Judging
18How terrible it will be for you who want
the Lord’s day of judging to come.
Why do you want that day to come?
It will bring darkness for you, not light.
19It will be like a man who runs from a lion
and meets a bear.
It will be like him going into his house
and putting his hand on the wall.
And then a snake bites him.
20So the Lord’s day of judging will bring darkness, not light.
It will be a time of sadness, not joy.
21The Lord says, “I hate and reject your feasts.
I cannot stand your religious meetings.
22You offer me burnt offerings and grain offerings.
But I won’t accept them.
You bring the best fellowship offerings.
But I will ignore them.
23Take the noise of your songs away from here!
I won’t listen to the music of your harps.
24But let justice flow like a river.
Let goodness flow like a never-ending stream.
25“People of Israel, you did not bring me sacrifices and offerings
while you traveled in the desert for 40 years.
26But now you will have to carry with you
your king, the false god Sakkuth,
and Kaiwan your idol
and the idols of your other star gods you have made.
27This is because I will send you away as captives beyond Damascus,”
says the Lord. His name is God of heaven’s armies.