The Lord’s Promises
1Pray to the Lord for rain in the springtime. The Lord will send the lightning and the rain will fall, and he will make the plants grow in each person’s field.
2People use their little statues and magic to learn what will happen in the future, but that is useless. They see visions and tell about their dreams, but it is nothing but worthless lies. So the people are like sheep wandering here and there crying for help, but there is no shepherd to lead them.
3The Lord says, “I am very angry with the shepherds. I made them responsible for what happens to my sheep.” (The people of Judah are his flock, and the Lord All-Powerful really does take care of his flock. He cares for them as a soldier cares for his beautiful war horse.)
4“The cornerstone, the tent peg, the war bow, and the advancing soldiers will all come from Judah together. 5They will defeat their enemy—it will be like soldiers marching through mud in the streets. They will fight, and since the Lord is with them, they will defeat even the enemy soldiers riding horses. 6I will make Judah’s family strong. I will help Joseph’s family win the war. I will bring them back safely and comfort them. It will be as if I never left them. I am the Lord their God, and I will help them. 7The people of Ephraim will be as happy as soldiers who have too much to drink. Their children will be rejoicing and they, too, will be happy. They will all have a happy time together with the Lord.
8“I will whistle for them and call them all together. I really will save them. There will be many people. 9Yes, I have been scattering my people throughout the nations. But in those faraway places, they will remember me. They and their children will survive, and they will come back. 10I will bring them back from Egypt and Assyria. I will bring them to the area of Gilead. And since there will not be enough room, I will also let them live in nearby Lebanon. 11They will go through a sea of troubles, but the waves will be stopped. Even the deepest waters of the Nile River will dry up. I will destroy Assyria’s pride and take away Egypt’s power. 12I, the Lord, will make my people strong, and they will live for me.” This is what the Lord said.