1Good people pass away;
the godly often die before their time.
But no one seems to care or wonder why.
No one seems to understand
that God is protecting them from the evil to come.
2For those who follow godly paths
will rest in peace when they die.
Idolatrous Worship Condemned
3“But you—come here, you witches’ children,
you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes!
4Whom do you mock,
making faces and sticking out your tongues?
You children of sinners and liars!
5You worship your idols with great passion
beneath the oaks and under every green tree.
You sacrifice your children down in the valleys,
among the jagged rocks in the cliffs.
6Your gods are the smooth stones in the valleys.
You worship them with liquid offerings and grain offerings.
They, not I, are your inheritance.
Do you think all this makes me happy?
7You have committed adultery on every high mountain.
There you have worshiped idols
and have been unfaithful to me.
8You have put pagan symbols
on your doorposts and behind your doors.
You have left me
and climbed into bed with these detestable gods.
You have committed yourselves to them.
You love to look at their naked bodies.
9You have given olive oil to Molech# Or to the king.
with many gifts of perfume.
You have traveled far,
even into the world of the dead,# Hebrew into Sheol.
to find new gods to love.
10You grew weary in your search,
but you never gave up.
Desire gave you renewed strength,
and you did not grow weary.
11“Are you afraid of these idols?
Do they terrify you?
Is that why you have lied to me
and forgotten me and my words?
Is it because of my long silence
that you no longer fear me?
12Now I will expose your so-called good deeds.
None of them will help you.
13Let’s see if your idols can save you
when you cry to them for help.
Why, a puff of wind can knock them down!
If you just breathe on them, they fall over!
But whoever trusts in me will inherit the land
and possess my holy mountain.”
God Forgives the Repentant
14God says, “Rebuild the road!
Clear away the rocks and stones
so my people can return from captivity.”
15The high and lofty one who lives in eternity,
the Holy One, says this:
“I live in the high and holy place
with those whose spirits are contrite and humble.
I restore the crushed spirit of the humble
and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.
16For I will not fight against you forever;
I will not always be angry.
If I were, all people would pass away—
all the souls I have made.
17I was angry,
so I punished these greedy people.
I withdrew from them,
but they kept going on their own stubborn way.
18I have seen what they do,
but I will heal them anyway!
I will lead them.
I will comfort those who mourn,
19bringing words of praise to their lips.
May they have abundant peace, both near and far,”
says the Lord, who heals them.
20“But those who still reject me are like the restless sea,
which is never still
but continually churns up mud and dirt.
21There is no peace for the wicked,”
says my God.
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