Jeremiah 18

1This is the message that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2“Jeremiah, go down to the potter’s house. I will give you my message at the potter’s house.” 3So I went down to the potter’s house. I saw the potter working with clay at the wheel. 4He was making a pot from clay. But there was something wrong with the pot. So the potter used that clay again, and he made another pot. He used his hands to shape the pot the way that he wanted it to be. 5Then the message from the Lord came to me: 6“Family of Israel, you know that I ˻(God)˼ can do the same thing with you. You are like the clay in the potter’s hands. And I am like the potter! 7There may come a time that I will speak about a nation or a kingdom. I may say that I will pull that nation up. Or maybe I will say that I will pull that nation down and destroy that nation or kingdom. 8But the people of that nation might change their hearts and lives. The people in that nation might stop doing evil things. Then I would change my mind. I would not follow my plans to bring disaster to that nation. 9There might come another time when I speak about a nation. I might say that I will build up and plant that nation. 10But I might see that nation doing evil things and not obeying me. Then I would think again about the good I had planned to do for that nation. 11“So, Jeremiah, say to the people of Judah and the people that live in Jerusalem, 'This is what the Lord says: I am preparing troubles for you right now. I am making plans against you. So stop doing the evil things that you are doing. Each person must change and start doing good things!’ 12But the people of Judah will answer, 'It will not do any good to try. We will continue to do what we want. Each of us is going to do the things his stubborn, evil heart wants.’” 13Listen to the things the Lord says: “Ask the other nations this question: 'Have you ever heard of anyone doing the evil things Israel has done?’ And Israel is special to God. Israel is like God’s bride! 14You know that rocks never leave the fields by themselves. You know that the snow on the mountains of Lebanon never melts. You know that cool, flowing streams do not become dry. 15But my people have forgotten about me. They make offerings to worthless idols. My people stumble in the things they do. They stumble about in the old paths of their ancestors. My people would rather walk along back roads and poor highways, than to follow me on the good roads. 16So Judah’s country will become an empty desert. People will whistle and shake their heads every time they pass by. They will be shocked at how the country was destroyed. 17I will scatter the people of Judah. They will run from their enemies. I will scatter the people of Judah like an east wind that blows things away. I will destroy those people. They won’t see me coming to help them. No! They will see me leaving!” 18Then the enemies of Jeremiah said, “Come, let us make plans against Jeremiah. Surely the teaching of the law by the priest will not be lost. And the advice from the wise men will still be with us. We will still have the words of the prophets. So let us tell lies about him. That will ruin him. We will not pay attention to anything he says.” 19Lord, listen to me! Listen to my arguments and decide who is right. 20I have been good to the people of Judah. But now they are paying me back with evil. They are trying to trap me and kill me. 21So make their children starve in a famine. Let their enemies defeat them with swords. Let their wives be without children. Let the men from Judah be put to death. Make their wives into widows. Let the men from Judah be put to death. Let the young men be killed in battle. 22Let there be crying in their houses. Make them cry when you suddenly bring an enemy against them. Let all this happen because my enemies tried to trap me. They hid traps for me to step in. 23Lord, you know about their plans to kill me. Don’t forgive their crimes. Don’t erase their sins. Destroy my enemies! Punish those people while you are angry!

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