Jeremiah 4

1This message is from the Lord. “Israel, if you want to come back, then come back to me. Throw away your idols. Don’t wander away from me. 2If you do those things, then you will be able to use my name to make a promise: You will be able to say, 'As the Lord lives.’ And you will be able to use those words in a truthful, honest, and right way. If you do these things, then the nations will be blessed by the Lord. They will brag about the things that the Lord has done.” 3This is what the Lord says to the man of Judah and to Jerusalem: “Your fields have not been plowed. Plow those fields! Don’t plant seeds among the thorns. 4Become the Lord’s people. Change your hearts! Men of Judah and people of Jerusalem, if you don’t change, then I will become very angry. My anger will spread fast like a fire, and my anger will burn you up. And no person will be able to put out that fire. Why will this happen? Because of the evil things you have done.” 5“Give this message to the people of Judah: Tell every person in the city of Jerusalem, 'blow the trumpet all over the country.’ Shout out loud and say, 'Come together! Let us all escape to the strong cities for protection.’ 6Raise the signal flag toward Zion. Run for your lives! Don’t wait! Do this because I am bringing disaster from the north. I am bringing terrible destruction.” 7A lion has come out of his cave. A destroyer of nations has begun to march. He has left his home to destroy your land. Your towns will be destroyed. There will be no people left to live in them. 8So put on sackcloth and cry out loud! Why? Because the Lord is angry at us.” 9The Lord says, ”At the time this happens, the king and his officers will lose their courage, the priests will be scared, the prophets will be shocked.” 10Then I, Jeremiah, said, “Lord my Master, you have really tricked the people of Judah and Jerusalem. You said to them, 'You will have peace.’ But now the sword is pointing at their throats!” 11At that time a message will be given to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “A hot wind blows from the bare hills. It comes from the desert to my people. It is not like the gentle wind that farmers use to separate the grain from the chaff. 12It is a stronger wind than that, and it comes from me. Now, I will announce my judgment against the people of Judah.” 13Look! The enemy rises up like a cloud. His chariots look like a wind storm. His horses are faster than eagles. It will be very bad for us! We are ruined! 14People of Jerusalem, wash the evil from your hearts. Make your hearts pure so you can be saved. Don’t continue making evil plans. 15Listen! The voice of a messenger from the land of Dan is speaking. A person is bringing bad news from the hill country of Ephraim. 16“Report it to this nation. Spread the news to the people in Jerusalem. Enemies are coming from a faraway country. Those enemies are shouting words of war against the cities of Judah. 17The enemy has surrounded Jerusalem like men guarding a field. Judah, you turned against me! So the enemy is coming against you!” This message is from the Lord. 18“The way you lived and the things you did brought this trouble to you. It is your evil that made your life so hard. Your evil life brought the pain that hurts deep in your heart.” 19Oh, my sadness and worry is making my stomach hurt. I am bent over in pain. Oh, I am so scared. My heart is pounding inside me. I can’t keep quiet. Why? Because I have heard the trumpet blow. The trumpet is calling the army to war! 20Disaster follows disaster! The whole country is destroyed! Suddenly my tents are destroyed! My curtains are torn down! 21Lord, how long must I see the war flags? How long must I hear the war trumpets? 22˻God said,˼ “My people are foolish. They don’t know me. They are stupid children. They don’t understand. They are skillful at doing evil, but they don’t know how to do good.” 23I looked at the earth. The earth was empty; nothing was on the earth. I looked at the sky. and its light was gone. 24I looked at the mountains, and they were shaking. All of the hills were trembling. 25I looked, but there were no people. All the birds of the sky had flown away. 26I looked, and the good land had become a desert. All the cities in that land were destroyed. The Lord caused this. The Lord and his great anger caused this. 27The Lord says these things: “The whole country will be ruined. (But I will not completely destroy the land.) 28So the people in the land will cry for the dead people. The sky will grow dark. I have spoken and will not change. I have made a decision and I will not change my mind.” 29The people of Judah will hear the sound of the horse soldiers and the archers, and the people will run away! Some of the people will hide in caves, some people will hide in the bushes, some people will climb up into the rocks. All of the cities of Judah will be empty. No person will live in them. 30Judah, you have been destroyed. So what are you doing now? Why are you putting on your best red dress? Why are you putting on your gold jewelry? Why are you putting on your eye makeup? You make yourself beautiful, but it is a waste of time. Your lovers hate you. They are trying to kill you. 31I hear a cry like a woman having a baby. It is a scream like a woman that is having her first baby. It is the cry of the Daughter of Zion. She is lifting her hands in prayer, saying, ”Oh! I am about to faint! Murderers are all around me!”

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