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Israel’s Futile Idolatry

1The righteous perish,

and no one takes it to heart;

the devout are taken away,

while no one understands.

For the righteous are taken away from calamity,

2and they enter into peace;

those who walk uprightly

will rest on their couches.

3But as for you, come here,

you children of a sorceress,

you offspring of an adulterer and a whore.

4Whom are you mocking?

Against whom do you open your mouth wide

and stick out your tongue?

Are you not children of transgression,

the offspring of deceit—

5you that burn with lust among the oaks,

under every green tree;

you that slaughter your children in the valleys,

under the clefts of the rocks?

6Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion;

they, they, are your lot;

to them you have poured out a drink offering,

you have brought a grain offering.

Shall I be appeased for these things?

7Upon a high and lofty mountain

you have set your bed,

and there you went up to offer sacrifice.

8Behind the door and the doorpost

you have set up your symbol;

for, in deserting me, you have uncovered your bed,

you have gone up to it,

you have made it wide;

and you have made a bargain for yourself with them,

you have loved their bed,

you have gazed on their nakedness.

9You journeyed to Molech with oil,

and multiplied your perfumes;

you sent your envoys far away,

and sent down even to Sheol.

10You grew weary from your many wanderings,

but you did not say, “It is useless.”

You found your desire rekindled,

and so you did not weaken.

11Whom did you dread and fear

so that you lied,

and did not remember me

or give me a thought?

Have I not kept silent and closed my eyes,

and so you do not fear me?

12I will concede your righteousness and your works,

but they will not help you.

13When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!

The wind will carry them off,

a breath will take them away.

But whoever takes refuge in me shall possess the land

and inherit my holy mountain.

A Promise of Help and Healing

14It shall be said,

“Build up, build up, prepare the way,

remove every obstruction from my people’s way.”

15For thus says the high and lofty one

who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:

I dwell in the high and holy place,

and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit,

to revive the spirit of the humble,

and to revive the heart of the contrite.

16For I will not continually accuse,

nor will I always be angry;

for then the spirits would grow faint before me,

even the souls that I have made.

17Because of their wicked covetousness I was angry;

I struck them, I hid and was angry;

but they kept turning back to their own ways.

18I have seen their ways, but I will heal them;

I will lead them and repay them with comfort,

creating for their mourners the fruit of the lips.

19Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord;

and I will heal them.

20But the wicked are like the tossing sea

that cannot keep still;

its waters toss up mire and mud.

21There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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