Yahweh promised to bless Israel
1 But now, you people of Israel whom Yahweh has chosen to serve him, listen to me.
2 Yahweh, the one who created you and helps you, says this:
“You dear people of Israel whom I have chosen,
you who serve me,
do not be afraid.
3 I will pour water out on your dry land
and make streams to flow.
And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants
and greatly bless them.
4 They will grow up like [SIM] grass grows when it has water,
like [SIM] willow/poplar trees grow well along a riverbank.
5 Some of them will say, “I belong to Yahweh”
and others will say, “We are descendants of Jacob,”
and others will write on their hands, “We belong to Yahweh,”
and others will say, “We are Israelis.”''
Foolish worship of idols
6 Yahweh, the King of Israel, the one who saves us, our Supreme Commander, says this:
“I am the one who began everything and who will end everything;
there is no other God.
7 Is there anyone like me?
If there is, he should proclaim it!
He should speak up and tell me now!
He should tell what has happened since I established my people of Israel long ago,
and he should also tell what things will happen;
he should predict what will happen in the future.
8 My people, do not be afraid.
Long ago I told you things that would happen;
I predicted them, and you can testify that I did that.
Is there any other God?
No, there is no other God who is able to protect you [MET];
I do not know about any other God!”
9 All those who make idols are foolish,
and the idols that they think highly of are worthless.
But the people who worship those idols— it is as though they are blind,
and they will be ashamed.
10 Only a foolish person [RHQ] would make an idol in a mold,
an idol that would never help him at all.
11 Those who make idols and those who worship them will be ashamed;
those who make idols are only human beings,
but they claim that they are making gods!
They should stand in front of God in a court,
but when they hear what he says, they will be terrified,
and they will also be disgraced.
12 Metalworkers stand in front of hot coals
in order to make metal tools.
They pound them strongly with hammers, and shape them.
Their hard work causes them to become hungry and weak;
they become very thirsty and feel exhausted.
13 Then a woodcarver takes a big block of wood and measures it;
then he marks it to show where he will cut it.
Then he works with a chisel and other tools
to make it resemble a human.
He makes it become very beautiful,
and then he puts it in a shrine.
14 First, he cuts down a cedar tree,
or he selects a cypress tree or an oak tree
and allows it to grow tall in the forest.
Or, he plants a pine/evergreen tree
and the rain waters it.
15 And after he uses part of the tree to make an idol,
he uses the other part of the tree to make a fire,
either to warm himself or to bake his bread.
But he uses part of the same tree to make for himself an idol to worship!
He makes an idol and then he bows down to worship it.
16 He burns part of the tree to cook his meat and become satisfied,
and he burns part of it to stay warm,
and he says, “I feel warm as I watch the flames in the fire.”
17 Then he takes the rest of the wood
and makes an idol to become his god.
He bows down to it and worships it,
and prays to it and says,
“You are my god, so save me!'”
18 How can those people be very stupid and ignorant?
It is as though they are blind and cannot see,
and their minds are closed and they cannot think.
19 They do not stop to think about what they are doing,
that they are taking a block of wood
and burning half of it to keep warm
and using some of the rest to bake their bread and roast their meat!
They do not say to themselves,
“Does it make sense to take the rest of the wood to make a detestable idol?
Does it make sense to bow down to a block of wood?”
20 They are very stupid to worship something that if you burn it, it becomes ashes!
They trust in something that cannot save them;
they do not admit, “In my hand I hold only a false god!”
A plea to the Israelis
21 Yahweh says, “You descendants of Jacob,
you people of Israel who should be serving me,
I created you,
and I will not forget you.
22 I have gotten rid of your sins
like [SIM] the wind blows away a cloud.
I have blown away your transgressions
as though [SIM] they were a morning mist.
Return to me
because I have rescued you.
23 All you objects in the sky, sing,
because Yahweh has done a great thing;
all you things that are beneath the ground, shout joyfully!
All you mountains and forests, and all you trees,
because Yahweh has rescued the descendants of Jacob,
and the people of Israel will praise/honor him.
Jerusalem will be rebuilt and inhabited again
24 Yahweh, who saved you and created you, says this:
“I am Yahweh, the one who created everything.
I am the only one who stretched out the sky.
There was no one who was [RHQ] with me
when I created the earth.
25 I show that the false prophets are liars,
and I show that those who perform rituals to predict the future are fools.
Some people who falsely think that they are [IRO] wise say that they know much,
but I show that they are foolish.
26 But I cause to happen what my prophets predict.
I tell them to say to the people of Jerusalem, ‘ Some day people will live here again.’
And I tell them to say to the people in other towns in Judah,
‘Your towns will be result;
I will restore the places that are only ruins.’
27 When I say to the rivers, ‘Dry up!,’
they will become dry.
28 When I say about King Cyrus, ‘He will take care of my people like [MET] a shepherd takes care of his sheep,
he will do what I tell him to do.’
He will say about Jerusalem,
‘We must rebuild it!’,
and he will also say, ‘We must rebuild the temple!’ ”