People Who Do Only What They Want to Do
1-2God told me, "Go and buy yourself some linen shorts. Put them on and keep them on. Don't even take them off to wash them." So I bought the shorts as God directed and put them on. 3-5Then God told me, "Take the shorts that you bought and go straight to Perath and hide them there in a crack in the rock." So I did what God told me and hid them at Perath.
6-7Next, after quite a long time, God told me, "Go back to Perath and get the linen shorts I told you to hide there." So I went back to Perath and dug them out of the place where I had hidden them. The shorts by then had rotted and were worthless.
8-11God explained, "This is the way I am going to ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem—a wicked bunch of people who won't obey me, who do only what they want to do, who chase after all kinds of no-gods and worship them. They're going to turn out as rotten as these old shorts. Just as shorts clothe and protect, so I kept the whole family of Israel under my care"—God's Decree—"so that everyone could see they were my people, a people I could show off to the world and be proud of. But they refused to do a thing I said.
12"And then tell them this, 'God's Message, personal from the God of Israel: Every wine jug should be full of wine.'
"And they'll say, 'Of course. We know that. Every wine jug should be full of wine!'
13-14"Then you'll say, 'This is what God says: Watch closely. I'm going to fill every person who lives in this country—the kings who rule from David's throne, the priests, the prophets, the citizens of Jerusalem—with wine that will make them drunk. And then I'll smash them, smash the wine-filled jugs—old and young alike. Nothing will stop me. Not an ounce of pity or mercy or compassion will slow me down. Every last drunken jug of them will be smashed!'"
The Light You Always Took for Granted
15-17Then I said, Listen. Listen carefully: Don't stay stuck in your ways!
It's God's Message we're dealing with here.
Let your lives glow bright before God
before he turns out the lights,
Before you trip and fall
on the dark mountain paths.
The light you always took for granted will go out
and the world will turn black.
If you people won't listen,
I'll go off by myself and weep over you,
Weep because of your stubborn arrogance,
bitter, bitter tears,
Rivers of tears from my eyes,
because God's sheep will end up in exile.
18-19Tell the king and the queen-mother,
"Come down off your high horses.
Your dazzling crowns
will tumble off your heads."
The villages in the Negev will be surrounded,
And Judah dragged off to exile,
the whole country dragged to oblivion.
20-22Look, look, Jerusalem!
Look at the enemies coming out of the north!
What will become of your flocks of people,
the beautiful flocks in your care?
How are you going to feel when the people
you've played up to, looked up to all these years
Now look down on you? You didn't expect this?
Surprise! The pain of a woman having a baby!
Do I hear you saying,
"What's going on here? Why me?"
The answer's simple: You're guilty,
Your guilt has your life endangered,
your guilt has you writhing in pain.
23Can an African change skin?
Can a leopard get rid of its spots?
So what are the odds on you doing good,
you who are so long-practiced in evil?
24-27"I'll blow these people away—
like wind-blown leaves.
You have it coming to you.
I've measured it out precisely."
"It's because you forgot me
and embraced the Big Lie,
that so-called god Baal.
I'm the one who will rip off your clothes,
expose and shame you before the watching world.
Your obsessions with gods, gods, and more gods,
your goddess affairs, your god-adulteries.
Gods on the hills, gods in the fields—
every time I look you're off with another god.
O Jerusalem, what a sordid life!
Is there any hope for you!"