My words will be italicized wherever they appear. Should the Bible be italicized near my words, I’ll do something to differentiate them.
Sins Are Piled Sky-High
1-2 “Patrol Jerusalem’s streets.
Look around. Take note.
Search the market squares.
See if you can find one man, one woman,
A single soul who does what is right
and tries to live a true life.
I want to forgive that person.”
“But if all they do is say, ‘As sure as God lives . . . ’
they’re nothing but a bunch of liars.”
And that’s why Jesus came…
3-6 But you, God,
you have an eye for truth, don’t you?
You hit them hard, but it didn’t faze them.
You disciplined them, but they refused correction.
Hardheaded, harder than rock,
they wouldn’t change.
Then I said to myself, “Well, these are just poor people.
They don’t know any better.
They were never taught anything about God.
They never went to prayer meetings.
I’ll find some people from the best families.
I’ll talk to them.
They’ll know what’s going on, the way God works.
They’ll know the score.”
But they were no better! Rebels all!
Off doing their own thing.
The invaders are ready to pounce and kill,
like a mountain lion, a wilderness wolf,
Panthers on the prowl.
The streets aren’t safe anymore.
And why? Because the people’s sins are piled sky-high;
their betrayals are past counting.
Success or goodness or religion do not prevent ppl from disregarding God…
7-9 “Why should I even bother with you any longer?
Your children wander off, leaving me,
Taking up with gods
that aren’t even gods.
I satisfied their deepest needs, and then they went off with the ‘sacred’ whores,
left me for orgies in sex shrines!
A bunch of well-groomed, lusty stallions,
each one pawing and snorting for his neighbor’s wife.
Do you think I’m going to stand around and do nothing?”
“Don’t you think I’ll take serious measures
against a people like this?
Eyes That Don’t Really Look, Ears That Don’t Really Listen
10-11 “Go down the rows of vineyards and rip out the vines,
but not all of them. Leave a few.
Prune back those vines!
That growth didn’t come from God!
They’ve betrayed me over and over again,
Judah and Israel both.”
I mentioned the vines in Isaiah. A symbol of life that shows up a lot. And the fruit of the vine was involved in the first miracle Jesus performed (John 2:1-11). Here this life was displeasing and not from God. Such a shame.
12-13 “They’ve spread lies about God.
They’ve said, ‘There’s nothing to him.
Nothing bad will happen to us,
neither famine nor war will come our way.
The prophets are all windbags.
They speak nothing but nonsense.’”
Can you imagine? Being the God who made them, delivered them after they got themselves in trouble time and time again, performed miracles for them and their ancestors, and this is what they do?! No wonder there was silence for hundreds of years between the Old and New Testaments…
14 Therefore, this is what God said to me, God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
“Because they have talked this way,
they are going to eat those words.
Watch now! I’m putting my words
as fire in your mouth.
And the people are a pile of kindling
ready to go up in flames.
Fire is a thing too. Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3:2). Shut up in Jeremiah’s bones (Jeremiah 20:9). The way the Holy Ghost sat on those in the upper room (Acts 2:3). And many other instances I can’t recall without a search…
15-17 “Attention! I’m bringing a far-off nation
against you, O house of Israel.”
“A solid nation,
an ancient nation,
A nation that speaks another language.
You won’t understand a word they say.
When they aim their arrows, you’re as good as dead.
They’re a nation of real fighters!
They’ll clean you out of house and home,
rob you of crops and children alike.
They’ll feast on your sheep and cattle,
strip your vines and fig trees.
And the fortresses that made you feel so safe—
leveled with a stroke of the sword!
18-19 “Even then, as bad as it will be”—God’s Decree!—“it will not be the end of the world for you. And when people ask, ‘Why did our God do all this to us?’ you must say to them, ‘This is back on you. Just as you left me and served foreign gods in your own country, so now you must serve foreigners in their own country.’
20-25 “Tell the house of Jacob this,
put out this bulletin in Judah:
Listen to this,
you scatterbrains, airheads,
With eyes that see but don’t really look,
and ears that hear but don’t really listen.
Why don’t you honor me?
Why aren’t you in awe before me?
Yes, me, who made the shorelines
to contain the ocean waters.
I drew a line in the sand
that cannot be crossed.
Waves roll in but cannot get through;
breakers crash but that’s the end of them.
But this people—what a people!
Uncontrollable, untamable runaways.
It never occurs to them to say,
‘How can we honor our God with our lives,
The God who gives rain in both spring and autumn
and maintains the rhythm of the seasons,
Who sets aside time each year for harvest
and keeps everything running smoothly for us?’
Of course you don’t! Your bad behavior blinds you to all this.
Your sins keep my blessings at a distance.
I scoffed. Scatterbrains and airheads…🤦🏾♀️🤣😂 I feel Him. How?
To Stand for Nothing and Stand Up for No One
26-29 “My people are infiltrated by wicked men,
unscrupulous men on the hunt.
They set traps for the unsuspecting.
Their victims are innocent men and women.
Their houses are stuffed with ill-gotten gain,
like a hunter’s bag full of birds.
Pretentious and powerful and rich,
hugely obese, oily with rolls of fat.
Worse, they have no conscience.
Right and wrong mean nothing to them.
They stand for nothing, stand up for no one,
throw orphans to the wolves, exploit the poor.
Do you think I’ll stand by and do nothing about this?”
“Don’t you think I’ll take serious measures
against a people like this?
Lord help this not to be me. Grateful for grace n mercy. Sheesh.
30-31 “Unspeakable! Sickening!
What’s happened in this country?
Prophets preach lies
and priests hire on as their assistants.
And my people love it. They eat it up!
But what will you do when it’s time to pick up the pieces?”
Uh is this BC or 2021 👀👀👀
A City Full of Lies
1-5 “Run for your lives, children of Benjamin!
Get out of Jerusalem, and now!
Give a blast on the ram’s horn in Blastville.
Send up smoke signals from Smoketown.
Doom pours out of the north—
I have likened my dear daughter Zion
to a lovely meadow.
Well, now ‘shepherds’ from the north have discovered her
and brought in their flocks of soldiers.
They’ve pitched camp all around her,
and plan where they’ll ‘graze.’
And then, ‘Prepare to attack! The fight is on!
To arms! We’ll strike at noon!
Oh, it’s too late? Day is dying?
Evening shadows are upon us?
Well, up anyway! We’ll attack by night
and tear apart her defenses stone by stone.’”
They were coming no matter what!
6-8 God-of-the-Angel-Armies gave the orders:
“Chop down her trees.
Build a siege ramp against Jerusalem,
A city full of brutality,
bursting with violence.
Just as a well holds a good supply of water,
she supplies wickedness nonstop.
The streets echo the cries: ‘Violence! Rape!’
Victims, bleeding and moaning, lie all over the place.
You’re in deep trouble, Jerusalem.
You’ve pushed me to the limit.
You’re on the brink of being wiped out,
being turned into a ghost town.”
If you could see my face.
9 More orders from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
“Time’s up! Harvest the grapes for judgment.
Salvage what’s left of Israel.
Go back over the vines.
Pick them clean, every last grape.
Is Anybody Listening?
10-11 “I’ve got something to say. Is anybody listening?
I’ve a warning to post. Will anyone notice?
It’s hopeless! Their ears are stuffed with wax—
deaf as a post, blind as a bat.
It’s hopeless! They’ve tuned out God.
They don’t want to hear from me.
But I’m bursting with the wrath of God.
I can’t hold it in much longer.
Deaf as a post blind as a bat. But how many thought they were hearing and seeing God? How many of us???….
11-12 “So dump it on the children in the streets.
Let it loose on the gangs of youth.
For no one’s exempt: Husbands and wives will be taken,
the old and those ready to die;
Their homes will be given away—
all they own, even their loved ones—
When I give the signal
against all who live in this country.”
Judgment is coming for us too. It’s already arrived for some of us. We have not learned but we call ourselves Bible believing, Bible lead Christians…
13-15 “Everyone’s after the dishonest dollar,
little people and big people alike.
Prophets and priests and everyone in between
twist words and doctor truth.
My people are broken—shattered!—
and they put on Band-Aids,
Saying, ‘It’s not so bad. You’ll be just fine.’
But things are not ‘just fine’!
Do you suppose they are embarrassed
over this outrage?
No, they have no shame.
They don’t even know how to blush.
There’s no hope for them. They’ve hit bottom
and there’s no getting up.
As far as I’m concerned,
God has spoken.
I’ve been talking about greedy, capitalist America a lot lately. Huh. Not here of course. But still… The accuracy of today in this portion
Death Is on the Prowl
16-20 God’s Message yet again:
“Go stand at the crossroads and look around.
Ask for directions to the old road,
The tried-and-true road. Then take it.
Discover the right route for your souls.
But they said, ‘Nothing doing.
We aren’t going that way.’
I even provided watchmen for them
to warn them, to set off the alarm.
But the people said, ‘It’s a false alarm.
It doesn’t concern us.’
And so I’m calling in the nations as witnesses:
‘Watch, witnesses, what happens to them!’
And, ‘Pay attention, Earth!
Don’t miss these bulletins.’
I’m visiting catastrophe on this people, the end result
of the games they’ve been playing with me.
They’ve ignored everything I’ve said,
had nothing but contempt for my teaching.
What would I want with incense brought in from Sheba,
rare spices from exotic places?
Your burnt sacrifices in worship give me no pleasure.
Your religious rituals mean nothing to me.”
21 So listen to this. Here’s God’s verdict on your way of life:
“Watch out! I’m putting roadblocks and barriers
on the road you’re taking.
They’ll send you sprawling,
parents and children, neighbors and friends—
and that will be the end of the lot of you.”
My eyes 👀.
22-23 And listen to this verdict from God:
“Look out! An invasion from the north,
a mighty power on the move from a faraway place:
Armed to the teeth,
vicious and pitiless,
Booming like sea storm and thunder—tramp, tramp, tramp—
riding hard on war horses,
In battle formation
against you, dear Daughter Zion!”
24-25 We’ve heard the news,
and we’re as limp as wet dishrags.
We’re paralyzed with fear.
Terror has a death grip on our throats.
Don’t dare go outdoors!
Don’t leave the house!
Death is on the prowl.
26 “Dear Daughter Zion: Dress in black.
Blacken your face with ashes.
Weep most bitterly,
as for an only child.
The countdown has begun . . .
six, five, four, three . . .
The Terror is on us!”
Yoooo. He was playing no games. And He’s not gonna play any with us when we know better and profess Him without acing like we know Him.
27-30 God gave me this task:
“I have made you the examiner of my people,
to examine and weigh their lives.
They’re a thickheaded, hard-nosed bunch,
rotten to the core, the lot of them.
Refining fires are cranked up to white heat,
but the ore stays a lump, unchanged.
It’s useless to keep trying any longer.
Nothing can refine evil out of them.
Men will give up and call them ‘slag,’
thrown on the slag heap by me, their God.”
Thickheaded, hard-nosed bunch, rotten to the core. His way with words… What a way to end the chapter.
All I had as a draft was the title. Ima see what I come up with.
Words matter. Sentence structure matters. Semantics. The English language is one of the hardest to learn for a person for whom English is not their first language. So many words sound the same but are spelled the same. The silent letters. The rules. Sure, for English speakers, other languages may be difficult. I learned Spanish. Their rules make a lot more sense than some of those I remember from my English classes. There are a multitude, a litany of exceptions for our words. For the most part, Spanish rules are pretty constant.
Lissen. Those last couple of sentences are sending me somewhere I cannot go. Lol. Just ponder them and see what you come up with. 😉
The Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). James 3 is a whole situation about the tongue and our mouths. He talks about how small they are and how much fire they can kindle. The thing that I thought of is his question in verse 11: Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter.
When reading it to put a couple of other things here I was also reminded of verses 9 and 10: Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
God spoke and created the earth. Go catch that first chapter of Genesis. Throughout the ENTIRE Bible, the words, promises of God and His vessels, Jesus shift lives and entire nations. Over and over again.
My thing is this. God breathed His breath into man in Genesis. Jesus promised us power to do greater works he did (John 14:12). He stated that things could be spoken to or spoke to them (fig tree, mountains, demons, wind and sea). So, if God spoke, Jesus spoke and promised us greater works than him, if we speak, we have the ability to have what we say.
It is so very crucial as believers to only speak positively and what God says. When I say what God says, I mean speak His word. The Bible. And, if He speaks to you personally, say that as well. Saying what God says isn’t 100% literal though. We have to speak well of, about, and to each other. With kind words. That is the essence of His Word and those who wrote under His inspiration.
Many of us were called things contrary to the plan of God for our lives. Many of us were called things contrary to who God made us. People didn’t know better or they passed their issues onto us. Some of us began to become what others said we were. Some of us began to call ourselves what others called us.
I thought about that thang one day. And you know what I did? I put the Word on it! I bound it because Jesus said what I bind on earth would be bound in heaven. I loosed what God thinks, what He says because he said what I loose on earth would be loosed in heaven (all bof of em are Matthew 18:18). I cursed it at the root and sent it back to the pit of hell where it belongs (churchy phrase with likely origins to that fig tree mentioned abouve).
I submit to you today, that if you are struggling with your words, study to be quiet (1 Thessalonians 4:11). Study the Word. Say things the way they should be said and say only what should be said. Not idle, wasteful things. I’m working on this myself as I believe I stated elsewhere.
I don’t know where I heard this the first time. I have an interesting thing with friends.
I believe part of it stems from the lack of attention and care I received from those who should have provided it.
A lot of people are talking about how dumpster fire 2020 exposed who is and isn’t for you.
But Ima be honest, I’ve been evaluating people’s positions in my life for years.
I’ve dropped people and picked them back up.
I’ve dropped people and not picked them back up.
I’ve dropped people and then was rejected when I tried to pick them back up.
I honestly should have left some people dropped. I question my judgment when losing people who were in my life that I care about.
Reasons, seasons lifetimes. Or. Tyler Perry-branches, leaves, roots. It’s hard for me to commit to the distinctions deserved.
2021 is gonna be…I can’t put into words what I believe it will be.
Seven represents completion in the Bible. God was done with creation and rested on the seventh day. 21 is a multiple of seven.
So, I believe some of what He started this year and stuff from times past is going to be completed next year. The Bible says he that has begun a good work will be completed…Philippians 1:6
I am excited!
I also realize the need to keep my circle small based on where I’m going.
I am super outgoing and wanna be friends with nice people I meet.
Ion have time for that right now. I got business to tend to. I need to focus on that rather than taking the time to cultivate new friendships.
Now, if God drops a miracle, sign, or wonder and leads me to befriend someone, sure.
However, he had 12 disciples and chose three to be present for certain circumstances. My perfect example had a tight circle. Ima rock with that and match his energy.