Ezekiel 34-36 The Message Bible

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The Prophecy against the Shepherds of Israel

34 1  God's Message came to me: 6  Scattered - my sheep! - exposed and vulnerable across mountains and hills. My sheep scattered all over the world, and no one out looking for them!

7  "'Therefore, shepherds, listen to the Message of God: 9  listen to what God has to say: 10  "'Watch out! I'm coming down on the shepherds and taking my sheep back. They're fired as shepherds of my sheep. No more shepherds who just feed themselves! I'll rescue my sheep from their greed. They're not going to feed off my sheep any longer! 11  "'God, the Master, says: From now on, I myself am the shepherd. I'm going looking for them. 12  As shepherds go after their flocks when they get scattered, I'm going after my sheep. I'll rescue them from all the places they've been scattered to in the storms. 13  I'll bring them back from foreign peoples, gather them from foreign countries, and bring them back to their home country. I'll feed them on the mountains of Israel, along the streams, among their own people. 14  I'll lead them into lush pasture so they can roam the mountain pastures of Israel, graze at leisure, feed in the rich pastures on the mountains of Israel. 15  And I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep. I myself will make sure they get plenty of rest. 16  I'll go after the lost, I'll collect the strays, I'll doctor the injured, I'll build up the weak ones and oversee the strong ones so they're not exploited.

17  "'And as for you, my dear flock, I'm stepping in and judging between one sheep and another, between rams and goats. 18  Aren't you satisfied to feed in good pasture without taking over the whole place? Can't you be satisfied to drink from the clear stream without muddying the water with your feet? 19  Why do the rest of my sheep have to make do with grass that's trampled down and water that's been muddied? 20  "'Therefore, God, the Master, says: I myself am stepping in and making things right between the plump sheep and the skinny sheep. 21  Because you forced your way with shoulder and rump and butted at all the weaker animals with your horns till you scattered them all over the hills, 22  I'll come in and save my dear flock, no longer let them be pushed around. I'll step in and set things right between one sheep and another. 23  "'I'll appoint one shepherd over them all: my servant David. He'll feed them. He'll be their shepherd. 24  And I, God, will be their God. My servant David will be their prince. I, God, have spoken. 25  "'I'll make a covenant of peace with them. I'll banish fierce animals from the country so the sheep can live safely in the wilderness and sleep in the forest. 26  I'll make them and everything around my hill a blessing. I'll send down plenty of rain in season - showers of blessing! 27  The trees in the orchards will bear fruit, the ground will produce, they'll feel content and safe on their land, and they'll realize that I am God when I break them out of their slavery and rescue them from their slave masters. 28  "'No longer will they be exploited by outsiders and ravaged by fierce beasts. They'll live safe and sound, fearless and free. 29  I'll give them rich gardens, lavish in vegetables - no more living half-starved, no longer taunted by outsiders. 30  "'They'll know, beyond doubting, that I, God, am their God, that I'm with them and that they, the people Israel, are my people. Decree of God, the Master: 31  You are my dear flock, the flock of my pasture, my human flock, And I am your God. Decree of God, the Master.'" 42  "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherd-leaders of Israel. Yes, prophesy! Tell those shepherds, 'God, the Master, says: Doom to you shepherds of Israel, feeding your own mouths! Aren't shepherds supposed to feed sheep? 43  You drink the milk, you make clothes from the wool, you roast the lambs, but you don't feed the sheep. 44  You don't build up the weak ones, don't heal the sick, don't doctor the injured, don't go after the strays, don't look for the lost. You bully and badger them. 45  And now they're scattered every which way because there was no shepherd - scattered and easy pickings for wolves and coyotes. 48  As sure as I am the living God - Decree of God, the Master - because my sheep have been turned into mere prey, into easy meals for wolves because you shepherds ignored them and only fed yourselves,

The Prophecy against Mount Seir

35 1  God's Message came to me: 2  "Son of man, confront Mount Seir. Prophesy against it! 3  Tell them, 'God, the Master, says: "'I'm coming down hard on you, Mount Seir. I'm stepping in and turning you to a pile of rubble. 4  I'll reduce your towns to piles of rocks. There'll be nothing left of you. Then you'll realize that I am God. 5  "'I'm doing this because you've kept this age-old grudge going against Israel: You viciously attacked them when they were already down, looking their final punishment in the face. 6  Therefore, as sure as I am the living God, I'm lining you up for a real bloodbath. Since you loved blood so much, you'll be chased by rivers of blood. 7  I'll reduce Mount Seir to a heap of rubble. No one will either come or go from that place! 8  I'll blanket your mountains with corpses. Massacred bodies will cover your hills and fill up your valleys and ditches. 9  I'll reduce you to ruins and all your towns will be ghost towns - population zero. Then you'll realize that I am God.

10  "'Because you said, "These two nations, these two countries, are mine. I'm taking over" (even though God is right there watching, right there listening), 11  I'll turn your hate-bloated anger and rage right back on you. You'll know I mean business when I bring judgment on you. 12  You'll realize then that I, God, have overheard all the vile abuse you've poured out against the mountains of Israel, saying, "They're roadkill and we're going to eat them up." 13  You've strutted around, talking so big, insolently pitting yourselves against me. And I've heard it all. 14  "'This is the verdict of God, the Master: With the whole earth applauding, I'll demolish you. 15  Since you danced in the streets, thinking it was so wonderful when Israel's inheritance was demolished, I'll give you the same treatment: demolition. Mount Seir demolished - yes, every square inch of Edom. Then they'll realize that I am God!'

The Future Restoration of Israel

36 1  "And now, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel. Say, 'Mountains of Israel, listen to God's Message. 2  God, the Master, says, Because the enemy crowed over you, "Good! Those old hills are now ours!" 3  now here is a prophecy in the name of God, the Master: Because nations came at you from all sides, ripping and plundering, hauling pieces of you off every which way, and you've become the butt of cheap gossip and jokes, 4  therefore, Mountains of Israel, listen to the Message of God, the Master. My Message to mountains and hills, to ditches and valleys, to the heaps of rubble and the emptied towns that are looted for plunder and turned into jokes by all the surrounding nations: 5  Therefore, says God, the Master, now I'm speaking in a fiery rage against the rest of the nations, but especially against Edom, who in an orgy of violence and shameless insolence robbed me of my land, grabbed it for themselves.' 6  "Therefore prophesy over the land of Israel, preach to the mountains and hills, to every ditch and valley: 'The Message of God, the Master: Look! Listen! I'm angry - and I care. I'm speaking to you because you've been humiliated among the nations. 7  Therefore I, God, the Master, am telling you that I've solemnly sworn that the nations around you are next. It's their turn to be humiliated. 8  "'But you, Mountains of Israel, will burst with new growth, putting out branches and bearing fruit for my people Israel. My people are coming home! 9  Do you see? I'm back again. I'm on your side. You'll be plowed and planted as before! 10  I'll see to it that your population grows all over Israel, that the towns fill up with people, that the ruins are rebuilt. 11  I'll make this place teem with life - human and animal. The country will burst into life, life, and more life, your towns and villages full of people just as in the old days. I'll treat you better than I ever have. And you'll realize that I am God. 12  I'll put people over you - my own people Israel! They'll take care of you and you'll be their inheritance. Never again will you be a harsh and unforgiving land to them. 13  "'God, the Master, says: Because you have a reputation of being a land that eats people alive and makes women barren, 14  I'm now telling you that you'll never eat people alive again nor make women barren. Decree of God, the Master. 15  And I'll never again let the taunts of outsiders be heard over you nor permit nations to look down on you. You'll no longer be a land that makes women barren. Decree of God, the Master.'"

16  God's Message came to me: 17  "Son of man, when the people of Israel lived in their land, they polluted it by the way they lived. I poured out my anger on them because of the polluted blood they poured out on the ground. 18  And so I got thoroughly angry with them polluting the country with their wanton murders and dirty gods. 19  I kicked them out, exiled them to other countries. I sentenced them according to how they had lived. 20  Wherever they went, they gave me a bad name. People said, 'These are God's people, but they got kicked off his land.' 21  I suffered much pain over my holy reputation, which the people of Israel blackened in every country they entered. 22  "Therefore, tell Israel, 'Message of God, the Master: I'm not doing this for you, Israel. I'm doing it for me, to save my character, my holy name, which you've blackened in every country where you've gone. 23  I'm going to put my great and holy name on display, the name that has been ruined in so many countries, the name that you blackened wherever you went. Then the nations will realize who I really am, that I am God, when I show my holiness through you so that they can see it with their own eyes. 24  "'For here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land.

25  I'll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. 26  I'll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I'll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that's God-willed, not self-willed. 27  I'll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. 28  You'll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You'll be my people! I'll be your God! 29  "'I'll pull you out of that stinking pollution. I'll give personal orders to the wheat fields, telling them to grow bumper crops. I'll send no more famines. 30  I'll make sure your fruit trees and field crops flourish. Other nations won't be able to hold you in contempt again because of famine. 31  "'And then you'll think back over your terrible lives - the evil, the shame - and be thoroughly disgusted with yourselves, realizing how badly you've lived - all those obscenities you've carried out. 32  "'I'm not doing this for you. Get this through your thick heads! Shame on you. What a mess you made of things, Israel! 33  "'Message of God, the Master: On the day I scrub you clean from all your filthy living, I'll also make your cities livable. The ruins will be rebuilt. 34  The neglected land will be worked again, no longer overgrown with weeds and thistles, worthless in the eyes of passersby. 35  People will exclaim, "Why, this weed patch has been turned into a Garden of Eden! And the ruined cities, smashed into oblivion, are now thriving!" 36  The nations around you that are still in existence will realize that I, God, rebuild ruins and replant empty waste places. I, God, said so, and I'll do it. 37  "'Message of God, the Master: Yet again I'm going to do what Israel asks. I'll increase their population as with a flock of sheep. 38  Like the milling flocks of sheep brought for sacrifices in Jerusalem during the appointed feasts, the ruined cities will be filled with flocks of people. And they'll realize that I am God.'"

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