The Lord Sets His People Free
1People of Israel, the Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you.
His ears aren’t too deaf to hear your cry for help.
2But your sins have separated you from your God.
They have caused him to turn his face away from you.
So he won’t listen to you.
3Your hands and fingers are stained with blood.
You are guilty of committing murder.
Your mouth has told lies.
Your tongue says evil things.
4People aren’t fair when they present cases in court.
They aren’t honest when they state their case.
They depend on weak arguments. They tell lies.
They plan to make trouble.
Then they carry it out.
5The plans they make are like the eggs of poisonous snakes.
Anyone who eats those eggs will die.
When one of them is broken, a snake comes out.
6Those people weave their evil plans together like a spider’s web.
But the webs they make can’t be used as clothes.
They can’t cover themselves with what they make.
Their acts are evil.
They do things to harm others.
7They are always in a hurry to sin.
They run quickly to murder those who aren’t guilty.
They love to think up evil plans.
They leave a trail of harmful actions.
8They don’t know how to live at peace with others.
What they do isn’t fair.
They lead twisted lives.
No one who lives like that will enjoy peace and rest.
9We aren’t being treated fairly.
We haven’t been set free yet.
The God who always does what is right
hasn’t come to help us.
We look for light, but we see nothing but darkness.
We look for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
10Like blind people we feel our way along the wall.
We are like those who can’t see.
At noon we trip and fall as if the sun had already set.
Compared to those who are healthy, we are like dead people.
11All of us growl like hungry bears.
We sound like doves as we mourn.
We want the Lord to do what is fair and save us.
But he doesn’t do it.
We long for him to set us free.
But the time for that seems far away.
12That’s because we’ve done so many things he considers wrong.
Our sins prove that we are guilty.
The wrong things we’ve done are always troubling us.
We admit that we have sinned.
13We’ve refused to obey the Lord.
We’ve made evil plans against him.
We’ve turned our backs on our God.
We’ve stirred up conflict and refused to follow him.
We’ve told lies that came from our own minds.
14So people stop others from doing what is fair.
They keep them from doing what is right.
No one tells the truth in court anymore.
No one is honest there.
15In fact, truth can’t be found anywhere.
Those who refuse to do evil are attacked.
The Lord sees that people aren’t treating others fairly.
That makes him unhappy.
16He sees that there is no one who helps his people.
He is shocked that no one stands up for them.
So he will use his own powerful arm to save them.
He has the strength to do it because he is holy.
17He will put the armor of holiness on his chest.
He’ll put the helmet of salvation on his head.
He’ll pay people back for the wrong things they do.
He’ll wrap himself in anger as if it were a coat.
18He will pay his enemies back for what they have done.
He’ll pour his anger out on them.
He’ll punish those who attack him.
He’ll give the people in the islands what they have coming to them.
19People in the west will show respect for the Lord’s name.
People in the east will worship him because of his glory.
The Lord will come like a rushing river that was held back.
His breath will drive it along.
20“I set my people free. I will come to Mount Zion.
I will come to those in Jacob’s family who turn away from their sins,”
announces the Lord.
21“Here is the covenant I will make with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit is on you and will not leave you. I have put my words in your mouth. They will never leave your mouth. And they will never leave the mouths of your children or their children after them. That will be true for all time to come,” says the Lord.