our lives are laid open before you:
rescue us from the chaos of sin
and through the death of your Son
bring us healing and make us whole
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Is Israel a slave? Is he a home-born servant?
Why then has he become plunder?
The lions have roared against him,
they have roared loudly.
They have made his land a waste;
his cities are in ruins, without inhabitant.
Moreover, the people of Memphis and Tahpanhes
have broken the crown of your head.
Have you not brought this upon yourself
by forsaking the Lord your God,
while he led you in the way?
What then do you gain by going to Egypt,
to drink the waters of the Nile?
Or what do you gain by going to Assyria,
to drink the waters of the Euphrates?
Your wickedness will punish you,
and your apostasies will convict you.
Know and see that it is evil and bitter
for you to forsake the Lord your God;
the fear of me is not in you,
says the Lord God of hosts.
For long ago you broke your yoke
and burst your bonds,
and you said, ‘I will not serve!’
On every high hill
and under every green tree
you sprawled and played the whore.
Yet I planted you as a choice vine,
from the purest stock.
How then did you turn degenerate
and become a wild vine?
Though you wash yourself with lye
and use much soap,
the stain of your guilt is still before me,
says the Lord God.
How can you say, ‘I am not defiled,
I have not gone after the Baals’?
Look at your way in the valley;
know what you have done—
a restive young camel interlacing her tracks,
a wild ass at home in the wilderness,
in her heat sniffing the wind!
Who can restrain her lust?
None who seek her need weary themselves;
in her month they will find her.
Keep your feet from going unshod
and your throat from thirst.
But you said, ‘It is hopeless,
for I have loved strangers,
and after them I will go.’
As a thief is shamed when caught,
so the house of Israel shall be shamed—
they, their kings, their officials,
their priests, and their prophets,
who say to a tree, ‘You are my father’,
and to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
For they have turned their backs to me,
and not their faces.
But in the time of their trouble they say,
‘Come and save us!’
But where are your gods
that you made for yourself?
Let them come, if they can save you,
in your time of trouble;
for you have as many gods
as you have towns, O Judah.
Why do you complain against me?
You have all rebelled against me,
says the Lord.
In vain I have struck down your children;
they accepted no correction.
Your own sword devoured your prophets
like a ravening lion.
And you, O generation, behold the word of the Lord!
Have I been a wilderness to Israel,
or a land of thick darkness?
Why then do my people say, ‘We are free,
we will come to you no more’?
Can a girl forget her ornaments,
or a bride her attire?
Yet my people have forgotten me,
days without number.
I cry aloud to God;
I cry aloud to God and he will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I have sought the Lord;
by night my hand is stretched out and does not tire;
my soul refuses comfort.
I think upon God and I groan;
I ponder, and my spirit faints.
You will not let my eyelids close;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old;
I remember the years long past;
I commune with my heart in the night;
my spirit searches for understanding.
Will the Lord cast us off for ever?
Will he no more show us his favour?
Has his loving mercy clean gone for ever?
Has his promise come to an end for evermore?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he shut up his compassion in displeasure?
And I said, ‘My grief is this:
that the right hand of the Most High has lost its strength.’
I will remember the works of the Lord
and call to mind your wonders of old time.
I will meditate on all your works
and ponder your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy;
who is so great a god as our God?
You are the God who worked wonders
and declared your power among the peoples.
With a mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the children of Jacob and Joseph.
The waters saw you, O God;
the waters saw you and were afraid;
the depths also were troubled.
The clouds poured out water; the skies thundered;
your arrows flashed on every side;
The voice of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
your lightnings lit up the ground;
the earth trembled and shook.
Your way was in the sea, and your paths in the great waters,
but your footsteps were not known.
You led your people like sheep
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.