False Gods Are Useless
1 The Lord says, “Bel has fallen to the ground. Nebo* Nebo A false god of Babylon. is kneeling before me.
“Men put those idols on the backs of animals. They are only heavy burdens that must be carried. They do nothing but make people tired. 2 But they all bowed down and fell to the ground. They couldn’t escape; they were all carried away like prisoners.
3 “Family of Jacob, listen to me! You who are left from the family of Israel, listen! I have carried you since you left your mother’s womb. I carried you when you were born, 4 and I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety.
5 “Can you compare me to anyone? No one is equal to me. You cannot understand everything about me. There is nothing like me. 6 Some people are rich with gold and silver. Gold falls from their purses, and they weigh their silver on scales. They pay an artist to make a false god from wood. Then they bow down and worship that false god. 7 They put their false god on their shoulders and carry it. That false god is useless; people have to carry it! People set the statue on the ground, and it cannot move. That false god never walks away from its place. People can yell at it, but it will not answer. That false god is only a statue; it cannot save people from their troubles.
8 “Sinners, change your heart and mind. Think about this again. Remember it and be strong. 9 Remember what happened long ago. Remember, I am God and there is no other God. There is no other like me.
10 “In the beginning, I told you what would happen in the end. A long time ago, I told you things that have not happened yet. When I plan something, it happens. I do whatever I want to do. 11 I am calling a man from the east to do what I want. He will come like an eagle from a faraway country. He will do all that I have planned. Everything I said will happen just as I said it would.
12 “Listen to me, you stubborn† stubborn Literally, “mighty of heart.” people! You are far from doing what is right. 13 But I am close to making things right. Salvation will not be delayed much longer. I will bring salvation to Zion and to my wonderful Israel.”