God's Message to me: "Go stand in the People's Gate, the one used by Judah's kings as they come and go, and then proceed in turn to all the gates of Jerusalem.
Tell them: 'Listen, you kings of Judah, listen to God's Message - and all you people who go in and out of these gates, you listen!
"'This is God's Message. Be careful, if you care about your lives, not to desecrate the Sabbath by turning it into just another workday, lugging stuff here and there.
Don't use the Sabbath to do business as usual. Keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors.
They never did it, as you know. They paid no attention to what I said and went about their own business, refusing to be guided or instructed by me.
"'But now, take seriously what I tell you. Quit desecrating the Sabbath by busily going about your own work, and keep the Sabbath day holy by not doing business as usual.
Then kings from the time of David and their officials will continue to ride through these gates on horses or in chariots. The people of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem will continue to pass through them, too. Jerusalem will always be filled with people.
People will stream in from all over Judah, from the province of Benjamin, from the Jerusalem suburbs, from foothills and mountains and deserts. They'll come to worship, bringing all kinds of offerings - animals, grains, incense, expressions of thanks - into the Sanctuary of God.
"'But if you won't listen to me, won't keep the Sabbath holy, won't quit using the Sabbath for doing your own work, busily going in and out of the city gates on your self-important business, then I'll burn the gates down. In fact, I'll burn the whole city down, palaces and all, with a fire nobody will be able to put out!'"
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)