Unlucky mother - that you had me as a son, given the unhappy job of indicting the whole country! I've never hurt or harmed a soul, and yet everyone is out to get me.
But, God knows, I've done everything I could to help them, prayed for them and against their enemies. I've always been on their side, trying to stave off disaster. God knows how I've tried!
"O Israel, O Judah, what are your chances against the iron juggernaut from the north?
In punishment for your sins, I'm giving away everything you've got, giving it away for nothing.
I'll make you slaves to your enemies in a strange and far-off land. My anger is blazing and fierce, burning in hot judgment against you."
You know where I am, God! Remember what I'm doing here! Take my side against my detractors. Don't stand back while they ruin me. Just look at the abuse I'm taking!
When your words showed up, I ate them - swallowed them whole. What a feast! What delight I took in being yours, O God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
I never joined the party crowd in their laughter and their fun. Led by you, I went off by myself. You'd filled me with indignation. Their sin had me seething.
But why, why this chronic pain, this ever worsening wound and no healing in sight? You're nothing, God, but a mirage, a lovely oasis in the distance - and then nothing!
This is how God answered me: "Take back those words, and I'll take you back. Then you'll stand tall before me. Use words truly and well. Don't stoop to cheap whining. Then, but only then, you'll speak for me. Let your words change them. Don't change your words to suit them.
I'll turn you into a steel wall, a thick steel wall, impregnable. They'll attack you but won't put a dent in you because I'm at your side, defending and delivering." God's Decree.
"I'll deliver you from the grip of the wicked. I'll get you out of the clutch of the ruthless."
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)