"Listen to this, you cows of Bashan grazing on the slopes of Samaria. You women! Mean to the poor, cruel to the down-and-out! Indolent and pampered, you demand of your husbands, 'Bring us a tall, cool drink!'
"This is serious - I, God, have sworn by my holiness! Be well warned: Judgment Day is coming! They're going to rope you up and haul you off, keep the stragglers in line with cattle prods.
They'll drag you through the ruined city walls, forcing you out single file, And kick you to kingdom come." God's Decree.
"Come along to Bethel and sin! And then to Gilgal and sin some more! Bring your sacrifices for morning worship. Every third day bring your tithe.
Burn pure sacrifices - thank offerings. Speak up - announce freewill offerings! That's the sort of religious show you Israelites just love." God's Decree.
"You know, don't you, that I'm the One who emptied your pantries and cleaned out your cupboards, Who left you hungry and standing in bread lines? But you never got hungry for me. You continued to ignore me." God's Decree.
"Yes, and I'm the One who stopped the rains three months short of harvest. I'd make it rain on one village but not on another. I'd make it rain on one field but not on another - and that one would dry up.
People would stagger from village to village crazed for water and never quenching their thirst. But you never got thirsty for me. You ignored me." God's Decree.
"I hit your crops with disease and withered your orchards and gardens. Locusts devoured your olive and fig trees, but you continued to ignore me." God's Decree.
"I revisited you with the old Egyptian plagues, killed your choice young men and prize horses. The stink of rot in your camps was so strong that you held your noses - But you didn't notice me. You continued to ignore me." God's Decree.
"I hit you with earthquake and fire, left you devastated like Sodom and Gomorrah. You were like a burning stick snatched from the flames. But you never looked my way. You continued to ignore me." God's Decree.
"All this I have done to you, Israel, and this is why I have done it. Time's up, O Israel! Prepare to meet your God!"
Look who's here: Mountain-Shaper! Wind-Maker! He laid out the whole plot before Adam. He brings everything out of nothing, like dawn out of darkness. He strides across the alpine ridges. His name is God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
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)