He told me, "Son of man, eat what you see. Eat this book. Then go and speak to the family of Israel."
As I opened my mouth, he gave me the scroll to eat,
saying, "Son of man, eat this book that I am giving you. Make a full meal of it!" So I ate it. It tasted so good - just like honey.
Then he told me, "Son of man, go to the family of Israel and speak my Message.
Look, I'm not sending you to a people who speak a hard-to-learn language with words you can hardly pronounce.
If I had sent you to such people, their ears would have perked up and they would have listened immediately.
"But it won't work that way with the family of Israel. They won't listen to you because they won't listen to me. They are, as I said, a hard case, hardened in their sin.
But I'll make you as hard in your way as they are in theirs.
I'll make your face as hard as rock, harder than granite. Don't let them intimidate you. Don't be afraid of them, even though they're a bunch of rebels."
Then he said, "Son of man, get all these words that I'm giving you inside you. Listen to them obediently. Make them your own.
And now go. Go to the exiles, your people, and speak. Tell them, 'This is the Message of God, the Master.' Speak your piece, whether they listen or not."
Then the Spirit picked me up. Behind me I heard a great commotion - "Blessed be the Glory of God in his Sanctuary!"
- the wings of the living creatures beating against each other, the whirling wheels, the rumble of a great earthquake.
The Spirit lifted me and took me away. I went bitterly and angrily. I didn't want to go. But God had me in his grip.
I arrived among the exiles who lived near the Kebar River at Tel Aviv. I came to where they were living and sat there for seven days, appalled.
At the end of the seven days, I received this Message from God:
"Son of man, I've made you a watchman for the family of Israel. Whenever you hear me say something, warn them for me.
If I say to the wicked, 'You are going to die,' and you don't sound the alarm warning them that it's a matter of life or death, they will die and it will be your fault. I'll hold you responsible.
But if you warn the wicked and they keep right on sinning anyway, they'll most certainly die for their sin, but you won't die. You'll have saved your life.
"And if the righteous turn back from living righteously and take up with evil when I step in and put them in a hard place, they'll die. If you haven't warned them, they'll die because of their sins, and none of the right things they've done will count for anything - and I'll hold you responsible.
But if you warn these righteous people not to sin and they listen to you, they'll live because they took the warning - and again, you'll have saved your life."
God grabbed me by the shoulder and said, "Get up. Go out on the plain. I want to talk with you."
So I got up and went out on the plain. I couldn't believe my eyes: the Glory of God! Right there! It was like the Glory I had seen at the Kebar River. I fell to the ground, prostrate.
Then the Spirit entered me and put me on my feet. He said, "Go home and shut the door behind you."
And then something odd: "Son of man: They'll tie you hand and foot with ropes so you can't leave the house.
I'll make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so you won't be able to talk and tell the people what they're doing wrong, even though they are a bunch of rebels.
"But then when the time is ripe, I'll free your tongue and you'll say, 'This is what God, the Master, says: . . .' From then on it's up to them. They can listen or not listen, whichever they like. They are a bunch of rebels!
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)