God once let loose against Ephraim a terrifying sentence against Israel: Caught and convicted in the lewd sex-worship of Baal - they died!
And now they're back in the sin business again, manufacturing god-images they can use, Religion customized to taste. Professionals see to it: Anything you want in a god you can get. Can you believe it? They sacrifice live babies to these dead gods - kill living babies and kiss golden calves!
And now there's nothing left to these people: hollow men, desiccated women, Like scraps of paper blown down the street, like smoke in a gusty wind.
"I'm still your God, the God who saved you out of Egypt. I'm the only real God you've ever known. I'm the one and only God who delivers.
I took care of you during the wilderness hard times, those years when you had nothing.
I took care of you, took care of all your needs, gave you everything you needed. You were spoiled. You thought you didn't need me. You forgot me.
"I'll charge them like a lion, like a leopard stalking in the brush.
I'll jump them like a sow grizzly robbed of her cubs. I'll rip out their guts. Coyotes will make a meal of them. Crows will clean their bones.
I'm going to destroy you, Israel. Who is going to stop me?
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)