The god Bel falls down, god Nebo slumps. The no-god hunks of wood are loaded on mules And have to be hauled off, wearing out the poor mules -
Dead weight, burdens who can't bear burdens, hauled off to captivity.
"Listen to me, family of Jacob, everyone that's left of the family of Israel. I've been carrying you on my back from the day you were born,
And I'll keep on carrying you when you're old. I'll be there, bearing you when you're old and gray. I've done it and will keep on doing it, carrying you on my back, saving you.
"So to whom will you compare me, the Incomparable? Can you picture me without reducing me?
People with a lot of money hire craftsmen to make them gods. The artisan delivers the god, and they kneel and worship it!
They carry it around in holy parades, then take it home and put it on a shelf. And there it sits, day in and day out, a dependable god, always right where you put it. Say anything you want to it, it never talks back. Of course, it never does anything either!
"Think about this. Wrap your minds around it. This is serious business, rebels. Take it to heart.
Remember your history, your long and rich history. I am God, the only God you've had or ever will have - incomparable, irreplaceable -
From the very beginning telling you what the ending will be, All along letting you in on what is going to happen, Assuring you, 'I'm in this for the long haul, I'll do exactly what I set out to do,'
Calling that eagle, Cyrus, out of the east, from a far country the man I chose to help me. I've said it, and I'll most certainly do it. I've planned it, so it's as good as done.
"Now listen to me: You're a hardheaded bunch and hard to help.
I'm ready to help you right now. Deliverance is not a long-range plan. Salvation isn't on hold. I'm putting salvation to work in Zion now, and glory in Israel.
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)