God's Message: "Guard my common good: Do what's right and do it in the right way, For salvation is just around the corner, my setting-things-right is about to go into action.
How blessed are you who enter into these things, you men and women who embrace them, Who keep Sabbath and don't defile it, who watch your step and don't do anything evil!
Make sure no outsider who now follows God ever has occasion to say, 'God put me in second-class. I don't really belong.' And make sure no physically mutilated person is ever made to think, 'I'm damaged goods. I don't really belong.'"
For God says: "To the mutilated who keep my Sabbaths and choose what delights me and keep a firm grip on my covenant,
I'll provide them an honored place in my family and within my city, even more honored than that of sons and daughters. I'll confer permanent honors on them that will never be revoked.
"And as for the outsiders who now follow me, working for me, loving my name, and wanting to be my servants - All who keep Sabbath and don't defile it, holding fast to my covenant -
I'll bring them to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. They'll be welcome to worship the same as the 'insiders,' to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices to my altar. Oh yes, my house of worship will be known as a house of prayer for all people."
The Decree of the Master, God himself, who gathers in the exiles of Israel: "I will gather others also, gather them in with those already gathered."
A call to the savage beasts: Come on the run. Come, devour, beast barbarians!
For Israel's watchmen are blind, the whole lot of them. They have no idea what's going on. They're dogs without sense enough to bark, lazy dogs, dreaming in the sun -
But hungry dogs, they do know how to eat, voracious dogs, with never enough. And these are Israel's shepherds! They know nothing, understand nothing. They all look after themselves, grabbing whatever's not nailed down.
"Come," they say, "let's have a party. Let's go out and get drunk!" And tomorrow, more of the same: "Let's live it up!"
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)