Look! Listen! God's arm is not amputated - he can still save. God's ears are not stopped up - he can still hear.
There's nothing wrong with God; the wrong is in you. Your wrongheaded lives caused the split between you and God. Your sins got between you so that he doesn't hear.
Your hands are drenched in blood, your fingers dripping with guilt, Your lips smeared with lies, your tongue swollen from muttering obscenities.
No one speaks up for the right, no one deals fairly. They trust in illusion, they tell lies, they get pregnant with mischief and have sin-babies.
They hatch snake eggs and weave spider webs. Eat an egg and die; break an egg and get a snake!
The spider webs are no good for shirts or shawls. No one can wear these weavings! They weave wickedness, they hatch violence.
They compete in the race to do evil and run to be the first to murder. They plan and plot evil, think and breathe evil, and leave a trail of wrecked lives behind them.
They know nothing about peace and less than nothing about justice. They make tortuously twisted roads. No peace for the wretch who walks down those roads!
Which means that we're a far cry from fair dealing, and we're not even close to right living. We long for light but sink into darkness, long for brightness but stumble through the night.
Like the blind, we inch along a wall, groping eyeless in the dark. We shuffle our way in broad daylight, like the dead, but somehow walking.
We're no better off than bears, groaning, and no worse off than doves, moaning. We look for justice - not a sign of it; for salvation - not so much as a hint.
Our wrongdoings pile up before you, God, our sins stand up and accuse us. Our wrongdoings stare us down; we know in detail what we've done:
Mocking and denying God, not following our God, Spreading false rumors, inciting sedition, pregnant with lies, muttering malice.
Justice is beaten back, Righteousness is banished to the sidelines, Truth staggers down the street, Honesty is nowhere to be found,
Good is missing in action. Anyone renouncing evil is beaten and robbed. God looked and saw evil looming on the horizon - so much evil and no sign of Justice.
He couldn't believe what he saw: not a soul around to correct this awful situation. So he did it himself, took on the work of Salvation, fueled by his own Righteousness.
He dressed in Righteousness, put it on like a suit of armor, with Salvation on his head like a helmet, Put on Judgment like an overcoat, and threw a cloak of Passion across his shoulders.
He'll make everyone pay for what they've done: fury for his foes, just deserts for his enemies. Even the far-off islands will get paid off in full.
In the west they'll fear the name of God, in the east they'll fear the glory of God, For he'll arrive like a river in flood stage, whipped to a torrent by the wind of God.
"I'll arrive in Zion as Redeemer, to those in Jacob who leave their sins." God's Decree.
"As for me," God says, "this is my covenant with them: My Spirit that I've placed upon you and the words that I've given you to speak, they're not going to leave your mouths nor the mouths of your children nor the mouths of your grandchildren. You will keep repeating these words and won't ever stop." God's orders.
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)