"If you want to come back, O Israel, you must really come back to me. You must get rid of your stinking sin paraphernalia and not wander away from me anymore.
Then you can say words like, 'As God lives . . . ' and have them mean something true and just and right. And the godless nations will get caught up in the blessing and find something in Israel to write home about."
Here's another Message from God to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: "Plow your unplowed fields, but then don't plant weeds in the soil!
Yes, circumcise your lives for God's sake. Plow your unplowed hearts, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem. Prevent fire - the fire of my anger - for once it starts it can't be put out. Your wicked ways are fuel for the fire. God's Sledgehammer Anger
"Sound the alarm in Judah, broadcast the news in Jerusalem. Say, 'Blow the ram's horn trumpet through the land!' Shout out - a bullhorn bellow! - 'Close ranks! Run for your lives to the shelters!'
Send up a flare warning Zion: 'Not a minute to lose! Don't sit on your hands!' Disaster's descending from the north. I set it off! When it lands, it will shake the foundations.
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)