The God of gods - it's God! - speaks out, shouts, "Earth!" welcomes the sun in the east, farewells the disappearing sun in the west.
From the dazzle of Zion, God blazes into view.
Our God makes his entrance, he's not shy in his coming. Starbursts of fireworks precede him.
He summons heaven and earth as a jury, he's taking his people to court:
"Round up my saints who swore on the Bible their loyalty to me."
The whole cosmos attests to the fairness of this court, that here God is judge.
"Are you listening, dear people? I'm getting ready to speak; Israel, I'm about ready to bring you to trial. This is God, your God, speaking to you.
I don't find fault with your acts of worship, the frequent burnt sacrifices you offer.
But why should I want your blue-ribbon bull, or more and more goats from your herds?
Every creature in the forest is mine, the wild animals on all the mountains.
I know every mountain bird by name; the scampering field mice are my friends.
If I get hungry, do you think I'd tell you? All creation and its bounty are mine.
Do you think I feast on venison? or drink draughts of goats' blood?
Spread for me a banquet of praise, serve High God a feast of kept promises,
And call for help when you're in trouble - I'll help you, and you'll honor me."
Next, God calls up the wicked: "What are you up to, quoting my laws, talking like we are good friends?
You never answer the door when I call; you treat my words like garbage.
If you find a thief, you make him your buddy; adulterers are your friends of choice.
Your mouth drools filth; lying is a serious art form with you.
You stab your own brother in the back, rip off your little sister.
I kept a quiet patience while you did these things; you thought I went along with your game. I'm calling you on the carpet, now, laying your wickedness out in plain sight.
"Time's up for playing fast and loose with me. I'm ready to pass sentence, and there's no help in sight!
It's the praising life that honors me. As soon as you set your foot on the Way, I'll show you my salvation."
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)