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Isaiah 1:15-31 The Message (MSG)

13-17 “Quit your worship charades.
    I can’t stand your trivial religious games:
Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings—
    meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more!
Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them!
    You’ve worn me out!
I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion,
    while you go right on sinning.
When you put on your next prayer-performance,
    I’ll be looking the other way.
No matter how long or loud or often you pray,
    I’ll not be listening.
And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing
    people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.
Go home and wash up.
    Clean up your act.
Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings
    so I don’t have to look at them any longer.
Say no to wrong.
    Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
    Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
    Go to bat for the defenseless.

Let’s Argue This Out

18-20 “Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out.”
    This is God’s Message:
“If your sins are blood-red,
    they’ll be snow-white.
If they’re red like crimson,
    they’ll be like wool.
If you’ll willingly obey,
    you’ll feast like kings.
But if you’re willful and stubborn,
    you’ll die like dogs.”
That’s right. God says so.

Those Who Walk Out on God

21-23 Oh! Can you believe it? The chaste city
    has become a whore!
She was once all justice,
    everyone living as good neighbors,
And now they’re all
    at one another’s throats.
Your coins are all counterfeits.
    Your wine is watered down.
Your leaders are turncoats
    who keep company with crooks.
They sell themselves to the highest bidder
    and grab anything not nailed down.
They never stand up for the homeless,
    never stick up for the defenseless.

24-31 This Decree, therefore, of the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    the Strong One of Israel:
“This is it! I’ll get my oppressors off my back.
    I’ll get back at my enemies.
I’ll give you the back of my hand,
    purge the junk from your life, clean you up.
I’ll set honest judges and wise counselors among you
    just like it was back in the beginning.
Then you’ll be renamed
    City-That-Treats-People-Right, the True-Blue City.”
God’s right ways will put Zion right again.
    God’s right actions will restore her penitents.
But it’s curtains for rebels and God-traitors,
    a dead end for those who walk out on God.
“Your dalliances in those oak grove shrines
    will leave you looking mighty foolish,
All that fooling around in god and goddess gardens
    that you thought was the latest thing.
You’ll end up like an oak tree
    with all its leaves falling off,
Like an unwatered garden,
    withered and brown.
‘The Big Man’ will turn out to be dead bark and twigs,
    and his ‘work,’ the spark that starts the fire
That exposes man and work both
    as nothing but cinders and smoke.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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