Isaiah 57

Israel's Futile Idolatry

1 Meanwhile, right-living people die and no one gives them a thought.
God-fearing people are carted off
and no one even notices.
The right-living people are out of their misery,
they're finally at rest.
They lived well and with dignity
and now they're finally at peace.
3 "But you, children of a witch, come here!
Sons of a slut, daughters of a whore.
What business do you have taunting,
sneering, and sticking out your tongue?
Do you have any idea what wretches you've turned out to be?
A race of rebels, a generation of liars.
You satisfy your lust any place you find some shade
and fornicate at whim.
You kill your children at any convenient spot -
any cave or crevasse will do.
You take stones from the creek
and set up your sex-and-religion shrines.
You've chosen your fate.
Your worship will be your doom.
You've climbed a high mountain
to practice your foul sex-and-death religion.
Behind closed doors
you assemble your precious gods and goddesses.
Deserting me, you've gone all out, stripped down
and made your bed your place of worship.
You've climbed into bed with the 'sacred' whores
and loved every minute of it,
adoring every curve of their naked bodies.
You anoint your king-god with ointments
and lavish perfumes on yourselves.
You send scouts to search out the latest in religion,
send them all the way to hell and back.
You wear yourselves out trying the new and the different,
and never see what a waste it all is.
You've always found strength for the latest fad,
never got tired of trying new religions.

11 "Who talked you into the pursuit of this nonsense,
leaving me high and dry,
forgetting you ever knew me?
Because I don't yell and make a scene
do you think I don't exist?
I'll go over, detail by detail, all your 'righteous' attempts at religion,
and expose the absurdity of it all.
Go ahead, cry for help to your collection of no-gods:
A good wind will blow them away.
They're smoke, nothing but smoke. "But anyone who runs to me for help
will inherit the land,
will end up owning my holy mountain!"

Comfort for the Contrite

14 Someone says: "Build, build! Make a road!
Clear the way, remove the rocks
from the road my people will travel."
15 A Message from the high and towering God,
who lives in Eternity,
whose name is Holy:
"I live in the high and holy places,
but also with the low-spirited, the spirit-crushed,
And what I do is put new spirit in them,
get them up and on their feet again.
For I'm not going to haul people into court endlessly,
I'm not going to be angry forever.
Otherwise, people would lose heart.
These souls I created would tire out and give up.
I was angry, good and angry, because of Israel's sins.
I struck him hard and turned away in anger,
while he kept at his stubborn, willful ways.
When I looked again and saw what he was doing,
I decided to heal him, lead him, and comfort him,
creating a new language of praise for the mourners.
Peace to the far-off, peace to the near-at-hand," says God -
"and yes, I will heal them.
But the wicked are storm-battered seas
that can't quiet down.
The waves stir up garbage and mud.
There's no peace," God says, "for the wicked."

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by NavPress and Eugene H. Peterson
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