Friday, September 21, 2007

Something for the season

The word of the Lord, God, to his prophet Micah

[Translation from The Message, with a few of my own modifications]

Listen now, listen to God: Take your stand in court. If you have a complaint, tell the mountains; make your case to the hills. And now, Mountains, hear God's case; listen, Earth—

I am bringing charges against my people. I am building a case against Israel.

Dear people, how have I done you wrong? Have I burdened you, worn you out? Answer! I delivered you from a bad life in Egypt; I paid a good price to get you out of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you— and Aaron and Miriam besides! Remember what Balak king of Moab tried to pull, and how Balaam son of Beor turned the tables on him so that you would know the God is Just.

How can I stand before God and show proper respect to the high God? Should I bring an armload of offerings topped off with yearling calves? Would God be impressed with thousands of rams, with buckets and barrels of olive oil? Would He be moved if I sacrificed my firstborn child, the fruit of my body, to cancel my sin?

Ah but Man! He has already told you what is good and what He wants from you: Do Justice. Love mercy. And walk humbly with thy God.

Update: I like this, too. Its Micah 7, per The Message

מִי-אֵל כָּמוֹךָ, נֹשֵׂא עָו‍ֹן וְעֹבֵר עַל-פֶּשַׁע, לִשְׁאֵרִית, נַחֲלָתוֹ: לֹא-הֶחֱזִיק לָעַד אַפּוֹ, כִּי-חָפֵץ חֶסֶד הוּא. יט יָשׁוּב יְרַחֲמֵנוּ, יִכְבֹּשׁ עֲו‍ֹנֹתֵינוּ; וְתַשְׁלִיךְ בִּמְצֻלוֹת יָם, כָּל-חַטֹּאותָם. כ תִּתֵּן אֱמֶת לְיַעֲקֹב, חֶסֶד לְאַבְרָהָם, אֲשֶׁר-נִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לַאֲבֹתֵינוּ, מִימֵי קֶדֶם.

Where is the god who can compare with you— wiping the slate clean of guilt, turning a blind eye, a deaf ear, to the past sins of your purged and precious people? You don't nurse your anger and don't stay angry long, for mercy is your specialty. That's what you love most. And compassion is on its way to us. You'll stamp out our wrongdoing.You'll sink our sins to the bottom of the ocean.You'll stay true to your word to Father Jacob and continue the compassion you showed Grandfather Abraham— Everything you promised our ancestors from a long time ago.

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