A Portion of The Message

11-12“Why this frenzy of sacrifices?”
Gods asking.
“Don’t you think I’ve had my fill of burnt sacrifices,
rams and plump grain-fed calves?
Don’t you think I’ve had my fill
of blood from bulls, lambs, and goats?
When you come before me,
whoever gave you the idea of acting like this,
Running here and there, doing this and that—
all this sheer commotion in the place provided for worship?

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 (Isaiah 1:11-17)

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

25 thoughts on “A Portion of The Message

  1. I’m a huge fan of the English Standard Version (ESV), but it is nice to hit up the message every once in a while and really get the impact and bluntness of what is being said.

    I LOVE those verses, too… How applicable are they today? Seriously…

  2. These verses are a big reason as to why the penal substition theory — or Jesus had to be the perfect sacrifice to cover all sins — don’t make much sense to me.

  3. Heather,
    Yes, it seems contradictory. One does wonder why God says, “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats” when He’s the one who told the Israelites to offer them in the first place (see Exodus 20:24).

  4. Moi,

    If you stand *real* still, I”ll go gather a large stake, some firewood, some fire, some rope and some 15th century clothing, and we’ll have ourselves a really pretty bonfire, you heathen you. 😛 Or we could just start with the water-test: if you float, you’re a witch and a burned. If you drown, you were innocent and congrats!

    At which point in the bonfire, you can point me to the passage that says God doesn’t want burnt offerings, and I’ll be left in a theological condundrum, and shocked that a woman can read. Then you can escape.

    However, given that I’m a woman, I probably wouldn’t even believe you, because I wouldn’t be able to read, either. And if this were truly in the Bible, a man would’ve told me.

    Sigh. Clearly I should not comment on only three hours of sleep. I get morbidly creative.

  5. I went in with the intention of buying a pocket version of the ESV, but they didn’t have one. Instead I bought Zondervan’s NIV Bug Bible (so cute) and the The Message New Testament.

  6. Ahhh!!!

    In Re: to the discussion on penal substitutionary atonement, God’s statement that He has “had enough of…” does not contradict because the intent of the whole sacrificial system was to point forward in history to Jesus. That is the link. He is the once and for all sacrifice, the need for which was illustrated by centuries of following the law.

    That’s a VERY brief explanation, anyway… If anything, read it as if God tires of sacrifice because it is given without mercy, love or a change of heart. The true and better sacrifice (Christ) was given only because of mercy and love.

  7. **does not contradict because the intent of the whole sacrificial system was to point forward in history to Jesus. That is the link. He is the once and for all sacrifice, the need for which was illustrated by centuries of following the law.**

    That’s only from a particular Christian perspective. From a Judaic perspective, that doesn’t work, because people could not be used in the sacrificial system, period. And if that is the intent, then God should not tire of the sacrifical system, because the Christian concept can be just as easily abused today. It also doesn’t read as God tires of the sacrifice given without repentence, but that God simply tires of the sacrifical system, and wants people to get over that aspect and just learn to do good.

  8. The verse in The Message above as translated from Hebrew to English from the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, referred to as the “Old Testament” outside of Judaism.

    Isaiah

    10 Hear the word of the LORD,
    You chiefs of Sodom;
    You citizens of Gomorrah!

    11 What need have I of all your sacrifices?
    Says the LORD.
    I have had my fill with burnt offerings of
    rams,
    And the fat of calves and lambs;
    And the blood of bulls
    I delight not in lambs and goats.

    12 When you appear before me,
    Who has asked that of you?
    Trampling my courts

    13 Your offerings are futile,
    Your incense offends Me.
    New Moons and Sabbaths
    Assemblies of iniquity
    I cannot tolerate.

    14 Your New Moons and your seasonal Feasts
    (Festivals)
    Fill me with digust.
    They have become a burden to me;
    I cannot endure.

    15 When you lift your hands,
    I will turn My sight from you;
    Though you offer prayers at length,
    I will not listen.
    Your hands are stained with blood;

    16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
    Remove your evil deeds
    From My sight.
    Cease to do evil;

    17 Learn to do good.
    Dedicate youselves to justice,
    Give aid to the wronged.
    Protect the orphaned,
    Defend the widow.

    18 Come now let us reach an understanding,
    Says the LORD.
    While your sins are scarlet,
    They can be white as snow;
    Though they are red as wool dyed crimson,
    They can become fleece.

    19 If you are willing and heedful,
    You will eat the good food of the land;

    20 But if you resist and defy,
    You will be devoured by the sword.

  9. The other thing I like about that quote is here:

    “Wash and make yourselves clean.
    Remove your evil deeds
    From My sight.
    Cease to do evil;

    17 Learn to do good.
    Dedicate youselves to justice,
    Give aid to the wronged.
    Protect the orphaned,
    Defend the widow.”

    All of these actions are something the person themselves must do — God doesn’t need the sacrifice. God wants you to wash and make yourself clean, to learn to do good, to be an active force.

  10. Yes. This is a powerful biblical scripture with a powerful message.

    MOI, the verses I posted (Isaiah 1:10-20) from the Hebrew Bible are the same verses used in “The Message” by Eugene Peterson. He used his own words, but it’s the same biblical scripture and the same message.

    It tells us GOD is fed up with and disgusted by mankind’s blood sacrifices, postering, and rote religious holidays. It tells us that GOD is affronted and disgusted by hollow worship, hollow prayers, and hollow gestures in the face of mankind’s sins, atrocities, and hypocrisies. Yet, in this passage GOD also tells us all is not lost. The crimson stain of sins can be washed clean and man can once again be as soft and beautiful as fleece.

    What I find remarkable about this passage from the prophet Isaiah is that GOD says to man “We can reach an understanding on this.” If you are willing to listen to Me and correct your hypocritical, disingenuous, and nefarious ways, all the good things of the earth will be yours. If not, you will perish by the sword of your own making, i.e. war, strife and conflict.

    GOD tells us all we need to do reap all the good things of the earth and reach this understanding between man and the Divine, is to aid the oppressed, assist the helpless, devote ourselves to justice, and basically be forces of goodness, equity, and compassion in the world.

    GOD is saying “You all offend and disgust Me with your hollow acts of worship, offerings, prayers, and religious holidays. GOD is saying, “All I want is for you to be devotees of fairness, sincerity, compassion, and goodness in the world.” Very powerful. One of my favorite biblical passages. A timeless message just as applicable today as it was when it was written.

  11. Romancing,

    Interesting that Peterson goes straight to the source, the Jewish scriptures for the translation. It’s pretty strongly worded!
    You wrote:
    “GOD tells us all we need to do reap all the good things of the earth and reach this understanding between man and the Divine, is to aid the oppressed, assist the helpless, devote ourselves to justice, and basically be forces of goodness, equity, and compassion in the world.”

    Most excellent. It portrays God as reasonable and willing to reason, if we but stop the moral and religious posturing and listen! Now if we can just be forces of goodness, equity, and compassion! Oy.

  12. Eugene Peterson uses his own words and contemporary language to convey the Isaiah scripture, but he stays true to spirit and crux of the message, which is his goal.

    He translates from Greek. The same scripture he translated, which I posted, was translated from ancient Hebrew, the language in which the Hebrew Bible or “Old Tesatament” was written.

    His biblical translations in The Message encompass the scriptures of the Hebrew Bible as it (the “Old Tesatament”) is integral and foundational to the “New Testament” used by Christians.

    The “New Testament” saga begins with the Hebrew Bible or “Old Testament.”

    Around the 1st quarter of the 3rd century B.C., Rabbis in Alexandria, Egypt began translating the Hebrew Bible (“Old Testament”) into Koin Greek, for the benefit of the non-Hebrew speaking world.

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