God Will Speak in Baby Talk
1-4Doom to the pretentious drunks of Ephraim,
shabby and washed out and seedy—
Tipsy, sloppy-fat, beer-bellied parodies
of a proud and handsome past.
Watch closely: God has someone picked out,
someone tough and strong to flatten them.
Like a hailstorm, like a hurricane, like a flash flood,
one-handed he’ll throw them to the ground.
Samaria, the party hat on Israel’s head,
will be knocked off with one blow.
It will disappear quicker than
a piece of meat tossed to a dog.
5-6At that time, God-of-the-Angel-Armies will be
the beautiful crown on the head of what’s left of his people:
Energy and insights of justice to those who guide and decide,
strength and prowess to those who guard and protect.
7-8These also, the priest and prophet, stagger from drink,
weaving, falling-down drunks,
Besotted with wine and whiskey,
can’t see straight, can’t talk sense.
Every table is covered with vomit.
They live in vomit.
9-10“Is that so? And who do you think you are to teach us?
Who are you to lord it over us?
We’re not babies in diapers
to be talked down to by such as you—
‘Da, da, da, da,
blah, blah, blah, blah.
That’s a good little girl,
that’s a good little boy.’”
11-12But that’s exactly how you will be addressed.
God will speak to this people
In baby talk, one syllable at a time—
and he’ll do it through foreign oppressors.
He said before, “This is the time and place to rest,
to give rest to the weary.
This is the place to lay down your burden.”
But they won’t listen.
13So God will start over with the simple basics
and address them in baby talk, one syllable at a time—
“Da, da, da, da,
blah, blah, blah, blah.
That’s a good little girl,
that’s a good little boy.”
And like toddlers, they will get up and fall down,
get bruised and confused and lost.
14-15Now listen to God’s Message, you scoffers,
you who rule this people in Jerusalem.
You say, “We’ve taken out good life insurance.
We’ve hedged all our bets, covered all our bases.
No disaster can touch us. We’ve thought of everything.
We’re advised by the experts. We’re set.”
The Meaning of the Stone
16-17But the Master, God, has something to say to this:
“Watch closely. I’m laying a foundation in Zion,
a solid granite foundation, squared and true.
And this is the meaning of the stone:
a trusting life won’t topple.
I’ll make justice the measuring stick
and righteousness the plumb line for the building.
A hailstorm will knock down the shantytown of lies,
and a flash flood will wash out the rubble.
18-22“Then you’ll see that your precious life insurance policy
wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.
Your careful precautions against death
were a pack of illusions and lies.
When the disaster happens,
you’ll be crushed by it.
Every time disaster comes, you’ll be in on it—
disaster in the morning, disaster at night.”
Every report of disaster
will send you cowering in terror.
There will be no place where you can rest,
nothing to hide under.
God will rise to full stature,
raging as he did long ago on Mount Perazim
And in the valley of Gibeon against the Philistines.
But this time it’s against you.
Hard to believe, but true.
Not what you’d expect, but it’s coming.
Sober up, friends, and don’t scoff.
Scoffing will just make it worse.
I’ve heard the orders issued for destruction, orders from
God-of-the-Angel-Armies—ending up in an international disaster.
23-26Listen to me now.
Give me your closest attention.
Do farmers plow and plow and do nothing but plow?
Or harrow and harrow and do nothing but harrow?
After they’ve prepared the ground, don’t they plant?
Don’t they scatter dill and spread cumin,
Plant wheat and barley in the fields
and raspberries along the borders?
They know exactly what to do and when to do it.
Their God is their teacher.
27-29And at the harvest, the delicate herbs and spices,
the dill and cumin, are treated delicately.
On the other hand, wheat is threshed and milled, but still not endlessly.
The farmer knows how to treat each kind of grain.
He’s learned it all from God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
who knows everything about when and how and where.
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1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 Eugene H. Peterson by NavPress Publishing