“Their tongues shoot out lies like a bow shoots arrows—
A mighty army of liars, the sworn enemies of truth.
They advance from one evil to the next, ignorant of Me.”
“Be wary of even longtime neighbors. Don’t even trust your grandmother! Brother schemes against brother, like old cheating Jacob. Friend against friend spreads malicious gossip.
Neighbors gyp neighbors, never telling the truth.
They’ve trained their tongues to tell lies,
and now they can’t tell the truth.
They pile wrong upon wrong, stack lie upon lie,
and refuse to know Me.”
This Is a Rebel Generation:
There’s nothing wrong with God; the wrong is in you.
Your wrongheaded lives caused the split between you and God.
Your sins got between you so that He doesn’t hear.
Your hands are drenched in blood, your fingers dripping with guilt,
Your lips smeared with lies, your tongue swollen from muttering obscenities. No one speaks up for the right, no one deals fairly.
They trust in illusion, they tell lies.
“‘Because you’ve confounded and confused good people, unsuspecting and innocent people, with your lies, and because you’ve made it easy for others to persist in evil so that it wouldn’t even dawn on them to turn to Me so I could save them, as of now you’re finished. No more delusion-mongering from you, no more sermonic lies. I’m going to rescue My people from your clutches. And you’ll realize that I am God.’”
So, go now and write all this down. Put it in a book
So that the record will be there to instruct the coming generations,
Because this is a rebel generation, a people who lie,
A people unwilling to listen to anything God tells them.
They tell their spiritual leaders,
“Don’t bother us with irrelevancies.”
They tell their preachers,
“Don’t waste our time on impracticalities.
Tell us what makes us feel better.
Don’t bore us with obsolete religion.
That stuff means nothing to us.
Quit hounding us with The Holy of Israel.”
God can’t stomach liars; He loves the company of those who keep their word. The wicked crawl from the wrong side of the cradle;
their first words out of the womb are lies.
Poison, lethal rattlesnake poison, drips from their forked tongues—
Deaf to threats, deaf to charm, decades of wax built up in their ears.
Proverbs 12:2, Psalm 58:3-5
Our wrongdoings pile up before you, God, our sins stand up and accuse us. Our wrongdoings stare us down; we know in detail what we’ve done: Mocking and denying God, not following our God.
Don’t make quick work of them, God, lest my people forget.
Bring them down in slow motion, take them apart piece by piece.
Let all their mean-mouthed arrogance catch up with them,
Catch them out and bring them down
—every muttered curse
—every barefaced lie.
Finish them off in fine style! Finish them off for good!
Then all the world will see that God rules well in Jacob,
everywhere that God’s in charge.
What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.
This is the Lord’s Generation:
God is at their side; with God’s help they make it.
This, Jacob, is what happens to God-seekers, God-questers.
Blessed are you who give yourselves over to God,
turn your backs on the world’s “sure thing,”
ignore what the world worships;
The world’s a huge stockpile of God-wonders and God-thoughts.
Nothing and no one comes close to You!
I start talking about You, telling what I know,
and quickly run out of words.
Neither numbers nor words account for You.
“…true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship him in spirit and in truth”
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.
The world and all its people belong to Him.
For He laid the earth’s foundation on the seas & built it on the ocean depths.
Who may climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in His holy place?
Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols
and never tell lies.
They will receive the Lord’s blessing
and have a right relationship with God their savior.
Such people may seek You
and worship in Your presence, O God of Jacob.
Those who gather wealth by lying are wasting time.
They are looking for death.
Truth lasts; lies are here today, gone tomorrow.
Proverbs 21:6, Proverbs 12:19
Souls are saved by truthful witness and betrayed by the spread of lies.
Now 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
But 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.”
You’re Not In The Driver’s Seat
(aka Jesus Take The Wheel!)
At the Bottom of the Sea
Then Jonah prayed to his God from the belly of the fish.
“In trouble, deep trouble, I prayed to God.
He answered me.
From the belly of the grave I cried, ‘Help!’
You heard my cry.
You threw me into ocean’s depths,
into a watery grave,
With ocean waves, ocean breakers
crashing over me.
I said, ‘I’ve been thrown away,
thrown out, out of your sight.
I’ll never again lay eyes
on your Holy Temple.’
Ocean gripped me by the throat.
The ancient Abyss grabbed me and held tight.
My head was all tangled in seaweed
at the bottom of the sea where the mountains take root.
I was as far down as a body can go,
and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever—
Yet you pulled me up from that grave alive,
O God, my God!
When my life was slipping away,
I remembered God,
And my prayer got through to you,
made it all the way to your Holy Temple.
Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds,
walk away from their only true love.
But I’m worshiping you, God,
calling out in thanksgiving!
And I’ll do what I promised I’d do!
Salvation belongs to God!”
God Is in Charge at the Center
“In the end I will turn things around for the people.
I’ll give them a language undistorted, unpolluted,
Words to address God in worship
and, united, to serve me with their shoulders to the wheel.
They’ll come from beyond the Ethiopian rivers,
they’ll come praying—
All my scattered, exiled people
will come home with offerings for worship.
You’ll no longer have to be ashamed
of all those acts of rebellion.
I’ll have gotten rid of your arrogant leaders.
No more pious strutting on my holy hill!
I’ll leave a core of people among you
who are poor in spirit—
What’s left of Israel that’s really Israel.
They’ll make their home in God.
This core holy people
will not do wrong.
They won’t lie,
won’t use words to flatter or seduce.
Content with who they are and where they are,
unanxious, they’ll live at peace.”