True Religion
1 Shout the message!
Don't hold back.
Say to my people Israel:
You've sinned! You've turned
against the Lord.
2 Day after day, you worship him
and seem eager to learn
his teachings.
You act like a nation
that wants to do right
by obeying his laws.
You ask him about justice,
and say you enjoy
worshiping the Lord.

3 You wonder why the Lord
pays no attention
when you go without eating
and act humble.
But on those same days
that you give up eating,
you think only of yourselves
and abuse your workers.
4 You even get angry
and ready to fight.
No wonder God won't listen
to your prayers!

5 Do you think the Lord
wants you to give up eating
and to act as humble
as a bent-over bush?
Or to dress in sackcloth
and sit in ashes?
Is this really what he wants
on a day of worship?

6 I'll tell you
what it really means
to worship the Lord.
Remove the chains of prisoners
who are bound unjustly.
Free those who are abused!
7 Share your food with everyone
who is hungry;
share your home
with the poor and homeless.
Give clothes to those in need;
don't turn away your relatives.

8 Then your light will shine
like the dawning sun, and you
will quickly be healed.
Your honesty will protect you
as you advance,
and the glory of the Lord
will defend you from behind.
9 When you beg the Lord for help,
he will answer, “Here I am!”

Don't mistreat others
or falsely accuse them
or say something cruel.
10 Give your food to the hungry
and care for the homeless.
Then your light will shine
in the dark;
your darkest hour will be
like the noonday sun.

11 The Lord will always guide you
and provide good things to eat
when you are in the desert.
He will make you healthy.
You will be like a garden
that has plenty of water
or like a stream
that never runs dry.
12 You will rebuild those houses
left in ruins for years;
you will be known
as a builder and repairer
of city walls and streets.

13 But first, you must start
respecting the Sabbath
as a joyful day of worship.
You must stop doing and saying
whatever you please
on this special day.
14 Then you will truly enjoy
knowing the Lord.
He will let you rule
from the highest mountains
and bless you with the land
of your ancestor Jacob.
The Lord has spoken!