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1 Samuel 24The Message (MSG)

“I’m No Rebel”

24 1-4 When Saul came back after dealing with the Philistines, he was told, “David is now in the wilderness of En Gedi.” Saul took three companies—the best he could find in all Israel—and set out in search of David and his men in the region of Wild Goat Rocks. He came to some sheep pens along the road. There was a cave there and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were huddled far back in the same cave. David’s men whispered to him, “Can you believe it? This is the day God was talking about when he said, ‘I’ll put your enemy in your hands. You can do whatever you want with him.’” Quiet as a cat, David crept up and cut off a piece of Saul’s royal robe.

5-7 Immediately, he felt guilty. He said to his men, “God forbid that I should have done this to my master, God’s anointed, that I should so much as raise a finger against him. He’s God’s anointed!” David held his men in check with these words and wouldn’t let them pounce on Saul. Saul got up, left the cave, and went on down the road.

8-13 Then David stood at the mouth of the cave and called to Saul, “My master! My king!” Saul looked back. David fell to his knees and bowed in reverence. He called out, “Why do you listen to those who say ‘David is out to get you’? This very day with your very own eyes you have seen that just now in the cave God put you in my hands. My men wanted me to kill you, but I wouldn’t do it. I told them that I won’t lift a finger against my master—he’s God’s anointed. Oh, my father, look at this, look at this piece that I cut from your robe. I could have cut you—killed you!—but I didn’t. Look at the evidence! I’m not against you. I’m no rebel. I haven’t sinned against you, and yet you’re hunting me down to kill me. Let’s decide which of us is in the right. God may avenge me, but it is in his hands, not mine. An old proverb says, ‘Evil deeds come from evil people.’ So be assured that my hand won’t touch you.

14-15 “What does the king of Israel think he’s doing? Who do you think you’re chasing? A dead dog? A flea? God is our judge. He’ll decide who is right. Oh, that he would look down right now, decide right now—and set me free of you!”

16-21 When David had finished saying all this, Saul said, “Can this be the voice of my son David?” and he wept in loud sobs. “You’re the one in the right, not me,” he continued. “You’ve heaped good on me; I’ve dumped evil on you. And now you’ve done it again—treated me generously. God put me in your hands and you didn’t kill me. Why? When a man meets his enemy, does he send him down the road with a blessing? May God give you a bonus of blessings for what you’ve done for me today! I know now beyond doubt that you will rule as king. The kingdom of Israel is already in your grasp! Now promise me under God that you will not kill off my family or wipe my name off the books.”

22 David promised Saul. Then Saul went home and David and his men went up to their wilderness refuge.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Psalm 57The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm, When He Hid in a Cave from Saul

57 1-3 Be good to me, God—and now!
    I’ve run to you for dear life.
I’m hiding out under your wings
    until the hurricane blows over.
I call out to High God,
    the God who holds me together.
He sends orders from heaven and saves me,
    he humiliates those who kick me around.
God delivers generous love,
    he makes good on his word.

I find myself in a pride of lions
    who are wild for a taste of human flesh;
Their teeth are lances and arrows,
    their tongues are sharp daggers.

Soar high in the skies, O God!
    Cover the whole earth with your glory!

They booby-trapped my path;
    I thought I was dead and done for.
They dug a mantrap to catch me,
    and fell in headlong themselves.

7-8 I’m ready, God, so ready,
    ready from head to toe,
Ready to sing, ready to raise a tune:
    “Wake up, soul!
Wake up, harp! wake up, lute!
    Wake up, you sleepyhead sun!”

9-10 I’m thanking you, God, out loud in the streets,
    singing your praises in town and country.
The deeper your love, the higher it goes;
    every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness.

11 Soar high in the skies, O God!
    Cover the whole earth with your glory!

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Psalm 58The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

58 1-2 Is this any way to run a country?
    Is there an honest politician in the house?
Behind the scenes you brew cauldrons of evil,
    behind closed doors you make deals with demons.

3-5 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.

6-9 God, smash their teeth to bits,
    leave them toothless tigers.
Let their lives be buckets of water spilled,
    all that’s left, a damp stain in the sand.
Let them be trampled grass
    worn smooth by the traffic.
Let them dissolve into snail slime,
    be a miscarried fetus that never sees sunlight.
Before what they cook up is half-done, God,
    throw it out with the garbage!

10-11 The righteous will call up their friends
    when they see the wicked get their reward,
Serve up their blood in goblets
    as they toast one another,
Everyone cheering, “It’s worth it to play by the rules!
    God’s handing out trophies and tending the earth!”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

1 Chronicles 8The Message (MSG)

The Family of Benjamin (Continued)

1-5 Benjamin’s firstborn son was Bela, followed by Ashbel, Aharah, Nohah, and Rapha—five in all. Bela’s sons were Addar, Gera, Abihud, Abishua, Naaman, Ahoah, Gera, Shephuphan, and Huram.

6-7 These are the families of Ehud that lived in Geba and were exiled to Manahath: Naaman, Ahijah, and Gera, who led them to exile and had Uzza and Ahihud.

8-12 In the land of Moab, Shaharaim had children after he divorced his wives Hushim and Baara. From his new wife Hodesh he had Jobab, Zibia, Mesha, Malcam, Jeuz, Sakia, and Mirmah—sons who became heads of families. From his earlier wife Hushim he had Abitub and Elpaal. Elpaal’s sons were Eber, Misham, and Shemed, who built Ono and Lod with all their villages.

13-28 Beriah and Shema were family chiefs who lived at Aijalon. They drove out the citizens of Gath. Their brothers were Shashak and Jeremoth. The sons of Beriah were Zebadiah, Arad, Eder, Michael, Ishpah, and Joha. The sons of Elpaal were Zebadiah, Meshullam, Hizki, Heber, Ishmerai, Izliah, and Jobab. The sons of Shimei were Jakim, Zicri, Zabdi, Elienai, Zillethai, Eliel, Adaiah, Beraiah, and Shimrath. The sons of Shashak were Ishpan, Eber, Eliel, Abdon, Zicri, Hanan, Hananiah, Elam, Anthothijah, Iphdeiah, and Penuel. The sons of Jeroham were Shamsherai, Shehariah, Athaliah, Jaareshiah, Elijah, and Zicri. These were the chiefs of the families as listed in their family tree. They lived in Jerusalem.

29-32 Jeiel the father of Gibeon lived in Gibeon. His wife’s name was Maacah. Abdon was his firstborn son, followed by Zur, Kish, Baal, Nadab, Gedor, Ahio, Zeker, and Mikloth. Mikloth had Shimeah. They lived in the neighborhood of their extended families in Jerusalem.

33-40 Ner had Kish, Kish had Saul, and Saul had Jonathan, Malki-Shua, Abinadab, and Esh-Baal. Jonathan had Merib-Baal, and Merib-Baal had Micah. Micah’s sons were Pithon, Melech, Tarea, and Ahaz. Ahaz had Jehoaddah and Jehoaddah had Alemeth, Azmaveth, and Zimri. Zimri had Moza and Moza had Binea. Raphah was his son, Eleasah his son, and Azel his son. Azel had six sons named Azrikam, Bokeru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah, and Hanan. His brother Eshek’s sons were Ulam his firstborn, followed by Jeush and Eliphelet. Ulam’s sons were warriors well known as archers. They had lots of sons and grandsons—at least 150. These were all in Benjamin’s family tree.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Matthew 8The Message (MSG)

He Carried Our Diseases

1-2 Jesus came down the mountain with the cheers of the crowd still ringing in his ears. Then a leper appeared and went to his knees before Jesus, praying, “Master, if you want to, you can heal my body.”

3-4 Jesus reached out and touched him, saying, “I want to. Be clean.” Then and there, all signs of the leprosy were gone. Jesus said, “Don’t talk about this all over town. Just quietly present your healed body to the priest, along with the appropriate expressions of thanks to God. Your cleansed and grateful life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done.”

5-6 As Jesus entered the village of Capernaum, a Roman captain came up in a panic and said, “Master, my servant is sick. He can’t walk. He’s in terrible pain.”

Jesus said, “I’ll come and heal him.”

8-9 “Oh, no,” said the captain. “I don’t want to put you to all that trouble. Just give the order and my servant will be fine. I’m a man who takes orders and gives orders. I tell one soldier, ‘Go,’ and he goes; to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10-12 Taken aback, Jesus said, “I’ve yet to come across this kind of simple trust in Israel, the very people who are supposed to know all about God and how he works. This man is the vanguard of many outsiders who will soon be coming from all directions—streaming in from the east, pouring in from the west, sitting down at God’s kingdom banquet alongside Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then those who grew up ‘in the faith’ but had no faith will find themselves out in the cold, outsiders to grace and wondering what happened.”

13 Then Jesus turned to the captain and said, “Go. What you believed could happen has happened.” At that moment his servant became well.

14-15 By this time they were in front of Peter’s house. On entering, Jesus found Peter’s mother-in-law sick in bed, burning up with fever. He touched her hand and the fever was gone. No sooner was she up on her feet than she was fixing dinner for him.

16-17 That evening a lot of demon-afflicted people were brought to him. He relieved the inwardly tormented. He cured the bodily ill. He fulfilled Isaiah’s well-known sermon:

He took our illnesses,
He carried our diseases.

Your Business Is Life, Not Death

18-19 When Jesus saw that a curious crowd was growing by the minute, he told his disciples to get him out of there to the other side of the lake. As they left, a religion scholar asked if he could go along. “I’ll go with you, wherever,” he said.

20 Jesus was curt: “Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.”

21 Another follower said, “Master, excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have my father’s funeral to take care of.”

22 Jesus refused. “First things first. Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life.”

23-25 Then he got in the boat, his disciples with him. The next thing they knew, they were in a severe storm. Waves were crashing into the boat—and he was sound asleep! They roused him, pleading, “Master, save us! We’re going down!”

26 Jesus reprimanded them. “Why are you such cowards, such faint-hearts?” Then he stood up and told the wind to be silent, the sea to quiet down: “Silence!” The sea became smooth as glass.

27 The men rubbed their eyes, astonished. “What’s going on here? Wind and sea come to heel at his command!”

The Madmen and the Pigs

28-31 They landed in the country of the Gadarenes and were met by two madmen, victims of demons, coming out of the cemetery. The men had terrorized the region for so long that no one considered it safe to walk down that stretch of road anymore. Seeing Jesus, the madmen screamed out, “What business do you have giving us a hard time? You’re the Son of God! You weren’t supposed to show up here yet!” Off in the distance a herd of pigs was browsing and rooting. The evil spirits begged Jesus, “If you kick us out of these men, let us live in the pigs.”

32-34 Jesus said, “Go ahead, but get out of here!” Crazed, the pigs stampeded over a cliff into the sea and drowned. Scared to death, the swineherds bolted. They told everyone back in town what had happened to the madmen and the pigs. Those who heard about it were angry about the drowned pigs. A mob formed and demanded that Jesus get out and not come back.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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