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Jeremiah 13-15The Message (MSG)

People Who Do Only What They Want to Do

13 1-2 God told me, “Go and buy yourself some linen shorts. Put them on and keep them on. Don’t even take them off to wash them.” So I bought the shorts as God directed and put them on.

3-5 Then God told me, “Take the shorts that you bought and go straight to Perath and hide them there in a crack in the rock.” So I did what God told me and hid them at Perath.

6-7 Next, after quite a long time, God told me, “Go back to Perath and get the linen shorts I told you to hide there.” So I went back to Perath and dug them out of the place where I had hidden them. The shorts by then had rotted and were worthless.

8-11 God explained, “This is the way I am going to ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem—a wicked bunch of people who won’t obey me, who do only what they want to do, who chase after all kinds of no-gods and worship them. They’re going to turn out as rotten as these old shorts. Just as shorts clothe and protect, so I kept the whole family of Israel under my care”—God’s Decree—“so that everyone could see they were my people, a people I could show off to the world and be proud of. But they refused to do a thing I said.

12 “And then tell them this, ‘God’s Message, personal from the God of Israel: Every wine jug should be full of wine.’

“And they’ll say, ‘Of course. We know that. Every wine jug should be full of wine!’

13-14 “Then you’ll say, ‘This is what God says: Watch closely. I’m going to fill every person who lives in this country—the kings who rule from David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, the citizens of Jerusalem—with wine that will make them drunk. And then I’ll smash them, smash the wine-filled jugs—old and young alike. Nothing will stop me. Not an ounce of pity or mercy or compassion will slow me down. Every last drunken jug of them will be smashed!’”

The Light You Always Took for Granted

15-17 Then I said, Listen. Listen carefully: Don’t stay stuck in your ways!
    It’s God’s Message we’re dealing with here.
Let your lives glow bright before God
    before he turns out the lights,
Before you trip and fall
    on the dark mountain paths.
The light you always took for granted will go out
    and the world will turn black.
If you people won’t listen,
    I’ll go off by myself and weep over you,
Weep because of your stubborn arrogance,
    bitter, bitter tears,
Rivers of tears from my eyes,
    because God’s sheep will end up in exile.

18-19 Tell the king and the queen-mother,
    “Come down off your high horses.
Your dazzling crowns
    will tumble off your heads.”
The villages in the Negev will be surrounded,
    everyone trapped,
And Judah dragged off to exile,
    the whole country dragged to oblivion.

20-22 Look, look, Jerusalem!
    Look at the enemies coming out of the north!
What will become of your flocks of people,
    the beautiful flocks in your care?
How are you going to feel when the people
    you’ve played up to, looked up to all these years
Now look down on you? You didn’t expect this?
    Surprise! The pain of a woman having a baby!
Do I hear you saying,
    “What’s going on here? Why me?”
The answer’s simple: You’re guilty,
    hugely guilty.
Your guilt has your life endangered,
    your guilt has you writhing in pain.

23 Can an African change skin?
    Can a leopard get rid of its spots?
So what are the odds on you doing good,
    you who are so long-practiced in evil?

24-27 “I’ll blow these people away—
    like wind-blown leaves.
You have it coming to you.
    I’ve measured it out precisely.”
        God’s Decree.
“It’s because you forgot me
    and embraced the Big Lie,
    that so-called god Baal.
I’m the one who will rip off your clothes,
    expose and shame you before the watching world.
Your obsessions with gods, gods, and more gods,
    your goddess affairs, your god-adulteries.
Gods on the hills, gods in the fields—
    every time I look you’re off with another god.
O Jerusalem, what a sordid life!
    Is there any hope for you!”

Time and Again We’ve Betrayed God

14 1-6 God’s Message that came to Jeremiah regarding the drought:

“Judah weeps,
    her cities mourn.
The people fall to the ground, moaning,
    while sounds of Jerusalem’s sobs rise up, up.
The rich people sent their servants for water.
    They went to the cisterns, but the cisterns were dry.
They came back with empty buckets,
    wringing their hands, shaking their heads.
All the farm work has stopped.
    Not a drop of rain has fallen.
The farmers don’t know what to do.
    They wring their hands, they shake their heads.
Even the doe abandons her fawn in the field
    because there is no grass—
Eyes glazed over, on her last legs,
    nothing but skin and bones.”

7-9 We know we’re guilty. We’ve lived bad lives—
    but do something, God. Do it for your sake!
Time and time again we’ve betrayed you.
    No doubt about it—we’ve sinned against you.
Hope of Israel! Our only hope!
    Israel’s last chance in this trouble!
Why are you acting like a tourist,
    taking in the sights, here today and gone tomorrow?
Why do you just stand there and stare,
    like someone who doesn’t know what to do in a crisis?
But God, you are, in fact, here, here with us!
    You know who we are—you named us!
    Don’t leave us in the lurch.

10 Then God said of these people:

“Since they loved to wander this way and that,
    never giving a thought to where they were going,
I will now have nothing more to do with them—
    except to note their guilt and punish their sins.”

The Killing Fields

11-12 God said to me, “Don’t pray that everything will turn out all right for this people. When they skip their meals in order to pray, I won’t listen to a thing they say. When they redouble their prayers, bringing all kinds of offerings from their herds and crops, I’ll not accept them. I’m finishing them off with war and famine and disease.”

13 I said, “But Master, God! Their preachers have been telling them that everything is going to be all right—no war and no famine—that there’s nothing to worry about.”

14 Then God said, “These preachers are liars, and they use my name to cover their lies. I never sent them, I never commanded them, and I don’t talk with them. The sermons they’ve been handing out are sheer illusion, tissues of lies, whistlings in the dark.

15-16 “So this is my verdict on them: All the preachers who preach using my name as their text, preachers I never sent in the first place, preachers who say, ‘War and famine will never come here’—these preachers will die in war and by starvation. And the people to whom they’ve been preaching will end up as corpses, victims of war and starvation, thrown out in the streets of Jerusalem unburied—no funerals for them or their wives or their children! I’ll make sure they get the full brunt of all their evil.

17-18 “And you, Jeremiah, will say this to them:

“‘My eyes pour out tears.
    Day and night, the tears never quit.
My dear, dear people are battered and bruised,
    hopelessly and cruelly wounded.
I walk out into the fields,
    shocked by the killing fields strewn with corpses.
I walk into the city,
    shocked by the sight of starving bodies.
And I watch the preachers and priests
    going about their business as if nothing’s happened!’”

19-22 God, have you said your final No to Judah?
    Can you simply not stand Zion any longer?
If not, why have you treated us like this,
    beaten us nearly to death?
We hoped for peace—
    nothing good came from it;
We looked for healing—
    and got kicked in the stomach.
We admit, O God, how badly we’ve lived,
    and our ancestors, how bad they were.
We’ve sinned, they’ve sinned,
    we’ve all sinned against you!
Your reputation is at stake! Don’t quit on us!
    Don’t walk out and abandon your glorious Temple!
Remember your covenant.
    Don’t break faith with us!
Can the no-gods of the godless nations cause rain?
    Can the sky water the earth by itself?
You’re the one, O God, who does this.
    So you’re the one for whom we wait.
You made it all,
    you do it all.

15 1-2 Then God said to me: “Jeremiah, even if Moses and Samuel stood here and made their case, I wouldn’t feel a thing for this people. Get them out of here. Tell them to get lost! And if they ask you, ‘So where do we go?’ tell them God says,

“‘If you’re assigned to die, go and die;
    if assigned to war, go and get killed;
If assigned to starve, go starve;
    if assigned to exile, off to exile you go!’

3-4 “I’ve arranged for four kinds of punishment: death in battle, the corpses dropped off by killer dogs, the rest picked clean by vultures, the bones gnawed by hyenas. They’ll be a sight to see, a sight to shock the whole world—and all because of Manasseh son of Hezekiah and all he did in Jerusalem.

“Who do you think will feel sorry for you, Jerusalem?
    Who do you think will waste tears on you?
Who will bother to take the time to ask,
    ‘So, how are things going?’

6-9 You left me, remember?” God’s Decree.
    “You turned your back and walked out.
So I will grab you and hit you hard.
    I’m tired of letting you off the hook.
I threw you to the four winds
    and let the winds scatter you like leaves.
I made sure you’ll lose everything,
    since nothing makes you change.
I created more widows among you
    than grains of sand on the ocean beaches.
At noon mothers will get the news
    of their sons killed in action.
Sudden anguish for the mothers—
    all those terrible deaths.
A mother of seven falls to the ground,
    gasping for breath,
Robbed of her children in their prime.
    Her sun sets at high noon!
Then I’ll round up any of you that are left alive
    and see that you’re killed by your enemies.”
        God’s Decree.

Giving Everything Away for Nothing

10-11 Unlucky mother—that you had me as a son,
    given the unhappy job of indicting the whole country!
I’ve never hurt or harmed a soul,
    and yet everyone is out to get me.
But, God knows, I’ve done everything I could to help them,
    prayed for them and against their enemies.
I’ve always been on their side, trying to stave off disaster.
    God knows how I’ve tried!

12-14 “O Israel, O Judah, what are your chances
    against the iron juggernaut from the north?
In punishment for your sins, I’m giving away
    everything you’ve got, giving it away for nothing.
I’ll make you slaves to your enemies
    in a strange and far-off land.
My anger is blazing and fierce,
    burning in hot judgment against you.”

15-18 You know where I am, God! Remember what I’m doing here!
    Take my side against my detractors.
Don’t stand back while they ruin me.
    Just look at the abuse I’m taking!
When your words showed up, I ate them—
    swallowed them whole. What a feast!
What delight I took in being yours,
    O God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
I never joined the party crowd
    in their laughter and their fun.
Led by you, I went off by myself.
    You’d filled me with indignation. Their sin had me seething.
But why, why this chronic pain,
    this ever worsening wound and no healing in sight?
You’re nothing, God, but a mirage,
    a lovely oasis in the distance—and then nothing!

19-21 This is how God answered me:

“Take back those words, and I’ll take you back.
    Then you’ll stand tall before me.
Use words truly and well. Don’t stoop to cheap whining.
    Then, but only then, you’ll speak for me.
Let your words change them.
    Don’t change your words to suit them.
I’ll turn you into a steel wall,
    a thick steel wall, impregnable.
They’ll attack you but won’t put a dent in you
    because I’m at your side, defending and delivering.”
        God’s Decree.
“I’ll deliver you from the grip of the wicked.
    I’ll get you out of the clutch of the ruthless.”

The Message (MSG)

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

John 15The Message (MSG)

The Vine and the Branches

15 1-3 “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.

“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.

5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.

9-10 “I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.

11-15 “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.

16 “You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.

17 “But remember the root command: Love one another.

Hated by the World

18-19 “If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.

20 “When that happens, remember this: Servants don’t get better treatment than their masters. If they beat on me, they will certainly beat on you. If they did what I told them, they will do what you tell them.

21-25 “They are going to do all these things to you because of the way they treated me, because they don’t know the One who sent me. If I hadn’t come and told them all this in plain language, it wouldn’t be so bad. As it is, they have no excuse. Hate me, hate my Father—it’s all the same. If I hadn’t done what I have done among them, works no one has ever done, they wouldn’t be to blame. But they saw the God-signs and hated anyway, both me and my Father. Interesting—they have verified the truth of their own Scriptures where it is written, ‘They hated me for no good reason.’

26-27 “When the Friend I plan to send you from the Father comes—the Spirit of Truth issuing from the Father—he will confirm everything about me. You, too, from your side must give your confirming evidence, since you are in this with me from the start.”

The Message (MSG)

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

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