Psalm 82 The Voice (VOICE)
A song of Asaph.
Psalm 82 provides an image of a heavenly scene in which God accuses His heavenly messengers of not caring for the poor and pursuing justice.
1 The True God stands to preside over the heavenly council.
3 “Stand up for the poor and the orphan;
5 These bullies are ignorant; they have no understanding of My ways.
6 I said, “Though you are gods[b]
8 Rise up, O True God; judge the rulers of the earth,
1 Samuel 6:1-16 The Voice (VOICE)
6 The covenant chest of the Eternal One had been in the land of the Philistines for seven months. 2 Then the rulers of the Philistines sent for their priests and fortune-tellers.
Rulers: What should we do with this chest of the Eternal One? We need to get rid of it. What should we send with it when we return it?
Priests and Fortune-tellers: 3 Whatever you do, don’t send this covenant chest of the True God of Israel back by itself. You should certainly offer Him compensation for your guilt. If you do, you will all be healed. That’s the only way you can be certain that His hand will be lifted.
Rulers: 4 What should we send as this guilt offering to Him when we return the covenant chest?
Ancient people understand diseases and various infestations as omens of divine wrath. In order to appease the God of the Israelites, the Philistines cast metal tumors and mice to give back to the Eternal One what He gave to them.
Priests and Fortune-Tellers: Have your artisans make five gold tumors and five gold mice, one for each of the rulers of the Philistines’ capital cities, because the same plague came upon all of the Philistines and all of our rulers. 5 So you must make images of the tumors and of the mice that devastate our land and honor this God of Israel. Maybe then He will release His grip on this land, its people, and its gods. 6 Why would you be as stubborn as the Egyptians and their Pharaoh were? You’ve heard the stories, haven’t you? When this God had taught them a lesson, didn’t they release the people of Israel? Didn’t they go?
7 So do this now: have your carpenters make a new wagon, find two milk cows that have never been yoked, and yoke them to the cart. But take away their calves and pen them up. 8 Take this chest of the Eternal One and set it upon the wagon. In a box beside it, put the gold images you are presenting to this God as a guilt offering. Then turn the cows loose, and let them go on their way. 9 Watch closely. If the team pulls the wagon up to this God’s country, to Beth-shemesh, then you know that He has been the One punishing us. If they don’t, then at least we’ll know that it was not His hand that struck us, that it has just been bad luck.
10 And that is what the leaders did. They separated two milk cows from their calves. They yoked the cows to the wagon and took the calves home. 11 They set the covenant chest of the Eternal upon the wagon, and next to it, they placed the box with the gold tumors and gold mice. 12 The cows went straight along the road toward Beth-shemesh, mooing after their lost calves as they went. They went straight ahead without any hesitation, and the rulers of the Philistines followed as far as the border of Beth-shemesh.
13 The people of Beth-shemesh were in the valley harvesting their wheat at that time. When they looked up and saw the covenant chest, they ran to greet it with joy. 14 The wagon came to a halt at a large stone in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh. The people split up the cart for firewood and sacrificed the cattle as a burnt offering to the Eternal One on the large stone. 15 The Levites took the chest of the Eternal and the box next to it down from the wagon. They took the gold images from the box and set them upon the stone altar. Then the people of Beth-shemesh offered sacrifices and made other burnt offerings to the Eternal One.
16 When the five rulers of the Philistines saw how their offering had been received that day, they returned to Ekron.
Matthew 24:15-27 The Voice (VOICE)
15 You will remember that the prophet Daniel predicted this—predicted the abomination that causes desolation[a]—when you see the prophesied desolation of the holy place. (Reader, take notice; it is important that you understand this.) 16 When you see this, let those in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 If you are relaxing on your rooftop one evening and the signs of the temple’s destructions come, don’t return to your house to rescue a book or a pet or a scrap of clothing. 18 If you are in the field when the great destruction begins, don’t return home for a cloak. 19 Pregnant women and nursing mothers will have the worst of it. 20 And as for you, pray that your flight to the hills will not come on the Sabbath or in the cold of winter. 21 For the tribulation will be unparalleled—hardships of a magnitude that has not been seen since creation and that will not be seen again. 22 Indeed the Lord God your merciful judge will cut this time of trial short, and this will be done for the benefit of the elect that some might indeed be saved—for no one could survive the depravity for very long.
23 I cannot say this clearly enough: during this time, someone will say to you, “Look, here is the Anointed One!” or “Aren’t you relieved? Haven’t you seen the Savior down there, around the bend, over the hill and dale?” Do not believe them. 24 False liberators and false prophets will appear, and they will know a few tricks—they will perform great miracles, and they will make great promises. If it were possible, they would even deceive God’s elect. 25 But I am warning you ahead of time: remember—do not fall for their lies or lines or promises. 26 If someone says, “He’s out there in the desert”—do not go. And if someone says, “He’s here at our house, at our table”—do not believe him. 27 When the Son of Man comes, He will be as visible as lightning in the East is visible even in the West.