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Psalm 131 The Message (MSG)

A Pilgrim Song

131 God, I’m not trying to rule the roost,
    I don’t want to be king of the mountain.
I haven’t meddled where I have no business
    or fantasized grandiose plans.

I’ve kept my feet on the ground,
    I’ve cultivated a quiet heart.
Like a baby content in its mother’s arms,
    my soul is a baby content.

Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope.
    Hope now; hope always!

The Message (MSG)

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

Psalm 132 The Message (MSG)

A Pilgrim Song

132 1-5 O God, remember David,
    remember all his troubles!
And remember how he promised God,
    made a vow to the Strong God of Jacob,
“I’m not going home,
    and I’m not going to bed,
I’m not going to sleep,
    not even take time to rest,
Until I find a home for God,
    a house for the Strong God of Jacob.”

6-7 Remember how we got the news in Ephrathah,
    learned all about it at Jaar Meadows?
We shouted, “Let’s go to the shrine dedication!
    Let’s worship at God’s own footstool!”

8-10 Up, God, enjoy your new place of quiet repose,
    you and your mighty covenant ark;
Get your priests all dressed up in justice;
    prompt your worshipers to sing this prayer:
“Honor your servant David;
    don’t disdain your anointed one.”

11-18 God gave David his word,
    he won’t back out on this promise:
“One of your sons
    I will set on your throne;
If your sons stay true to my Covenant
    and learn to live the way I teach them,
Their sons will continue the line—
    always a son to sit on your throne.
Yes—I, God, chose Zion,
    the place I wanted for my shrine;
This will always be my home;
    this is what I want, and I’m here for good.
I’ll shower blessings on the pilgrims who come here,
    and give supper to those who arrive hungry;
I’ll dress my priests in salvation clothes;
    the holy people will sing their hearts out!
Oh, I’ll make the place radiant for David!
    I’ll fill it with light for my anointed!
I’ll dress his enemies in dirty rags,
    but I’ll make his crown sparkle with splendor.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Jeremiah 26:1-16 The Message (MSG)

Change the Way You’re Living

26 At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this Message came from God to Jeremiah:

2-3 God’s Message: Stand in the court of God’s Temple and preach to the people who come from all over Judah to worship in God’s Temple. Say everything I tell you to say to them. Don’t hold anything back. Just maybe they’ll listen and turn back from their bad lives. Then I’ll reconsider the disaster that I’m planning to bring on them because of their evil behavior.

4-6 “Say to them, ‘This is God’s Message: If you refuse to listen to me and live by my teaching that I’ve revealed so plainly to you, and if you continue to refuse to listen to my servants the prophets that I tirelessly keep on sending to you—but you’ve never listened! Why would you start now?—then I’ll make this Temple a pile of ruins like Shiloh, and I’ll make this city nothing but a bad joke worldwide.’”

7-9 Everybody there—priests, prophets, and people—heard Jeremiah preaching this Message in the Temple of God. When Jeremiah had finished his sermon, saying everything God had commanded him to say, the priests and prophets and people all grabbed him, yelling, “Death! You’re going to die for this! How dare you preach—and using God’s name!—saying that this Temple will become a heap of rubble like Shiloh and this city be wiped out without a soul left in it!”

All the people mobbed Jeremiah right in the Temple itself.

10 Officials from the royal court of Judah were told of this. They left the palace immediately and came to God’s Temple to investigate. They held court on the spot, at the New Gate entrance to God’s Temple.

11 The prophets and priests spoke first, addressing the officials, but also the people: “Death to this man! He deserves nothing less than death! He has preached against this city—you’ve heard the evidence with your own ears.”

12-13 Jeremiah spoke next, publicly addressing the officials before the crowd: “God sent me to preach against both this Temple and city everything that’s been reported to you. So do something about it! Change the way you’re living, change your behavior. Listen obediently to the Message of your God. Maybe God will reconsider the disaster he has threatened.

14-15 “As for me, I’m at your mercy—do whatever you think is best. But take warning: If you kill me, you’re killing an innocent man, and you and the city and the people in it will be liable. I didn’t say any of this on my own. God sent me and told me what to say. You’ve been listening to God speak, not Jeremiah.”

16 The court officials, backed by the people, then handed down their ruling to the priests and prophets: “Acquittal. No death sentence for this man. He has spoken to us with the authority of our God.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Romans 11:1-12 The Message (MSG)

The Loyal Minority

11 1-2 Does this mean, then, that God is so fed up with Israel that he’ll have nothing more to do with them? Hardly. Remember that I, the one writing these things, am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham out of the tribe of Benjamin. You can’t get much more Semitic than that! So we’re not talking about repudiation. God has been too long involved with Israel, has too much invested, to simply wash his hands of them.

2-6 Do you remember that time Elijah was agonizing over this same Israel and cried out in prayer?

God, they murdered your prophets,
They trashed your altars;
I’m the only one left and now they’re after me!

And do you remember God’s answer?

I still have seven thousand who haven’t quit,
Seven thousand who are loyal to the finish.

It’s the same today. There’s a fiercely loyal minority still—not many, perhaps, but probably more than you think. They’re holding on, not because of what they think they’re going to get out of it, but because they’re convinced of God’s grace and purpose in choosing them. If they were only thinking of their own immediate self-interest, they would have left long ago.

7-10 And then what happened? Well, when Israel tried to be right with God on her own, pursuing her own self-interest, she didn’t succeed. The chosen ones of God were those who let God pursue his interest in them, and as a result received his stamp of legitimacy. The “self-interest Israel” became thick-skinned toward God. Moses and Isaiah both commented on this:

Fed up with their quarrelsome, self-centered ways,
    God blurred their eyes and dulled their ears,
Shut them in on themselves in a hall of mirrors,
    and they’re there to this day.

David was upset about the same thing:

I hope they get sick eating self-serving meals,
    break a leg walking their self-serving ways.
I hope they go blind staring in their mirrors,
    get ulcers from playing at god.

Pruning and Grafting Branches

11-12 The next question is, “Are they down for the count? Are they out of this for good?” And the answer is a clear-cut No. Ironically when they walked out, they left the door open and the outsiders walked in. But the next thing you know, the Jews were starting to wonder if perhaps they had walked out on a good thing. Now, if their leaving triggered this worldwide coming of non-Jewish outsiders to God’s kingdom, just imagine the effect of their coming back! What a homecoming!

The Message (MSG)

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

John 10:19-42 The Message (MSG)

19-21 This kind of talk caused another split in the Jewish ranks. A lot of them were saying, “He’s crazy, a maniac—out of his head completely. Why bother listening to him?” But others weren’t so sure: “These aren’t the words of a crazy man. Can a ‘maniac’ open blind eyes?”

22-24 They were celebrating Hanukkah just then in Jerusalem. It was winter. Jesus was strolling in the Temple across Solomon’s Porch. The Jews, circling him, said, “How long are you going to keep us guessing? If you’re the Messiah, tell us straight out.”

25-30 Jesus answered, “I told you, but you don’t believe. Everything I have done has been authorized by my Father, actions that speak louder than words. You don’t believe because you’re not my sheep. My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. I and the Father are one heart and mind.”

31-32 Again the Jews picked up rocks to throw at him. Jesus said, “I have made a present to you from the Father of a great many good actions. For which of these acts do you stone me?”

33 The Jews said, “We’re not stoning you for anything good you did, but for what you said—this blasphemy of calling yourself God.”

34-38 Jesus said, “I’m only quoting your inspired Scriptures, where God said, ‘I tell you—you are gods.’ If God called your ancestors ‘gods’—and Scripture doesn’t lie—why do you yell, ‘Blasphemer! Blasphemer!’ at the unique One the Father consecrated and sent into the world, just because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I don’t do the things my Father does, well and good; don’t believe me. But if I am doing them, put aside for a moment what you hear me say about myself and just take the evidence of the actions that are right before your eyes. Then perhaps things will come together for you, and you’ll see that not only are we doing the same thing, we are the same—Father and Son. He is in me; I am in him.”

39-42 They tried yet again to arrest him, but he slipped through their fingers. He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and stayed there. A lot of people followed him over. They were saying, “John did no miracles, but everything he said about this man has come true.” Many believed in him then and there.

The Message (MSG)

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

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