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2 Samuel 21-22The Message (MSG)

Famine and War

21 There was a famine in David’s time. It went on year after year after year—three years. David went to God seeking the reason.

God said, “This is because there is blood on Saul and his house, from the time he massacred the Gibeonites.”

So the king called the Gibeonites together for consultation. (The Gibeonites were not part of Israel; they were what was left of the Amorites, and protected by a treaty with Israel. But Saul, a fanatic for the honor of Israel and Judah, tried to kill them off.)

David addressed the Gibeonites: “What can I do for you? How can I compensate you so that you will bless God’s legacy of land and people?”

The Gibeonites replied, “We don’t want any money from Saul and his family. And it’s not up to us to put anyone in Israel to death.”

But David persisted: “What are you saying I should do for you?”

5-6 Then they told the king, “The man who tried to get rid of us, who schemed to wipe us off the map of Israel—well, let seven of his sons be handed over to us to be executed—hanged before God at Gibeah of Saul, the holy mountain.”

And David agreed, “I’ll hand them over to you.”

7-9 The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the promise David and Jonathan had spoken before God. But the king selected Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons that Rizpah daughter of Aiah had borne to Saul, plus the five sons that Saul’s daughter Merab had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite. He turned them over to the Gibeonites who hanged them on the mountain before God—all seven died together. Harvest was just getting underway, the beginning of the barley harvest, when they were executed.

10 Rizpah daughter of Aiah took rough burlap and spread it out for herself on a rock from the beginning of the harvest until the heavy rains started. She kept the birds away from the bodies by day and the wild animals by night.

11-14 David was told what she had done, this Rizpah daughter of Aiah and concubine of Saul. He then went and got the remains of Saul and Jonathan his son from the leaders at Jabesh Gilead (who had rescued them from the town square at Beth Shan where the Philistines had hung them after striking them down at Gilboa). He gathered up their remains and brought them together with the dead bodies of the seven who had just been hanged. The bodies were taken back to the land of Benjamin and given a decent burial in the tomb of Kish, Saul’s father.

They did everything the king ordered to be done. That cleared things up: from then on God responded to Israel’s prayers for the land.

15-17 War broke out again between the Philistines and Israel. David and his men went down to fight. David became exhausted. Ishbi-Benob, a warrior descended from Rapha, with a spear weighing nearly eight pounds and outfitted in brand-new armor, announced that he’d kill David. But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to the rescue, struck the Philistine, and killed him.

Then David’s men swore to him, “No more fighting on the front-lines for you! Don’t snuff out the lamp of Israel!”

18 Later there was another skirmish with the Philistines at Gob. That time Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, another of the warriors descended from Rapha.

19 At yet another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jaar, the weaver of Bethlehem, killed Goliath the Gittite whose spear was as big as a flagpole.

20-21 Still another fight broke out in Gath. There was a giant there with six fingers on his hands and six toes on his feet—twenty-four fingers and toes! He was another of those descended from Rapha. He insulted Israel, and Jonathan son of Shimeah, David’s brother, killed him.

22 These four were descended from Rapha in Gath. And they all were killed by David and his soldiers.

22 David prayed to God the words of this song after God saved him from all his enemies and from Saul.

2-3 God is bedrock under my feet,
    the castle in which I live,
    my rescuing knight.
My God—the high crag
    where I run for dear life,
    hiding behind the boulders,
    safe in the granite hideout;
My mountaintop refuge,
    he saves me from ruthless men.

I sing to God the Praise-Lofty,
    and find myself safe and saved.

5-6 The waves of death crashed over me,
    devil waters rushed over me.
Hell’s ropes cinched me tight;
    death traps barred every exit.

A hostile world! I called to God,
    to my God I cried out.
From his palace he heard me call;
    my cry brought me right into his presence—
    a private audience!

8-16 Earth wobbled and lurched;
    the very heavens shook like leaves,
Quaked like aspen leaves
    because of his rage.
His nostrils flared, billowing smoke;
    his mouth spit fire.
Tongues of fire darted in and out;
    he lowered the sky.
He stepped down;
    under his feet an abyss opened up.
He rode a winged creature,
    swift on wind-wings.
He wrapped himself
    in a trenchcoat of black rain-cloud darkness.
But his cloud-brightness burst through,
    a grand comet of fireworks.
Then God thundered out of heaven;
    the High God gave a great shout.
God shot his arrows—pandemonium!
    He hurled his lightnings—a rout!
The secret sources of ocean were exposed,
    the hidden depths of earth lay uncovered
The moment God roared in protest,
    let loose his hurricane anger.

17-20 But me he caught—reached all the way
    from sky to sea; he pulled me out
Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos,
    the void in which I was drowning.
They hit me when I was down,
    but God stuck by me.
He stood me up on a wide-open field;
    I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!

21-25 God made my life complete
    when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I cleaned up my act,
    he gave me a fresh start.
Indeed, I’ve kept alert to God’s ways;
    I haven’t taken God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works,
    I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
    and I’m watching my step.
God rewrote the text of my life
    when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

26-28 You stick by people who stick with you,
    you’re straight with people who’re straight with you,
You’re good to good people,
    you shrewdly work around the bad ones.
You take the side of the down-and-out,
    but the stuck-up you take down a peg.

29-31 Suddenly, God, your light floods my path,
    God drives out the darkness.
I smash the bands of marauders,
    I vault the high fences.
What a God! His road
    stretches straight and smooth.
Every God-direction is road-tested.
    Everyone who runs toward him
Makes it.

32-46 Is there any god like God?
    Are we not at bedrock?
Is not this the God who armed me well,
    then aimed me in the right direction?
Now I run like a deer;
    I’m king of the mountain.
He shows me how to fight;
    I can bend a bronze bow!
You protect me with salvation-armor;
    you touch me and I feel ten feet tall.
You cleared the ground under me
    so my footing was firm.
When I chased my enemies I caught them;
    I didn’t let go till they were dead men.
I nailed them; they were down for good;
    then I walked all over them.
You armed me well for this fight;
    you smashed the upstarts.
You made my enemies turn tail,
    and I wiped out the haters.
They cried “uncle”
    but Uncle didn’t come;
They yelled for God
    and got no for an answer.
I ground them to dust; they gusted in the wind.
    I threw them out, like garbage in the gutter.
You rescued me from a squabbling people;
    you made me a leader of nations.
People I’d never heard of served me;
    the moment they got wind of me they submitted.
They gave up; they came trembling from their hideouts.

47-51 Live, God! Blessing to my Rock,
    my towering Salvation-God!
This God set things right for me
    and shut up the people who talked back.
He rescued me from enemy anger.
    You pulled me from the grip of upstarts,
You saved me from the bullies.
    That’s why I’m thanking you, God,
    all over the world.
That’s why I’m singing songs
    that rhyme your name.
God’s king takes the trophy;
    God’s chosen is beloved.
I mean David and all his children—
    always.

The Message (MSG)

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

Luke 18:24-43The Message (MSG)

24-25 Seeing his reaction, Jesus said, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who have it all to enter God’s kingdom? I’d say it’s easier to thread a camel through a needle’s eye than get a rich person into God’s kingdom.”

26 “Then who has any chance at all?” the others asked.

27 “No chance at all,” Jesus said, “if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”

28 Peter tried to regain some initiative: “We left everything we owned and followed you, didn’t we?”

29-30 “Yes,” said Jesus, “and you won’t regret it. No one who has sacrificed home, spouse, brothers and sisters, parents, children—whatever—will lose out. It will all come back multiplied many times over in your lifetime. And then the bonus of eternal life!”

I Want to See Again

31-34 Then Jesus took the Twelve off to the side and said, “Listen carefully. We’re on our way up to Jerusalem. Everything written in the Prophets about the Son of Man will take place. He will be handed over to the Romans, jeered at, made sport of, and spit on. Then, after giving him the third degree, they will kill him. In three days he will rise, alive.” But they didn’t get it, could make neither heads nor tails of what he was talking about.

35-37 He came to the outskirts of Jericho. A blind man was sitting beside the road asking for handouts. When he heard the rustle of the crowd, he asked what was going on. They told him, “Jesus the Nazarene is going by.”

38 He yelled, “Jesus! Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”

39 Those ahead of Jesus told the man to shut up, but he only yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”

40 Jesus stopped and ordered him to be brought over. When he had come near, Jesus asked, “What do you want from me?”

41 He said, “Master, I want to see again.”

42-43 Jesus said, “Go ahead—see again! Your faith has saved and healed you!” The healing was instant: He looked up, seeing—and then followed Jesus, glorifying God. Everyone in the street joined in, shouting praise to God.

The Message (MSG)

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

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