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Amos 4-6The Message (MSG)

You Never Got Hungry for God

“Listen to this, you cows of Bashan
    grazing on the slopes of Samaria.
You women! Mean to the poor,
    cruel to the down-and-out!
Indolent and pampered, you demand of your husbands,
    ‘Bring us a tall, cool drink!’

2-3 “This is serious—I, God, have sworn by my holiness!
    Be well warned: Judgment Day is coming!
They’re going to rope you up and haul you off,
    keep the stragglers in line with cattle prods.
They’ll drag you through the ruined city walls,
    forcing you out single file,
And kick you to kingdom come.”
    God’s Decree.

4-5 “Come along to Bethel and sin!
    And then to Gilgal and sin some more!
Bring your sacrifices for morning worship.
    Every third day bring your tithe.
Burn pure sacrifices—thank offerings.
    Speak up—announce freewill offerings!
That’s the sort of religious show
    you Israelites just love.”
        God’s Decree.

“You know, don’t you, that I’m the One
    who emptied your pantries and cleaned out your cupboards,
Who left you hungry and standing in bread lines?
    But you never got hungry for me. You continued to ignore me.”
        God’s Decree.

7-8 “Yes, and I’m the One who stopped the rains
    three months short of harvest.
I’d make it rain on one village
    but not on another.
I’d make it rain on one field
    but not on another—and that one would dry up.
People would stagger from village to village
    crazed for water and never quenching their thirst.
But you never got thirsty for me.
    You ignored me.”
        God’s Decree.

“I hit your crops with disease
    and withered your orchards and gardens.
Locusts devoured your olive and fig trees,
    but you continued to ignore me.”
        God’s Decree.

10 “I revisited you with the old Egyptian plagues,
    killed your choice young men and prize horses.
The stink of rot in your camps was so strong
    that you held your noses—
But you didn’t notice me.
    You continued to ignore me.”
        God’s Decree.

11 “I hit you with earthquake and fire,
    left you devastated like Sodom and Gomorrah.
You were like a burning stick
    snatched from the flames.
But you never looked my way.
    You continued to ignore me.”
        God’s Decree.

12 “All this I have done to you, Israel,
    and this is why I have done it.
Time’s up, O Israel!
    Prepare to meet your God!”

13 Look who’s here: Mountain-Shaper! Wind-Maker!
    He laid out the whole plot before Adam.
He brings everything out of nothing,
    like dawn out of darkness.
He strides across the alpine ridges.
    His name is God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

All Show, No Substance

Listen to this, family of Israel,
    this Message I’m sending in bold print, this tragic warning:

“Virgin Israel has fallen flat on her face.
    She’ll never stand up again.
She’s been left where she’s fallen.
    No one offers to help her up.”

This is the Message, God’s Word:

“The city that marches out with a thousand
    will end up with a hundred.
The city that marches out with a hundred
    will end up with ten. Oh, family of Israel!”

4-5 God’s Message to the family of Israel:

“Seek me and live.
    Don’t fool around at those shrines of Bethel,
Don’t waste time taking trips to Gilgal,
    and don’t bother going down to Beer-sheba.
Gilgal is here today and gone tomorrow
    and Bethel is all show, no substance.”

So seek God and live! You don’t want to end up
    with nothing to show for your life
But a pile of ashes, a house burned to the ground.
    For God will send just such a fire,
    and the firefighters will show up too late.

Raw Truth Is Never Popular

7-9 Woe to you who turn justice to vinegar
    and stomp righteousness into the mud.
Do you realize where you are? You’re in a cosmos
    star-flung with constellations by God,
A world God wakes up each morning
    and puts to bed each night.
God dips water from the ocean
    and gives the land a drink.
    God, God-revealed, does all this.
And he can destroy it as easily as make it.
    He can turn this vast wonder into total waste.

10-12 People hate this kind of talk.
    Raw truth is never popular.
But here it is, bluntly spoken:
    Because you run roughshod over the poor
    and take the bread right out of their mouths,
You’re never going to move into
    the luxury homes you have built.
You’re never going to drink wine
    from the expensive vineyards you’ve planted.
I know precisely the extent of your violations,
    the enormity of your sins. Appalling!
You bully right-living people,
    taking bribes right and left and kicking the poor when they’re down.

13 Justice is a lost cause. Evil is epidemic.
    Decent people throw up their hands.
Protest and rebuke are useless,
    a waste of breath.

14 Seek good and not evil—
    and live!
You talk about God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    being your best friend.
Well, live like it,
    and maybe it will happen.

15 Hate evil and love good,
    then work it out in the public square.
Maybe God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    will notice your remnant and be gracious.

16-17 Now again, my Master’s Message, God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies:

“Go out into the streets and lament loudly!
    Fill the malls and shops with cries of doom!
Weep loudly, ‘Not me! Not us, Not now!’
    Empty offices, stores, factories, workplaces.
Enlist everyone in the general lament.
    I want to hear it loud and clear when I make my visit.”
        God’s Decree.

Time to Face Hard Reality, Not Fantasy

18-20 Woe to all of you who want God’s Judgment Day!
    Why would you want to see God, want him to come?
When God comes, it will be bad news before it’s good news,
    the worst of times, not the best of times.
Here’s what it’s like: A man runs from a lion
    right into the jaws of a bear.
A woman goes home after a hard day’s work
    and is raped by a neighbor.
At God’s coming we face hard reality, not fantasy—
    a black cloud with no silver lining.

21-24 “I can’t stand your religious meetings.
    I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
    your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
    your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
    When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
    I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
    That’s what I want. That’s all I want.

25-27 “Didn’t you, dear family of Israel, worship me faithfully for forty years in the wilderness, bringing the sacrifices and offerings I commanded? How is it you’ve stooped to dragging gimcrack statues of your so-called rulers around, hauling the cheap images of all your star-gods here and there? Since you like them so much, you can take them with you when I drive you into exile beyond Damascus.” God’s Message, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

Those Who Live Only for Today

1-2 Woe to you who think you live on easy street in Zion,
    who think Mount Samaria is the good life.
You assume you’re at the top of the heap,
    voted the number-one best place to live.
Well, wake up and look around. Get off your pedestal.
    Take a look at Calneh.
Go and visit Great Hamath.
    Look in on Gath of the Philistines.
Doesn’t that take you off your high horse?
    Compared to them, you’re not much, are you?

3-6 Woe to you who are rushing headlong to disaster!
    Catastrophe is just around the corner!
Woe to those who live in luxury
    and expect everyone else to serve them!
Woe to those who live only for today,
    indifferent to the fate of others!
Woe to the playboys, the playgirls,
    who think life is a party held just for them!
Woe to those addicted to feeling good—life without pain!
    those obsessed with looking good—life without wrinkles!
They could not care less
    about their country going to ruin.

But here’s what’s really coming:
    a forced march into exile.
They’ll leave the country whining,
    a rag-tag bunch of good-for-nothings.

You’ve Made a Shambles of Justice

God, the Master, has sworn, and solemnly stands by his Word.
    The God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaks:

“I hate the arrogance of Jacob.
    I have nothing but contempt for his forts.
I’m about to hand over the city
    and everyone in it.”

9-10 Ten men are in a house, all dead. A relative comes and gets the bodies to prepare them for a decent burial. He discovers a survivor huddled in a closet and asks, “Are there any more?” The answer: “Not a soul. But hush! God must not be mentioned in this desecrated place.”

11 Note well: God issues the orders.
    He’ll knock large houses to smithereens.
    He’ll smash little houses to bits.

12-13 Do you hold a horse race in a field of rocks?
    Do you plow the sea with oxen?
You’d cripple the horses
    and drown the oxen.
And yet you’ve made a shambles of justice,
    a bloated corpse of righteousness,
Bragging of your trivial pursuits,
    beating up on the weak and crowing, “Look what I’ve done!”

14 “Enjoy it while you can, you Israelites.
    I’ve got a pagan army on the move against you”
    —this is your God speaking, God-of-the-Angel-Armies—
“And they’ll make hash of you,
    from one end of the country to the other.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Revelation 7The Message (MSG)

The Servants of God

Immediately I saw Four Angels standing at the four corners of earth, standing steady with a firm grip on the four winds so no wind would blow on earth or sea, not even rustle a tree.

2-3 Then I saw another Angel rising from where the sun rose, carrying the seal of the Living God. He thundered to the Four Angels assigned the task of hurting earth and sea, “Don’t hurt the earth! Don’t hurt the sea! Don’t so much as hurt a tree until I’ve sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads!”

4-8 I heard the count of those who were sealed: 144,000! They were sealed out of every Tribe of Israel: 12,000 sealed from Judah, 12,000 from Reuben, 12,000 from Gad, 12,000 from Asher, 12,000 from Naphtali, 12,000 from Manasseh, 12,000 from Simeon, 12,000 from Levi, 12,000 from Issachar, 12,000 from Zebulun, 12,000 from Joseph, 12,000 sealed from Benjamin.

9-12 I looked again. I saw a huge crowd, too huge to count. Everyone was there—all nations and tribes, all races and languages. And they were standing, dressed in white robes and waving palm branches, standing before the Throne and the Lamb and heartily singing:

Salvation to our God on his Throne!
Salvation to the Lamb!

All who were standing around the Throne—Angels, Elders, Animals—fell on their faces before the Throne and worshiped God, singing:

Oh, Yes!
The blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving,
The honor and power and strength,
To our God forever and ever and ever!
Oh, Yes!

13-14 Just then one of the Elders addressed me: “Who are these dressed in white robes, and where did they come from?” Taken aback, I said, “O Sir, I have no idea—but you must know.”

14-17 Then he told me, “These are those who come from the great tribulation, and they’ve washed their robes, scrubbed them clean in the blood of the Lamb. That’s why they’re standing before God’s Throne. They serve him day and night in his Temple. The One on the Throne will pitch his tent there for them: no more hunger, no more thirst, no more scorching heat. The Lamb on the Throne will shepherd them, will lead them to spring waters of Life. And God will wipe every last tear from their eyes.”

The Message (MSG)

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

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