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Isaiah 11-13The Message (MSG)

A Green Shoot from Jesse’s Stump

11 1-5 A green Shoot will sprout from Jesse’s stump,
    from his roots a budding Branch.
The life-giving Spirit of God will hover over him,
    the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength,
    the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God.
Fear-of-God
    will be all his joy and delight.
He won’t judge by appearances,
    won’t decide on the basis of hearsay.
He’ll judge the needy by what is right,
    render decisions on earth’s poor with justice.
His words will bring everyone to awed attention.
    A mere breath from his lips will topple the wicked.
Each morning he’ll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots,
    and build righteousness and faithfulness in the land.

A Living Knowledge of God

6-9 The wolf will romp with the lamb,
    the leopard sleep with the kid.
Calf and lion will eat from the same trough,
    and a little child will tend them.
Cow and bear will graze the same pasture,
    their calves and cubs grow up together,
    and the lion eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child will crawl over rattlesnake dens,
    the toddler stick his hand down the hole of a serpent.
Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill
    on my holy mountain.
The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive,
    a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide.

10 On that day, Jesse’s Root will be raised high, posted as a rallying banner for the peoples. The nations will all come to him. His headquarters will be glorious.

11 Also on that day, the Master for the second time will reach out to bring back what’s left of his scattered people. He’ll bring them back from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Ethiopia, Elam, Sinar, Hamath, and the ocean islands.

12-16 And he’ll raise that rallying banner high, visible to all nations,
    gather in all the scattered exiles of Israel,
Pull in all the dispersed refugees of Judah
    from the four winds and the seven seas.
The jealousy of Ephraim will dissolve,
    the hostility of Judah will vanish—
Ephraim no longer the jealous rival of Judah,
    Judah no longer the hostile rival of Ephraim!
Blood brothers united, they’ll pounce on the Philistines in the west,
    join forces to plunder the people in the east.
They’ll attack Edom and Moab.
    The Ammonites will fall into line.
God will once again dry up Egypt’s Red Sea,
    making for an easy crossing.
He’ll send a blistering wind
    down on the great River Euphrates,
Reduce it to seven mere trickles.
    None even need get their feet wet!
In the end there’ll be a highway all the way from Assyria,
    easy traveling for what’s left of God’s people—
A highway just like the one Israel had
    when he marched up out of Egypt.

My Strength and Song

12 And you will say in that day,
    “I thank you, God.
You were angry
    but your anger wasn’t forever.
You withdrew your anger
    and moved in and comforted me.

“Yes, indeed—God is my salvation.
    I trust, I won’t be afraid.
God—yes God!—is my strength and song,
    best of all, my salvation!”

3-4 Joyfully you’ll pull up buckets of water
    from the wells of salvation.
And as you do it, you’ll say,
    “Give thanks to God.
Call out his name.
    Ask him anything!
Shout to the nations, tell them what he’s done,
    spread the news of his great reputation!

5-6 “Sing praise-songs to God. He’s done it all!
    Let the whole earth know what he’s done!
Raise the roof! Sing your hearts out, O Zion!
    The Greatest lives among you: The Holy of Israel.”

Babylon Is Doomed!

13 The Message on Babylon. Isaiah son of Amoz saw it:

2-3 “Run up a flag on an open hill.

    Yell loud. Get their attention.
Wave them into formation.
    Direct them to the nerve center of power.
I’ve taken charge of my special forces,
    called up my crack troops.
They’re bursting with pride and passion
    to carry out my angry judgment.”

4-5 Thunder rolls off the mountains
    like a mob huge and noisy—
Thunder of kingdoms in an uproar,
    nations assembling for war.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies is calling
    his army into battle formation.
They come from far-off countries,
    they pour in across the horizon.
It’s God on the move with the weapons of his wrath,
    ready to destroy the whole country.

6-8 Wail! God’s Day of Judgment is near—
    an avalanche crashing down from the Strong God!
Everyone paralyzed in the panic,
    hysterical and unstrung,
Doubled up in pain
    like a woman giving birth to a baby.
Horrified—everyone they see
    is like a face out of a nightmare.

9-16 “Watch now. God’s Judgment Day comes.
    Cruel it is, a day of wrath and anger,
A day to waste the earth
    and clean out all the sinners.
The stars in the sky, the great parade of constellations,
    will be nothing but black holes.
The sun will come up as a black disk,
    and the moon a blank nothing.
I’ll put a full stop to the evil on earth,
    terminate the dark acts of the wicked.
I’ll gag all braggarts and boasters—not a peep anymore from them—
    and trip strutting tyrants, leave them flat on their faces.
Proud humanity will disappear from the earth.
    I’ll make mortals rarer than hens’ teeth.
And yes, I’ll even make the sky shake,
    and the earth quake to its roots
Under the wrath of God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    the Judgment Day of his raging anger.
Like a hunted white-tailed deer,
    like lost sheep with no shepherd,
People will huddle with a few of their own kind,
    run off to some makeshift shelter.
But tough luck to stragglers—they’ll be killed on the spot,
    throats cut, bellies ripped open,
Babies smashed on the rocks
    while mothers and fathers watch,
Houses looted,
    wives raped.

17-22 “And now watch this:
    Against Babylon, I’m inciting the Medes,
A ruthless bunch indifferent to bribes,
    the kind of brutality that no one can blunt.
They massacre the young,
    wantonly kick and kill even babies.
And Babylon, most glorious of all kingdoms,
    the pride and joy of Chaldeans,
Will end up smoking and stinking like Sodom,
    and, yes, like Gomorrah, when God had finished with them.
No one will live there anymore,
    generation after generation a ghost town.
Not even Bedouins will pitch tents there.
    Shepherds will give it a wide berth.
But strange and wild animals will like it just fine,
    filling the vacant houses with eerie night sounds.
Skunks will make it their home,
    and unspeakable night hags will haunt it.
Hyenas will curdle your blood with their laughing,
    and the howling of coyotes will give you the shivers.

“Babylon is doomed.
    It won’t be long now.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Ephesians 4The Message (MSG)

To Be Mature

1-3 In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

4-6 You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.

7-13 But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. The text for this is,

He climbed the high mountain,
He captured the enemy and seized the booty,
He handed it all out in gifts to the people.

Is it not true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.

14-16 No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.

The Old Way Has to Go

17-19 And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.

20-24 But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.

25 What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.

26-27 Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.

28 Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work.

29 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

30 Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.

31-32 Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

The Message (MSG)

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

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