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Isaiah 17-19The Message (MSG)

Damascus: A Pile of Dust and Rubble

17 1-3 A Message concerning Damascus:

“Watch this: Damascus undone as a city,
    a pile of dust and rubble!
Her towns emptied of people.
    The sheep and goats will move in
And take over the towns
    as if they owned them—which they will!
Not a sign of a fort is left in Ephraim,
    not a trace of government left in Damascus.
What’s left of Aram?
    The same as what’s left of Israel—not much.”
        Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

The Day Is Coming

4-6 “The Day is coming when Jacob’s robust splendor goes pale
    and his well-fed body turns skinny.
The country will be left empty, picked clean
    as a field harvested by field hands.
She’ll be like a few stalks of barley left standing
    in the lush Valley of Rephaim after harvest,
Or like the couple of ripe olives overlooked
    in the top of the olive tree,
Or the four or five apples
    that the pickers couldn’t reach in the orchard.”
        Decree of the God of Israel.

7-8 Yes, the Day is coming when people will notice The One Who Made Them, take a long hard look at The Holy of Israel. They’ll lose interest in all the stuff they’ve made—altars and monuments and rituals, their homemade, handmade religion—however impressive it is.

And yes, the Day is coming when their fortress cities will be abandoned—the very same cities that the Hivites and Amorites abandoned when Israel invaded! And the country will be empty, desolate.

You Have Forgotten God

10-11 And why? Because you have forgotten God-Your-Salvation,
    not remembered your Rock-of-Refuge.
And so, even though you are very religious,
    planting all sorts of bushes and herbs and trees
    to honor and influence your fertility gods,
And even though you make them grow so well,
    bursting with buds and sprouts and blossoms,
Nothing will come of them. Instead of a harvest
    you’ll get nothing but grief and pain, pain, pain.

12-13 Oh my! Thunder! A thundering herd of people!
    Thunder like the crashing of ocean waves!
Nations roaring, roaring,
    like the roar of a massive waterfall,
Roaring like a deafening Niagara!
    But God will silence them with a word,
And then he’ll blow them away like dead leaves off a tree,
    like down from a thistle.

14 At bedtime, terror fills the air.
    By morning it’s gone—not a sign of it anywhere!
This is what happens to those who would ruin us,
    this is the fate of those out to get us.

People Mighty and Merciless

18 1-2 Doom to the land of flies and mosquitoes
    beyond the Ethiopian rivers,
Shipping emissaries all over the world,
    down rivers and across seas.

Go, swift messengers,
    go to this people tall and handsome,
This people held in respect everywhere,
    this people mighty and merciless,
    from the land crisscrossed with rivers.

Everybody everywhere,
    all earth-dwellers:
When you see a flag flying on the mountain, look!
    When you hear the trumpet blown, listen!

4-6 For here’s what God told me:

“I’m not going to say anything,
    but simply look on from where I live,
Quiet as warmth that comes from the sun,
    silent as dew during harvest.”
And then, just before harvest, after the blossom
    has turned into a maturing grape,
He’ll step in and prune back the new shoots,
    ruthlessly hack off all the growing branches.
He’ll leave them piled on the ground
    for birds and animals to feed on—
Fodder for the summering birds,
    fodder for the wintering animals.

Then tribute will be brought to God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    brought from this people tall and handsome,
This people once held in respect everywhere,
    this people once mighty and merciless,
From the land crisscrossed with rivers,
    to Mount Zion, God’s place.

Anarchy and Chaos and Killing!

19 A Message concerning Egypt:

Watch this! God riding on a fast-moving cloud,
    moving in on Egypt!
The god-idols of Egypt shudder and shake,
    Egyptians paralyzed by panic.

2-4 God says, “I’ll make Egyptian fight Egyptian,
    brother fight brother, neighbor fight neighbor,
City fight city, kingdom fight kingdom—
    anarchy and chaos and killing!
I’ll knock the wind out of the Egyptians.
    They won’t know coming from going.
They’ll go to their god-idols for answers;
    they’ll conjure ghosts and hold séances, desperate for answers.
But I’ll turn the Egyptians
    over to a tyrant most cruel.
I’ll put them under the rule of a mean, merciless king.”
    Decree of the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

5-10 The River Nile will dry up,
    the riverbed baked dry in the sun.
The canals will become stagnant and stink,
    every stream touching the Nile dry up.
River vegetation will rot away
    the banks of the Nile-baked clay,
The riverbed hard and smooth,
    river grasses dried up and gone with the wind.
Fishermen will complain
    that the fishing’s been ruined.
Textile workers will be out of work, all weavers
    and workers in linen and cotton and wool
Dispirited, depressed in their forced idleness—
    everyone who works for a living, jobless.

11-15 The princes of Zoan are fools,
    the advisors of Pharaoh stupid.
How could any of you dare tell Pharaoh,
    “Trust me: I’m wise. I know what’s going on.
    Why, I’m descended from the old wisdom of Egypt”?
There’s not a wise man or woman left in the country.
    If there were, one of them would tell you
    what God-of-the-Angel-Armies has in mind for Egypt.
As it is, the princes of Zoan are all fools
    and the princes of Memphis, dunces.
The honored pillars of your society
    have led Egypt into detours and dead ends.
God has scrambled their brains,
    Egypt’s become a falling-down-in-his-own-vomit drunk.
Egypt’s hopeless, past helping,
    a senile, doddering old fool.

16-17 On that Day, Egyptians will be like hysterical schoolgirls, screaming at the first hint of action from God-of-the-Angel-Armies. Little Judah will strike terror in Egyptians! Say “Judah” to an Egyptian and see panic. The word triggers fear of the God-of-the-Angel-Armies’ plan against Egypt.

18 On that Day, more than one city in Egypt will learn to speak the language of faith and promise to follow God-of-the-Angel-Armies. One of these cities will be honored with the title “City of the Sun.”

19-22 On that Day, there will be a place of worship to God in the center of Egypt and a monument to God at its border. It will show how the God-of-the-Angel-Armies has helped the Egyptians. When they cry out in prayer to God because of oppressors, he’ll send them help, a savior who will keep them safe and take care of them. God will openly show himself to the Egyptians and they’ll get to know him on that Day. They’ll worship him seriously with sacrifices and burnt offerings. They’ll make vows and keep them. God will wound Egypt, first hit and then heal. Egypt will come back to God, and God will listen to their prayers and heal them, heal them from head to toe.

23 On that Day, there will be a highway all the way from Egypt to Assyria: Assyrians will have free range in Egypt and Egyptians in Assyria. No longer rivals, they’ll worship together, Egyptians and Assyrians!

24-25 On that Day, Israel will take its place alongside Egypt and Assyria, sharing the blessing from the center. God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who blessed Israel, will generously bless them all: “Blessed be Egypt, my people! . . . Blessed be Assyria, work of my hands! . . . Blessed be Israel, my heritage!”

The Message (MSG)

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

Ephesians 5:17-33The Message (MSG)

17 Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.

18-20 Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.

Relationships

21 Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.

22-24 Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.

25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.

29-33 No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.

The Message (MSG)

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

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