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Isaiah 20-22The Message (MSG)

Exposed to Mockery and Jeers

20 1-2 In the year the field commander, sent by King Sargon of Assyria, came to Ashdod and fought and took it, God told Isaiah son of Amoz, “Go, take off your clothes and sandals,” and Isaiah did it, going about naked and barefooted.

3-6 Then God said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has walked around town naked and barefooted for three years as a warning sign to Egypt and Ethiopia, so the king of Assyria is going to come and take the Egyptians as captives and the Ethiopians as exiles. He’ll take young and old alike and march them out of there naked and barefooted, exposed to mockery and jeers—the bared buttocks of Egypt on parade! Everyone who has put hope in Ethiopia and expected help from Egypt will be thrown into confusion. Everyone who lives along this coast will say, ‘Look at them! Naked and barefooted, shuffling off to exile! And we thought they were our best hope, that they’d rescue us from the king of Assyria. Now what’s going to happen to us? How are we going to get out of this?’”

The Betrayer Betrayed

21 1-4 A Message concerning the desert at the sea:

As tempests drive through the Negev Desert,
    coming out of the desert, that terror-filled place,
A hard vision is given me:
    The betrayer betrayed, the plunderer plundered.
Attack, Elam!
    Lay siege, Media!
Persians, attack!
    Attack, Babylon!
I’ll put an end to
    all the moaning and groaning.
Because of this news I’m doubled up in pain,
    writhing in pain like a woman having a baby,
Baffled by what I hear,
    undone by what I see.
Absolutely stunned,
    horror-stricken,
I had hoped for a relaxed evening,
    but it has turned into a nightmare.

The banquet is spread,
    the guests reclining in luxurious ease,
Eating and drinking, having a good time,
    and then, “To arms, princes! The fight is on!”

6-9 The Master told me, “Go, post a lookout.
    Have him report whatever he spots.
When he sees horses and wagons in battle formation,
    lines of donkeys and columns of camels,
Tell him to keep his ear to the ground,
    note every whisper, every rumor.”
Just then, the lookout shouted,
    “I’m at my post, Master,
Sticking to my post day after day
    and all through the night!
I watched them come,
    the horses and wagons in battle formation.
I heard them call out the war news in headlines:
    ‘Babylon fallen! Fallen!
And all its precious god-idols
    smashed to pieces on the ground.’”

10 Dear Israel, you’ve been through a lot,
    you’ve been put through the mill.
The good news I get from God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    the God of Israel, I now pass on to you.

11-12 A Message concerning Edom:

A voice calls to me
    from the Seir mountains in Edom,
“Night watchman! How long till daybreak?
    How long will this night last?”
The night watchman calls back,
    “Morning’s coming,
But for now it’s still night.
    If you ask me again, I’ll give the same answer.”

13-15 A Message concerning Arabia:

You’ll have to camp out in the desert badlands,
    you caravans of Dedanites.
Haul water to the thirsty,
    greet fugitives with bread.
Show your desert hospitality,
    you who live in Tema.
The desert’s swarming with refugees
    escaping the horrors of war.

16-17 The Master told me, “Hang on. Within one year—I’ll sign a contract on it!—the arrogant brutality of Kedar, those hooligans of the desert, will be over, nothing much left of the Kedar toughs.” The God of Israel says so.

A Country of Cowards

22 1-3 A Message concerning the Valley of Vision:

What’s going on here anyway?
    All this partying and noisemaking,
Shouting and cheering in the streets,
    the city noisy with celebrations!
You have no brave soldiers to honor,
    no combat heroes to be proud of.
Your leaders were all cowards,
    captured without even lifting a sword,
A country of cowards
    captured escaping the battle.

You Looked, but You Never Looked to Him

4-8 In the midst of the shouting, I said, “Let me alone.
    Let me grieve by myself.
Don’t tell me it’s going to be all right.
    These people are doomed. It’s not all right.”
For the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    is bringing a day noisy with mobs of people,
Jostling and stampeding in the Valley of Vision,
    knocking down walls
    and hollering to the mountains, “Attack! Attack!”
Old enemies Elam and Kir arrive armed to the teeth—
    weapons and chariots and cavalry.
Your fine valleys are noisy with war,
    chariots and cavalry charging this way and that.
    God has left Judah exposed and defenseless.

8-11 You assessed your defenses that Day, inspected your arsenal of weapons in the Forest Armory. You found the weak places in the city walls that needed repair. You secured the water supply at the Lower Pool. You took an inventory of the houses in Jerusalem and tore down some to get bricks to fortify the city wall. You built a large cistern to ensure plenty of water.

You looked and looked and looked, but you never looked to him who gave you this city, never once consulted the One who has long had plans for this city.

12-13 The Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    called out on that Day,
Called for a day of repentant tears,
    called you to dress in somber clothes of mourning.
But what do you do? You throw a party!
    Eating and drinking and dancing in the streets!
You barbecue bulls and sheep, and throw a huge feast—
    slabs of meat, kegs of beer.
“Seize the day! Eat and drink!
    Tomorrow we die!”

14 God-of-the-Angel-Armies whispered to me his verdict on this frivolity: “You’ll pay for this outrage until the day you die.” The Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, says so.

The Key of the Davidic Heritage

15-19 The Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, spoke: “Come. Go to this steward, Shebna, who is in charge of all the king’s affairs, and tell him: What’s going on here? You’re an outsider here and yet you act like you own the place, make a big, fancy tomb for yourself where everyone can see it, making sure everyone will think you’re important. God is about to sack you, to throw you to the dogs. He’ll grab you by the hair, swing you round and round dizzyingly, and then let you go, sailing through the air like a ball, until you’re out of sight. Where you’ll land, nobody knows. And there you’ll die, and all the stuff you’ve collected heaped on your grave. You’ve disgraced your master’s house! You’re fired—and good riddance!

20-24 “On that Day I’ll replace Shebna. I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah. I’ll dress him in your robe. I’ll put your belt on him. I’ll give him your authority. He’ll be a father-leader to Jerusalem and the government of Judah. I’ll give him the key of the Davidic heritage. He’ll have the run of the place—open any door and keep it open, lock any door and keep it locked. I’ll pound him like a nail into a solid wall. He’ll secure the Davidic tradition. Everything will hang on him—not only the fate of Davidic descendants but also the detailed daily operations of the house, including cups and cutlery.

25 “And then the Day will come,” says God-of-the-Angel-Armies, “when that nail will come loose and fall out, break loose from that solid wall—and everything hanging on it will go with it.” That’s what will happen. God says so.

The Message (MSG)

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

Ephesians 6The Message (MSG)

1-3 Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. “Honor your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, “so you will live well and have a long life.”

Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.

5-8 Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. Don’t just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ’s servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you’re really serving God. Good work will get you good pay from the Master, regardless of whether you are slave or free.

Masters, it’s the same with you. No abuse, please, and no threats. You and your servants are both under the same Master in heaven. He makes no distinction between you and them.

A Fight to the Finish

10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

19-20 And don’t forget to pray for me. Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out.

21-22 Tychicus, my good friend here, will tell you what I’m doing and how things are going with me. He is certainly a dependable servant of the Master! I’ve sent him not only to tell you about us but to cheer you on in your faith.

23-24 Good-bye, friends. Love mixed with faith be yours from God the Father and from the Master, Jesus Christ. Pure grace and nothing but grace be with all who love our Master, Jesus Christ.

The Message (MSG)

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

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