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Isaiah 23-25The Message (MSG)

It Was All Numbers, Dead Numbers, Profit and Loss

23 1-4 Wail, ships of Tarshish,
    your strong seaports all in ruins!
When the ships returned from Cyprus,
    they saw the destruction.
Hold your tongue, you who live on the seacoast,
    merchants of Sidon.
Your people sailed the deep seas,
    buying and selling,
Making money on wheat from Shihor,
    grown along the Nile—
    multinational broker in grains!
Hang your head in shame, Sidon. The Sea speaks up,
    the powerhouse of the ocean says,
“I’ve never had labor pains, never had a baby,
    never reared children to adulthood,
Never gave life, never worked with life.
    It was all numbers, dead numbers, profit and loss.”

When Egypt gets the report on Tyre,
    what wailing! what wringing of hands!

Nothing Left Here to Be Proud Of

6-12 Visit Tarshish, you who live on the seacoast.
    Take a good, long look and wail—yes, cry buckets of tears!
Is this the city you remember as energetic and alive,
    bustling with activity, this historic old city,
Expanding throughout the globe,
    buying and selling all over the world?
And who is behind the collapse of Tyre,
    the Tyre that controlled the world markets?
Tyre’s merchants were the business tycoons.
    Tyre’s traders called all the shots.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies ordered the crash
    to show the sordid backside of pride
    and puncture the inflated reputations.
Sail for home, O ships of Tarshish.
    There are no docks left in this harbor.
God reached out to the sea and sea traders,
    threw the sea kingdoms into turmoil.
God ordered the destruction
    of the seacoast cities, the centers of commerce.
God said, “There’s nothing left here to be proud of,
    bankrupt and bereft Sidon.
Do you want to make a new start in Cyprus?
    Don’t count on it. Nothing there will work out for you either.”

13 Look at what happened to Babylon: There’s nothing left of it. Assyria turned it into a desert, into a refuge for wild dogs and stray cats. They brought in their big siege engines, tore down the buildings, and left nothing behind but rubble.

14 Wail, ships of Tarshish,
    your strong seaports all in ruins!

15-16 For the next seventy years, a king’s lifetime, Tyre will be forgotten. At the end of the seventy years, Tyre will stage a comeback, but it will be the comeback of a worn-out whore, as in the song:

“Take a harp, circle the city,
    unremembered whore.
Sing your old songs, your many old songs.
    Maybe someone will remember.”

17-18 At the end of the seventy years, God will look in on Tyre. She’ll go back to her old whoring trade, selling herself to the highest bidder, doing anything with anyone—promiscuous with all the kingdoms of earth—for a fee. But everything she gets, all the money she takes in, will be turned over to God. It will not be put in banks. Her profits will be put to the use of God-Aware, God-Serving-People, providing plenty of food and the best of clothing.

The Landscape Will Be a Moonscape

24 1-3 Danger ahead! God’s about to ravish the earth
    and leave it in ruins,
Rip everything out by the roots
    and send everyone scurrying:
        priests and laypeople alike,
        owners and workers alike,
        celebrities and nobodies alike,
        buyers and sellers alike,
        bankers and beggars alike,
        the haves and have-nots alike.
The landscape will be a moonscape,
    totally wasted.
And why? Because God says so.
    He’s issued the orders.

The earth turns gaunt and gray,
    the world silent and sad,
    sky and land lifeless, colorless.

Earth Polluted by Its Very Own People

5-13 Earth is polluted by its very own people,
    who have broken its laws,
Disrupted its order,
    violated the sacred and eternal covenant.
Therefore a curse, like a cancer,
    ravages the earth.
Its people pay the price of their sacrilege.
    They dwindle away, dying out one by one.
No more wine, no more vineyards,
    no more songs or singers.
The laughter of castanets is gone,
    the shouts of celebrants, gone,
    the laughter of fiddles, gone.
No more parties with toasts of champagne.
    Serious drinkers gag on their drinks.
The chaotic cities are unlivable. Anarchy reigns.
    Every house is boarded up, condemned.
People riot in the streets for wine,
    but the good times are gone forever—
    no more joy for this old world.
The city is dead and deserted,
    bulldozed into piles of rubble.
That’s the way it will be on this earth.
    This is the fate of all nations:
An olive tree shaken clean of its olives,
    a grapevine picked clean of its grapes.

14-16 But there are some who will break into glad song.
    Out of the west they’ll shout of God’s majesty.
Yes, from the east God’s glory will ascend.
    Every island of the sea
Will broadcast God’s fame,
    the fame of the God of Israel.
From the four winds and the seven seas we hear the singing:
    “All praise to the Righteous One!”

16-20 But I said, “That’s all well and good for somebody,
    but all I can see is doom, doom, and more doom.”
All of them at one another’s throats,
    yes, all of them at one another’s throats.
Terror and pits and booby traps
    are everywhere, whoever you are.
If you run from the terror,
    you’ll fall into the pit.
If you climb out of the pit,
    you’ll get caught in the trap.
Chaos pours out of the skies.
    The foundations of earth are crumbling.
Earth is smashed to pieces,
    earth is ripped to shreds,
    earth is wobbling out of control,
Earth staggers like a drunk,
    sways like a shack in a high wind.
Its piled-up sins are too much for it.
    It collapses and won’t get up again.

21-23 That’s when God will call on the carpet
    rebel powers in the skies and
Rebel kings on earth.
    They’ll be rounded up like prisoners in a jail,
Corralled and locked up in a jail,
    and then sentenced and put to hard labor.
Shamefaced moon will cower, humiliated,
    red-faced sun will skulk, disgraced,
Because God-of-the-Angel-Armies will take over,
    ruling from Mount Zion and Jerusalem,
Splendid and glorious
    before all his leaders.

God’s Hand Rests on This Mountain

25 1-5 God, you are my God.
    I celebrate you. I praise you.
You’ve done your share of miracle-wonders,
    well-thought-out plans, solid and sure.
Here you’ve reduced the city to rubble,
    the strong city to a pile of stones.
The enemy Big City is a non-city,
    never to be a city again.
Superpowers will see it and honor you,
    brutal oppressors bow in worshipful reverence.
They’ll see that you take care of the poor,
    that you take care of poor people in trouble,
Provide a warm, dry place in bad weather,
    provide a cool place when it’s hot.
Brutal oppressors are like a winter blizzard
    and vicious foreigners like high noon in the desert.
But you, shelter from the storm and shade from the sun,
    shut the mouths of the big-mouthed bullies.

6-8 But here on this mountain, God-of-the-Angel-Armies
    will throw a feast for all the people of the world,
A feast of the finest foods, a feast with vintage wines,
    a feast of seven courses, a feast lavish with gourmet desserts.
And here on this mountain, God will banish
    the pall of doom hanging over all peoples,
The shadow of doom darkening all nations.
    Yes, he’ll banish death forever.
And God will wipe the tears from every face.
    He’ll remove every sign of disgrace
From his people, wherever they are.
    Yes! God says so!

9-10 Also at that time, people will say,
    “Look at what’s happened! This is our God!
We waited for him and he showed up and saved us!
    This God, the one we waited for!
Let’s celebrate, sing the joys of his salvation.
    God’s hand rests on this mountain!”

10-12 As for the Moabites, they’ll be treated like refuse,
    waste shoveled into a cesspool.
Thrash away as they will,
    like swimmers trying to stay afloat,
They’ll sink in the sewage.
    Their pride will pull them under.
Their famous fortifications will crumble to nothing,
    those mighty walls reduced to dust.

The Message (MSG)

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

Philippians 1The Message (MSG)

1-2 Paul and Timothy, both of us committed servants of Christ Jesus, write this letter to all the followers of Jesus in Philippi, pastors and ministers included. We greet you with the grace and peace that comes from God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.

A Love That Will Grow

3-6 Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.

7-8 It’s not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does!

9-11 So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.

They Can’t Imprison the Message

12-14 I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else, too, found out that I’m in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they’ve learned all about him. Not only that, but most of the followers of Jesus here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah.

15-17 It’s true that some here preach Christ because with me out of the way, they think they’ll step right into the spotlight. But the others do it with the best heart in the world. One group is motivated by pure love, knowing that I am here defending the Message, wanting to help. The others, now that I’m out of the picture, are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves. Their motives are bad. They see me as their competition, and so the worse it goes for me, the better—they think—for them.

18-21 So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!

And I’m going to keep that celebration going because I know how it’s going to turn out. Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.

22-26 As long as I’m alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I’d choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it’s better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues. You can start looking forward to a great reunion when I come visit you again. We’ll be praising Christ, enjoying each other.

27-30 Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. Let nothing in your conduct hang on whether I come or not. Your conduct must be the same whether I show up to see things for myself or hear of it from a distance. Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people’s trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition. Your courage and unity will show them what they’re up against: defeat for them, victory for you—and both because of God. There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. You’re involved in the same kind of struggle you saw me go through, on which you are now getting an updated report in this letter.

The Message (MSG)

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

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