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Isaiah 28-29The Message (MSG)

God Will Speak in Baby Talk

28 1-4 Doom to the pretentious drunks of Ephraim,
    shabby and washed out and seedy—
Tipsy, sloppy-fat, beer-bellied parodies
    of a proud and handsome past.
Watch closely: God has someone picked out,
    someone tough and strong to flatten them.
Like a hailstorm, like a hurricane, like a flash flood,
    one-handed he’ll throw them to the ground.
Samaria, the party hat on Israel’s head,
    will be knocked off with one blow.
It will disappear quicker than
    a piece of meat tossed to a dog.

5-6 At that time, God-of-the-Angel-Armies will be
    the beautiful crown on the head of what’s left of his people:
Energy and insights of justice to those who guide and decide,
    strength and prowess to those who guard and protect.

7-8 These also, the priest and prophet, stagger from drink,
    weaving, falling-down drunks,
Besotted with wine and whiskey,
    can’t see straight, can’t talk sense.
Every table is covered with vomit.
    They live in vomit.

9-10 “Is that so? And who do you think you are to teach us?
    Who are you to lord it over us?
We’re not babies in diapers
    to be talked down to by such as you—
‘Da, da, da, da,
    blah, blah, blah, blah.
That’s a good little girl,
    that’s a good little boy.’”

11-12 But that’s exactly how you will be addressed.
    God will speak to this people
In baby talk, one syllable at a time—
    and he’ll do it through foreign oppressors.
He said before, “This is the time and place to rest,
    to give rest to the weary.
This is the place to lay down your burden.”
    But they won’t listen.

13 So God will start over with the simple basics
    and address them in baby talk, one syllable at a time—
“Da, da, da, da,
    blah, blah, blah, blah.
That’s a good little girl,
    that’s a good little boy.”
And like toddlers, they will get up and fall down,
    get bruised and confused and lost.

14-15 Now listen to God’s Message, you scoffers,
    you who rule this people in Jerusalem.
You say, “We’ve taken out good life insurance.
    We’ve hedged all our bets, covered all our bases.
No disaster can touch us. We’ve thought of everything.
    We’re advised by the experts. We’re set.”

The Meaning of the Stone

16-17 But the Master, God, has something to say to this:

“Watch closely. I’m laying a foundation in Zion,
    a solid granite foundation, squared and true.
And this is the meaning of the stone:
    a trusting life won’t topple.
I’ll make justice the measuring stick
    and righteousness the plumb line for the building.
A hailstorm will knock down the shantytown of lies,
    and a flash flood will wash out the rubble.

18-22 “Then you’ll see that your precious life insurance policy
    wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.
Your careful precautions against death
    were a pack of illusions and lies.
When the disaster happens,
    you’ll be crushed by it.
Every time disaster comes, you’ll be in on it—
    disaster in the morning, disaster at night.”
Every report of disaster
    will send you cowering in terror.
There will be no place where you can rest,
    nothing to hide under.
God will rise to full stature,
    raging as he did long ago on Mount Perazim
And in the valley of Gibeon against the Philistines.
    But this time it’s against you.
Hard to believe, but true.
    Not what you’d expect, but it’s coming.
Sober up, friends, and don’t scoff.
    Scoffing will just make it worse.
I’ve heard the orders issued for destruction, orders from
    God-of-the-Angel-Armies—ending up in an international disaster.

23-26 Listen to me now.
    Give me your closest attention.
Do farmers plow and plow and do nothing but plow?
    Or harrow and harrow and do nothing but harrow?
After they’ve prepared the ground, don’t they plant?
    Don’t they scatter dill and spread cumin,
Plant wheat and barley in the fields
    and raspberries along the borders?
They know exactly what to do and when to do it.
    Their God is their teacher.

27-29 And at the harvest, the delicate herbs and spices,
    the dill and cumin, are treated delicately.
On the other hand, wheat is threshed and milled, but still not endlessly.
    The farmer knows how to treat each kind of grain.
He’s learned it all from God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    who knows everything about when and how and where.

Blind Yourselves So That You See Nothing

29 1-4 Doom, Ariel, Ariel,
    the city where David set camp!
Let the years add up,
    let the festivals run their cycles,
But I’m not letting up on Jerusalem.
    The moaning and groaning will continue.
    Jerusalem to me is an Ariel.
Like David, I’ll set up camp against you.
    I’ll set siege, build towers,
    bring in siege engines, build siege ramps.
Driven into the ground, you’ll speak,
    you’ll mumble words from the dirt—
Your voice from the ground, like the muttering of a ghost.
    Your speech will whisper from the dust.

5-8 But it will be your enemies who are beaten to dust,
    the mob of tyrants who will be blown away like chaff.
Because, surprise, as if out of nowhere,
    a visit from God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
With thunderclaps, earthquakes, and earsplitting noise,
    backed up by hurricanes, tornadoes, and lightning strikes,
And the mob of enemies at war with Ariel,
    all who trouble and hassle and torment her,
    will turn out to be a bad dream, a nightmare.
Like a hungry man dreaming he’s eating steak
    and wakes up hungry as ever,
Like a thirsty woman dreaming she’s drinking iced tea
    and wakes up thirsty as ever,
So that mob of nations at war against Mount Zion
    will wake up and find they haven’t shot an arrow,
    haven’t killed a single soul.

9-10 Drug yourselves so you feel nothing.
    Blind yourselves so you see nothing.
Get drunk, but not on wine.
    Black out, but not from whiskey.
For God has rocked you into a deep, deep sleep,
    put the discerning prophets to sleep,
    put the farsighted seers to sleep.

You Have Everything Backward

11-12 What you’ve been shown here is somewhat like a letter in a sealed envelope. If you give it to someone who can read and tell her, “Read this,” she’ll say, “I can’t. The envelope is sealed.” And if you give it to someone who can’t read and tell him, “Read this,” he’ll say, “I can’t read.”

13-14 The Master said:

“These people make a big show of saying the right thing,
    but their hearts aren’t in it.
Because they act like they’re worshiping me
    but don’t mean it,
I’m going to step in and shock them awake,
    astonish them, stand them on their ears.
The wise ones who had it all figured out
    will be exposed as fools.
The smart people who thought they knew everything
    will turn out to know nothing.”

15-16 Doom to you! You pretend to have the inside track.
    You shut God out and work behind the scenes,
Plotting the future as if you knew everything,
    acting mysterious, never showing your hand.
You have everything backward!
    You treat the potter as a lump of clay.
Does a book say to its author,
    “He didn’t write a word of me”?
Does a meal say to the woman who cooked it,
    “She had nothing to do with this”?

17-21 And then before you know it,
    and without you having anything to do with it,
Wasted Lebanon will be transformed into lush gardens,
    and Mount Carmel reforested.
At that time the deaf will hear
    word-for-word what’s been written.
After a lifetime in the dark,
    the blind will see.
The castoffs of society will be laughing and dancing in God,
    the down-and-outs shouting praise to The Holy of Israel.
For there’ll be no more gangs on the street.
    Cynical scoffers will be an extinct species.
Those who never missed a chance to hurt or demean
    will never be heard of again:
Gone the people who corrupted the courts,
    gone the people who cheated the poor,
    gone the people who victimized the innocent.

22-24 And finally this, God’s Message for the family of Jacob,
    the same God who redeemed Abraham:
“No longer will Jacob hang his head in shame,
    no longer grow gaunt and pale with waiting.
For he’s going to see his children,
    my personal gift to him—lots of children.
And these children will honor me
    by living holy lives.
In holy worship they’ll honor the Holy One of Jacob
    and stand in holy awe of the God of Israel.
Those who got off-track will get back on-track,
    and complainers and whiners learn gratitude.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Philippians 3The Message (MSG)

To Know Him Personally

And that’s about it, friends. Be glad in God!

I don’t mind repeating what I have written in earlier letters, and I hope you don’t mind hearing it again. Better safe than sorry—so here goes.

2-6 Steer clear of the barking dogs, those religious busybodies, all bark and no bite. All they’re interested in is appearances—knife-happy circumcisers, I call them. The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ’s praise as we do it. We couldn’t carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it—even though we can list what many might think are impressive credentials. You know my pedigree: a legitimate birth, circumcised on the eighth day; an Israelite from the elite tribe of Benjamin; a strict and devout adherent to God’s law; a fiery defender of the purity of my religion, even to the point of persecuting the church; a meticulous observer of everything set down in God’s law Book.

7-9 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.

10-11 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

Focused on the Goal

12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

15-16 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.

17-19 Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.

20-21 But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.

The Message (MSG)

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

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