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Isaiah 3-4The Message (MSG)

Jerusalem on Its Last Legs

1-7 The Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    is emptying Jerusalem and Judah
Of all the basic necessities,
    plain bread and water to begin with.
He’s withdrawing police and protection,
    judges and courts,
    pastors and teachers,
    captains and generals,
    doctors and nurses,
    and, yes, even the repairmen and jacks-of-all-trades.
He says, “I’ll put little kids in charge of the city.
    Schoolboys and schoolgirls will order everyone around.
People will be at each other’s throats,
    stabbing one another in the back:
Neighbor against neighbor, young against old,
    the no-account against the well-respected.
One brother will grab another and say,
    ‘You look like you’ve got a head on your shoulders.
Do something!
    Get us out of this mess.’
And he’ll say, ‘Me? Not me! I don’t have a clue.
    Don’t put me in charge of anything.’

8-9 “Jerusalem’s on its last legs.
    Judah is soon down for the count.
Everything people say and do
    is at cross-purposes with God,
    a slap in my face.
Brazen in their depravity,
    they flaunt their sins like degenerate Sodom.
Doom to their eternal souls! They’ve made their bed;
    now they’ll sleep in it.

10-11 “Reassure the righteous
    that their good living will pay off.
But doom to the wicked! Disaster!
    Everything they did will be done to them.

12 “Skinny kids terrorize my people.
    Silly girls bully them around.
My dear people! Your leaders are taking you down a blind alley.
    They’re sending you off on a wild-goose chase.”

A City Brought to Her Knees by Her Sorrows

13-15 God enters the courtroom.
    He takes his place at the bench to judge his people.
God calls for order in the court,
    hauls the leaders of his people into the dock:
“You’ve played havoc with this country.
    Your houses are stuffed with what you’ve stolen from the poor.
What is this anyway? Stomping on my people,
    grinding the faces of the poor into the dirt?”
That’s what the Master,
    God-of-the-Angel-Armies, says.

16-17 God says, “Zion women are stuck-up,
    prancing around in their high heels,
Making eyes at all the men in the street,
    swinging their hips,
Tossing their hair,
    gaudy and garish in cheap jewelry.”
The Master will fix it so those Zion women
    will all turn bald—
Scabby, bald-headed women.
    The Master will do it.

18-23 The time is coming when the Master will strip them of their fancy baubles—the dangling earrings, anklets and bracelets, combs and mirrors and silk scarves, diamond brooches and pearl necklaces, the rings on their fingers and the rings on their toes, the latest fashions in hats, exotic perfumes and aphrodisiacs, gowns and capes, all the world’s finest in fabrics and design.

24 Instead of wearing seductive scents,
    these women are going to smell like rotting cabbages;
Instead of modeling flowing gowns,
    they’ll be sporting rags;
Instead of their stylish hairdos,
    scruffy heads;
Instead of beauty marks,
    scabs and scars.

25-26 Your finest fighting men will be killed,
    your soldiers left dead on the battlefield.
The entrance gate to Zion will be clotted
    with people mourning their dead—
A city stooped under the weight of her loss,
    brought to her knees by her sorrows.

That will be the day when seven women
    will gang up on one man, saying,
“We’ll take care of ourselves,
    get our own food and clothes.
Just give us a child. Make us pregnant
    so we’ll have something to live for!”

God’s Branch

2-4 And that’s when God’s Branch will sprout green and lush. The produce of the country will give Israel’s survivors something to be proud of again. Oh, they’ll hold their heads high! Everyone left behind in Zion, all the discards and rejects in Jerusalem, will be reclassified as “holy”—alive and therefore precious. God will give Zion’s women a good bath. He’ll scrub the bloodstained city of its violence and brutality, purge the place with a firestorm of judgment.

5-6 Then God will bring back the ancient pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night and mark Mount Zion and everyone in it with his glorious presence, his immense, protective presence, shade from the burning sun and shelter from the driving rain.

The Message (MSG)

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

Galatians 6The Message (MSG)

Nothing but the Cross

1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

4-5 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.

7-8 Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.

9-10 So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

11-13 Now, in these last sentences, I want to emphasize in the bold scrawls of my personal handwriting the immense importance of what I have written to you. These people who are attempting to force the ways of circumcision on you have only one motive: They want an easy way to look good before others, lacking the courage to live by a faith that shares Christ’s suffering and death. All their talk about the law is gas. They themselves don’t keep the law! And they are highly selective in the laws they do observe. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast of their success in recruiting you to their side. That is contemptible!

14-16 For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. Can’t you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do—submit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life! All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God—his chosen people. Peace and mercy on them!

17 Quite frankly, I don’t want to be bothered anymore by these disputes. I have far more important things to do—the serious living of this faith. I bear in my body scars from my service to Jesus.

18 May what our Master Jesus Christ gives freely be deeply and personally yours, my friends. Oh, yes!

The Message (MSG)

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

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