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Isaiah 5-6The Message (MSG)

Looking for a Crop of Justice

1-2 I’ll sing a ballad to the one I love,
    a love ballad about his vineyard:
The one I love had a vineyard,
    a fine, well-placed vineyard.
He hoed the soil and pulled the weeds,
    and planted the very best vines.
He built a lookout, built a winepress,
    a vineyard to be proud of.
He looked for a vintage yield of grapes,
    but for all his pains he got junk grapes.

3-4 “Now listen to what I’m telling you,
    you who live in Jerusalem and Judah.
What do you think is going on
    between me and my vineyard?
Can you think of anything I could have done
    to my vineyard that I didn’t do?
When I expected good grapes,
    why did I get bitter grapes?

5-6 “Well now, let me tell you
    what I’ll do to my vineyard:
I’ll tear down its fence
    and let it go to ruin.
I’ll knock down the gate
    and let it be trampled.
I’ll turn it into a patch of weeds, untended, uncared for—
    thistles and thorns will take over.
I’ll give orders to the clouds:
    ‘Don’t rain on that vineyard, ever!’”

Do you get it? The vineyard of God-of-the-Angel-Armies
    is the country of Israel.
All the men and women of Judah
    are the garden he was so proud of.
He looked for a crop of justice
    and saw them murdering each other.
He looked for a harvest of righteousness
    and heard only the moans of victims.

You Who Call Evil Good and Good Evil

8-10 Doom to you who buy up all the houses
    and grab all the land for yourselves—
Evicting the old owners,
    posting no trespassing signs,
Taking over the country,
    leaving everyone homeless and landless.
I overheard God-of-the-Angel-Armies say:
“Those mighty houses will end up empty.
    Those extravagant estates will be deserted.
A ten-acre vineyard will produce a pint of wine,
    a fifty-pound sack of seed, a quart of grain.”

11-17 Doom to those who get up early
    and start drinking booze before breakfast,
Who stay up all hours of the night
    drinking themselves into a stupor.
They make sure their banquets are well-furnished
    with harps and flutes and plenty of wine,
But they’ll have nothing to do with the work of God,
    pay no mind to what he is doing.
Therefore my people will end up in exile
    because they don’t know the score.
Their “big men” will starve to death
    and the common people die of thirst.
Sheol developed a huge appetite,
    swallowing people nonstop!
Big people and little people alike
    down that gullet, to say nothing of all the drunks.
The down-and-out on a par
    with the high-and-mighty,
Windbag boasters crumpled,
    flaccid as a punctured bladder.
But by working justice,
    God-of-the-Angel-Armies will be a mountain.
By working righteousness,
    Holy God will show what “holy” is.
And lambs will graze
    as if they owned the place,
Kids and calves
    right at home in the ruins.

18-19 Doom to you who use lies to sell evil,
    who haul sin to market by the truckload,
Who say, “What’s God waiting for?
    Let him get a move on so we can see it.
Whatever The Holy of Israel has cooked up,
    we’d like to check it out.”

20 Doom to you who call evil good
    and good evil,
Who put darkness in place of light
    and light in place of darkness,
Who substitute bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter!

21-23 Doom to you who think you’re so smart,
    who hold such a high opinion of yourselves!
All you’re good at is drinking—champion boozers
    who collect trophies from drinking bouts
And then line your pockets with bribes from the guilty
    while you violate the rights of the innocent.

24 But they won’t get by with it. As fire eats stubble
    and dry grass goes up in smoke,
Their souls will atrophy,
    their achievements crumble into dust,
Because they said no to the revelation
    of God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
Would have nothing to do
    with The Holy of Israel.

25-30 That’s why God flamed out in anger against his people,
    reached out and knocked them down.
The mountains trembled
    as their dead bodies piled up in the streets.
But even after that, he was still angry,
    his fist still raised, ready to hit them again.
He raises a flag, signaling a distant nation,
    whistles for people at the ends of the earth.
And here they come—
    on the run!
None drag their feet, no one stumbles,
    no one sleeps or dawdles.
Shirts are on and pants buckled,
    every boot is spit-polished and tied.
Their arrows are sharp,
    bows strung,
The hooves of their horses shod,
    chariot wheels greased.
Roaring like a pride of lions,
    the full-throated roars of young lions,
They growl and seize their prey,
    dragging it off—no rescue for that one!
They’ll roar and roar and roar on that Day,
    like the roar of ocean billows.
Look as long and hard as you like at that land,
    you’ll see nothing but darkness and trouble.
Every light in the sky
    will be blacked out by the clouds.

Holy, Holy, Holy!

1-8 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Master sitting on a throne—high, exalted!—and the train of his robes filled the Temple. Angel-seraphs hovered above him, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two their feet, and with two they flew. And they called back and forth one to the other,

Holy, Holy, Holy is God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
His bright glory fills the whole earth.

The foundations trembled at the sound of the angel voices, and then the whole house filled with smoke. I said,

“Doom! It’s Doomsday!
    I’m as good as dead!
Every word I’ve ever spoken is tainted—
    blasphemous even!
And the people I live with talk the same way,
    using words that corrupt and desecrate.
And here I’ve looked God in the face!
    The King! God-of-the-Angel-Armies!”

Then one of the angel-seraphs flew to me. He held a live coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with the coal and said,

“Look. This coal has touched your lips.
    Gone your guilt,
    your sins wiped out.”
And then I heard the voice of the Master:
    “Whom shall I send?
    Who will go for us?”
I spoke up,
    “I’ll go.
    Send me!”

9-10 He said, “Go and tell this people:

“‘Listen hard, but you aren’t going to get it;
    look hard, but you won’t catch on.’
Make these people blockheads,
    with fingers in their ears and blindfolds on their eyes,
So they won’t see a thing,
    won’t hear a word,
So they won’t have a clue about what’s going on
    and, yes, so they won’t turn around and be made whole.”

11-13 Astonished, I said,
    “And Master, how long is this to go on?”
He said, “Until the cities are emptied out,
    not a soul left in the cities—
Houses empty of people,
    countryside empty of people.
Until I, God, get rid of everyone, sending them off,
    the land totally empty.
And even if some should survive, say a tenth,
    the devastation will start up again.
The country will look like pine and oak forest
    with every tree cut down—
Every tree a stump, a huge field of stumps.
    But there’s a holy seed in those stumps.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Ephesians 1The Message (MSG)

1-2 I, Paul, am under God’s plan as an apostle, a special agent of Christ Jesus, writing to you faithful believers in Ephesus. I greet you with the grace and peace poured into our lives by God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.

The God of Glory

3-6 How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

7-10 Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

11-12 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

13-14 It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.

15-19 That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!

20-23 All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.

The Message (MSG)

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

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