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Isaiah 65-66The Message (MSG)

The People Who Bothered to Reach Out to God

65 1-7 “I’ve made myself available
    to those who haven’t bothered to ask.
I’m here, ready to be found
    by those who haven’t bothered to look.
I kept saying ‘I’m here, I’m right here’
    to a nation that ignored me.
I reached out day after day
    to a people who turned their backs on me,
People who make wrong turns,
    who insist on doing things their own way.
They get on my nerves,
    are rude to my face day after day,
Make up their own kitchen religion,
    a potluck religious stew.
They spend the night in tombs
    to get messages from the dead,
Eat forbidden foods
    and drink a witch’s brew of potions and charms.
They say, ‘Keep your distance.
    Don’t touch me. I’m holier than thou.’
These people gag me.
    I can’t stand their stench.
Look at this! Their sins are all written out—
    I have the list before me.
I’m not putting up with this any longer.
    I’ll pay them the wages
They have coming for their sins.
    And for the sins of their parents lumped in,
    a bonus.” God says so.
“Because they’ve practiced their blasphemous worship,
    mocking me at their hillside shrines,
I’ll let loose the consequences
    and pay them in full for their actions.”

8-10 God’s Message:

“But just as one bad apple doesn’t ruin the whole bushel,
    there are still plenty of good apples left.
So I’ll preserve those in Israel who obey me.
    I won’t destroy the whole nation.
I’ll bring out my true children from Jacob
    and the heirs of my mountains from Judah.
My chosen will inherit the land,
    my servants will move in.
The lush valley of Sharon in the west
    will be a pasture for flocks,
And in the east, the valley of Achor,
    a place for herds to graze.
These will be for the people
    who bothered to reach out to me, who wanted me in their lives,
    who actually bothered to look for me.

11-12 “But you who abandon me, your God,
    who forget the holy mountains,
Who hold dinners for Lady Luck
    and throw cocktail parties for Sir Fate,
Well, you asked for it. Fate it will be:
    your destiny, Death.
For when I invited you, you ignored me;
    when I spoke to you, you brushed me off.
You did the very things I exposed as evil;
    you chose what I hate.”

13-16 Therefore, this is the Message from the Master, God:

“My servants will eat,
    and you’ll go hungry;
My servants will drink,
    and you’ll go thirsty;
My servants will rejoice,
    and you’ll hang your heads.
My servants will laugh from full hearts,
    and you’ll cry out heartbroken,
    yes, wail from crushed spirits.
Your legacy to my chosen
    will be your name reduced to a cussword.
I, God, will put you to death
    and give a new name to my servants.
Then whoever prays a blessing in the land
    will use my faithful name for the blessing,
And whoever takes an oath in the land
    will use my faithful name for the oath,
Because the earlier troubles are gone and forgotten,
    banished far from my sight.

New Heavens and a New Earth

17-25 “Pay close attention now:
    I’m creating new heavens and a new earth.
All the earlier troubles, chaos, and pain
    are things of the past, to be forgotten.
Look ahead with joy.
    Anticipate what I’m creating:
I’ll create Jerusalem as sheer joy,
    create my people as pure delight.
I’ll take joy in Jerusalem,
    take delight in my people:
No more sounds of weeping in the city,
    no cries of anguish;
No more babies dying in the cradle,
    or old people who don’t enjoy a full lifetime;
One-hundredth birthdays will be considered normal—
    anything less will seem like a cheat.
They’ll build houses
    and move in.
They’ll plant fields
    and eat what they grow.
No more building a house
    that some outsider takes over,
No more planting fields
    that some enemy confiscates,
For my people will be as long-lived as trees,
    my chosen ones will have satisfaction in their work.
They won’t work and have nothing come of it,
    they won’t have children snatched out from under them.
For they themselves are plantings blessed by God,
    with their children and grandchildren likewise God-blessed.
Before they call out, I’ll answer.
    Before they’ve finished speaking, I’ll have heard.
Wolf and lamb will graze the same meadow,
    lion and ox eat straw from the same trough,
    but snakes—they’ll get a diet of dirt!
Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill
    anywhere on my Holy Mountain,” says God.

Living Worship to God

66 1-2 God’s Message:

“Heaven’s my throne,
    earth is my footstool.
What sort of house could you build for me?
    What holiday spot reserve for me?
I made all this! I own all this!”
    God’s Decree.
“But there is something I’m looking for:
    a person simple and plain,
    reverently responsive to what I say.

3-4 “Your acts of worship
    are acts of sin:
Your sacrificial slaughter of the ox
    is no different from murdering the neighbor;
Your offerings for worship,
    no different from dumping pig’s blood on the altar;
Your presentation of memorial gifts,
    no different from honoring a no-god idol.
You choose self-serving worship,
    you delight in self-centered worship—disgusting!
Well, I choose to expose your nonsense
    and let you realize your worst fears,
Because when I invited you, you ignored me;
    when I spoke to you, you brushed me off.
You did the very things I exposed as evil,
    you chose what I hate.”

But listen to what God has to say
    to you who reverently respond to his Word:
“Your own families hate you
    and turn you out because of me.
They taunt you, ‘Let us see God’s glory!
    If God’s so great, why aren’t you happy?’
But they’re the ones
    who are going to end up shamed.”

Rumbles of thunder from the city!
    A voice out of the Temple!
God’s voice,
    handing out judgment to his enemies:

7-9 “Before she went into labor,
    she had the baby.
Before the birth pangs hit,
    she delivered a son.
Has anyone ever heard of such a thing?
    Has anyone seen anything like this?
A country born in a day?
    A nation born in a flash?
But Zion was barely in labor
    when she had her babies!
Do I open the womb
    and not deliver the baby?
Do I, the One who delivers babies,
    shut the womb?

10-11 “Rejoice, Jerusalem,
    and all who love her, celebrate!
And all you who have shed tears over her,
    join in the happy singing.
You newborns can satisfy yourselves
    at her nurturing breasts.
Yes, delight yourselves and drink your fill
    at her ample bosom.”

12-13 God’s Message:

“I’ll pour robust well-being into her like a river,
    the glory of nations like a river in flood.
You’ll nurse at her breasts,
    nestle in her bosom,
    and be bounced on her knees.
As a mother comforts her child,
    so I’ll comfort you.
    You will be comforted in Jerusalem.”

14-16 You’ll see all this and burst with joy
    —you’ll feel ten feet tall—
As it becomes apparent that God is on your side
    and against his enemies.
For God arrives like wildfire
    and his chariots like a tornado,
A furious outburst of anger,
    a rebuke fierce and fiery.
For it’s by fire that God brings judgment,
    a death sentence on the human race.
Many, oh so many,
    are under God’s sentence of death:

17 “All who enter the sacred groves for initiation in those unholy rituals that climaxed in that foul and obscene meal of pigs and mice will eat together and then die together.” God’s Decree.

18-21 “I know everything they’ve ever done or thought. I’m going to come and then gather everyone—all nations, all languages. They’ll come and see my glory. I’ll set up a station at the center. I’ll send the survivors of judgment all over the world: Spain and Africa, Turkey and Greece, and the far-off islands that have never heard of me, who know nothing of what I’ve done nor who I am. I’ll send them out as missionaries to preach my glory among the nations. They’ll return with all your long-lost brothers and sisters from all over the world. They’ll bring them back and offer them in living worship to God. They’ll bring them on horses and wagons and carts, on mules and camels, straight to my holy mountain Jerusalem,” says God. “They’ll present them just as Israelites present their offerings in a ceremonial vessel in the Temple of God. I’ll even take some of them and make them priests and Levites,” says God.

22-23 “For just as the new heavens and new earth
    that I am making will stand firm before me”
        God’s Decree—
“So will your children
    and your reputation stand firm.
Month after month and week by week,
    everyone will come to worship me,” God says.

24 “And then they’ll go out and look at what happened
    to those who rebelled against me. Corpses!
Maggots endlessly eating away on them,
    an endless supply of fuel for fires.
Everyone who sees what’s happened
    and smells the stench retches.”

The Message (MSG)

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

1 Timothy 2The Message (MSG)

Simple Faith and Plain Truth

1-3 The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.

4-7 He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.

8-10 Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.

11-15 I don’t let women take over and tell the men what to do. They should study to be quiet and obedient along with everyone else. Adam was made first, then Eve; woman was deceived first—our pioneer in sin!—with Adam right on her heels. On the other hand, her childbearing brought about salvation, reversing Eve. But this salvation only comes to those who continue in faith, love, and holiness, gathering it all into maturity. You can depend on this.

The Message (MSG)

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

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