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Jeremiah 20-21The Message (MSG)

Life’s Been Nothing but Trouble and Tears

20 1-5 The priest Pashur son of Immer was the senior priest in God’s Temple. He heard Jeremiah preach this sermon. He whipped Jeremiah the prophet and put him in the stocks at the Upper Benjamin Gate of God’s Temple. The next day Pashur came and let him go. Jeremiah told him, “God has a new name for you: not Pashur but Danger-Everywhere, because God says, ‘You’re a danger to yourself and everyone around you. All your friends are going to get killed in battle while you stand there and watch. What’s more, I’m turning all of Judah over to the king of Babylon to do whatever he likes with them—haul them off into exile, kill them at whim. Everything worth anything in this city, property and possessions along with everything in the royal treasury—I’m handing it all over to the enemy. They’ll rummage through it and take what they want back to Babylon.

“‘And you, Pashur, you and everyone in your family will be taken prisoner into exile—that’s right, exile in Babylon. You’ll die and be buried there, you and all your cronies to whom you preached your lies.’”

7-10 You pushed me into this, God, and I let you do it.
    You were too much for me.
And now I’m a public joke.
    They all poke fun at me.
Every time I open my mouth
    I’m shouting, “Murder!” or “Rape!”
And all I get for my God-warnings
    are insults and contempt.
But if I say, “Forget it!
    No more God-Messages from me!”
The words are fire in my belly,
    a burning in my bones.
I’m worn out trying to hold it in.
    I can’t do it any longer!
Then I hear whispering behind my back:
    “There goes old ‘Danger-Everywhere.’ Shut him up! Report him!”
Old friends watch, hoping I’ll fall flat on my face:
    “One misstep and we’ll have him. We’ll get rid of him for good!”

11 But God, a most fierce warrior, is at my side.
    Those who are after me will be sent sprawling—
Slapstick buffoons falling all over themselves,
    a spectacle of humiliation no one will ever forget.

12 Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, no one fools you.
    You see through everyone, everything.
I want to see you pay them back for what they’ve done.
    I rest my case with you.

13 Sing to God! All praise to God!
    He saves the weak from the grip of the wicked.

14-18 Curse the day
    I was born!
The day my mother bore me—
    a curse on it, I say!
And curse the man who delivered
    the news to my father:
“You’ve got a new baby—a boy baby!”
    (How happy it made him.)
Let that birth notice be blacked out,
    deleted from the records,
And the man who brought it haunted to his death
    with the bad news he brought.
He should have killed me before I was born,
    with that womb as my tomb,
My mother pregnant for the rest of her life
    with a baby dead in her womb.
Why, oh why, did I ever leave that womb?
    Life’s been nothing but trouble and tears,
    and what’s coming is more of the same.

Start Each Day with a Sense of Justice

21 1-2 God’s Message to Jeremiah when King Zedekiah sent Pashur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah to him with this request: “Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, has waged war against us. Pray to God for us. Ask him for help. Maybe God will intervene with one of his famous miracles and make him leave.”

3-7 But Jeremiah said, “Tell Zedekiah: ‘This is the God of Israel’s Message to you: You can say good-bye to your army, watch morale and weapons flushed down the drain. I’m going to personally lead the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans, against whom you’re fighting so hard, right into the city itself. I’m joining their side and fighting against you, fighting all-out, holding nothing back. And in fierce anger. I’m prepared to wipe out the population of this city, people and animals alike, in a raging epidemic. And then I will personally deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, his princes, and any survivors left in the city who haven’t died from disease, been killed, or starved. I’ll deliver them to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon—yes, hand them over to their enemies, who have come to kill them. He’ll kill them ruthlessly, showing no mercy.’

8-10 “And then tell the people at large, ‘God’s Message to you is this: Listen carefully. I’m giving you a choice: life or death. Whoever stays in this city will die—either in battle or by starvation or disease. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Chaldeans who have surrounded the city will live. You’ll lose everything—but not your life. I’m determined to see this city destroyed. I’m that angry with this place! God’s Decree. I’m going to give it to the king of Babylon, and he’s going to burn it to the ground.’

11-14 “To the royal house of Judah, listen to God’s Message!
    House of David, listen—God’s Message to you:
‘Start each day by dealing with justice.
    Rescue victims from their exploiters.
Prevent fire—the fire of my anger—
    for once it starts, it can’t be put out.
Your evil regime
    is fuel for my anger.
Don’t you realize that I’m against you,
    yes, against you.
You think you’ve got it made,
    all snug and secure.
You say, “Who can possibly get to us?
    Who can crash our party?”
Well, I can—and will!
    I’ll punish your evil regime.
I’ll start a fire that will rage unchecked,
    burn everything in sight to cinders.’”

The Message (MSG)

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

2 Timothy 4The Message (MSG)

1-2 I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple.

3-5 You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.

6-8 You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.

9-13 Get here as fast as you can. Demas, chasing fads, went off to Thessalonica and left me here. Crescens is in Galatia province, Titus in Dalmatia. Luke is the only one here with me. Bring Mark with you; he’ll be my right-hand man since I’m sending Tychicus to Ephesus. Bring the winter coat I left in Troas with Carpus; also the books and parchment notebooks.

14-15 Watch out for Alexander the coppersmith. Fiercely opposed to our Message, he caused no end of trouble. God will give him what he’s got coming.

16-18 At my preliminary hearing no one stood by me. They all ran like scared rabbits. But it doesn’t matter—the Master stood by me and helped me spread the Message loud and clear to those who had never heard it. I was snatched from the jaws of the lion! God’s looking after me, keeping me safe in the kingdom of heaven. All praise to him, praise forever! Oh, yes!

19-20 Say hello to Priscilla and Aquila; also, the family of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed behind in Corinth. I had to leave Trophimus sick in Miletus.

21 Try hard to get here before winter.

Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all your friends here send greetings.

22 God be with you. Grace be with you.

The Message (MSG)

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

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