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Jeremiah 22-23The Message (MSG)

Walking Out on the Covenant of God

22 1-3 God’s orders: “Go to the royal palace and deliver this Message. Say, ‘Listen to what God says, O King of Judah, you who sit on David’s throne—you and your officials and all the people who go in and out of these palace gates. This is God’s Message: Attend to matters of justice. Set things right between people. Rescue victims from their exploiters. Don’t take advantage of the homeless, the orphans, the widows. Stop the murdering!

4-5 “‘If you obey these commands, then kings who follow in the line of David will continue to go in and out of these palace gates mounted on horses and riding in chariots—they and their officials and the citizens of Judah. But if you don’t obey these commands, then I swear—God’s Decree!—this palace will end up a heap of rubble.’”

6-7 This is God’s verdict on Judah’s royal palace:

“I number you among my favorite places—
    like the lovely hills of Gilead,
    like the soaring peaks of Lebanon.
Yet I swear I’ll turn you into a wasteland,
    as empty as a ghost town.
I’ll hire a demolition crew,
    well-equipped with sledgehammers and wrecking bars,
Pound the country to a pulp
    and burn it all up.

8-9 “Travelers from all over will come through here and say to one another, ‘Why would God do such a thing to this wonderful city?’ They’ll be told, ‘Because they walked out on the covenant of their God, took up with other gods and worshiped them.’”

Building a Fine House but Destroying Lives

10 Don’t weep over dead King Josiah.
    Don’t waste your tears.
Weep for his exiled son:
    He’s gone for good.
    He’ll never see home again.

11-12 For this is God’s Word on Shallum son of Josiah, who succeeded his father as king of Judah: “He’s gone from here, gone for good. He’ll die in the place they’ve taken him to. He’ll never see home again.”

13-17 “Doom to him who builds palaces but bullies people,
    who makes a fine house but destroys lives,
Who cheats his workers
    and won’t pay them for their work,
Who says, ‘I’ll build me an elaborate mansion
    with spacious rooms and fancy windows.
I’ll bring in rare and expensive woods
    and the latest in interior decor.’
So, that makes you a king—
    living in a fancy palace?
Your father got along just fine, didn’t he?
    He did what was right and treated people fairly,
And things went well with him.
    He stuck up for the down-and-out,
And things went well for Judah.
    Isn’t this what it means to know me?”
        God’s Decree!
“But you’re blind and brainless.
    All you think about is yourself,
Taking advantage of the weak,
    bulldozing your way, bullying victims.”

18-19 This is God’s epitaph on Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah:
    “Doom to this man!
Nobody will shed tears over him,
    ‘Poor, poor brother!’
Nobody will shed tears over him,
    ‘Poor, poor master!’
They’ll give him a donkey’s funeral,
    drag him out of the city and dump him.

You’ve Made a Total Mess of Your Life

20-23 “People of Jerusalem, climb a Lebanon peak and weep,
    climb a Bashan mountain and wail,
Climb the Abarim ridge and cry—
    you’ve made a total mess of your life.
I spoke to you when everything was going your way.
    You said, ‘I’m not interested.’
You’ve been that way as long as I’ve known you,
    never listened to a thing I said.
All your leaders will be blown away,
    all your friends end up in exile,
And you’ll find yourself in the gutter,
    disgraced by your evil life.
You big-city people thought you were so important,
    thought you were ‘king of the mountain’!
You’re soon going to be doubled up in pain,
    pain worse than the pangs of childbirth.

24-26 “As sure as I am the living God”—God’s Decree—“even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were the signet ring on my right hand, I’d pull you off and give you to those who are out to kill you, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the Chaldeans, and then throw you, both you and your mother, into a foreign country, far from your place of birth. There you’ll both die.

27 “You’ll be homesick, desperately homesick, but you’ll never get home again.”

28-30 Is Jehoiachin a leaky bucket,
    a rusted-out pail good for nothing?
Why else would he be thrown away, he and his children,
    thrown away to a foreign place?
O land, land, land,
    listen to God’s Message!
This is God’s verdict:
“Write this man off as if he were childless,
    a man who will never amount to anything.
Nothing will ever come of his life.
    He’s the end of the line, the last of the kings.”

An Authentic David-Branch

23 1-4 “Doom to the shepherd-leaders who butcher and scatter my sheep!” God’s Decree. “So here is what I, God, Israel’s God, say to the shepherd-leaders who misled my people: ‘You’ve scattered my sheep. You’ve driven them off. You haven’t kept your eye on them. Well, let me tell you, I’m keeping my eye on you, keeping track of your criminal behavior. I’ll take over and gather what’s left of my sheep, gather them in from all the lands where I’ve driven them. I’ll bring them back where they belong, and they’ll recover and flourish. I’ll set shepherd-leaders over them who will take good care of them. They won’t live in fear or panic anymore. All the lost sheep rounded up!’ God’s Decree.”

5-6 “Time’s coming”—God’s Decree—
    “when I’ll establish a truly righteous David-Branch,
A ruler who knows how to rule justly.
    He’ll make sure of justice and keep people united.
In his time Judah will be secure again
    and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name they’ll give him:
    God-Who-Puts-Everything-Right.’

7-8 “So watch for this. The time’s coming”—God’s Decree—“when no one will say, ‘As sure as God lives, the God who brought the Israelites out of Egypt,’ but, ‘As sure as God lives, the God who brought the descendants of Israel back from the north country and from the other countries where he’d driven them, so that they can live on their own good earth.’”

The “Everything Will Turn Out Fine” Sermon

My head is reeling,
    my limbs are limp,
I’m staggering like a drunk,
    seeing double from too much wine—
And all because of God,
    because of his holy words.

10-12 Now for what God says regarding the lying prophets:

“Can you believe it? A country teeming with adulterers!
    faithless, promiscuous idolater-adulterers!
They’re a curse on the land.
    The land’s a wasteland.
Their unfaithfulness
    is turning the country into a cesspool,
Prophets and priests devoted to desecration.
    They have nothing to do with me as their God.
My very own Temple, mind you—
    mud-spattered with their crimes.” God’s Decree.
“But they won’t get by with it.
    They’ll find themselves on a slippery slope,
Careening into the darkness,
    somersaulting into the pitch-black dark.
I’ll make them pay for their crimes.
    It will be the Year of Doom.” God’s Decree.

13-14 “Over in Samaria I saw prophets
    acting like silly fools—shocking!
They preached using that no-god Baal for a text,
    messing with the minds of my people.
And the Jerusalem prophets are even worse—horrible!—
    sex-driven, living a lie,
Subsidizing a culture of wickedness,
    and never giving it a second thought.
They’re as bad as those wretches in old Sodom,
    the degenerates of old Gomorrah.”

15 So here’s the Message to the prophets from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:

“I’ll cook them a supper of maggoty meat
    with after-dinner drinks of strychnine.
The Jerusalem prophets are behind all this.
    They’re the cause of the godlessness polluting this country.”

16-17 A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:

“Don’t listen to the sermons of the prophets.
    It’s all hot air. Lies, lies, and more lies.
They make it all up.
    Not a word they speak comes from me.
They preach their ‘Everything Will Turn Out Fine’ sermon
    to congregations with no taste for God,
Their ‘Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen to You’ sermon
    to people who are set in their own ways.

18-20 “Have any of these prophets bothered to meet with me, the true God?
    bothered to take in what I have to say?
    listened to and then lived out my Word?
Look out! God’s hurricane will be let loose—
    my hurricane blast,
Spinning the heads of the wicked like tops!
    God’s raging anger won’t let up
Until I’ve made a clean sweep,
    completing the job I began.
When the job’s done,
    you’ll see that it’s been well done.

Quit the “God Told Me This” Kind of Talk

21-22 “I never sent these prophets,
    but they ran anyway.
I never spoke to them,
    but they preached away.
If they’d have bothered to sit down and meet with me,
    they’d have preached my Message to my people.
They’d have gotten them back on the right track,
    gotten them out of their evil ruts.

23-24 “Am I not a God near at hand”—God’s Decree—
    “and not a God far off?
Can anyone hide out in a corner
    where I can’t see him?”
        God’s Decree.
“Am I not present everywhere,
    whether seen or unseen?”
        God’s Decree.

25-27 “I know what they’re saying, all these prophets who preach lies using me as their text, saying ‘I had this dream! I had this dream!’ How long do I have to put up with this? Do these prophets give two cents about me as they preach their lies and spew out their grandiose delusions? They swap dreams with one another, feed on each other’s delusive dreams, trying to distract my people from me just as their ancestors were distracted by the no-god Baal.

28-29 “You prophets who do nothing but dream—
    go ahead and tell your silly dreams.
But you prophets who have a message from me—
    tell it truly and faithfully.
What does straw have in common with wheat?
    Nothing else is like God’s Decree.
Isn’t my Message like fire?” God’s Decree.
    “Isn’t it like a sledgehammer busting a rock?

30-31 “I’ve had it with the ‘prophets’ who get all their sermons secondhand from each other. Yes, I’ve had it with them. They make up stuff and then pretend it’s a real sermon.

32 “Oh yes, I’ve had it with the prophets who preach the lies they dream up, spreading them all over the country, ruining the lives of my people with their cheap and reckless lies.

“I never sent these prophets, never authorized a single one of them. They do nothing for this people—nothing!” God’s Decree.

33 “And anyone, including prophets and priests, who asks, ‘What’s God got to say about all this, what’s troubling him?’ tell him, ‘You, you’re the trouble, and I’m getting rid of you.’” God’s Decree.

34 “And if anyone, including prophets and priests, goes around saying glibly ‘God’s Message! God’s Message!’ I’ll punish him and his family.

35-36 “Instead of claiming to know what God says, ask questions of one another, such as ‘How do we understand God in this?’ But don’t go around pretending to know it all, saying ‘God told me this . . . God told me that. . . .’ I don’t want to hear it anymore. Only the person I authorize speaks for me. Otherwise, my Message gets twisted, the Message of the living God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

37-38 “You can ask the prophets, ‘How did God answer you? What did he tell you?’ But don’t pretend that you know all the answers yourselves and talk like you know it all. I’m telling you: Quit the ‘God told me this . . . God told me that . . .’ kind of talk.

39-40 “Are you paying attention? You’d better, because I’m about to take you in hand and throw you to the ground, you and this entire city that I gave to your ancestors. I’ve had it with the lot of you. You’re never going to live this down. You’re going down in history as a disgrace.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Titus 1The Message (MSG)

1-4 I, Paul, am God’s slave and Christ’s agent for promoting the faith among God’s chosen people, getting out the accurate word on God and how to respond rightly to it. My aim is to raise hopes by pointing the way to life without end. This is the life God promised long ago—and he doesn’t break promises! And then when the time was ripe, he went public with his truth. I’ve been entrusted to proclaim this Message by order of our Savior, God himself. Dear Titus, legitimate son in the faith: Receive everything God our Father and Jesus our Savior give you!

A Good Grip on the Message

5-9 I left you in charge in Crete so you could complete what I left half-done. Appoint leaders in every town according to my instructions. As you select them, ask, “Is this man well-thought-of? Is he committed to his wife? Are his children believers? Do they respect him and stay out of trouble?” It’s important that a church leader, responsible for the affairs in God’s house, be looked up to—not pushy, not short-tempered, not a drunk, not a bully, not money-hungry. He must welcome people, be helpful, wise, fair, reverent, have a good grip on himself, and have a good grip on the Message, knowing how to use the truth to either spur people on in knowledge or stop them in their tracks if they oppose it.

10-16 For there are a lot of rebels out there, full of loose, confusing, and deceiving talk. Those who were brought up religious and ought to know better are the worst. They’ve got to be shut up. They’re disrupting entire families with their teaching, and all for the sake of a fast buck. One of their own prophets said it best:

The Cretans are liars from the womb,
    barking dogs, lazy bellies.

He certainly spoke the truth. Get on them right away. Stop that diseased talk of Jewish make-believe and made-up rules so they can recover a robust faith. Everything is clean to the clean-minded; nothing is clean to dirty-minded unbelievers. They leave their dirty fingerprints on every thought and act. They say they know God, but their actions speak louder than their words. They’re real creeps, disobedient good-for-nothings.

The Message (MSG)

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

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