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Jeremiah 46-47The Message (MSG)

You Vainly Collect Medicines

46 God’s Messages through the prophet Jeremiah regarding the godless nations.

2-5 The Message to Egypt and the army of Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt at the time it was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon while camped at Carchemish on the Euphrates River in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah:

“‘Present arms!
    March to the front!
Harness the horses!
    Up in the saddles!
Battle formation! Helmets on,
    spears sharpened, armor in place!’
But what’s this I see?
    They’re scared out of their wits!
They break ranks and run for cover.
    Their soldiers panic.
They run this way and that,
    stampeding blindly.
It’s total chaos, total confusion, danger everywhere!”
    God’s Decree.

“The swiftest runners won’t get away,
    the strongest soldiers won’t escape.
In the north country, along the River Euphrates,
    they’ll stagger, stumble, and fall.

7-9 “Who is this like the Nile in flood?
    like its streams torrential?
Why, it’s Egypt like the Nile in flood,
    like its streams torrential,
Saying, ‘I’ll take over the world.
    I’ll wipe out cities and peoples.’
Run, horses!
    Roll, chariots!
Advance, soldiers
    from Cush and Put with your shields,
Soldiers from Lud,
    experts with bow and arrow.

10 “But it’s not your day. It’s the Master’s, me, God-of-the-Angel-Armies—
    the day when I have it out with my enemies,
The day when Sword puts an end to my enemies,
    when Sword exacts vengeance.
I, the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    will pile them on an altar—a huge sacrifice!—
In the great north country,
    along the mighty Euphrates.

11-12 “Oh, virgin Daughter Egypt,
    climb into the mountains of Gilead, get healing balm.
You will vainly collect medicines,
    for nothing will be able to cure what ails you.
The whole world will hear your anguished cries.
    Your wails fill the earth,
As soldier falls against soldier
    and they all go down in a heap.”

Egypt’s Army Slithers Like a Snake

13 The Message that God gave to the prophet Jeremiah when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon was on his way to attack Egypt:

14 “Tell Egypt, alert Migdol,
    post warnings in Noph and Tahpanhes:
‘Wake up! Be prepared!
    War’s coming!’

15-19 “Why will your bull-god Apis run off?
    Because God will drive him off.
Your ragtag army will fall to pieces.
    The word is passing through the ranks,
‘Let’s get out of here while we still can.
    Let’s head for home and save our skins.’
When they get home they’ll nickname Pharaoh
    ‘Big-Talk-Bad-Luck.’
As sure as I am the living God”
    —the King’s Decree, God-of-the-Angel-Armies is his name—
“A conqueror is coming: like Tabor, singular among mountains;
    like Carmel, jutting up from the sea!
So pack your bags for exile,
    you coddled daughters of Egypt,
For Memphis will soon be nothing,
    a vacant lot grown over with weeds.

20-21 “Too bad, Egypt, a beautiful sleek heifer
    attacked by a horsefly from the north!
All her hired soldiers are stationed to defend her—
    like well-fed calves they are.
But when their lives are on the line, they’ll run off,
    cowards every one.
When the going gets tough,
    they’ll take the easy way out.

22-24 “Egypt will slither and hiss like a snake
    as the enemy army comes in force.
They will rush in, swinging axes
    like lumberjacks cutting down trees.
They’ll level the country”—God’s Decree—“nothing
    and no one standing for as far as you can see.
The invaders will be a swarm of locusts,
    innumerable, past counting.
Daughter Egypt will be ravished,
    raped by vandals from the north.”

25-26 God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel, says, “Watch out when I visit doom on the god Amon of Thebes, Egypt and its gods and kings, Pharaoh and those who trust in him. I’ll turn them over to those who are out to kill them, to Nebuchadnezzar and his military. Egypt will be set back a thousand years. Eventually people will live there again.” God’s Decree.

27-28 “But you, dear Jacob my servant, you have nothing to fear.
    Israel, there’s no need to worry.
Look up! I’ll save you from that far country,
    I’ll get your children out of the land of exile.
Things are going to be normal again for Jacob,
    safe and secure, smooth sailing.
Yes, dear Jacob my servant, you have nothing to fear.
    Depend on it, I’m on your side.
I’ll finish off all the godless nations
    among which I’ve scattered you,
But I won’t finish you off.
    I have more work left to do on you.
I’ll punish you, but fairly.
    No, I’m not finished with you yet.”

It’s Doomsday for Philistines

47 1-5 God’s Message to the prophet Jeremiah regarding the Philistines just before Pharaoh attacked Gaza. This is what God says:

“Look out! Water will rise in the north country,
    swelling like a river in flood.
The torrent will flood the land,
    washing away city and citizen.
Men and women will scream in terror,
    wails from every door and window,
As the thunder from the hooves of the horses will be heard,
    the clatter of chariots, the banging of wheels.
Fathers, paralyzed by fear,
    won’t even grab up their babies
Because it will be doomsday for Philistines, one and all,
    no hope of help for Tyre and Sidon.
God will finish off the Philistines,
    what’s left of those from the island of Crete.
Gaza will be shaved bald as an egg,
    Ashkelon struck dumb as a post.
You’re on your last legs.
    How long will you keep flailing?

“Oh, Sword of God,
    how long will you keep this up?
Return to your scabbard.
    Haven’t you had enough? Can’t you call it quits?

“But how can it quit
    when I, God, command the action?
I’ve ordered it to cut down
    Ashkelon and the seacoast.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Hebrews 6The Message (MSG)

1-3 So come on, let’s leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on “salvation by self-help” and turning in trust toward God; baptismal instructions; laying on of hands; resurrection of the dead; eternal judgment. God helping us, we’ll stay true to all that. But there’s so much more. Let’s get on with it!

4-8 Once people have seen the light, gotten a taste of heaven and been part of the work of the Holy Spirit, once they’ve personally experienced the sheer goodness of God’s Word and the powers breaking in on us—if then they turn their backs on it, washing their hands of the whole thing, well, they can’t start over as if nothing happened. That’s impossible. Why, they’ve re-crucified Jesus! They’ve repudiated him in public! Parched ground that soaks up the rain and then produces an abundance of carrots and corn for its gardener gets God’s “Well done!” But if it produces weeds and thistles, it’s more likely to get cussed out. Fields like that are burned, not harvested.

9-12 I’m sure that won’t happen to you, friends. I have better things in mind for you—salvation things! God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it. And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them.

God Gave His Word

13-18 When God made his promise to Abraham, he backed it to the hilt, putting his own reputation on the line. He said, “I promise that I’ll bless you with everything I have—bless and bless and bless!” Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him. When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they’ll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee—God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.

18-20 We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.

The Message (MSG)

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

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