Jeremiah 6-8 The Message (MSG)
A City Full of Lies
6 1-5 “Run for your lives, children of Benjamin!
6-8 God-of-the-Angel-Armies gave the orders:
“Chop down her trees.
9 More orders from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
“Time’s up! Harvest the grapes for judgment.
Is Anybody Listening?
10-11 “I’ve got something to say. Is anybody listening?
11-12 “So dump it on the children in the streets.
13-15 “Everyone’s after the dishonest dollar,
Death Is on the Prowl
16-20 God’s Message yet again:
“Go stand at the crossroads and look around.
21 So listen to this. Here’s God’s verdict on your way of life:
“Watch out! I’m putting roadblocks and barriers
22-23 And listen to this verdict from God:
“Look out! An invasion from the north,
24-25 We’ve heard the news,
26 “Dear Daughter Zion: Dress in black.
27-30 God gave me this task:
“I have made you the examiner of my people,
The Nation That Wouldn’t Obey God
7 1-2 The Message from God to Jeremiah: “Stand in the gate of God’s Temple and preach this Message.
2-3 “Say, ‘Listen, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship God. God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God, has this to say to you:
3-7 “‘Clean up your act—the way you live, the things you do—so I can make my home with you in this place. Don’t for a minute believe the lies being spoken here—“This is God’s Temple, God’s Temple, God’s Temple!” Total nonsense! Only if you clean up your act (the way you live, the things you do), only if you do a total spring cleaning on the way you live and treat your neighbors, only if you quit exploiting the street people and orphans and widows, no longer taking advantage of innocent people on this very site and no longer destroying your souls by using this Temple as a front for other gods—only then will I move into your neighborhood. Only then will this country I gave your ancestors be my permanent home, my Temple.
8-11 “‘Get smart! Your leaders are handing you a pack of lies, and you’re swallowing them! Use your heads! Do you think you can rob and murder, have sex with the neighborhood wives, tell lies nonstop, worship the local gods, and buy every novel religious commodity on the market—and then march into this Temple, set apart for my worship, and say, “We’re safe!” thinking that the place itself gives you a license to go on with all this outrageous sacrilege? A cave full of criminals! Do you think you can turn this Temple, set apart for my worship, into something like that? Well, think again. I’ve got eyes in my head. I can see what’s going on.’” God’s Decree!
12 “‘Take a trip down to the place that was once in Shiloh, where I met my people in the early days. Take a look at those ruins, what I did to it because of the evil ways of my people Israel.
13-15 “‘So now, because of the way you have lived and failed to listen, even though time and again I took you aside and talked seriously with you, and because you refused to change when I called you to repent, I’m going to do to this Temple, set aside for my worship, this place you think is going to keep you safe no matter what, this place I gave as a gift to your ancestors and you, the same as I did to Shiloh. And as for you, I’m going to get rid of you, the same as I got rid of those old relatives of yours around Shiloh, your fellow Israelites in that former kingdom to the north.’
16-18 “And you, Jeremiah, don’t waste your time praying for this people. Don’t offer to make petitions or intercessions. Don’t bother me with them. I’m not listening. Can’t you see what they’re doing in all the villages of Judah and in the Jerusalem streets? Why, they’ve got the children gathering wood while the fathers build fires and the mothers make bread to be offered to ‘the Queen of Heaven’! And as if that weren’t bad enough, they go around pouring out libations to any other gods they come across, just to hurt me.
19 “But is it me they’re hurting?” God’s Decree! “Aren’t they just hurting themselves? Exposing themselves shamefully? Making themselves ridiculous?
20 “Here’s what the Master God has to say: ‘My white-hot anger is about to descend on this country and everything in it—people and animals, trees in the field and vegetables in the garden—a raging wildfire that no one can put out.’
21-23 “The Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God: ‘Go ahead! Put your burnt offerings with all your other sacrificial offerings and make a good meal for yourselves. I sure don’t want them! When I delivered your ancestors out of Egypt, I never said anything to them about wanting burnt offerings and sacrifices as such. But I did say this, commanded this: “Obey me. Do what I say and I will be your God and you will be my people. Live the way I tell you. Do what I command so that your lives will go well.”
24-26 “‘But do you think they listened? Not a word of it. They did just what they wanted to do, indulged any and every evil whim and got worse day by day. From the time your ancestors left the land of Egypt until now, I’ve supplied a steady stream of my servants the prophets, but do you think the people listened? Not once. Stubborn as mules and worse than their ancestors!’
27-28 “Tell them all this, but don’t expect them to listen. Call out to them, but don’t expect an answer. Tell them, ‘You are the nation that wouldn’t obey God, that refused all discipline. Truth has disappeared. There’s not a trace of it left in your mouths.
29 “‘So shave your heads.
30-31 “The people of Judah have lived evil lives while I’ve stood by and watched.” God’s Decree. “In deliberate insult to me, they’ve set up their obscene god-images in the very Temple that was built to honor me. They’ve constructed Topheth altars for burning babies in prominent places all through the valley of Ben-hinnom, altars for burning their sons and daughters alive in the fire—a shocking perversion of all that I am and all I command.
32-34 “But soon, very soon”—God’s Decree!—“the names Topheth and Ben-hinnom will no longer be used. They’ll call the place what it is: Murder Meadow. Corpses will be stacked up in Topheth because there’s no room left to bury them! Corpses abandoned in the open air, fed on by crows and coyotes, who have the run of the place. And I’ll empty both smiles and laughter from the villages of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. No wedding songs, no holiday sounds. Dead silence.”
8 1-2 “And when the time comes”—God’s Decree!—“I’ll see to it that they dig up the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of the princes and priests and prophets, and yes, even the bones of the common people. They’ll dig them up and spread them out like a congregation at worship before sun, moon, and stars, all those sky gods they’ve been so infatuated with all these years, following their ‘lucky stars’ in doglike devotion. The bones will be left scattered and exposed, to reenter the soil as fertilizer, like manure.
3 “Everyone left—all from this evil generation unlucky enough to still be alive in whatever godforsaken place I will have driven them to—will wish they were dead.” Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
To Know Everything but God’s Word
4-7 “Tell them this, God’s Message:
“‘Do people fall down and not get up?
8-9 “‘How can you say, “We know the score.
10-12 “‘So here’s what will happen to the know-it-alls:
13 “‘I went out to see if I could salvage anything’”
14-16 So why are we sitting here, doing nothing?
17 “‘What’s more, I’m dispatching
Advancing from One Evil to the Next
18-22 I drown in grief.
1 Timothy 5 The Message (MSG)
The Family of Faith
5 1-2 Don’t be harsh or impatient with an older man. Talk to him as you would your own father, and to the younger men as your brothers. Reverently honor an older woman as you would your mother, and the younger women as sisters.
3-8 Take care of widows who are destitute. If a widow has family members to take care of her, let them learn that religion begins at their own doorstep and that they should pay back with gratitude some of what they have received. This pleases God immensely. You can tell a legitimate widow by the way she has put all her hope in God, praying to him constantly for the needs of others as well as her own. But a widow who exploits people’s emotions and pocketbooks—well, there’s nothing to her. Tell these things to the people so that they will do the right thing in their extended family. Anyone who neglects to care for family members in need repudiates the faith. That’s worse than refusing to believe in the first place.
9-10 Sign some widows up for the special ministry of offering assistance. They will in turn receive support from the church. They must be over sixty, married only once, and have a reputation for helping out with children, strangers, tired Christians, the hurt and troubled.
11-15 Don’t put young widows on this list. No sooner will they get on than they’ll want to get off, obsessed with wanting to get a husband rather than serving Christ in this way. By breaking their word, they’re liable to go from bad to worse, frittering away their days on empty talk, gossip, and trivialities. No, I’d rather the young widows go ahead and get married in the first place, have children, manage their homes, and not give critics any foothold for finding fault. Some of them have already left and gone after Satan.
16 Any Christian woman who has widows in her family is responsible for them. They shouldn’t be dumped on the church. The church has its hands full already with widows who need help.
17-18 Give a bonus to leaders who do a good job, especially the ones who work hard at preaching and teaching. Scripture tells us, “Don’t muzzle a working ox” and “A worker deserves his pay.”
19 Don’t listen to a complaint against a leader that isn’t backed up by two or three responsible witnesses.
20 If anyone falls into sin, call that person on the carpet. Those who are inclined that way will know right off they can’t get by with it.
21-23 God and Jesus and angels all back me up in these instructions. Carry them out without favoritism, without taking sides. Don’t appoint people to church leadership positions too hastily. If a person is involved in some serious sins, you don’t want to become an unwitting accomplice. In any event, keep a close check on yourself. And don’t worry too much about what the critics will say. Go ahead and drink a little wine, for instance; it’s good for your digestion, good medicine for what ails you.
24-25 The sins of some people are blatant and march them right into court. The sins of others don’t show up until much later. The same with good deeds. Some you see right off, but none are hidden forever.