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Job 17-19The Message (MSG)

17 1-2 “My spirit is broken,
    my days used up,
    my grave dug and waiting.
See how these mockers close in on me?
    How long do I have to put up with their insolence?

3-5 “O God, pledge your support for me.
    Give it to me in writing, with your signature.
    You’re the only one who can do it!
These people are so useless!
    You know firsthand how stupid they can be.
    You wouldn’t let them have the last word, would you?
Those who betray their own friends
    leave a legacy of abuse to their children.

6-8 “God, you’ve made me the talk of the town—
    people spit in my face;
I can hardly see from crying so much;
    I’m nothing but skin and bones.
Decent people can’t believe what they’re seeing;
    the good-hearted wake up and insist I’ve given up on God.

“But principled people hold tight, keep a firm grip on life,
    sure that their clean, pure hands will get stronger and stronger!

10-16 “Maybe you’d all like to start over,
    to try it again, the bunch of you.
So far I haven’t come across one scrap
    of wisdom in anything you’ve said.
My life’s about over. All my plans are smashed,
    all my hopes are snuffed out—
My hope that night would turn into day,
    my hope that dawn was about to break.
If all I have to look forward to is a home in the graveyard,
    if my only hope for comfort is a well-built coffin,
If a family reunion means going six feet under,
    and the only family that shows up is worms,
Do you call that hope?
    Who on earth could find any hope in that?
No. If hope and I are to be buried together,
    I suppose you’ll all come to the double funeral!”

Bildad’s Second Attack

Plunged from Light into Darkness

18 1-4 Bildad from Shuhah chimed in:

“How monotonous these word games are getting!
    Get serious! We need to get down to business.
Why do you treat your friends like slow-witted animals?
    You look down on us as if we don’t know anything.
Why are you working yourself up like this?
    Do you want the world redesigned to suit you?
    Should reality be suspended to accommodate you?

5-21 “Here’s the rule: The light of the wicked is put out.
    Their flame dies down and is extinguished.
Their house goes dark—
    every lamp in the place goes out.
Their strong strides weaken, falter;
    they stumble into their own traps.
They get all tangled up
    in their own red tape,
Their feet are grabbed and caught,
    their necks in a noose.
They trip on ropes they’ve hidden,
    and fall into pits they’ve dug themselves.
Terrors come at them from all sides.
    They run helter-skelter.
The hungry grave is ready
    to gobble them up for supper,
To lay them out for a gourmet meal,
    a treat for ravenous Death.
They are snatched from their home sweet home
    and marched straight to the death house.
Their lives go up in smoke;
    acid rain soaks their ruins.
Their roots rot
    and their branches wither.
They’ll never again be remembered—
    nameless in unmarked graves.
They are plunged from light into darkness,
    banished from the world.
And they leave empty-handed—not one single child—
    nothing to show for their life on this earth.
Westerners are aghast at their fate,
    easterners are horrified:
‘Oh no! So this is what happens to perverse people.
    This is how the God-ignorant end up!’”

Job Answers Bildad

I Call for Help and No One Bothers

19 1-6 Job answered:

“How long are you going to keep battering away at me,
    pounding me with these harangues?
Time after time after time you jump all over me.
    Do you have no conscience, abusing me like this?
Even if I have, somehow or other, gotten off the track,
    what business is that of yours?
Why do you insist on putting me down,
    using my troubles as a stick to beat me?
Tell it to God—he’s the one behind all this,
    he’s the one who dragged me into this mess.

7-12 “Look at me—I shout ‘Murder!’ and I’m ignored;
    I call for help and no one bothers to stop.
God threw a barricade across my path—I’m stymied;
    he turned out all the lights—I’m stuck in the dark.
He destroyed my reputation,
    robbed me of all self-respect.
He tore me apart piece by piece—I’m ruined!
    Then he yanked out hope by the roots.
He’s angry with me—oh, how he’s angry!
    He treats me like his worst enemy.
He has launched a major campaign against me,
    using every weapon he can think of,
    coming at me from all sides at once.

I Know That God Lives

13-20 “God alienated my family from me;
    everyone who knows me avoids me.
My relatives and friends have all left;
    houseguests forget I ever existed.
The servant girls treat me like a bum off the street,
    look at me like they’ve never seen me before.
I call my attendant and he ignores me,
    ignores me even though I plead with him.
My wife can’t stand to be around me anymore.
    I’m repulsive to my family.
Even street urchins despise me;
    when I come out, they taunt and jeer.
Everyone I’ve ever been close to abhors me;
    my dearest loved ones reject me.
I’m nothing but a bag of bones;
    my life hangs by a thread.

21-22 “Oh, friends, dear friends, take pity on me.
    God has come down hard on me!
Do you have to be hard on me, too?
    Don’t you ever tire of abusing me?

23-27 “If only my words were written in a book—
    better yet, chiseled in stone!
Still, I know that God lives—the One who gives me back my life—
    and eventually he’ll take his stand on earth.
And I’ll see him—even though I get skinned alive!—
    see God myself, with my very own eyes.
    Oh, how I long for that day!

28-29 “If you’re thinking, ‘How can we get through to him,
    get him to see that his trouble is all his own fault?’
Forget it. Start worrying about yourselves.
    Worry about your own sins and God’s coming judgment,
    for judgment is most certainly on the way.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Acts 10:1-26The Message (MSG)

Peter’s Vision

10 1-3 There was a man named Cornelius who lived in Caesarea, captain of the Italian Guard stationed there. He was a thoroughly good man. He had led everyone in his house to live worshipfully before God, was always helping people in need, and had the habit of prayer. One day about three o’clock in the afternoon he had a vision. An angel of God, as real as his next-door neighbor, came in and said, “Cornelius.”

4-6 Cornelius stared hard, wondering if he was seeing things. Then he said, “What do you want, sir?”

The angel said, “Your prayers and neighborly acts have brought you to God’s attention. Here’s what you are to do. Send men to Joppa to get Simon, the one everyone calls Peter. He is staying with Simon the Tanner, whose house is down by the sea.”

7-8 As soon as the angel was gone, Cornelius called two servants and one particularly devout soldier from the guard. He went over with them in great detail everything that had just happened, and then sent them off to Joppa.

9-13 The next day as the three travelers were approaching the town, Peter went out on the balcony to pray. It was about noon. Peter got hungry and started thinking about lunch. While lunch was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the skies open up. Something that looked like a huge blanket lowered by ropes at its four corners settled on the ground. Every kind of animal and reptile and bird you could think of was on it. Then a voice came: “Go to it, Peter—kill and eat.”

14 Peter said, “Oh, no, Lord. I’ve never so much as tasted food that was not kosher.”

15 The voice came a second time: “If God says it’s okay, it’s okay.”

16 This happened three times, and then the blanket was pulled back up into the skies.

17-20 As Peter, puzzled, sat there trying to figure out what it all meant, the men sent by Cornelius showed up at Simon’s front door. They called in, asking if there was a Simon, also called Peter, staying there. Peter, lost in thought, didn’t hear them, so the Spirit whispered to him, “Three men are knocking at the door looking for you. Get down there and go with them. Don’t ask any questions. I sent them to get you.”

21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I think I’m the man you’re looking for. What’s up?”

22-23 They said, “Captain Cornelius, a God-fearing man well-known for his fair play—ask any Jew in this part of the country—was commanded by a holy angel to get you and bring you to his house so he could hear what you had to say.” Peter invited them in and made them feel at home.

God Plays No Favorites

23-26 The next morning he got up and went with them. Some of his friends from Joppa went along. A day later they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had his relatives and close friends waiting with him. The minute Peter came through the door, Cornelius was up on his feet greeting him—and then down on his face worshiping him! Peter pulled him up and said, “None of that—I’m a man and only a man, no different from you.”

The Message (MSG)

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

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