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Job 22-24The Message (MSG)

Eliphaz Attacks Job—The Third Round

Come to Terms with God

22 1-11 Once again Eliphaz the Temanite took up his theme:

“Are any of us strong enough to give God a hand,
    or smart enough to give him advice?
So what if you were righteous—would God Almighty even notice?
    Even if you gave a perfect performance, do you think
        he’d applaud?
Do you think it’s because he cares about your purity
    that he’s disciplining you, putting you on the spot?
Hardly! It’s because you’re a first-class moral failure,
    because there’s no end to your sins.
When people came to you for help,
    you took the shirts off their backs, exploited their helplessness.
You wouldn’t so much as give a drink to the thirsty,
    or food, not even a scrap, to the hungry.
And there you sat, strong and honored by everyone,
    surrounded by immense wealth!
You turned poor widows away from your door;
    heartless, you crushed orphans.
Now you’re the one trapped in terror, paralyzed by fear.
    Suddenly the tables have turned!
How do you like living in the dark, sightless,
    up to your neck in flood waters?

12-14 “You agree, don’t you, that God is in charge?
    He runs the universe—just look at the stars!
Yet you dare raise questions: ‘What does God know?
    From that distance and darkness, how can he judge?
He roams the heavens wrapped in clouds,
    so how can he see us?’

15-18 “Are you going to persist in that tired old line
    that wicked men and women have always used?
Where did it get them? They died young,
    flash floods sweeping them off to their doom.
They told God, ‘Get lost!
    What good is God Almighty to us?’
And yet it was God who gave them everything they had.
    It’s beyond me how they can carry on like this!

19-20 “Good people see bad people crash, and call for a celebration.
    Relieved, they crow,
‘At last! Our enemies—wiped out.
    Everything they had and stood for is up in smoke!’

21-25 “Give in to God, come to terms with him
    and everything will turn out just fine.
Let him tell you what to do;
    take his words to heart.
Come back to God Almighty
    and he’ll rebuild your life.
Clean house of everything evil.
    Relax your grip on your money
    and abandon your gold-plated luxury.
God Almighty will be your treasure,
    more wealth than you can imagine.

26-30 “You’ll take delight in God, the Mighty One,
    and look to him joyfully, boldly.
You’ll pray to him and he’ll listen;
    he’ll help you do what you’ve promised.
You’ll decide what you want and it will happen;
    your life will be bathed in light.
To those who feel low you’ll say, ‘Chin up! Be brave!’
    and God will save them.
Yes, even the guilty will escape,
    escape through God’s grace in your life.”

Job’s Defense

I’m Completely in the Dark

23 1-7 Job replied:

“I’m not letting up—I’m standing my ground.
    My complaint is legitimate.
God has no right to treat me like this—
    it isn’t fair!
If I knew where on earth to find him,
    I’d go straight to him.
I’d lay my case before him face-to-face,
    give him all my arguments firsthand.
I’d find out exactly what he’s thinking,
    discover what’s going on in his head.
Do you think he’d dismiss me or bully me?
    No, he’d take me seriously.
He’d see a straight-living man standing before him;
    my Judge would acquit me for good of all charges.

8-9 “I travel East looking for him—I find no one;
    then West, but not a trace;
I go North, but he’s hidden his tracks;
    then South, but not even a glimpse.

10-12 “But he knows where I am and what I’ve done.
    He can cross-examine me all he wants, and I’ll pass the test
        with honors.
I’ve followed him closely, my feet in his footprints,
    not once swerving from his way.
I’ve obeyed every word he’s spoken,
    and not just obeyed his advice—I’ve treasured it.

13-17 “But he is singular and sovereign. Who can argue with him?
    He does what he wants, when he wants to.
He’ll complete in detail what he’s decided about me,
    and whatever else he determines to do.
Is it any wonder that I dread meeting him?
    Whenever I think about it, I get scared all over again.
God makes my heart sink!
    God Almighty gives me the shudders!
I’m completely in the dark,
    I can’t see my hand in front of my face.”

An Illusion of Security

24 1-12 “But if Judgment Day isn’t hidden from the Almighty,
    why are we kept in the dark?
There are people out there getting by with murder—
    stealing and lying and cheating.
They rip off the poor
    and exploit the unfortunate,
Push the helpless into the ditch,
    bully the weak so that they fear for their lives.
The poor, like stray dogs and cats,
    scavenge for food in back alleys.
They sort through the garbage of the rich,
    eke out survival on handouts.
Homeless, they shiver through cold nights on the street;
    they’ve no place to lay their heads.
Exposed to the weather, wet and frozen,
    they huddle in makeshift shelters.
Nursing mothers have their babies snatched from them;
    the infants of the poor are kidnapped and sold.
They go about patched and threadbare;
    even the hard workers go hungry.
No matter how backbreaking their labor,
    they can never make ends meet.
People are dying right and left, groaning in torment.
    The wretched cry out for help
    and God does nothing, acts like nothing’s wrong!

13-17 “Then there are those who avoid light at all costs,
    who scorn the light-filled path.
When the sun goes down, the murderer gets up—
    kills the poor and robs the defenseless.
Sexual predators can’t wait for nightfall,
    thinking, ‘No one can see us now.’
Burglars do their work at night,
    but keep well out of sight through the day.
    They want nothing to do with light.
Deep darkness is morning for that bunch;
    they make the terrors of darkness their companions in crime.

18-25 “They are scraps of wood floating on the water—
    useless, cursed junk, good for nothing.
As surely as snow melts under the hot, summer sun,
    sinners disappear in the grave.
The womb has forgotten them, worms have relished them—
    nothing that is evil lasts.
Unscrupulous,
    they prey on those less fortunate.
However much they strut and flex their muscles,
    there’s nothing to them. They’re hollow.
They may have an illusion of security,
    but God has his eye on them.
They may get their brief successes,
    but then it’s over, nothing to show for it.
Like yesterday’s newspaper,
    they’re used to wrap up the garbage.
You’re free to try to prove me a liar,
    but you won’t be able to do it.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Acts 11The Message (MSG)

God Has Broken Through

11 1-3 The news traveled fast and in no time the leaders and friends back in Jerusalem heard about it—heard that the non-Jewish “outsiders” were now “in.” When Peter got back to Jerusalem, some of his old associates, concerned about circumcision, called him on the carpet: “What do you think you’re doing rubbing shoulders with that crowd, eating what is prohibited and ruining our good name?”

4-6 So Peter, starting from the beginning, laid it out for them step-by-step: “Recently I was in the town of Joppa praying. I fell into a trance and saw a vision: Something like a huge blanket, lowered by ropes at its four corners, came down out of heaven and settled on the ground in front of me. Milling around on the blanket were farm animals, wild animals, reptiles, birds—you name it, it was there. Fascinated, I took it all in.

7-10 “Then I heard a voice: ‘Go to it, Peter—kill and eat.’ I said, ‘Oh, no, Master. I’ve never so much as tasted food that wasn’t kosher.’ The voice spoke again: ‘If God says it’s okay, it’s okay.’ This happened three times, and then the blanket was pulled back up into the sky.

11-14 “Just then three men showed up at the house where I was staying, sent from Caesarea to get me. The Spirit told me to go with them, no questions asked. So I went with them, I and six friends, to the man who had sent for me. He told us how he had seen an angel right in his own house, real as his next-door neighbor, saying, ‘Send to Joppa and get Simon, the one they call Peter. He’ll tell you something that will save your life—in fact, you and everyone you care for.’

15-17 “So I started in, talking. Before I’d spoken half a dozen sentences, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as he did on us the first time. I remembered Jesus’ words: ‘John baptized with water; you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ So I ask you: If God gave the same exact gift to them as to us when we believed in the Master Jesus Christ, how could I object to God?”

18 Hearing it all laid out like that, they quieted down. And then, as it sank in, they started praising God. “It’s really happened! God has broken through to the other nations, opened them up to Life!”

19-21 Those who had been scattered by the persecution triggered by Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, but they were still only speaking and dealing with their fellow Jews. Then some of the men from Cyprus and Cyrene who had come to Antioch started talking to Greeks, giving them the Message of the Master Jesus. God was pleased with what they were doing and put his stamp of approval on it—quite a number of the Greeks believed and turned to the Master.

22-24 When the church in Jerusalem got wind of this, they sent Barnabas to Antioch to check on things. As soon as he arrived, he saw that God was behind and in it all. He threw himself in with them, got behind them, urging them to stay with it the rest of their lives. He was a good man that way, enthusiastic and confident in the Holy Spirit’s ways. The community grew large and strong in the Master.

25-26 Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. He found him and brought him back to Antioch. They were there a whole year, meeting with the church and teaching a lot of people. It was in Antioch that the disciples were for the first time called Christians.

27-30 It was about this same time that some prophets came to Antioch from Jerusalem. One of them named Agabus stood up one day and, prompted by the Spirit, warned that a severe famine was about to devastate the country. (The famine eventually came during the rule of Claudius.) So the disciples decided that each of them would send whatever they could to their fellow Christians in Judea to help out. They sent Barnabas and Saul to deliver the collection to the leaders in Jerusalem.

The Message (MSG)

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

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