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Job 25-27The Message (MSG)

Bildad’s Third Attack

Even the Stars Aren’t Perfect in God’s Eyes

25 1-6 Bildad the Shuhite again attacked Job:

“God is sovereign, God is fearsome—
    everything in the cosmos fits and works in his plan.
Can anyone count his angel armies?
    Is there any place where his light doesn’t shine?
How can a mere mortal presume to stand up to God?
    How can an ordinary person pretend to be guiltless?
Why, even the moon has its flaws,
    even the stars aren’t perfect in God’s eyes,
So how much less, plain men and women—
    slugs and maggots by comparison!”

Job’s Defense

God Sets a Boundary Between Light and Darkness

26 1-4 Job answered:

“Well, you’ve certainly been a great help to a helpless man!
    You came to the rescue just in the nick of time!
What wonderful advice you’ve given to a mixed-up man!
    What amazing insights you’ve provided!
Where in the world did you learn all this?
    How did you become so inspired?

5-14 “All the buried dead are in torment,
    and all who’ve been drowned in the deep, deep sea.
Hell is ripped open before God,
    graveyards dug up and exposed.
He spreads the skies over unformed space,
    hangs the earth out in empty space.
He pours water into cumulus cloud-bags
    and the bags don’t burst.
He makes the moon wax and wane,
    putting it through its phases.
He draws the horizon out over the ocean,
    sets a boundary between light and darkness.
Thunder crashes and rumbles in the skies.
    Listen! It’s God raising his voice!
By his power he stills sea storms,
    by his wisdom he tames sea monsters.
With one breath he clears the sky,
    with one finger he crushes the sea serpent.
And this is only the beginning,
    a mere whisper of his rule.
    Whatever would we do if he really raised his voice!”

No Place to Hide

27 1-6 Having waited for Zophar, Job now resumed his defense:

“God-Alive! He’s denied me justice!
    God Almighty! He’s ruined my life!
But for as long as I draw breath,
    and for as long as God breathes life into me,
I refuse to say one word that isn’t true.
    I refuse to confess to any charge that’s false.
There is no way I’ll ever agree to your accusations.
    I’ll not deny my integrity even if it costs me my life.
I’m holding fast to my integrity and not loosening my grip—
    and, believe me, I’ll never regret it.

7-10 “Let my enemy be exposed as wicked!
    Let my adversary be proven guilty!
What hope do people without God have when life is cut short?
    when God puts an end to life?
Do you think God will listen to their cry for help
    when disaster hits?
What interest have they ever shown in the Almighty?
    Have they ever been known to pray before?

11-12 “I’ve given you a clear account of God in action,
    suppressed nothing regarding God Almighty.
The evidence is right before you. You can all see it for yourselves,
    so why do you keep talking nonsense?

13-23 “I’ll quote your own words back to you:

“‘This is how God treats the wicked,
    this is what evil people can expect from God Almighty:
Their children—all of them—will die violent deaths;
    they’ll never have enough bread to put on the table.
They’ll be wiped out by the plague,
    and none of the widows will shed a tear when they’re gone.
Even if they make a lot of money
    and are resplendent in the latest fashions,
It’s the good who will end up wearing the clothes
    and the decent who will divide up the money.
They build elaborate houses
    that won’t survive a single winter.
They go to bed wealthy
    and wake up poor.
Terrors pour in on them like flash floods—
    a tornado snatches them away in the middle of the night,
A cyclone sweeps them up—gone!
    Not a trace of them left, not even a footprint.
Catastrophes relentlessly pursue them;
    they run this way and that, but there’s no place to hide—
Pummeled by the weather,
    blown to kingdom come by the storm.’”

The Message (MSG)

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

Acts 12The Message (MSG)

Peter Under Heavy Guard

12 1-4 That’s when King Herod got it into his head to go after some of the church members. He murdered James, John’s brother. When he saw how much it raised his popularity ratings with the Jews, he arrested Peter—all this during Passover Week, mind you—and had him thrown in jail, putting four squads of four soldiers each to guard him. He was planning a public lynching after Passover.

All the time that Peter was under heavy guard in the jailhouse, the church prayed for him most strenuously.

Then the time came for Herod to bring him out for the kill. That night, even though shackled to two soldiers, one on either side, Peter slept like a baby. And there were guards at the door keeping their eyes on the place. Herod was taking no chances!

7-9 Suddenly there was an angel at his side and light flooding the room. The angel shook Peter and got him up: “Hurry!” The handcuffs fell off his wrists. The angel said, “Get dressed. Put on your shoes.” Peter did it. Then, “Grab your coat and let’s get out of here.” Peter followed him, but didn’t believe it was really an angel—he thought he was dreaming.

10-11 Past the first guard and then the second, they came to the iron gate that led into the city. It swung open before them on its own, and they were out on the street, free as the breeze. At the first intersection the angel left him, going his own way. That’s when Peter realized it was no dream. “I can’t believe it—this really happened! The Master sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s vicious little production and the spectacle the Jewish mob was looking forward to.”

12-14 Still shaking his head, amazed, he went to Mary’s house, the Mary who was John Mark’s mother. The house was packed with praying friends. When he knocked on the door to the courtyard, a young woman named Rhoda came to see who it was. But when she recognized his voice—Peter’s voice!—she was so excited and eager to tell everyone Peter was there that she forgot to open the door and left him standing in the street.

15-16 But they wouldn’t believe her, dismissing her, dismissing her report. “You’re crazy,” they said. She stuck by her story, insisting. They still wouldn’t believe her and said, “It must be his angel.” All this time poor Peter was standing out in the street, knocking away.

16-17 Finally they opened up and saw him—and went wild! Peter put his hands up and calmed them down. He described how the Master had gotten him out of jail, then said, “Tell James and the brothers what’s happened.” He left them and went off to another place.

18-19 At daybreak the jail was in an uproar. “Where is Peter? What’s happened to Peter?” When Herod sent for him and they could neither produce him nor explain why not, he ordered their execution: “Off with their heads!” Fed up with Judea and Jews, he went for a vacation to Caesarea.

The Death of Herod

20-22 But things went from bad to worse for Herod. Now people from Tyre and Sidon put him on the warpath. But they got Blastus, King Herod’s right-hand man, to put in a good word for them and got a delegation together to iron things out. Because they were dependent on Judea for food supplies, they couldn’t afford to let this go on too long. On the day set for their meeting, Herod, robed in pomposity, took his place on the throne and regaled them with a lot of hot air. The people played their part to the hilt and shouted flatteries: “The voice of God! The voice of God!”

23 That was the last straw. God had had enough of Herod’s arrogance and sent an angel to strike him down. Herod had given God no credit for anything. Down he went. Rotten to the core, a maggoty old man if there ever was one, he died.

24 Meanwhile, the ministry of God’s Word grew by leaps and bounds.

25 Barnabas and Saul, once they had delivered the relief offering to the church in Jerusalem, went back to Antioch. This time they took John with them, the one they called Mark.

The Message (MSG)

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

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