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Job 3-4The Message (MSG)

Job Cries Out

What’s the Point of Life?

1-2 Then Job broke the silence. He spoke up and cursed his fate:

3-10 “Obliterate the day I was born.
    Blank out the night I was conceived!
Let it be a black hole in space.
    May God above forget it ever happened.
    Erase it from the books!
May the day of my birth be buried in deep darkness,
    shrouded by the fog,
    swallowed by the night.
And the night of my conception—the devil take it!
    Rip the date off the calendar,
    delete it from the almanac.
Oh, turn that night into pure nothingness—
    no sounds of pleasure from that night, ever!
May those who are good at cursing curse that day.
    Unleash the sea beast, Leviathan, on it.
May its morning stars turn to black cinders,
    waiting for a daylight that never comes,
    never once seeing the first light of dawn.
And why? Because it released me from my mother’s womb
    into a life with so much trouble.

11-19 “Why didn’t I die at birth,
    my first breath out of the womb my last?
Why were there arms to rock me,
    and breasts for me to drink from?
I could be resting in peace right now,
    asleep forever, feeling no pain,
In the company of kings and statesmen
    in their royal ruins,
Or with princes resplendent
    in their gold and silver tombs.
Why wasn’t I stillborn and buried
    with all the babies who never saw light,
Where the wicked no longer trouble anyone
    and bone-weary people get a long-deserved rest?
Prisoners sleep undisturbed,
    never again to wake up to the bark of the guards.
The small and the great are equals in that place,
    and slaves are free from their masters.

20-23 “Why does God bother giving light to the miserable,
    why bother keeping bitter people alive,
Those who want in the worst way to die, and can’t,
    who can’t imagine anything better than death,
Who count the day of their death and burial
    the happiest day of their life?
What’s the point of life when it doesn’t make sense,
    when God blocks all the roads to meaning?

24-26 “Instead of bread I get groans for my supper,
    then leave the table and vomit my anguish.
The worst of my fears has come true,
    what I’ve dreaded most has happened.
My repose is shattered, my peace destroyed.
    No rest for me, ever—death has invaded life.”

Eliphaz Speaks Out

Now You’re the One in Trouble

1-6 Then Eliphaz from Teman spoke up:

“Would you mind if I said something to you?
    Under the circumstances it’s hard to keep quiet.
You yourself have done this plenty of times, spoken words
    that clarify, encouraged those who were about to quit.
Your words have put stumbling people on their feet,
    put fresh hope in people about to collapse.
But now you’re the one in trouble—you’re hurting!
    You’ve been hit hard and you’re reeling from the blow.
But shouldn’t your devout life give you confidence now?
    Shouldn’t your exemplary life give you hope?

7-11 “Think! Has a truly innocent person ever ended up on the scrap heap?
    Do genuinely upright people ever lose out in the end?
It’s my observation that those who plow evil
    and sow trouble reap evil and trouble.
One breath from God and they fall apart,
    one blast of his anger and there’s nothing left of them.
The mighty lion, king of the beasts, roars mightily,
    but when he’s toothless he’s useless—
No teeth, no prey—and the cubs
    wander off to fend for themselves.

12-16 “A word came to me in secret—
    a mere whisper of a word, but I heard it clearly.
It came in a scary dream one night,
    after I had fallen into a deep, deep sleep.
Dread stared me in the face, and Terror.
    I was scared to death—I shook from head to foot.
A spirit glided right in front of me—
    the hair on my head stood on end.
I couldn’t tell what it was that appeared there—
    a blur . . . and then I heard a muffled voice:

17-21 “‘How can mere mortals be more righteous than God?
    How can humans be purer than their Creator?
Why, God doesn’t even trust his own servants,
    doesn’t even cheer his angels,
So how much less these bodies composed of mud,
    fragile as moths?
These bodies of ours are here today and gone tomorrow,
    and no one even notices—gone without a trace.
When the tent stakes are ripped up, the tent collapses—
    we die and are never the wiser for having lived.’”

The Message (MSG)

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

Acts 7:44-60The Message (MSG)

44-47 “And all this time our ancestors had a tent shrine for true worship, made to the exact specifications God provided Moses. They had it with them as they followed Joshua, when God cleared the land of pagans, and still had it right down to the time of David. David asked God for a permanent place for worship. But Solomon built it.

48-50 “Yet that doesn’t mean that Most High God lives in a building made by carpenters and masons. The prophet Isaiah put it well when he wrote,

“Heaven is my throne room;
    I rest my feet on earth.
So what kind of house
    will you build me?” says God.
“Where I can get away and relax?
    It’s already built, and I built it.”

51-53 “And you continue, so bullheaded! Calluses on your hearts, flaps on your ears! Deliberately ignoring the Holy Spirit, you’re just like your ancestors. Was there ever a prophet who didn’t get the same treatment? Your ancestors killed anyone who dared talk about the coming of the Just One. And you’ve kept up the family tradition—traitors and murderers, all of you. You had God’s Law handed to you by angels—gift-wrapped!—and you squandered it!”

54-56 At that point they went wild, a rioting mob of catcalls and whistles and invective. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, hardly noticed—he only had eyes for God, whom he saw in all his glory with Jesus standing at his side. He said, “Oh! I see heaven wide open and the Son of Man standing at God’s side!”

57-58 Yelling and hissing, the mob drowned him out. Now in full stampede, they dragged him out of town and pelted him with rocks. The ringleaders took off their coats and asked a young man named Saul to watch them.

59-60 As the rocks rained down, Stephen prayed, “Master Jesus, take my life.” Then he knelt down, praying loud enough for everyone to hear, “Master, don’t blame them for this sin”—his last words. Then he died.

The Message (MSG)

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

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