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Job 32-33The Message (MSG)

Elihu Speaks

God’s Spirit Makes Wisdom Possible

32 1-5 Job’s three friends now fell silent. They were talked out, stymied because Job wouldn’t budge an inch—wouldn’t admit to an ounce of guilt. Then Elihu lost his temper. (Elihu was the son of Barakel the Buzite from the clan of Ram.) He blazed out in anger against Job for pitting his righteousness against God’s. He was also angry with the three friends because they had neither come up with an answer nor proved Job wrong. Elihu had waited with Job while they spoke because they were all older than he. But when he saw that the three other men had exhausted their arguments, he exploded with pent-up anger.

6-10 This is what Elihu, son of Barakel the Buzite, said:

“I’m a young man,
    and you are all old and experienced.
That’s why I kept quiet
    and held back from joining the discussion.
I kept thinking, ‘Experience will tell.
    The longer you live, the wiser you become.’
But I see I was wrong—it’s God’s Spirit in a person,
    the breath of the Almighty One, that makes wise human insight possible.
The experts have no corner on wisdom;
    getting old doesn’t guarantee good sense.
So I’ve decided to speak up. Listen well!
    I’m going to tell you exactly what I think.

11-14 “I hung on your words while you spoke,
    listened carefully to your arguments.
While you searched for the right words,
    I was all ears.
And now what have you proved? Nothing.
    Nothing you say has even touched Job.
And don’t excuse yourselves by saying, ‘We’ve done our best.
    Now it’s up to God to talk sense into him.’
Job has yet to contend with me.
    And rest assured, I won’t be using your arguments!

15-22 “Do you three have nothing else to say?
    Of course you don’t! You’re total frauds!
Why should I wait any longer,
    now that you’re stopped dead in your tracks?
I’m ready to speak my piece. That’s right!
    It’s my turn—and it’s about time!
I’ve got a lot to say,
    and I’m bursting to say it.
The pressure has built up, like lava beneath the earth.
    I’m a volcano ready to blow.
I have to speak—I have no choice.
    I have to say what’s on my heart,
And I’m going to say it straight—
    the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
I was never any good at bootlicking;
    my Maker would make short work of me if I started in now!”

33 1-4 “So please, Job, hear me out,
    honor me by listening to me.
What I’m about to say
    has been carefully thought out.
I have no ulterior motives in this;
    I’m speaking honestly from my heart.
The Spirit of God made me what I am,
    the breath of God Almighty gave me life!

God Always Answers, One Way or Another

5-7 “And if you think you can prove me wrong, do it.
    Lay out your arguments. Stand up for yourself!
Look, I’m human—no better than you;
    we’re both made of the same kind of mud.
So let’s work this through together;
    don’t let my aggressiveness overwhelm you.

8-11 “Here’s what you said.
    I heard you say it with my own ears.
You said, ‘I’m pure—I’ve done nothing wrong.
    Believe me, I’m clean—my conscience is clear.
But God keeps picking on me;
    he treats me like I’m his enemy.
He’s thrown me in jail;
    he keeps me under constant surveillance.’

12-14 “But let me tell you, Job, you’re wrong, dead wrong!
    God is far greater than any human.
So how dare you haul him into court,
    and then complain that he won’t answer your charges?
God always answers, one way or another,
    even when people don’t recognize his presence.

15-18 “In a dream, for instance, a vision at night,
    when men and women are deep in sleep,
    fast asleep in their beds—
God opens their ears
    and impresses them with warnings
To turn them back from something bad they’re planning,
    from some reckless choice,
And keep them from an early grave,
    from the river of no return.

19-22 “Or, God might get their attention through pain,
    by throwing them on a bed of suffering,
So they can’t stand the sight of food,
    have no appetite for their favorite treats.
They lose weight, wasting away to nothing,
    reduced to a bag of bones.
They hang on the cliff-edge of death,
    knowing the next breath may be their last.

23-25 “But even then an angel could come,
    a champion—there are thousands of them!—
    to take up your cause,
A messenger who would mercifully intervene,
    canceling the death sentence with the words:
    ‘I’ve come up with the ransom!’
Before you know it, you’re healed,
    the very picture of health!

26-28 “Or, you may fall on your knees and pray—to God’s delight!
    You’ll see God’s smile and celebrate,
    finding yourself set right with God.
You’ll sing God’s praises to everyone you meet,
    testifying, ‘I messed up my life—
    and let me tell you, it wasn’t worth it.
But God stepped in and saved me from certain death.
    I’m alive again! Once more I see the light!’

29-30 “This is the way God works.
    Over and over again
He pulls our souls back from certain destruction
    so we’ll see the light—and live in the light!

31-33 “Keep listening, Job.
    Don’t interrupt—I’m not finished yet.
But if you think of anything I should know, tell me.
    There’s nothing I’d like better than to see your name cleared.
Meanwhile, keep listening. Don’t distract me with interruptions.
    I’m going to teach you the basics of wisdom.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Acts 14The Message (MSG)

14 1-3 When they got to Iconium they went, as they always did, to the meeting place of the Jews and gave their message. The Message convinced both Jews and non-Jews—and not just a few, either. But the unbelieving Jews worked up a whispering campaign against Paul and Barnabas, sowing mistrust and suspicion in the minds of the people in the street. The two apostles were there a long time, speaking freely, openly, and confidently as they presented the clear evidence of God’s gifts, God corroborating their work with miracles and wonders.

4-7 But then there was a split in public opinion, some siding with the Jews, some with the apostles. One day, learning that both the Jews and non-Jews had been organized by their leaders to beat them up, they escaped as best they could to the next towns—Lyconia, Lystra, Derbe, and that neighborhood—but then were right back at it again, getting out the Message.

Gods or Men?

8-10 There was a man in Lystra who couldn’t walk. He sat there, crippled since the day of his birth. He heard Paul talking, and Paul, looking him in the eye, saw that he was ripe for God’s work, ready to believe. So he said, loud enough for everyone to hear, “Up on your feet!” The man was up in a flash—jumped up and walked around as if he’d been walking all his life.

11-13 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they went wild, calling out in their Lyconian dialect, “The gods have come down! These men are gods!” They called Barnabas “Zeus” and Paul “Hermes” (since Paul did most of the speaking). The priest of the local Zeus shrine got up a parade—bulls and banners and people lined right up to the gates, ready for the ritual of sacrifice.

14-15 When Barnabas and Paul finally realized what was going on, they stopped them. Waving their arms, they interrupted the parade, calling out, “What do you think you’re doing! We’re not gods! We are men just like you, and we’re here to bring you the Message, to persuade you to abandon these silly god-superstitions and embrace God himself, the living God. We don’t make God; he makes us, and all of this—sky, earth, sea, and everything in them.

16-18 “In the generations before us, God let all the different nations go their own way. But even then he didn’t leave them without a clue, for he made a good creation, poured down rain and gave bumper crops. When your bellies were full and your hearts happy, there was evidence of good beyond your doing.” Talking fast and hard like this, they prevented them from carrying out the sacrifice that would have honored them as gods—but just barely.

19-20 Then some Jews from Antioch and Iconium caught up with them and turned the fickle crowd against them. They beat Paul unconscious, dragged him outside the town and left him for dead. But as the disciples gathered around him, he came to and got up. He went back into town and the next day left with Barnabas for Derbe.

Plenty of Hard Times

21-22 After proclaiming the Message in Derbe and establishing a strong core of disciples, they retraced their steps to Lystra, then Iconium, and then Antioch, putting muscle and sinew in the lives of the disciples, urging them to stick with what they had begun to believe and not quit, making it clear to them that it wouldn’t be easy: “Anyone signing up for the kingdom of God has to go through plenty of hard times.”

23-26 Paul and Barnabas handpicked leaders in each church. After praying—their prayers intensified by fasting—they presented these new leaders to the Master to whom they had entrusted their lives. Working their way back through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia and preached in Perga. Finally, they made it to Attalia and caught a ship back to Antioch, where it had all started—launched by God’s grace and now safely home by God’s grace. A good piece of work.

27-28 On arrival, they got the church together and reported on their trip, telling in detail how God had used them to throw the door of faith wide open so people of all nations could come streaming in. Then they settled down for a long, leisurely visit with the disciples.

The Message (MSG)

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

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