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Job 38-40The Message (MSG)

God Confronts Job

Have You Gotten to the Bottom of Things?

38 And now, finally, God answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. He said:

2-11 “Why do you confuse the issue?
    Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about?
Pull yourself together, Job!
    Up on your feet! Stand tall!
I have some questions for you,
    and I want some straight answers.
Where were you when I created the earth?
    Tell me, since you know so much!
Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that!
    Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?
How was its foundation poured,
    and who set the cornerstone,
While the morning stars sang in chorus
    and all the angels shouted praise?
And who took charge of the ocean
    when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb?
That was me! I wrapped it in soft clouds,
    and tucked it in safely at night.
Then I made a playpen for it,
    a strong playpen so it couldn’t run loose,
And said, ‘Stay here, this is your place.
    Your wild tantrums are confined to this place.’

12-15 “And have you ever ordered Morning, ‘Get up!’
    told Dawn, ‘Get to work!’
So you could seize Earth like a blanket
    and shake out the wicked like cockroaches?
As the sun brings everything to light,
    brings out all the colors and shapes,
The cover of darkness is snatched from the wicked—
    they’re caught in the very act!

16-18 “Have you ever gotten to the true bottom of things,
    explored the labyrinthine caves of deep ocean?
Do you know the first thing about death?
    Do you have one clue regarding death’s dark mysteries?
And do you have any idea how large this earth is?
    Speak up if you have even the beginning of an answer.

19-21 “Do you know where Light comes from
    and where Darkness lives
So you can take them by the hand
    and lead them home when they get lost?
Why, of course you know that.
    You’ve known them all your life,
    grown up in the same neighborhood with them!

22-30 “Have you ever traveled to where snow is made,
    seen the vault where hail is stockpiled,
The arsenals of hail and snow that I keep in readiness
    for times of trouble and battle and war?
Can you find your way to where lightning is launched,
    or to the place from which the wind blows?
Who do you suppose carves canyons
    for the downpours of rain, and charts
    the route of thunderstorms
That bring water to unvisited fields,
    deserts no one ever lays eyes on,
Drenching the useless wastelands
    so they’re carpeted with wildflowers and grass?
And who do you think is the father of rain and dew,
    the mother of ice and frost?
You don’t for a minute imagine
    these marvels of weather just happen, do you?

31-33 “Can you catch the eye of the beautiful Pleiades sisters,
    or distract Orion from his hunt?
Can you get Venus to look your way,
    or get the Great Bear and her cubs to come out and play?
Do you know the first thing about the sky’s constellations
    and how they affect things on Earth?

34-35 “Can you get the attention of the clouds,
    and commission a shower of rain?
Can you take charge of the lightning bolts
    and have them report to you for orders?

What Do You Have to Say for Yourself?

36-38 “Who do you think gave weather-wisdom to the ibis,
    and storm-savvy to the rooster?
Does anyone know enough to number all the clouds
    or tip over the rain barrels of heaven
When the earth is cracked and dry,
    the ground baked hard as a brick?

39-41 “Can you teach the lioness to stalk her prey
    and satisfy the appetite of her cubs
As they crouch in their den,
    waiting hungrily in their cave?
And who sets out food for the ravens
    when their young cry to God,
    fluttering about because they have no food?”

39 1-4 “Do you know the month when mountain goats give birth?
    Have you ever watched a doe bear her fawn?
Do you know how many months she is pregnant?
    Do you know the season of her delivery,
    when she crouches down and drops her offspring?
Her young ones flourish and are soon on their own;
    they leave and don’t come back.

5-8 “Who do you think set the wild donkey free,
    opened the corral gates and let him go?
I gave him the whole wilderness to roam in,
    the rolling plains and wide-open places.
He laughs at his city cousins, who are harnessed and harried.
    He’s oblivious to the cries of teamsters.
He grazes freely through the hills,
    nibbling anything that’s green.

9-12 “Will the wild buffalo condescend to serve you,
    volunteer to spend the night in your barn?
Can you imagine hitching your plow to a buffalo
    and getting him to till your fields?
He’s hugely strong, yes, but could you trust him,
    would you dare turn the job over to him?
You wouldn’t for a minute depend on him, would you,
    to do what you said when you said it?

13-18 “The ostrich flaps her wings futilely—
    all those beautiful feathers, but useless!
She lays her eggs on the hard ground,
    leaves them there in the dirt, exposed to the weather,
Not caring that they might get stepped on and cracked
    or trampled by some wild animal.
She’s negligent with her young, as if they weren’t even hers.
    She cares nothing about anything.
She wasn’t created very smart, that’s for sure,
    wasn’t given her share of good sense.
But when she runs, oh, how she runs,
    laughing, leaving horse and rider in the dust.

19-25 “Are you the one who gave the horse his prowess
    and adorned him with a shimmering mane?
Did you create him to prance proudly
    and strike terror with his royal snorts?
He paws the ground fiercely, eager and spirited,
    then charges into the fray.
He laughs at danger, fearless,
    doesn’t shy away from the sword.
The banging and clanging
    of quiver and lance don’t faze him.
He quivers with excitement, and at the trumpet blast
    races off at a gallop.
At the sound of the trumpet he neighs mightily,
    smelling the excitement of battle from a long way off,
    catching the rolling thunder of the war cries.

26-30 “Was it through your know-how that the hawk learned to fly,
    soaring effortlessly on thermal updrafts?
Did you command the eagle’s flight,
    and teach her to build her nest in the heights,
Perfectly at home on the high cliff face,
    invulnerable on pinnacle and crag?
From her perch she searches for prey,
    spies it at a great distance.
Her young gorge themselves on carrion;
    wherever there’s a roadkill, you’ll see her circling.”

40 1-2 God then confronted Job directly:

“Now what do you have to say for yourself?
    Are you going to haul me, the Mighty One, into court and press charges?”

Job Answers God

I’m Ready to Shut Up and Listen

3-5 Job answered:

“I’m speechless, in awe—words fail me.
    I should never have opened my mouth!
I’ve talked too much, way too much.
    I’m ready to shut up and listen.”

God’s Second Set of Questions

I Want Straight Answers

6-7 God addressed Job next from the eye of the storm, and this is what he said:

“I have some more questions for you,
    and I want straight answers.

8-14 “Do you presume to tell me what I’m doing wrong?
    Are you calling me a sinner so you can be a saint?
Do you have an arm like my arm?
    Can you shout in thunder the way I can?
Go ahead, show your stuff.
    Let’s see what you’re made of, what you can do.
Unleash your outrage.
    Target the arrogant and lay them flat.
Target the arrogant and bring them to their knees.
    Stop the wicked in their tracks—make mincemeat of them!
Dig a mass grave and dump them in it—
    faceless corpses in an unmarked grave.
I’ll gladly step aside and hand things over to you—
    you can surely save yourself with no help from me!

15-24 “Look at the land beast, Behemoth. I created him as well as you.
    Grazing on grass, docile as a cow—
Just look at the strength of his back,
    the powerful muscles of his belly.
His tail sways like a cedar in the wind;
    his huge legs are like beech trees.
His skeleton is made of steel,
    every bone in his body hard as steel.
Most magnificent of all my creatures,
    but I still lead him around like a lamb!
The grass-covered hills serve him meals,
    while field mice frolic in his shadow.
He takes afternoon naps under shade trees,
    cools himself in the reedy swamps,
Lazily cool in the leafy shadows
    as the breeze moves through the willows.
And when the river rages he doesn’t budge,
    stolid and unperturbed even when the Jordan goes wild.
But you’d never want him for a pet—
    you’d never be able to housebreak him!”

The Message (MSG)

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

Acts 16:1-22The Message (MSG)

A Dream Gave Paul His Map

16 1-3 Paul came first to Derbe, then Lystra. He found a disciple there by the name of Timothy, son of a devout Jewish mother and Greek father. Friends in Lystra and Iconium all said what a fine young man he was. Paul wanted to recruit him for their mission, but first took him aside and circumcised him so he wouldn’t offend the Jews who lived in those parts. They all knew that his father was Greek.

4-5 As they traveled from town to town, they presented the simple guidelines the Jerusalem apostles and leaders had come up with. That turned out to be most helpful. Day after day the congregations became stronger in faith and larger in size.

6-8 They went to Phrygia, and then on through the region of Galatia. Their plan was to turn west into Asia province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. So they went to Mysia and tried to go north to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t let them go there either. Proceeding on through Mysia, they went down to the seaport Troas.

9-10 That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” The dream gave Paul his map. We went to work at once getting things ready to cross over to Macedonia. All the pieces had come together. We knew now for sure that God had called us to preach the good news to the Europeans.

11-12 Putting out from the harbor at Troas, we made a straight run for Samothrace. The next day we tied up at New City and walked from there to Philippi, the main city in that part of Macedonia and, even more importantly, a Roman colony. We lingered there several days.

13-14 On the Sabbath, we left the city and went down along the river where we had heard there was to be a prayer meeting. We took our place with the women who had gathered there and talked with them. One woman, Lydia, was from Thyatira and a dealer in expensive textiles, known to be a God-fearing woman. As she listened with intensity to what was being said, the Master gave her a trusting heart—and she believed!

15 After she was baptized, along with everyone in her household, she said in a surge of hospitality, “If you’re confident that I’m in this with you and believe in the Master truly, come home with me and be my guests.” We hesitated, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Beat Up and Thrown in Jail

16-18 One day, on our way to the place of prayer, a slave girl ran into us. She was a psychic and, with her fortunetelling, made a lot of money for the people who owned her. She started following Paul around, calling everyone’s attention to us by yelling out, “These men are working for the Most High God. They’re laying out the road of salvation for you!” She did this for a number of days until Paul, finally fed up with her, turned and commanded the spirit that possessed her, “Out! In the name of Jesus Christ, get out of her!” And it was gone, just like that.

19-22 When her owners saw that their lucrative little business was suddenly bankrupt, they went after Paul and Silas, roughed them up and dragged them into the market square. Then the police arrested them and pulled them into a court with the accusation, “These men are disturbing the peace—dangerous Jewish agitators subverting our Roman law and order.” By this time the crowd had turned into a restless mob out for blood.

The Message (MSG)

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

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