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Micah 4-5The Message (MSG)

The Making of God’s People

1-4 But when all is said and done,
    God’s Temple on the mountain,
Firmly fixed, will dominate all mountains,
    towering above surrounding hills.
People will stream to it
    and many nations set out for it,
Saying, “Come, let’s climb God’s mountain.
    Let’s go to the Temple of Jacob’s God.
He will teach us how to live.
    We’ll know how to live God’s way.”
True teaching will issue from Zion,
    God’s revelation from Jerusalem.
He’ll establish justice in the rabble of nations
    and settle disputes in faraway places.
They’ll trade in their swords for shovels,
    their spears for rakes and hoes.
Nations will quit fighting each other,
    quit learning how to kill one another.
Each man will sit under his own shade tree,
    each woman in safety will tend her own garden.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so,
    and he means what he says.

Meanwhile, all the other people live however they wish,
    picking and choosing their gods.
But we live honoring God,
    and we’re loyal to our God forever and ever.

6-7 “On that great day,” God says,
    “I will round up all the hurt and homeless,
    everyone I have bruised or banished.
I will transform the battered into a company of the elite.
    I will make a strong nation out of the long lost,
A showcase exhibit of God’s rule in action,
    as I rule from Mount Zion, from here to eternity.

“And you stragglers around Jerusalem,
    eking out a living in shantytowns:
The glory that once was will be again.
    Jerusalem’s daughter will be the kingdom center.”

9-10 So why the doomsday hysterics?
    You still have a king, don’t you?
But maybe he’s not doing his job
    and you’re panicked like a woman in labor.
Well, go ahead—twist and scream, Daughter Jerusalem.
    You are like a woman in childbirth.
You’ll soon be out of the city, on your way
    and camping in the open country.
And then you’ll arrive in Babylon.
    What you lost in Jerusalem will be found in Babylon.
God will give you new life again.
    He’ll redeem you from your enemies.

11-12 But for right now, they’re ganged up against you,
    many godless peoples, saying,
“Kick her when she’s down! Violate her!
    We want to see Zion grovel in the dirt.”
These blasphemers have no idea
    what God is thinking and doing in this.
They don’t know that this is the making of God’s people,
    that they are wheat being threshed, gold being refined.

13 On your feet, Daughter of Zion! Be threshed of chaff,
    be refined of dross.
I’m remaking you into a people invincible,
    into God’s juggernaut to crush the godless peoples.
You’ll bring their plunder as holy offerings to God,
    their wealth to the Master of the earth.

The Leader Who Will Shepherd-Rule Israel

But for now, prepare for the worst, victim daughter!
    The siege is set against us.
They humiliate Israel’s king,
    slapping him around like a rag doll.

2-4 But you, Bethlehem, David’s country,
    the runt of the litter—
From you will come the leader
    who will shepherd-rule Israel.
He’ll be no upstart, no pretender.
    His family tree is ancient and distinguished.
Meanwhile, Israel will be in foster homes
    until the birth pangs are over and the child is born,
And the scattered brothers come back
    home to the family of Israel.
He will stand tall in his shepherd-rule by God’s strength,
    centered in the majesty of God-Revealed.
And the people will have a good and safe home,
    for the whole world will hold him in respect—
    Peacemaker of the world!

5-6 And if some bullying Assyrian shows up,
    invades and violates our land, don’t worry.
We’ll put him in his place, send him packing,
    and watch his every move.
Shepherd-rule will extend as far as needed,
    to Assyria and all other Nimrod-bullies.
Our shepherd-ruler will save us from old or new enemies,
    from anyone who invades or violates our land.

The purged and select company of Jacob will be
    like an island in the sea of peoples.
They’ll be like dew from God,
    like summer showers
Not mentioned in the weather forecast,
    not subject to calculation or control.

8-9 Yes, the purged and select company of Jacob will be
    like an island in the sea of peoples,
Like the king of beasts among wild beasts,
    like a young lion loose in a flock of sheep,
Killing and devouring the lambs
    and no one able to stop him.
With your arms raised in triumph over your foes,
    your enemies will be no more!

10-15 “The day is coming”
    God’s Decree—
“When there will be no more war. None.
    I’ll slaughter your war horses and demolish your chariots.
I’ll dismantle military posts
    and level your fortifications.
I’ll abolish your religious black markets,
    your underworld traffic in black magic.
I will smash your carved and cast gods
    and chop down your phallic posts.
No more taking control of the world,
    worshiping what you do or make.
I’ll root out your sacred sex-and-power centers
    and destroy the God-defiant.
In raging anger, I’ll make a clean sweep
    of godless nations who haven’t listened.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Revelation 12The Message (MSG)

The Woman, Her Son, and the Dragon

12 1-2 A great Sign appeared in Heaven: a Woman dressed all in sunlight, standing on the moon, and crowned with Twelve Stars. She was giving birth to a Child and cried out in the pain of childbirth.

3-4 And then another Sign alongside the first: a huge and fiery Dragon! It had seven heads and ten horns, a crown on each of the seven heads. With one flick of its tail it knocked a third of the Stars from the sky and dumped them on earth. The Dragon crouched before the Woman in childbirth, poised to eat up the Child when it came.

5-6 The Woman gave birth to a Son who will shepherd all nations with an iron rod. Her Son was seized and placed safely before God on his Throne. The Woman herself escaped to the desert to a place of safety prepared by God, all comforts provided her for 1,260 days.

7-12 War broke out in Heaven. Michael and his Angels fought the Dragon. The Dragon and his Angels fought back, but were no match for Michael. They were cleared out of Heaven, not a sign of them left. The great Dragon—ancient Serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, the one who led the whole earth astray—thrown out, and all his Angels thrown out with him, thrown down to earth. Then I heard a strong voice out of Heaven saying,

Salvation and power are established!
    Kingdom of our God, authority of his Messiah!
The Accuser of our brothers and sisters thrown out,
    who accused them day and night before God.
They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb
    and the bold word of their witness.
They weren’t in love with themselves;
    they were willing to die for Christ.
So rejoice, O Heavens, and all who live there,
    but doom to earth and sea,
For the Devil’s come down on you with both feet;
    he’s had a great fall;
He’s wild and raging with anger;
    he hasn’t much time and he knows it.

13-17 When the Dragon saw he’d been thrown to earth, he went after the Woman who had given birth to the Man-Child. The Woman was given wings of a great eagle to fly to a place in the desert to be kept in safety and comfort for a time and times and half a time, safe and sound from the Serpent. The Serpent vomited a river of water to swamp and drown her, but earth came to her help, swallowing the water the Dragon spewed from its mouth. Helpless with rage, the Dragon raged at the Woman, then went off to make war with the rest of her children, the children who keep God’s commands and hold firm to the witness of Jesus.

The Message (MSG)

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

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