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Micah 6-7The Message (MSG)

What God Is Looking For

1-2 Listen now, listen to God:

“Take your stand in court.
    If you have a complaint, tell the mountains;
    make your case to the hills.
And now, Mountains, hear God’s case;
    listen, Jury Earth—
For I am bringing charges against my people.
    I am building a case against Israel.

3-5 “Dear people, how have I done you wrong?
    Have I burdened you, worn you out? Answer!
I delivered you from a bad life in Egypt;
    I paid a good price to get you out of slavery.
I sent Moses to lead you—
    and Aaron and Miriam to boot!
Remember what Balak king of Moab tried to pull,
    and how Balaam son of Beor turned the tables on him.
Remember all those stories about Shittim and Gilgal.
    Keep all God’s salvation stories fresh and present.”

6-7 How can I stand up before God
    and show proper respect to the high God?
Should I bring an armload of offerings
    topped off with yearling calves?
Would God be impressed with thousands of rams,
    with buckets and barrels of olive oil?
Would he be moved if I sacrificed my firstborn child,
    my precious baby, to cancel my sin?

But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
    what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
    be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
    take God seriously.

Attention! God calls out to the city!
    If you know what’s good for you, you’ll listen.
So listen, all of you!
    This is serious business.

10-16 “Do you expect me to overlook obscene wealth
    you’ve piled up by cheating and fraud?
Do you think I’ll tolerate shady deals
    and shifty scheming?
I’m tired of the violent rich
    bullying their way with bluffs and lies.
I’m fed up. Beginning now, you’re finished.
    You’ll pay for your sins down to your last cent.
No matter how much you get, it will never be enough—
    hollow stomachs, empty hearts.
No matter how hard you work, you’ll have nothing to show for it—
    bankrupt lives, wasted souls.
You’ll plant grass
    but never get a lawn.
You’ll make jelly
    but never spread it on your bread.
You’ll press apples
    but never drink the cider.
You have lived by the standards of your king, Omri,
    the decadent lifestyle of the family of Ahab.
Because you’ve slavishly followed their fashions,
    I’m forcing you into bankruptcy.
Your way of life will be laughed at, a tasteless joke.
    Your lives will be derided as futile and fake.”

Stick Around to See What God Will Do

1-6 I’m overwhelmed with sorrow!
    sunk in a swamp of despair!
I’m like someone who goes to the garden
    to pick cabbages and carrots and corn
And returns empty-handed,
    finds nothing for soup or sandwich or salad.
There’s not a decent person in sight.
    Right-living humans are extinct.
They’re all out for one another’s blood,
    animals preying on each other.
They’ve all become experts in evil.
    Corrupt leaders demand bribes.
The powerful rich
    make sure they get what they want.
The best and brightest are thistles.
    The top of the line is crabgrass.
But no longer: It’s exam time.
    Look at them slinking away in disgrace!
Don’t trust your neighbor,
    don’t confide in your friend.
Watch your words,
    even with your spouse.
Neighborhoods and families are falling to pieces.
    The closer they are—sons, daughters, in-laws—
The worse they can be.
    Your own family is the enemy.

But me, I’m not giving up.
    I’m sticking around to see what God will do.
I’m waiting for God to make things right.
    I’m counting on God to listen to me.

Spreading Your Wings

8-10 Don’t, enemy, crow over me.
    I’m down, but I’m not out.
I’m sitting in the dark right now,
    but God is my light.
I can take God’s punishing rage.
    I deserve it—I sinned.
But it’s not forever. He’s on my side
    and is going to get me out of this.
He’ll turn on the lights and show me his ways.
    I’ll see the whole picture and how right he is.
And my enemy will see it, too,
    and be discredited—yes, disgraced!
This enemy who kept taunting,
    “So where is this God of yours?”
I’m going to see it with these, my own eyes—
    my enemy disgraced, trash in the gutter.

11-13 Oh, that will be a day! A day for rebuilding your city,
    a day for stretching your arms, spreading your wings!
All your dispersed and scattered people will come back,
    old friends and family from faraway places,
From Assyria in the east to Egypt in the west,
    from across the seas and out of the mountains.
But there’ll be a reversal for everyone else—massive depopulation—
    because of the way they lived, the things they did.

14-17 Shepherd, O God, your people with your staff,
    your dear and precious flock.
Uniquely yours in a grove of trees,
    centered in lotus land.
Let them graze in lush Bashan
    as in the old days in green Gilead.
Reproduce the miracle-wonders
    of our exodus from Egypt.
And the godless nations: Put them in their place—
    humiliated in their arrogance, speechless and clueless.
Make them slink like snakes, crawl like cockroaches,
    come out of their holes from under their rocks
And face our God.
    Fill them with holy fear and trembling.

18-20 Where is the god who can compare with you—
    wiping the slate clean of guilt,
Turning a blind eye, a deaf ear,
    to the past sins of your purged and precious people?
You don’t nurse your anger and don’t stay angry long,
    for mercy is your specialty. That’s what you love most.
And compassion is on its way to us.
    You’ll stamp out our wrongdoing.
You’ll sink our sins
    to the bottom of the ocean.
You’ll stay true to your word to Father Jacob
    and continue the compassion you showed Grandfather Abraham—
Everything you promised our ancestors
    from a long time ago.

The Message (MSG)

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

Revelation 13The Message (MSG)

The Beast from the Sea

13 1-2 And the Dragon stood on the shore of the sea. I saw a Beast rising from the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads—on each horn a crown, and each head inscribed with a blasphemous name. The Beast I saw looked like a leopard with bear paws and a lion’s mouth. The Dragon turned over its power to it, its throne and great authority.

3-4 One of the Beast’s heads looked as if it had been struck a deathblow, and then healed. The whole earth was agog, gaping at the Beast. They worshiped the Dragon who gave the Beast authority, and they worshiped the Beast, exclaiming, “There’s never been anything like the Beast! No one would dare go to war with the Beast!”

5-8 The Beast had a loud mouth, boastful and blasphemous. It could do anything it wanted for forty-two months. It yelled blasphemies against God, blasphemed his Name, blasphemed his Church, especially those already dwelling with God in Heaven. It was permitted to make war on God’s holy people and conquer them. It held absolute sway over all tribes and peoples, tongues and races. Everyone on earth whose name was not written from the world’s foundation in the slaughtered Lamb’s Book of Life will worship the Beast.

9-10 Are you listening to this? They’ve made their bed; now they must lie in it. Anyone marked for prison goes straight to prison; anyone pulling a sword goes down by the sword. Meanwhile, God’s holy people passionately and faithfully stand their ground.

The Beast from Under the Ground

11-12 I saw another Beast rising out of the ground. It had two horns like a lamb but sounded like a dragon when it spoke. It was a puppet of the first Beast, made earth and everyone in it worship the first Beast, which had been healed of its deathblow.

13-17 This second Beast worked magical signs, dazzling people by making fire come down from Heaven. It used the magic it got from the Beast to dupe earth dwellers, getting them to make an image of the Beast that received the deathblow and lived. It was able to animate the image of the Beast so that it talked, and then arrange that anyone not worshiping the Beast would be killed. It forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on the right hand or forehead. Without the mark of the name of the Beast or the number of its name, it was impossible to buy or sell anything.

18 Solve a riddle: Put your heads together and figure out the meaning of the number of the Beast. It’s a human number: 666.

The Message (MSG)

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

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