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Psalm 119:89-176The Message (MSG)

89-96 What you say goes, God,
    and stays, as permanent as the heavens.
Your truth never goes out of fashion;
    it’s as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up.
Your Word and truth are dependable as ever;
    that’s what you ordered—you set the earth going.
If your revelation hadn’t delighted me so,
    I would have given up when the hard times came.
But I’ll never forget the advice you gave me;
    you saved my life with those wise words.
Save me! I’m all yours.
    I look high and low for your words of wisdom.
The wicked lie in ambush to destroy me,
    but I’m only concerned with your plans for me.
I see the limits to everything human,
    but the horizons can’t contain your commands!

97-104 Oh, how I love all you’ve revealed;
    I reverently ponder it all the day long.
Your commands give me an edge on my enemies;
    they never become obsolete.
I’ve even become smarter than my teachers
    since I’ve pondered and absorbed your counsel.
I’ve become wiser than the wise old sages
    simply by doing what you tell me.
I watch my step, avoiding the ditches and ruts of evil
    so I can spend all my time keeping your Word.
I never make detours from the route you laid out;
    you gave me such good directions.
Your words are so choice, so tasty;
    I prefer them to the best home cooking.
With your instruction, I understand life;
    that’s why I hate false propaganda.

105-112 By your words I can see where I’m going;
    they throw a beam of light on my dark path.
I’ve committed myself and I’ll never turn back
    from living by your righteous order.
Everything’s falling apart on me, God;
    put me together again with your Word.
Festoon me with your finest sayings, God;
    teach me your holy rules.
My life is as close as my own hands,
    but I don’t forget what you have revealed.
The wicked do their best to throw me off track,
    but I don’t swerve an inch from your course.
I inherited your book on living; it’s mine forever—
    what a gift! And how happy it makes me!
I concentrate on doing exactly what you say—
    I always have and always will.

113-120 I hate the two-faced,
    but I love your clear-cut revelation.
You’re my place of quiet retreat;
    I wait for your Word to renew me.
Get out of my life, evildoers,
    so I can keep my God’s commands.
Take my side as you promised; I’ll live then for sure.
    Don’t disappoint all my grand hopes.
Stick with me and I’ll be all right;
    I’ll give total allegiance to your definitions of life.
Expose all who drift away from your sayings;
    their casual idolatry is lethal.
You reject earth’s wicked as so much rubbish;
    therefore I lovingly embrace everything you say.
I shiver in awe before you;
    your decisions leave me speechless with reverence.

121-128 I stood up for justice and the right;
    don’t leave me to the mercy of my oppressors.
Take the side of your servant, good God;
    don’t let the godless take advantage of me.
I can’t keep my eyes open any longer, waiting for you
    to keep your promise to set everything right.
Let your love dictate how you deal with me;
    teach me from your textbook on life.
I’m your servant—help me understand what that means,
    the inner meaning of your instructions.
It’s time to act, God;
    they’ve made a shambles of your revelation!
Yea-Saying God, I love what you command,
    I love it better than gold and gemstones;
Yea-Saying God, I honor everything you tell me,
    I despise every deceitful detour.

129-136 Every word you give me is a miracle word—
    how could I help but obey?
Break open your words, let the light shine out,
    let ordinary people see the meaning.
Mouth open and panting,
    I wanted your commands more than anything.
Turn my way, look kindly on me,
    as you always do to those who personally love you.
Steady my steps with your Word of promise
    so nothing malign gets the better of me.
Rescue me from the grip of bad men and women
    so I can live life your way.
Smile on me, your servant;
    teach me the right way to live.
I cry rivers of tears
    because nobody’s living by your book!

137-144 You are right and you do right, God;
    your decisions are right on target.
You rightly instruct us in how to live
    ever faithful to you.
My rivals nearly did me in,
    they persistently ignored your commandments.
Your promise has been tested through and through,
    and I, your servant, love it dearly.
I’m too young to be important,
    but I don’t forget what you tell me.
Your righteousness is eternally right,
    your revelation is the only truth.
Even though troubles came down on me hard,
    your commands always gave me delight.
The way you tell me to live is always right;
    help me understand it so I can live to the fullest.

145-152 I call out at the top of my lungs,
    God! Answer! I’ll do whatever you say.”
I called to you, “Save me
    so I can carry out all your instructions.”
I was up before sunrise,
    crying for help, hoping for a word from you.
I stayed awake all night,
    prayerfully pondering your promise.
In your love, listen to me;
    in your justice, God, keep me alive.
As those out to get me come closer and closer,
    they go farther and farther from the truth you reveal;
But you’re the closest of all to me, God,
    and all your judgments true.
I’ve known all along from the evidence of your words
    that you meant them to last forever.

153-160 Take a good look at my trouble, and help me—
    I haven’t forgotten your revelation.
Take my side and get me out of this;
    give me back my life, just as you promised.
“Salvation” is only gibberish to the wicked
    because they’ve never looked it up in your dictionary.
Your mercies, God, run into the billions;
    following your guidelines, revive me.
My antagonists are too many to count,
    but I don’t swerve from the directions you gave.
I took one look at the quitters and was filled with loathing;
    they walked away from your promises so casually!
Take note of how I love what you tell me;
    out of your life of love, prolong my life.
Your words all add up to the sum total: Truth.
    Your righteous decisions are eternal.

161-168 I’ve been slandered unmercifully by the politicians,
    but my awe at your words keeps me stable.
I’m ecstatic over what you say,
    like one who strikes it rich.
I hate lies—can’t stand them!—
    but I love what you have revealed.
Seven times each day I stop and shout praises
    for the way you keep everything running right.
For those who love what you reveal, everything fits—
    no stumbling around in the dark for them.
I wait expectantly for your salvation;
    God, I do what you tell me.
My soul guards and keeps all your instructions—
    oh, how much I love them!
I follow your directions, abide by your counsel;
    my life’s an open book before you.

169-176 Let my cry come right into your presence, God;
    provide me with the insight that comes only from your Word.
Give my request your personal attention,
    rescue me on the terms of your promise.
Let praise cascade off my lips;
    after all, you’ve taught me the truth about life!
And let your promises ring from my tongue;
    every order you’ve given is right.
Put your hand out and steady me
    since I’ve chosen to live by your counsel.
I’m homesick, God, for your salvation;
    I love it when you show yourself!
Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well,
    use your decrees to put iron in my soul.
And should I wander off like a lost sheep—seek me!
    I’ll recognize the sound of your voice.

The Message (MSG)

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

1 Corinthians 8The Message (MSG)

Freedom with Responsibility

1-3 The question keeps coming up regarding meat that has been offered up to an idol: Should you attend meals where such meat is served, or not? We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions—but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds. We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows it all.

4-6 Some people say, quite rightly, that idols have no actual existence, that there’s nothing to them, that there is no God other than our one God, that no matter how many of these so-called gods are named and worshiped they still don’t add up to anything but a tall story. They say—again, quite rightly—that there is only one God the Father, that everything comes from him, and that he wants us to live for him. Also, they say that there is only one Master—Jesus the Messiah—and that everything is for his sake, including us. Yes. It’s true.

In strict logic, then, nothing happened to the meat when it was offered up to an idol. It’s just like any other meat. I know that, and you know that. But knowing isn’t everything. If it becomes everything, some people end up as know-it-alls who treat others as know-nothings. Real knowledge isn’t that insensitive.

We need to be sensitive to the fact that we’re not all at the same level of understanding in this. Some of you have spent your entire lives eating “idol meat,” and are sure that there’s something bad in the meat that then becomes something bad inside of you. An imagination and conscience shaped under those conditions isn’t going to change overnight.

8-9 But fortunately God doesn’t grade us on our diet. We’re neither commended when we clean our plate nor reprimanded when we just can’t stomach it. But God does care when you use your freedom carelessly in a way that leads a fellow believer still vulnerable to those old associations to be thrown off track.

10 For instance, say you flaunt your freedom by going to a banquet thrown in honor of idols, where the main course is meat sacrificed to idols. Isn’t there great danger if someone still struggling over this issue, someone who looks up to you as knowledgeable and mature, sees you go into that banquet? The danger is that he will become terribly confused—maybe even to the point of getting mixed up himself in what his conscience tells him is wrong.

11-13 Christ gave up his life for that person. Wouldn’t you at least be willing to give up going to dinner for him—because, as you say, it doesn’t really make any difference? But it does make a difference if you hurt your friend terribly, risking his eternal ruin! When you hurt your friend, you hurt Christ. A free meal here and there isn’t worth it at the cost of even one of these “weak ones.” So, never go to these idol-tainted meals if there’s any chance it will trip up one of your brothers or sisters.

The Message (MSG)

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

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