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Psalm 31-32The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

31 1-2 I run to you, God; I run for dear life.
    Don’t let me down!
    Take me seriously this time!
Get down on my level and listen,
    and please—no procrastination!
Your granite cave a hiding place,
    your high cliff aerie a place of safety.

3-5 You’re my cave to hide in,
    my cliff to climb.
Be my safe leader,
    be my true mountain guide.
Free me from hidden traps;
    I want to hide in you.
I’ve put my life in your hands.
    You won’t drop me,
    you’ll never let me down.

6-13 I hate all this silly religion,
    but you, God, I trust.
I’m leaping and singing in the circle of your love;
    you saw my pain,
    you disarmed my tormentors,
You didn’t leave me in their clutches
    but gave me room to breathe.
Be kind to me, God
    I’m in deep, deep trouble again.
I’ve cried my eyes out;
    I feel hollow inside.
My life leaks away, groan by groan;
    my years fade out in sighs.
My troubles have worn me out,
    turned my bones to powder.
To my enemies I’m a monster;
    I’m ridiculed by the neighbors.
My friends are horrified;
    they cross the street to avoid me.
They want to blot me from memory,
    forget me like a corpse in a grave,
    discard me like a broken dish in the trash.
The street-talk gossip has me
    “criminally insane”!
Behind locked doors they plot
    how to ruin me for good.

14-18 Desperate, I throw myself on you:
    you are my God!
Hour by hour I place my days in your hand,
    safe from the hands out to get me.
Warm me, your servant, with a smile;
    save me because you love me.
Don’t embarrass me by not showing up;
    I’ve given you plenty of notice.
Embarrass the wicked, stand them up,
    leave them stupidly shaking their heads
    as they drift down to hell.
Gag those loudmouthed liars
    who heckle me, your follower,
    with jeers and catcalls.

19-22 What a stack of blessing you have piled up
    for those who worship you,
Ready and waiting for all who run to you
    to escape an unkind world.
You hide them safely away
    from the opposition.
As you slam the door on those oily, mocking faces,
    you silence the poisonous gossip.
Blessed God!
    His love is the wonder of the world.
Trapped by a siege, I panicked.
    “Out of sight, out of mind,” I said.
But you heard me say it,
    you heard and listened.

23 Love God, all you saints;
    God takes care of all who stay close to him,
But he pays back in full
    those arrogant enough to go it alone.

24 Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up.
    Expect God to get here soon.

A David Psalm

32 Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—
    you get a fresh start,
    your slate’s wiped clean.

Count yourself lucky—
    God holds nothing against you
    and you’re holding nothing back from him.

When I kept it all inside,
    my bones turned to powder,
    my words became daylong groans.

The pressure never let up;
    all the juices of my life dried up.

Then I let it all out;
    I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.”

Suddenly the pressure was gone—
    my guilt dissolved,
    my sin disappeared.

These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray;
    when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts
    we’ll be on high ground, untouched.

God’s my island hideaway,
    keeps danger far from the shore,
    throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.

Let me give you some good advice;
    I’m looking you in the eye
    and giving it to you straight:

“Don’t be ornery like a horse or mule
    that needs bit and bridle
    to stay on track.”

10 God-defiers are always in trouble;
    God-affirmers find themselves loved
    every time they turn around.

11 Celebrate God.
    Sing together—everyone!
    All you honest hearts, raise the roof!

The Message (MSG)

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

Acts 23:16-35The Message (MSG)

16-17 Paul’s nephew, his sister’s son, overheard them plotting the ambush. He went immediately to the barracks and told Paul. Paul called over one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the captain. He has something important to tell him.”

18 The centurion brought him to the captain and said, “The prisoner Paul asked me to bring this young man to you. He said he has something urgent to tell you.”

19 The captain took him by the arm and led him aside privately. “What is it? What do you have to tell me?”

20-21 Paul’s nephew said, “The Jews have worked up a plot against Paul. They’re going to ask you to bring Paul to the council first thing in the morning on the pretext that they want to investigate the charges against him in more detail. But it’s a trick to get him out of your safekeeping so they can murder him. Right now there are more than forty men lying in ambush for him. They’ve all taken a vow to neither eat nor drink until they’ve killed him. The ambush is set—all they’re waiting for is for you to send him over.”

22 The captain dismissed the nephew with a warning: “Don’t breathe a word of this to a soul.”

23-24 The captain called up two centurions. “Get two hundred soldiers ready to go immediately to Caesarea. Also seventy cavalry and two hundred light infantry. I want them ready to march by nine o’clock tonight. And you’ll need a couple of mules for Paul and his gear. We’re going to present this man safe and sound to Governor Felix.”

25-30 Then he wrote this letter:

From Claudius Lysias, to the Most Honorable Governor Felix:

Greetings!

I rescued this man from a Jewish mob. They had seized him and were about to kill him when I learned that he was a Roman citizen. So I sent in my soldiers. Wanting to know what he had done wrong, I had him brought before their council. It turned out to be a squabble turned vicious over some of their religious differences, but nothing remotely criminal.

The next thing I knew, they had cooked up a plot to murder him. I decided that for his own safety I’d better get him out of here in a hurry. So I’m sending him to you. I’m informing his accusers that he’s now under your jurisdiction.

31-33 The soldiers, following orders, took Paul that same night to safety in Antipatris. In the morning the soldiers returned to their barracks in Jerusalem, sending Paul on to Caesarea under guard of the cavalry. The cavalry entered Caesarea and handed Paul and the letter over to the governor.

34-35 After reading the letter, the governor asked Paul what province he came from and was told “Cilicia.” Then he said, “I’ll take up your case when your accusers show up.” He ordered him locked up for the meantime in King Herod’s official quarters.

The Message (MSG)

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

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