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1 Kings 13The Message (MSG)

13 1-3 And then this happened: Just as Jeroboam was at the Altar, about to make an offering, a holy man came from Judah by God’s command and preached (these were God’s orders) to the Altar: “Altar, Altar! God’s message! ‘A son will be born into David’s family named Josiah. The priests from the shrines who are making offerings on you, he will sacrifice—on you! Human bones burned on you!’” At the same time he announced a sign: “This is the proof God gives—the Altar will split into pieces and the holy offerings spill into the dirt.”

4-5 When the king heard the message the holy man preached against the Altar at Bethel, he reached out to grab him, yelling, “Arrest him!” But his arm was paralyzed and hung useless. At the same time the Altar broke apart and the holy offerings all spilled into the dirt—the very sign the holy man had announced by God’s command.

The king pleaded with the holy man, “Help me! Pray to your God for the healing of my arm.” The holy man prayed for him and the king’s arm was healed—as good as new!

Then the king invited the holy man, “Join me for a meal; I have a gift for you.”

8-10 The holy man told the king, “Not on your life! You couldn’t pay me enough to get me to sit down with you at a meal in this place. I’m here under God’s orders, and he commanded, ‘Don’t eat a crumb, don’t drink a drop, and don’t go back the way you came.’” Then he left by a different road than the one on which he had walked to Bethel.

11 There was an old prophet who lived in Bethel. His sons came and told him the story of what the holy man had done that day in Bethel, told him everything that had happened and what the holy man had said to the king.

12 Their father said, “Which way did he go?” His sons pointed out the road that the holy man from Judah had taken.

13-14 He told his sons, “Saddle my donkey.” When they had saddled it, he got on and rode after the holy man. He found him sitting under an oak tree.

He asked him, “Are you the holy man who came from Judah?”

“Yes, I am,” he said.

15 “Well, come home with me and have a meal.”

16-17 “Sorry, I can’t do that,” the holy man said. “I can neither go back with you nor eat with you in this country. I’m under strict orders from God: ‘Don’t eat a crumb; don’t drink a drop; and don’t come back the way you came.’”

18-19 But he said, “I am also a prophet, just like you. And an angel came to me with a message from God: ‘Bring him home with you, and give him a good meal!’” But the man was lying. So the holy man went home with him and they had a meal together.

20-22 There they were, sitting at the table together, when the word of God came to the prophet who had brought him back. He confronted the holy man who had come from Judah: “God’s word to you: You disobeyed God’s command; you didn’t keep the strict orders your God gave you; you came back and sat down to a good meal in the very place God told you, ‘Don’t eat a crumb; don’t drink a drop.’ For that you’re going to die far from home and not be buried in your ancestral tomb.”

23-25 When the meal was over, the prophet who had brought him back saddled his donkey for him. Down the road a way, a lion met him and killed him. His corpse lay crumpled on the road, the lion on one side and the donkey on the other. Some passersby saw the corpse in a heap on the road, with the lion standing guard beside it. They went to the village where the old prophet lived and told what they had seen.

26 When the prophet who had gotten him off track heard it, he said, “It’s the holy man who disobeyed God’s strict orders. God turned him over to the lion who knocked him around and killed him, just as God had told him.”

27-30 The prophet told his sons, “Saddle my donkey.” They did it. He rode out and found the corpse in a heap in the road, with the lion and the donkey standing there. The lion hadn’t bothered either the corpse or the donkey. The old prophet loaded the corpse of the holy man on his donkey and returned it to his own town to give it a decent burial. He placed the body in his own tomb. The people mourned, saying, “A sad day, brother!”

31-32 After the funeral, the prophet said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the same tomb where the holy man is buried, my bones alongside his bones. The message that he preached by God’s command against the Altar at Bethel and against all the sex-and-religion shrines in the towns of Samaria will come true.”

33-34 After this happened, Jeroboam kept right on doing evil, recruiting priests for the forbidden shrines indiscriminately—anyone who wanted to could be a priest at one of the local shrines. This was the root sin of Jeroboam’s government. And it was this that ruined him.

The Message (MSG)

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

1 Kings 14The Message (MSG)

14 1-3 At about this time Jeroboam’s son Abijah came down sick. Jeroboam said to his wife, “Do something. Disguise yourself so no one will know you are the queen and go to Shiloh. Ahijah the prophet lives there, the same Ahijah who told me I’d be king over this people. Take along ten loaves of bread, some sweet rolls, and a jug of honey. Make a visit to him and he’ll tell you what’s going on with our boy.”

4-5 Jeroboam’s wife did as she was told; she went straight to Shiloh and to Ahijah’s house. Ahijah was an old man at this time, and blind, but God had warned Ahijah, “Jeroboam’s wife is on her way to consult with you regarding her sick son; tell her this and this and this.”

5-9 When she came in she was disguised. Ahijah heard her come through the door and said, “Welcome, wife of Jeroboam! But why the deception? I’ve got bad news for you. Go and deliver this message I received firsthand from God, the God of Israel, to Jeroboam: I raised you up from obscurity and made you the leader of my people Israel. I ripped the kingdom from the hands of David’s family and gave it to you, but you weren’t at all like my servant David who did what I told him and lived from his undivided heart, pleasing me. Instead you’ve set a new record in works of evil by making alien gods—tin gods! Pushing me aside and turning your back—you’ve made me mighty angry.

10-11 “And I’ll not put up with it: I’m bringing doom on the household of Jeroboam, killing the lot of them right down to the last male wretch in Israel, whether slave or free. They’ve become nothing but garbage and I’m getting rid of them. The ones who die in the city will be eaten by stray dogs; the ones who die out in the country will be eaten by carrion crows. God’s decree!

12-13 “And that’s it. Go on home—the minute you step foot in town, the boy will die. Everyone will come to his burial, mourning his death. He is the only one in Jeroboam’s family who will get a decent burial; he’s the only one for whom God, the God of Israel, has a good word to say.

14-16 “Then God will appoint a king over Israel who will wipe out Jeroboam’s family, wipe them right off the map—doomsday for Jeroboam! He will hit Israel hard, as a storm slaps reeds about; he’ll pull them up by the roots from this good land of their inheritance, weeding them out, and then scatter them to the four winds. And why? Because they made God so angry with Asherah sex-and-religion shrines. He’ll wash his hands of Israel because of Jeroboam’s sins, which have led Israel into a life of sin.”

17-18 Jeroboam’s wife left and went home to Tirzah. The moment she stepped through the door, the boy died. They buried him and everyone mourned his death, just as God had said through his servant the prophet Ahijah.

19-20 The rest of Jeroboam’s life, the wars he fought and the way he ruled, is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. He ruled for twenty-two years. He died and was buried with his ancestors. Nadab his son was king after him.

21-24 Rehoboam son of Solomon was king in Judah. He was forty-one years old when he took the throne and was king for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city God selected from all the tribes of Israel for the worship of his Name. Rehoboam’s mother was Naamah, an Ammonite. Judah was openly wicked before God, making him very angry. They set new records in sin, surpassing anything their ancestors had done. They built Asherah sex-and-religion shrines and set up sacred stones all over the place—on hills, under trees, wherever you looked. Worse, they had male sacred prostitutes, polluting the country outrageously—all the stuff that God had gotten rid of when he brought Israel into the land.

25-28 In the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s rule, Shishak king of Egypt made war against Jerusalem. He plundered The Temple of God and the royal palace of their treasures, cleaned them out—even the gold shields that Solomon had made. King Rehoboam replaced them with bronze shields and outfitted the royal palace guards with them. Whenever the king went to God’s Temple, the guards carried the shields but always returned them to the guardroom.

29-31 The rest of Rehoboam’s life, what he said and did, is all written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam the whole time. Rehoboam died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His mother was Naamah, an Ammonite. His son Abijah ruled after him.

The Message (MSG)

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

2 Chronicles 12The Message (MSG)

12 By the time Rehoboam had secured his kingdom and was strong again, he, and all Israel with him, had virtually abandoned God and his ways.

2-4 In Rehoboam’s fifth year, because he and the people were unfaithful to God, Shishak king of Egypt invaded as far as Jerusalem. He came with twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand cavalry, and soldiers from all over—the Egyptian army included Libyans, Sukkites, and Ethiopians. They took the fortress cities of Judah and advanced as far as Jerusalem itself.

Then the prophet Shemaiah, accompanied by the leaders of Judah who had retreated to Jerusalem before Shishak, came to Rehoboam and said, “God’s word: You abandoned me; now I abandon you to Shishak.”

The leaders of Israel and the king were repentant and said, “God is right.”

7-8 When God saw that they were humbly repentant, the word of God came to Shemaiah: “Because they are humble, I’ll not destroy them—I’ll give them a break; I won’t use Shishak to express my wrath against Jerusalem. What I will do, though, is make them Shishak’s subjects—they’ll learn the difference between serving me and serving human kings.”

Then Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. He plundered the treasury of The Temple of God and the treasury of the royal palace—he took everything he could lay his hands on. He even took the gold shields that Solomon had made.

10-11 King Rehoboam replaced the gold shields with bronze shields and gave them to the guards who were posted at the entrance to the royal palace. Whenever the king went to God’s Temple, the guards went with him carrying the shields, but they always returned them to the guardroom.

12 Because Rehoboam was repentant, God’s anger was blunted, so he wasn’t totally destroyed. The picture wasn’t entirely bleak—there were some good things going on in Judah.

13-14 King Rehoboam regrouped and reestablished his rule in Jerusalem. He was forty-one years old when he became king and continued as king for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city God chose out of all the tribes of Israel as the special presence of his Name. His mother was Naamah from Ammon. But the final verdict on Rehoboam was that he was a bad king—God was not important to him; his heart neither cared for nor sought after God.

15-16 The history of Rehoboam, from start to finish, is written in the memoirs of Shemaiah the prophet and Iddo the seer that contain the family trees. There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam the whole time. Rehoboam died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His son Abijah ruled after him.

The Message (MSG)

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

Philippians 3The Message (MSG)

To Know Him Personally

And that’s about it, friends. Be glad in God!

I don’t mind repeating what I have written in earlier letters, and I hope you don’t mind hearing it again. Better safe than sorry—so here goes.

2-6 Steer clear of the barking dogs, those religious busybodies, all bark and no bite. All they’re interested in is appearances—knife-happy circumcisers, I call them. The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ’s praise as we do it. We couldn’t carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it—even though we can list what many might think are impressive credentials. You know my pedigree: a legitimate birth, circumcised on the eighth day; an Israelite from the elite tribe of Benjamin; a strict and devout adherent to God’s law; a fiery defender of the purity of my religion, even to the point of persecuting the church; a meticulous observer of everything set down in God’s law Book.

7-9 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.

10-11 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

Focused on the Goal

12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

15-16 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.

17-19 Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.

20-21 But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.

The Message (MSG)

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

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