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2 Samuel 6The Message (MSG)

1-2 David mustered the pick of the troops of Israel—thirty divisions of them. Together with his soldiers, David headed for Baalah to recover the Chest of God, which was called by the Name God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who was enthroned over the pair of angels on the Chest.

3-7 They placed the Chest of God on a brand-new oxcart and removed it from Abinadab’s house on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, Abinadab’s sons, were driving the new cart loaded with the Chest of God, Ahio in the lead and Uzzah alongside the Chest. David and the whole company of Israel were in the parade, singing at the top of their lungs and playing mandolins, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals. When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, so Uzzah reached out and grabbed the Chest of God. God blazed in anger against Uzzah and struck him hard because he had profaned the Chest. Uzzah died on the spot, right alongside the Chest.

8-11 Then David got angry because of God’s deadly outburst against Uzzah. That place is still called Perez Uzzah (The-Explosion-Against-Uzzah). David became fearful of God that day and said, “This Chest is too hot to handle. How can I ever get it back to the City of David?” He refused to take the Chest of God a step farther. Instead, David removed it off the road and to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The Chest of God stayed at the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months. And God prospered Obed-Edom and his entire household.

12-16 It was reported to King David that God had prospered Obed-Edom and his entire household because of the Chest of God. So David thought, “I’ll get that blessing for myself,” and went and brought up the Chest of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David, celebrating extravagantly all the way, with frequent sacrifices of choice bulls. David, ceremonially dressed in priest’s linen, danced with great abandon before God. The whole country was with him as he accompanied the Chest of God with shouts and trumpet blasts. But as the Chest of God came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, happened to be looking out a window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before God, her heart filled with scorn.

17-19 They brought the Chest of God and set it in the middle of the tent pavilion that David had pitched for it. Then and there David worshiped, offering burnt offerings and peace offerings. When David had completed the sacrifices of burnt and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of God-of-the-Angel-Armies and handed out to each person in the crowd, men and women alike, a loaf of bread, a date cake, and a raisin cake. Then everyone went home.

20-22 David returned home to bless his family. Michal, Saul’s daughter, came out to greet him: “How wonderfully the king has distinguished himself today—exposing himself to the eyes of the servants’ maids like some burlesque street dancer!” David replied to Michal, “In God’s presence I’ll dance all I want! He chose me over your father and the rest of our family and made me prince over God’s people, over Israel. Oh yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory—more recklessly even than this. And as far as I’m concerned . . . I’ll gladly look like a fool . . . but among these maids you’re so worried about, I’ll be honored no end.”

23 Michal, Saul’s daughter, was barren the rest of her life.

The Message (MSG)

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

1 Chronicles 13The Message (MSG)

David Goes to Get the Chest of God

13 1-14 David consulted with all of his leaders, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds. Then David addressed the entire assembly of Israel, “If it seems right to you, and it is God’s will, let’s invite all our relatives wherever they are throughout Israel, along with their relatives, including their priests and Levites from their cities and surrounding pastures, to join us. And let’s bring the Chest of our God back—the Chest that was out of sight, out of mind during the days of Saul.” The entire assembly of Israel agreed—everybody agreed that it was the right thing to do. So David gathered all Israel together, from Egypt’s Pond of Horus in the southwest to the Pass of Hamath in the northeast, to go and get the Chest of God from Kiriath Jearim. Then David and all Israel went to Baalah (Kiriath Jearim) in Judah to bring back the Chest of God, the “Cherubim-Throne-of-God,” where God’s Name is invoked. They moved the Chest of God on a brand-new cart from the house of Abinadab with Uzzah and Ahio in charge. In procession with the Chest of God, David and all Israel worshiped exuberantly in song and dance, with a marching band of all kinds of instruments. When they were at the threshing floor of Kidon, the oxen stumbled and Uzzah grabbed the Chest to keep it from falling off. God erupted in anger against Uzzah and killed him because he grabbed the Chest. He died on the spot—in the presence of God. David lost his temper, angry because God exploded against Uzzah; the place is still called Perez Uzzah (Exploded Uzzah). David was terrified of God that day; he said, “How can I possibly continue this parade with the Chest of God?” So David called off the parade of the Chest to the City of David; instead he stored it in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The Chest of God was in storage in the house of Obed-Edom for three months. God blessed the family of Obed-Edom and everything around him.

The Message (MSG)

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

Psalm 68The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

68 1-4 Up with God!
    Down with his enemies!
        Adversaries, run for the hills!
Gone like a puff of smoke,
    like a blob of wax in the fire—
        one look at God and the wicked vanish.
When the righteous see God in action
    they’ll laugh, they’ll sing,
        they’ll laugh and sing for joy.
Sing hymns to God;
    all heaven, sing out;
        clear the way for the coming of Cloud-Rider.
Enjoy God,
    cheer when you see him!

5-6 Father of orphans,
    champion of widows,
        is God in his holy house.
God makes homes for the homeless,
    leads prisoners to freedom,
        but leaves rebels to rot in hell.

7-10 God, when you took the lead with your people,
    when you marched out into the wild,
Earth shook, sky broke out in a sweat;
    God was on the march.
Even Sinai trembled at the sight of God on the move,
    at the sight of Israel’s God.
You pour out rain in buckets, O God;
    thorn and cactus become an oasis
For your people to camp in and enjoy.
    You set them up in business;
    they went from rags to riches.

11-14 The Lord gave the word;
    thousands called out the good news:
“Kings of the armies
    are on the run, on the run!”
While housewives, safe and sound back home,
    divide up the plunder,
    the plunder of Canaanite silver and gold.
On that day that Shaddai scattered the kings,
    snow fell on Black Mountain.

15-16 You huge mountains, Bashan mountains,
    mighty mountains, dragon mountains.
All you mountains not chosen,
    sulk now, and feel sorry for yourselves,
For this is the mountain God has chosen to live on;
    he’ll rule from this mountain forever.

17-18 The chariots of God, twice ten thousand,
    and thousands more besides,
The Lord in the lead, riding down Sinai—
    straight to the Holy Place!
You climbed to the High Place, captives in tow,
    your arms full of booty from rebels,
And now you sit there in state,
    God, sovereign God!

19-23 Blessed be the Lord—
    day after day he carries us along.
He’s our Savior, our God, oh yes!
    He’s God-for-us, he’s God-who-saves-us.
Lord God knows all
    death’s ins and outs.
What’s more, he made heads roll,
    split the skulls of the enemy
As he marched out of heaven,
    saying, “I tied up the Dragon in knots,
    put a muzzle on the Deep Blue Sea.”
You can wade through your enemies’ blood,
    and your dogs taste of your enemies from your boots.

24-31 See God on parade
    to the sanctuary, my God,
    my King on the march!
Singers out front, the band behind,
    maidens in the middle with castanets.
The whole choir blesses God.
    Like a fountain of praise, Israel blesses God.
Look—little Benjamin’s out
    front and leading
Princes of Judah in their royal robes,
    princes of Zebulon, princes of Naphtali.
Parade your power, O God,
    the power, O God, that made us what we are.
Your temple, High God, is Jerusalem;
    kings bring gifts to you.
Rebuke that old crocodile, Egypt,
    with her herd of wild bulls and calves,
Rapacious in her lust for silver,
    crushing peoples, spoiling for a fight.
Let Egyptian traders bring blue cloth
    and Cush come running to God, her hands outstretched.

32-34 Sing, O kings of the earth!
    Sing praises to the Lord!
There he is: Sky-Rider,
    striding the ancient skies.
Listen—he’s calling in thunder,
    rumbling, rolling thunder.
Call out “Bravo!” to God,
    the High God of Israel.
His splendor and strength
    rise huge as thunderheads.

35 A terrible beauty, O God,
    streams from your sanctuary.
It’s Israel’s strong God! He gives
    power and might to his people!
O you, his people—bless God!

The Message (MSG)

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

Matthew 17The Message (MSG)

Sunlight Poured from His Face

17 1-3 Six days later, three of them saw that glory. Jesus took Peter and the brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. Sunlight poured from his face. His clothes were filled with light. Then they realized that Moses and Elijah were also there in deep conversation with him.

Peter broke in, “Master, this is a great moment! What would you think if I built three memorials here on the mountain—one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah?”

While he was going on like this, babbling, a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and sounding from deep in the cloud a voice: “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of my delight. Listen to him.”

6-8 When the disciples heard it, they fell flat on their faces, scared to death. But Jesus came over and touched them. “Don’t be afraid.” When they opened their eyes and looked around all they saw was Jesus, only Jesus.

Coming down the mountain, Jesus swore them to secrecy. “Don’t breathe a word of what you’ve seen. After the Son of Man is raised from the dead, you are free to talk.”

10 The disciples, meanwhile, were asking questions. “Why do the religion scholars say that Elijah has to come first?”

11-13 Jesus answered, “Elijah does come and get everything ready. I’m telling you, Elijah has already come but they didn’t know him when they saw him. They treated him like dirt, the same way they are about to treat the Son of Man.” That’s when the disciples realized that all along he had been talking about John the Baptizer.

With a Mere Kernel of Faith

14-16 At the bottom of the mountain, they were met by a crowd of waiting people. As they approached, a man came out of the crowd and fell to his knees begging, “Master, have mercy on my son. He goes out of his mind and suffers terribly, falling into seizures. Frequently he is pitched into the fire, other times into the river. I brought him to your disciples, but they could do nothing for him.”

17-18 Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here.” He ordered the afflicting demon out—and it was out, gone. From that moment on the boy was well.

19 When the disciples had Jesus off to themselves, they asked, “Why couldn’t we throw it out?”

20 “Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus. “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.”

22-23 As they were regrouping in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed to some people who want nothing to do with God. They will murder him—and three days later he will be raised alive.” The disciples felt terrible.

24 When they arrived at Capernaum, the tax men came to Peter and asked, “Does your teacher pay taxes?”

25 Peter said, “Of course.”

But as soon as they were in the house, Jesus confronted him. “Simon, what do you think? When a king levies taxes, who pays—his children or his subjects?”

26-27 He answered, “His subjects.”

Jesus said, “Then the children get off free, right? But so we don’t upset them needlessly, go down to the lake, cast a hook, and pull in the first fish that bites. Open its mouth and you’ll find a coin. Take it and give it to the tax men. It will be enough for both of us.”

The Message (MSG)

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

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