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Deuteronomy 1The Message (MSG)

1-2 These are the sermons Moses preached to all Israel when they were east of the Jordan River in the Arabah Wilderness, opposite Suph, in the vicinity of Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab. It takes eleven days to travel from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea following the Mount Seir route.

3-4 It was on the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year when Moses addressed the People of Israel, telling them everything God had commanded him concerning them. This came after he had defeated Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled from Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who ruled from Ashtaroth in Edrei. It was east of the Jordan in the land of Moab that Moses set out to explain this Revelation.

Moses Preaches to Israel on the Plains of Moab

He said:

6-8 Back at Horeb, God, our God, spoke to us: “You’ve stayed long enough at this mountain. On your way now. Get moving. Head for the Amorite hills, wherever people are living in the Arabah, the mountains, the foothills, the Negev, the seashore—the Canaanite country and the Lebanon all the way to the big river, the Euphrates. Look, I’ve given you this land. Now go in and take it. It’s the land God promised to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their children after them.”

9-13 At the time I told you, “I can’t do this, can’t carry you all by myself. God, your God, has multiplied your numbers. Why, look at you—you rival the stars in the sky! And may God, the God-of-Your-Fathers, keep it up and multiply you another thousand times, bless you just as he promised. But how can I carry, all by myself, your troubles and burdens and quarrels? So select some wise, understanding, and seasoned men from your tribes, and I will commission them as your leaders.”

14 You answered me, “Good! A good solution.”

15 So I went ahead and took the top men of your tribes, wise and seasoned, and made them your leaders—leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens, officials adequate for each of your tribes.

16-17 At the same time I gave orders to your judges: “Listen carefully to complaints and accusations between your fellow Israelites. Judge fairly between each person and his fellow or foreigner. Don’t play favorites; treat the little and the big alike; listen carefully to each. Don’t be impressed by big names. This is God’s judgment you’re dealing with. Hard cases you can bring to me; I’ll deal with them.”

18 I issued orders to you at that time regarding everything you would have to deal with.

19-21 Then we set out from Horeb and headed for the Amorite hill country, going through that huge and frightening wilderness that you’ve had more than an eyeful of by now—all under the command of God, our God—and finally arrived at Kadesh Barnea. There I told you, “You’ve made it to the Amorite hill country that God, our God, is giving us. Look, God, your God, has placed this land as a gift before you. Go ahead and take it now. God, the God-of-Your-Fathers, promised it to you. Don’t be afraid. Don’t lose heart.”

22 But then you all came to me and said, “Let’s send some men on ahead to scout out the land for us and bring back a report on the best route to take and the kinds of towns we can expect to find.”

23-25 That seemed like a good idea to me, so I picked twelve men, one from each tribe. They set out, climbing through the hills. They came to the Eshcol Valley and looked it over. They took samples of the produce of the land and brought them back to us, saying, “It’s a good land that God, our God, is giving us!”

26-28 But then you weren’t willing to go up. You rebelled against God, your God’s plain word. You complained in your tents: “God hates us. He hauled us out of Egypt in order to dump us among the Amorites—a death sentence for sure! How can we go up? We’re trapped in a dead end. Our brothers took all the wind out of our sails, telling us, ‘The people are bigger and stronger than we are; their cities are huge, their defenses massive—we even saw Anakite giants there!’”

29-33 I tried to relieve your fears: “Don’t be terrified of them. God, your God, is leading the way; he’s fighting for you. You saw with your own eyes what he did for you in Egypt; you saw what he did in the wilderness, how God, your God, carried you as a father carries his child, carried you the whole way until you arrived here. But now that you’re here, you won’t trust God, your God—this same God who goes ahead of you in your travels to scout out a place to pitch camp, a fire by night and a cloud by day to show you the way to go.”

34-36 When God heard what you said, he exploded in anger. He swore, “Not a single person of this evil generation is going to get so much as a look at the good land that I promised to give to your parents. Not one—except for Caleb son of Jephunneh. He’ll see it. I’ll give him and his descendants the land he walked on because he was all for following God, heart and soul.”

37-40 But I also got it. Because of you God’s anger spilled over onto me. He said, “You aren’t getting in either. Your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will go in. Build up his courage. He’s the one who will claim the inheritance for Israel. And your babies of whom you said, ‘They’ll be grabbed for plunder,’ and all these little kids who right now don’t even know right from wrong—they’ll get in. I’ll give it to them. Yes, they’ll be the new owners. But not you. Turn around and head back into the wilderness following the route to the Red Sea.”

41 You spoke up, “We’ve sinned against God. We’ll go up and fight, following all the orders that God, our God, has commanded.” You took your weapons and dressed for battle—you thought it would be so easy going into those hills!

42 But God told me, “Tell them, ‘Don’t do it; don’t go up to fight—I’m not with you in this. Your enemies will waste you.’”

43-46 I told you but you wouldn’t listen. You rebelled at the plain word of God. You threw out your chests and strutted into the hills. And those Amorites, who had lived in those hills all their lives, swarmed all over you like a hive of bees, chasing you from Seir all the way to Hormah, a stinging defeat. You came back and wept in the presence of God, but he didn’t pay a bit of attention to you; God didn’t give you the time of day. You stayed there in Kadesh a long time, about as long as you had stayed there earlier.

The Message (MSG)

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

Deuteronomy 2The Message (MSG)

Then we turned around and went back into the wilderness following the route to the Red Sea, as God had instructed me. We worked our way in and around the hills of Seir for a long, long time.

2-6 Then God said, “You’ve been going around in circles in these hills long enough; go north. Command the people, You’re about to cut through the land belonging to your relatives, the People of Esau who settled in Seir. They are terrified of you, but restrain yourselves. Don’t try and start a fight. I am not giving you so much as a square inch of their land. I’ve already given all the hill country of Seir to Esau—he owns it all. Pay them up front for any food or water you get from them.”

God, your God, has blessed you in everything you have done. He has guarded you in your travels through this immense wilderness. For forty years now, God, your God, has been right here with you. You haven’t lacked one thing.

So we detoured around our brothers, the People of Esau who live in Seir, avoiding the Arabah Road that comes up from Elath and Ezion Geber; instead we used the road through the Wilderness of Moab.

God told me, “And don’t try to pick a fight with the Moabites. I am not giving you any of their land. I’ve given ownership of Ar to the People of Lot.”

10-12 The Emites (Monsters) used to live there—mobs of hulking giants, like Anakites. Along with the Anakites they were lumped in with the Rephaites (Ghosts) but in Moab they were called Emites. Horites also used to live in Seir, but the descendants of Esau took over and destroyed them, the same as Israel did in the land God gave them to possess.

13 God said, “It’s time now to cross the Brook Zered.” So we crossed the Brook Zered.

14-15 It took us thirty-eight years to get from Kadesh Barnea to the Brook Zered. That’s how long it took for the entire generation of soldiers from the camp to die off, as God had sworn they would. God was relentless against them until the last one was gone from the camp.

16-23 When the last of these soldiers had died, God said to me, “This is the day you cut across the territory of Moab, at Ar. When you approach the People of Ammon, don’t try and pick a fight with them because I’m not giving you any of the land of the People of Ammon for yourselves—I’ve already given it to the People of Lot.” It is also considered to have once been the land of the Rephaites. Rephaites lived there long ago—the Ammonites called them Zamzummites (Barbarians)—huge mobs of them, giants like the Anakites. God destroyed them and the Ammonites moved in and took over. It was the same with the People of Esau who live in Seir—God got rid of the Horites who lived there earlier and they moved in and took over, as you can see. Regarding the Avvites who lived in villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorites who came from Caphtor (Crete) wiped them out and moved in.

24-25 “On your feet now. Get started. Cross the Brook Arnon. Look: Here’s Sihon the Amorite king of Heshbon and his land. I’m handing it over to you—it’s all yours. Go ahead, take it. Go to war with him. Before the day is out, I’ll make sure that all the people around here are thoroughly terrified. Rumors of you are going to spread like wildfire; they’ll totally panic.”

26-28 From the Wilderness of Kedemoth, I sent messengers to Sihon, king of Heshbon. They carried a friendly message: “Let me cross through your land on the highway. I’ll stay right on the highway; I won’t trespass right or left. I’ll pay you for any food or water we might need. Let me walk through.

29 “The People of Esau who live in Seir and the Moabites who live in Ar did this, helping me on my way until I can cross the Jordan and enter the land that God, our God, is giving us.”

30 But Sihon king of Heshbon wouldn’t let us cross his land. God, your God, turned his spirit mean and his heart hard so he could hand him over to you, as you can see that he has done.

31 Then God said to me, “Look, I’ve got the ball rolling—Sihon and his land are soon yours. Go ahead. Take it. It’s practically yours!”

32-36 So Sihon and his entire army confronted us in battle at Jahaz. God handed him, his sons, and his entire army over to us and we utterly crushed them. While we were at it we captured all his towns and totally destroyed them, a holy destruction—men, women, and children. No survivors. We took the livestock and the plunder from the towns we had captured and carried them off for ourselves. From Aroer on the edge of the Brook Arnon and the town in the gorge, as far as Gilead, not a single town proved too much for us; God, our God, gave every last one of them to us.

37 The only land you didn’t take, obeying God’s command, was the land of the People of Ammon, the land along the Jabbok and around the cities in the hills.

The Message (MSG)

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

Mark 12The Message (MSG)

The Story About a Vineyard

12 1-2 Then Jesus started telling them stories. “A man planted a vineyard. He fenced it, dug a winepress, erected a watchtower, turned it over to the farmhands, and went off on a trip. At the time for harvest, he sent a servant back to the farmhands to collect his profits.

3-5 “They grabbed him, beat him up, and sent him off empty-handed. So he sent another servant. That one they tarred and feathered. He sent another and that one they killed. And on and on, many others. Some they beat up, some they killed.

“Finally there was only one left: a beloved son. In a last-ditch effort, he sent him, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’

7-8 “But those farmhands saw their chance. They rubbed their hands together in greed and said, ‘This is the heir! Let’s kill him and have it all for ourselves.’ They grabbed him, killed him, and threw him over the fence.

9-11 “What do you think the owner of the vineyard will do? Right. He’ll come and clean house. Then he’ll assign the care of the vineyard to others. Read it for yourselves in Scripture:

That stone the masons threw out
    is now the cornerstone!
This is God’s work;
    we rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it!”

12 They wanted to lynch him then and there but, intimidated by public opinion, held back. They knew the story was about them. They got away from there as fast as they could.

Paying Taxes to Caesar

13-14 They sent some Pharisees and followers of Herod to bait him, hoping to catch him saying something incriminating. They came up and said, “Teacher, we know you have integrity, that you are indifferent to public opinion, don’t pander to your students, and teach the way of God accurately. Tell us: Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

15-16 He knew it was a trick question, and said, “Why are you playing these games with me? Bring me a coin and let me look at it.” They handed him one.

“This engraving—who does it look like? And whose name is on it?”

“Caesar,” they said.

17 Jesus said, “Give Caesar what is his, and give God what is his.”

Their mouths hung open, speechless.

Our Intimacies Will Be with God

18-23 Some Sadducees, the party that denies any possibility of resurrection, came up and asked, “Teacher, Moses wrote that if a man dies and leaves a wife but no child, his brother is obligated to marry the widow and have children. Well, there once were seven brothers. The first took a wife. He died childless. The second married her. He died, and still no child. The same with the third. All seven took their turn, but no child. Finally the wife died. When they are raised at the resurrection, whose wife is she? All seven were her husband.”

24-27 Jesus said, “You’re way off base, and here’s why: One, you don’t know your Bibles; two, you don’t know how God works. After the dead are raised up, we’re past the marriage business. As it is with angels now, all our ecstasies and intimacies then will be with God. And regarding the dead, whether or not they are raised, don’t you ever read the Bible? How God at the bush said to Moses, ‘I am—not was—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? The living God is God of the living, not the dead. You’re way, way off base.”

The Most Important Commandment

28 One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: “Which is most important of all the commandments?”

29-31 Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”

32-33 The religion scholar said, “A wonderful answer, Teacher! So lucid and accurate—that God is one and there is no other. And loving him with all passion and intelligence and energy, and loving others as well as you love yourself. Why, that’s better than all offerings and sacrifices put together!”

34 When Jesus realized how insightful he was, he said, “You’re almost there, right on the border of God’s kingdom.”

After that, no one else dared ask a question.

35-37 While he was teaching in the Temple, Jesus asked, “How is it that the religion scholars say that the Messiah is David’s ‘son,’ when we all know that David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said,

God said to my Master,
    “Sit here at my right hand
    until I put your enemies under your feet.”

“David here designates the Messiah ‘my Master’—so how can the Messiah also be his ‘son’?”

The large crowd was delighted with what they heard.

38-40 He continued teaching. “Watch out for the religion scholars. They love to walk around in academic gowns, preening in the radiance of public flattery, basking in prominent positions, sitting at the head table at every church function. And all the time they are exploiting the weak and helpless. The longer their prayers, the worse they get. But they’ll pay for it in the end.”

41-44 Sitting across from the offering box, he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins—a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all.”

The Message (MSG)

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

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