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Deuteronomy 7The Message (MSG)

1-2 When God, your God, brings you into the country that you are about to enter and take over, he will clear out the superpowers that were there before you: the Hittite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Those seven nations are all bigger and stronger than you are. God, your God, will turn them over to you and you will conquer them. You must completely destroy them, offering them up as a holy destruction to God.

Don’t make a treaty with them.

Don’t let them off in any way.

3-4 Don’t marry them: Don’t give your daughters to their sons and don’t take their daughters for your sons—before you know it they’d involve you in worshiping their gods, and God would explode in anger, putting a quick end to you.

Here’s what you are to do:

Tear apart their altars stone by stone,
smash their phallic pillars,
chop down their sex-and-religion Asherah groves,
set fire to their carved god-images.

Do this because you are a people set apart as holy to God, your God. God, your God, chose you out of all the people on Earth for himself as a cherished, personal treasure.

7-10 God wasn’t attracted to you and didn’t choose you because you were big and important—the fact is, there was almost nothing to you. He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors. God stepped in and mightily bought you back out of that world of slavery, freed you from the iron grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know this: God, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon. He keeps his covenant of loyal love with those who love him and observe his commandments for a thousand generations. But he also pays back those who hate him, pays them the wages of death; he isn’t slow to pay them off—those who hate him, he pays right on time.

11 So keep the command and the rules and regulations that I command you today. Do them.

12-13 And this is what will happen: When you, on your part, will obey these directives, keeping and following them, God, on his part, will keep the covenant of loyal love that he made with your ancestors:

He will love you,
he will bless you,
he will increase you.

13-15 He will bless the babies from your womb and the harvest of grain, new wine, and oil from your fields; he’ll bless the calves from your herds and lambs from your flocks in the country he promised your ancestors that he’d give you. You’ll be blessed beyond all other peoples: no sterility or barrenness in you or your animals. God will get rid of all sickness. And all the evil afflictions you experienced in Egypt he’ll put not on you but on those who hate you.

16 You’ll make mincemeat of all the peoples that God, your God, hands over to you. Don’t feel sorry for them. And don’t worship their gods—they’ll trap you for sure.

17-19 You’re going to think to yourselves, “Oh! We’re outnumbered ten to one by these nations! We’ll never even make a dent in them!” But I’m telling you, Don’t be afraid. Remember, yes, remember in detail what God, your God, did to Pharaoh and all Egypt. Remember the great contests to which you were eyewitnesses: the miracle-signs, the wonders, God’s mighty hand as he stretched out his arm and took you out of there. God, your God, is going to do the same thing to these people you’re now so afraid of.

20 And to top it off, the Hornet. God will unleash the Hornet on them until every survivor-in-hiding is dead.

21-24 So don’t be intimidated by them. God, your God, is among you—God majestic, God awesome. God, your God, will get rid of these nations, bit by bit. You won’t be permitted to wipe them out all at once lest the wild animals take over and overwhelm you. But God, your God, will move them out of your way—he’ll throw them into a huge panic until there’s nothing left of them. He’ll turn their kings over to you and you’ll remove all trace of them under Heaven. Not one person will be able to stand up to you; you’ll put an end to them all.

25-26 Make sure you set fire to their carved gods. Don’t get greedy for the veneer of silver and gold on them and take it for yourselves—you’ll get trapped by it for sure. God hates it; it’s an abomination to God, your God. And don’t dare bring one of these abominations home or you’ll end up just like it, burned up as a holy destruction. No: It is forbidden! Hate it. Abominate it. Destroy it and preserve God’s holiness.

The Message (MSG)

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

Deuteronomy 8The Message (MSG)

1-5 Keep and live out the entire commandment that I’m commanding you today so that you’ll live and prosper and enter and own the land that God promised to your ancestors. Remember every road that God led you on for those forty years in the wilderness, pushing you to your limits, testing you so that he would know what you were made of, whether you would keep his commandments or not. He put you through hard times. He made you go hungry. Then he fed you with manna, something neither you nor your parents knew anything about, so you would learn that men and women don’t live by bread only; we live by every word that comes from God’s mouth. Your clothes didn’t wear out and your feet didn’t blister those forty years. You learned deep in your heart that God disciplines you in the same ways a father disciplines his child.

6-9 So it’s paramount that you keep the commandments of God, your God, walk down the roads he shows you and reverently respect him. God is about to bring you into a good land, a land with brooks and rivers, springs and lakes, streams out of the hills and through the valleys. It’s a land of wheat and barley, of vines and figs and pomegranates, of olives, oil, and honey. It’s land where you’ll never go hungry—always food on the table and a roof over your head. It’s a land where you’ll get iron out of rocks and mine copper from the hills.

10 After a meal, satisfied, bless God, your God, for the good land he has given you.

11-16 Make sure you don’t forget God, your God, by not keeping his commandments, his rules and regulations that I command you today. Make sure that when you eat and are satisfied, build pleasant houses and settle in, see your herds and flocks flourish and more and more money come in, watch your standard of living going up and up—make sure you don’t become so full of yourself and your things that you forget God, your God,

the God who delivered you from Egyptian slavery;
the God who led you through that huge and fearsome wilderness,
those desolate, arid badlands crawling with fiery snakes and scorpions;
the God who gave you water gushing from hard rock;
the God who gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never heard of, in order to give you a taste of the hard life, to test you so that you would be prepared to live well in the days ahead of you.

17-18 If you start thinking to yourselves, “I did all this. And all by myself. I’m rich. It’s all mine!”—well, think again. Remember that God, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth so as to confirm the covenant that he promised to your ancestors—as it is today.

19-20 If you forget, forget God, your God, and start taking up with other gods, serving and worshiping them, I’m on record right now as giving you firm warning: that will be the end of you; I mean it—destruction. You’ll go to your doom—the same as the nations God is destroying before you; doom because you wouldn’t obey the Voice of God, your God.

The Message (MSG)

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

Deuteronomy 9The Message (MSG)

1-2 Attention, Israel! This very day you are crossing the Jordan to enter the land and dispossess nations that are much bigger and stronger than you are. You’re going to find huge cities with sky-high fortress-walls and gigantic people, descendants of the Anakites—you’ve heard all about them; you’ve heard the saying, “No one can stand up to an Anakite.”

Today know this: God, your God, is crossing the river ahead of you—he’s a consuming fire. He will destroy the nations, he will put them under your power. You will dispossess them and very quickly wipe them out, just as God promised you would.

4-5 But when God pushes them out ahead of you, don’t start thinking to yourselves, “It’s because of all the good I’ve done that God has brought me in here to dispossess these nations.” Actually it’s because of all the evil these nations have done. No, it’s nothing good that you’ve done, no record for decency that you’ve built up, that got you here; it’s because of the vile wickedness of these nations that God, your God, is dispossessing them before you so that he can keep his promised word to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

6-10 Know this and don’t ever forget it: It’s not because of any good that you’ve done that God is giving you this good land to own. Anything but! You’re stubborn as mules. Keep in mind and don’t ever forget how angry you made God, your God, in the wilderness. You’ve kicked and screamed against God from the day you left Egypt until you got to this place, rebels all the way. You made God angry at Horeb, made him so angry that he wanted to destroy you. When I climbed the mountain to receive the slabs of stone, the tablets of the covenant that God made with you, I stayed there on the mountain forty days and nights: I ate no food; I drank no water. Then God gave me the two slabs of stone, engraved with the finger of God. They contained word for word everything that God spoke to you on the mountain out of the fire, on the day of the assembly.

11-12 It was at the end of the forty days and nights that God gave me the two slabs of stone, the tablets of the covenant. God said to me, “Get going, and quickly. Get down there, because your people whom you led out of Egypt have ruined everything. In almost no time at all they have left the road that I laid out for them and gone off and made for themselves a cast god.”

13-14 God said, “I look at this people and all I see are hardheaded, hardhearted rebels. Get out of my way now so I can destroy them. I’m going to wipe them off the face of the map. Then I’ll start over with you to make a nation far better and bigger than they could ever be.”

15-17 I turned around and started down the mountain—by now the mountain was blazing with fire—carrying the two tablets of the covenant in my two arms. That’s when I saw it: There you were, sinning against God, your God—you had made yourselves a cast god in the shape of a calf! So soon you had left the road that God had commanded you to walk on. I held the two stone slabs high and threw them down, smashing them to bits as you watched.

18-20 Then I prostrated myself before God, just as I had at the beginning of the forty days and nights. I ate no food; I drank no water. I did this because of you, all your sins, sinning against God, doing what is evil in God’s eyes and making him angry. I was terrified of God’s furious anger, his blazing anger. I was sure he would destroy you. But once again God listened to me. And Aaron! How furious he was with Aaron—ready to destroy him. But I prayed also for Aaron at that same time.

21 But that sin-thing that you made, that calf-god, I took and burned in the fire, pounded and ground it until it was crushed into a fine powder, then threw it into the stream that comes down the mountain.

22 And then there was Camp Taberah (Blaze), Massah (Testing-Place), and Camp Kibroth Hattaavah (Graves-of-the-Craving)—more occasions when you made God furious with you.

23-24 The most recent was when God sent you out from Kadesh Barnea, ordering you: “Go. Possess the land that I’m giving you.” And what did you do? You rebelled. Rebelled against the clear orders of God, your God. Refused to trust him. Wouldn’t obey him. You’ve been rebels against God from the first day I knew you.

25-26 When I was on my face, prostrate before God those forty days and nights after God said he would destroy you, I prayed to God for you, “My Master, God, don’t destroy your people, your inheritance whom, in your immense generosity, you redeemed, using your enormous strength to get them out of Egypt.

27-28 “Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; don’t make too much of the stubbornness of this people, their evil and their sin, lest the Egyptians from whom you rescued them say, ‘God couldn’t do it; he got tired and wasn’t able to take them to the land he promised them. He ended up hating them and dumped them in the wilderness to die.’

29 “They are your people still, your inheritance whom you powerfully and sovereignly rescued.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Mark 15The Message (MSG)

Standing Before Pilate

15 At dawn’s first light, the high priests, with the religious leaders and scholars, arranged a conference with the entire Jewish Council. After tying Jesus securely, they took him out and presented him to Pilate.

2-3 Pilate asked him, “Are you the ‘King of the Jews’?”

He answered, “If you say so.” The high priests let loose a barrage of accusations.

4-5 Pilate asked again, “Aren’t you going to answer anything? That’s quite a list of accusations.” Still, he said nothing. Pilate was impressed, really impressed.

6-10 It was a custom at the Feast to release a prisoner, anyone the people asked for. There was one prisoner called Barabbas, locked up with the insurrectionists who had committed murder during the uprising against Rome. As the crowd came up and began to present its petition for him to release a prisoner, Pilate anticipated them: “Do you want me to release the King of the Jews to you?” Pilate knew by this time that it was through sheer spite that the high priests had turned Jesus over to him.

11-12 But the high priests by then had worked up the crowd to ask for the release of Barabbas. Pilate came back, “So what do I do with this man you call King of the Jews?”

13 They yelled, “Nail him to a cross!”

14 Pilate objected, “But for what crime?”

But they yelled all the louder, “Nail him to a cross!”

15 Pilate gave the crowd what it wanted, set Barabbas free and turned Jesus over for whipping and crucifixion.

16-20 The soldiers took Jesus into the palace (called Praetorium) and called together the entire brigade. They dressed him up in purple and put a crown plaited from a thornbush on his head. Then they began their mockery: “Bravo, King of the Jews!” They banged on his head with a club, spit on him, and knelt down in mock worship. After they had had their fun, they took off the purple cape and put his own clothes back on him. Then they marched out to nail him to the cross.

The Crucifixion

21 There was a man walking by, coming from work, Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. They made him carry Jesus’ cross.

22-24 The soldiers brought Jesus to Golgotha, meaning “Skull Hill.” They offered him a mild painkiller (wine mixed with myrrh), but he wouldn’t take it. And they nailed him to the cross. They divided up his clothes and threw dice to see who would get them.

25-30 They nailed him up at nine o’clock in the morning. The charge against him—the king of the jews—was printed on a poster. Along with him, they crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s Son, come down from that cross!”

31-32 The high priests, along with the religion scholars, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: “He saved others—but he can’t save himself! Messiah, is he? King of Israel? Then let him climb down from that cross. We’ll all become believers then!” Even the men crucified alongside him joined in the mockery.

33-34 At noon the sky became extremely dark. The darkness lasted three hours. At three o’clock, Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

35-36 Some of the bystanders who heard him said, “Listen, he’s calling for Elijah.” Someone ran off, soaked a sponge in sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down.”

37-39 But Jesus, with a loud cry, gave his last breath. At that moment the Temple curtain ripped right down the middle. When the Roman captain standing guard in front of him saw that he had quit breathing, he said, “This has to be the Son of God!”

Taken to a Tomb

40-41 There were women watching from a distance, among them Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and Joses, and Salome. When Jesus was in Galilee, these women followed and served him, and had come up with him to Jerusalem.

42-45 Late in the afternoon, since it was the Day of Preparation (that is, Sabbath eve), Joseph of Arimathea, a highly respected member of the Jewish Council, came. He was one who lived expectantly, on the lookout for the kingdom of God. Working up his courage, he went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate questioned whether he could be dead that soon and called for the captain to verify that he was really dead. Assured by the captain, he gave Joseph the corpse.

46-47 Having already purchased a linen shroud, Joseph took him down, wrapped him in the shroud, placed him in a tomb that had been cut into the rock, and rolled a large stone across the opening. Mary Magdalene and Mary, mother of Joses, watched the burial.

The Message (MSG)

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

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