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Hosea 13The Message (MSG)

Religion Customized to Taste

13 1-3 God once let loose against Ephraim
    a terrifying sentence against Israel:
Caught and convicted
    in the lewd sex-worship of Baal—they died!
And now they’re back in the sin business again,
    manufacturing god-images they can use,
Religion customized to taste. Professionals see to it:
    Anything you want in a god you can get.
Can you believe it? They sacrifice live babies to these dead gods—
    kill living babies and kiss golden calves!
And now there’s nothing left to these people:
    hollow men, desiccated women,
Like scraps of paper blown down the street,
    like smoke in a gusty wind.

4-6 “I’m still your God,
    the God who saved you out of Egypt.
I’m the only real God you’ve ever known.
    I’m the one and only God who delivers.
I took care of you during the wilderness hard times,
    those years when you had nothing.
I took care of you, took care of all your needs,
    gave you everything you needed.
You were spoiled. You thought you didn’t need me.
    You forgot me.

7-12 “I’ll charge them like a lion,
    like a leopard stalking in the brush.
I’ll jump them like a sow grizzly robbed of her cubs.
    I’ll rip out their guts.
Coyotes will make a meal of them.
    Crows will clean their bones.
I’m going to destroy you, Israel.
    Who is going to stop me?
Where is your trusty king you thought would save you?
    Where are all the local leaders you wanted so badly?
All these rulers you insisted on having,
    demanding, ‘Give me a king! Give me leaders!’?
Well, long ago I gave you a king, but I wasn’t happy about it.
    Now, fed up, I’ve gotten rid of him.
I have a detailed record of your infidelities—
    Ephraim’s sin documented and stored in a safe-deposit box.

13-15 “When birth pangs signaled it was time to be born,
    Ephraim was too stupid to come out of the womb.
When the passage into life opened up,
    he didn’t show.
Shall I intervene and pull them into life?
    Shall I snatch them from a certain death?
Who is afraid of you, Death?
    Who cares about your threats, Tomb?
In the end I’m abolishing regret,
    banishing sorrow,
Even though Ephraim ran wild,
    the black sheep of the family.

15-16 God’s tornado is on its way,
    roaring out of the desert.
It will devastate the country,
    leaving a trail of ruin and wreckage.
The cities will be gutted,
    dear possessions gone for good.
Now Samaria has to face the charges
    because she has rebelled against her God:
Her people will be killed, babies smashed on the rocks,
    pregnant women ripped open.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Hosea 14The Message (MSG)

Come Back! Return to Your God!

14 1-3 O Israel, come back! Return to your God!
    You’re down but you’re not out.
Prepare your confession
    and come back to God.
Pray to him, “Take away our sin,
    accept our confession.
Receive as restitution
    our repentant prayers.
Assyria won’t save us;
    horses won’t get us where we want to go.
We’ll never again say ‘our god’
    to something we’ve made or made up.
You’re our last hope. Is it not true
    that in you the orphan finds mercy?”

4-8 “I will heal their waywardness.
    I will love them lavishly. My anger is played out.
I will make a fresh start with Israel.
    He’ll burst into bloom like a crocus in the spring.
He’ll put down deep oak tree roots,
    he’ll become a forest of oaks!
He’ll become splendid—like a giant sequoia,
    his fragrance like a grove of cedars!
Those who live near him will be blessed by him,
    be blessed and prosper like golden grain.
Everyone will be talking about them,
    spreading their fame as the vintage children of God.
Ephraim is finished with gods that are no-gods.
    From now on I’m the one who answers and satisfies him.
I am like a luxuriant fruit tree.
    Everything you need is to be found in me.”

If you want to live well,
    make sure you understand all of this.
If you know what’s good for you,
    you’ll learn this inside and out.
God’s paths get you where you want to go.
    Right-living people walk them easily;
    wrong-living people are always tripping and stumbling.

The Message (MSG)

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

Psalm 100The Message (MSG)

A Thanksgiving Psalm

100 1-2 On your feet now—applaud God!
    Bring a gift of laughter,
    sing yourselves into his presence.

Know this: God is God, and God, God.
    He made us; we didn’t make him.
    We’re his people, his well-tended sheep.

Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
    Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
    Thank him. Worship him.

For God is sheer beauty,
    all-generous in love,
    loyal always and ever.

The Message (MSG)

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

Psalm 102The Message (MSG)

A Prayer of One Whose Life Is Falling to Pieces, and Who Lets God Know Just How Bad It Is

102 1-2 God, listen! Listen to my prayer,
    listen to the pain in my cries.
Don’t turn your back on me
    just when I need you so desperately.
Pay attention! This is a cry for help!
    And hurry—this can’t wait!

3-11 I’m wasting away to nothing,
    I’m burning up with fever.
I’m a ghost of my former self,
    half-consumed already by terminal illness.
My jaws ache from gritting my teeth;
    I’m nothing but skin and bones.
I’m like a buzzard in the desert,
    a crow perched on the rubble.
Insomniac, I twitter away,
    mournful as a sparrow in the gutter.
All day long my enemies taunt me,
    while others just curse.
They bring in meals—casseroles of ashes!
    I draw drink from a barrel of my tears.
And all because of your furious anger;
    you swept me up and threw me out.
There’s nothing left of me—
    a withered weed, swept clean from the path.

12-17 Yet you, God, are sovereign still,
    always and ever sovereign.
You’ll get up from your throne and help Zion—
    it’s time for compassionate help.
Oh, how your servants love this city’s rubble
    and weep with compassion over its dust!
The godless nations will sit up and take notice
    —see your glory, worship your name—
When God rebuilds Zion,
    when he shows up in all his glory,
When he attends to the prayer of the wretched.
    He won’t dismiss their prayer.

18-22 Write this down for the next generation
    so people not yet born will praise God:
God looked out from his high holy place;
    from heaven he surveyed the earth.
He listened to the groans of the doomed,
    he opened the doors of their death cells.”
Write it so the story can be told in Zion,
    so God’s praise will be sung in Jerusalem’s streets
And wherever people gather together
    along with their rulers to worship him.

23-28 God sovereignly brought me to my knees,
    he cut me down in my prime.
“Oh, don’t,” I prayed, “please don’t let me die.
    You have more years than you know what to do with!
You laid earth’s foundations a long time ago,
    and handcrafted the very heavens;
You’ll still be around when they’re long gone,
    threadbare and discarded like an old suit of clothes.
You’ll throw them away like a worn-out coat,
    but year after year you’re as good as new.
Your servants’ children will have a good place to live
    and their children will be at home with you.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Hebrews 5The Message (MSG)

1-3 Every high priest selected to represent men and women before God and offer sacrifices for their sins should be able to deal gently with their failings, since he knows what it’s like from his own experience. But that also means that he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as the peoples’.

4-6 No one elects himself to this honored position. He’s called to it by God, as Aaron was. Neither did Christ presume to set himself up as high priest, but was set apart by the One who said to him, “You’re my Son; today I celebrate you!” In another place God declares, “You’re a priest forever in the royal order of Melchizedek.”

7-10 While he lived on earth, anticipating death, Jesus cried out in pain and wept in sorrow as he offered up priestly prayers to God. Because he honored God, God answered him. Though he was God’s Son, he learned trusting-obedience by what he suffered, just as we do. Then, having arrived at the full stature of his maturity and having been announced by God as high priest in the order of Melchizedek, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who believingly obey him.

Re-Crucifying Jesus

11-14 I have a lot more to say about this, but it is hard to get it across to you since you’ve picked up this bad habit of not listening. By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong.

The Message (MSG)

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

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