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Hosea 2The Message (MSG)

“Rename your brothers ‘God’s Somebody.’
    Rename your sisters ‘All Mercy.’

Wild Weekends and Unholy Holidays

2-13 “Haul your mother into court. Accuse her!
    She’s no longer my wife.
    I’m no longer her husband.
Tell her to quit dressing like a whore,
    displaying her breasts for sale.
If she refuses, I’ll rip off her clothes
    and expose her, naked as a newborn.
I’ll turn her skin into dried-out leather,
    her body into a badlands landscape,
    a rack of bones in the desert.
I’ll have nothing to do with her children,
    born one and all in a whorehouse.
Face it: Your mother’s been a whore,
    bringing bastard children into the world.
She said, ‘I’m off to see my lovers!
    They’ll wine and dine me,
Dress and caress me,
    perfume and adorn me!’
But I’ll fix her: I’ll dump her in a field of thistles,
    then lose her in a dead-end alley.
She’ll go on the hunt for her lovers
    but not bring down a single one.
She’ll look high and low
    but won’t find a one. Then she’ll say,
‘I’m going back to my husband, the one I started out with.
    That was a better life by far than this one.’
She didn’t know that it was I all along
    who wined and dined and adorned her,
That I was the one who dressed her up
    in the big-city fashions and jewelry
    that she wasted on wild Baal-orgies.
I’m about to bring her up short: No more wining and dining!
    Silk lingerie and gowns are a thing of the past.
I’ll expose her genitals to the public.
    All her fly-by-night lovers will be helpless to help her.
Party time is over. I’m calling a halt to the whole business,
    her wild weekends and unholy holidays.
I’ll wreck her sumptuous gardens and ornamental fountains,
    of which she bragged, ‘Whoring paid for all this!’
They will soon be dumping grounds for garbage,
    feeding grounds for stray dogs and cats.
I’ll make her pay for her indulgence in promiscuous religion—
    all that sensuous Baal worship
And all the promiscuous sex that went with it,
    stalking her lovers, dressed to kill,
And not a thought for me.”
    God’s Message!

To Start All Over Again

14-15 “And now, here’s what I’m going to do:
    I’m going to start all over again.
I’m taking her back out into the wilderness
    where we had our first date, and I’ll court her.
I’ll give her bouquets of roses.
    I’ll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope.
She’ll respond like she did as a young girl,
    those days when she was fresh out of Egypt.

16-20 “At that time”—this is God’s Message still—
    “you’ll address me, ‘Dear husband!’
Never again will you address me,
    ‘My slave-master!’
I’ll wash your mouth out with soap,
    get rid of all the dirty false-god names,
    not so much as a whisper of those names again.
At the same time I’ll make a peace treaty between you
    and wild animals and birds and reptiles,
And get rid of all weapons of war.
    Think of it! Safe from beasts and bullies!
And then I’ll marry you for good—forever!
    I’ll marry you true and proper, in love and tenderness.
Yes, I’ll marry you and neither leave you nor let you go.
    You’ll know me, God, for who I really am.

21-23 “On the very same day, I’ll answer”—this is God’s Message—
    “I’ll answer the sky, sky will answer earth,
Earth will answer grain and wine and olive oil,
    and they’ll all answer Jezreel.
I’ll plant her in the good earth.
    I’ll have mercy on No-Mercy.
I’ll say to Nobody, ‘You’re my dear Somebody,’
    and he’ll say ‘You’re my God!’”

The Message (MSG)

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

Hosea 3The Message (MSG)

In Time They’ll Come Back

Then God ordered me, “Start all over: Love your wife again,
    your wife who’s in bed with her latest boyfriend, your
        cheating wife.
Love her the way I, God, love the Israelite people,
    even as they flirt and party with every god that takes their fancy.”

2-3 I did it. I paid good money to get her back.
    It cost me the price of a slave.
Then I told her, “From now on you’re living with me.
    No more whoring, no more sleeping around.
    You’re living with me and I’m living with you.”

4-5 The people of Israel are going to live a long time
    stripped of security and protection,
without religion and comfort,
    godless and prayerless.
But in time they’ll come back, these Israelites,
    come back looking for their God and their David-King.
They’ll come back chastened to reverence
    before God and his good gifts, ready for the End of the story of his love.

The Message (MSG)

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

Hosea 4The Message (MSG)

No One Is Faithful

1-3 Attention all Israelites! God’s Message!
    God indicts the whole population:
“No one is faithful. No one loves.
    No one knows the first thing about God.
All this cussing and lying and killing, theft and loose sex,
    sheer anarchy, one murder after another!
And because of all this, the very land itself weeps
    and everything in it is grief-stricken—
animals in the fields and birds on the wing,
    even the fish in the sea are listless, lifeless.

4-10 “But don’t look for someone to blame.
    No finger pointing!
You, priest, are the one in the dock.
    You stumble around in broad daylight,
And then the prophets take over and stumble all night.
    Your mother is as bad as you.
My people are ruined
    because they don’t know what’s right or true.
Because you’ve turned your back on knowledge,
    I’ve turned my back on you priests.
Because you refuse to recognize the revelation of God,
    I’m no longer recognizing your children.
The more priests, the more sin.
    They traded in their glory for shame.
They pig out on my people’s sins.
    They can’t wait for the latest in evil.
The result: You can’t tell the people from the priests,
    the priests from the people.
I’m on my way to make them both pay
    and take the consequences of the bad lives they’ve lived.
They’ll eat and be as hungry as ever,
    have sex and get no satisfaction.
They walked out on me, their God,
    for a life of rutting with whores.

They Make a Picnic Out of Religion

11-14 “Wine and whiskey
    leave my people in a stupor.
They ask questions of a dead tree,
    expect answers from a sturdy walking stick.
Drunk on sex, they can’t find their way home.
    They’ve replaced their God with their genitals.
They worship on the tops of mountains,
    make a picnic out of religion.
Under the oaks and elms on the hills
    they stretch out and take it easy.
Before you know it, your daughters are whores
    and the wives of your sons are sleeping around.
But I’m not going after your whoring daughters
    or the adulterous wives of your sons.
It’s the men who pick up the whores that I’m after,
    the men who worship at the holy whorehouses—
    a stupid people, ruined by whores!

15-19 “You’ve ruined your own life, Israel—
    but don’t drag Judah down with you!
Don’t go to the sex shrine at Gilgal,
    don’t go to that sin city Bethel,
Don’t go around saying ‘God bless you’ and not mean it,
    taking God’s name in vain.
Israel is stubborn as a mule.
    How can God lead him like a lamb to open pasture?
Ephraim is addicted to idols.
    Let him go.
When the beer runs out,
    it’s sex, sex, and more sex.
Bold and sordid debauchery—
    how they love it!
The whirlwind has them in its clutches.
    Their sex-worship leaves them finally impotent.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Hosea 5The Message (MSG)

They Wouldn’t Recognize God If They Saw Him

1-2 “Listen to this, priests!
    Attention, people of Israel!
Royal family—all ears!
    You’re in charge of justice around here.
But what have you done? Exploited people at Mizpah,
    ripped them off on Tabor,
Victimized them at Shittim.
    I’m going to punish the lot of you.

3-4 “I know you, Ephraim, inside and out.
    Yes, Israel, I see right through you!
Ephraim, you’ve played your sex-and-religion games long enough.
    All Israel is thoroughly polluted.
They couldn’t turn to God if they wanted to.
    Their evil life is a bad habit.
Every breath they take is a whore’s breath.
    They wouldn’t recognize God if they saw me.

5-7 “Bloated by arrogance, big as a house,
    they’re a public disgrace,
The lot of them—Israel, Ephraim, Judah—
    lurching and weaving down their guilty streets.
When they decide to get their lives together
    and go off looking for God once again,
They’ll find it’s too late.
    I, God, will be long gone.
They’ve played fast and loose with me for too long,
    filling the country with their bastard offspring.
A plague of locusts will
    devastate their violated land.

8-9 “Blow the ram’s horn shofar in Gibeah,
    the bugle in Ramah!
Signal the invasion of Sin City!
    Scare the daylights out of Benjamin!
Ephraim will be left wasted,
    a lifeless moonscape.
I’m telling it straight, the unvarnished truth,
    to the tribes of Israel.

10 “Israel’s rulers are crooks and thieves,
    cheating the people of their land,
And I’m angry, good and angry.
    Every inch of their bodies is going to feel my anger.

11-12 “Brutal Ephraim is himself brutalized—
    a taste of his own medicine!
He was so determined
    to do it his own worthless way.
Therefore I’m pus to Ephraim,
    dry rot in the house of Judah.

13 “When Ephraim saw he was sick
    and Judah saw his pus-filled sores,
Ephraim went running to Assyria,
    went for help to the big king.
But he can’t heal you.
    He can’t cure your oozing sores.

14-15 “I’m a grizzly charging Ephraim,
    a grizzly with cubs charging Judah.
I’ll rip them to pieces—yes, I will!
    No one can stop me now.
I’ll drag them off.
    No one can help them.
Then I’ll go back to where I came from
    until they come to their senses.
When they finally hit rock bottom,
    maybe they’ll come looking for me.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Hebrews 2The Message (MSG)

1-4 It’s crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we’ve heard so that we don’t drift off. If the old message delivered by the angels was valid and nobody got away with anything, do you think we can risk neglecting this latest message, this magnificent salvation? First of all, it was delivered in person by the Master, then accurately passed on to us by those who heard it from him. All the while God was validating it with gifts through the Holy Spirit, all sorts of signs and miracles, as he saw fit.

The Salvation Pioneer

5-9 God didn’t put angels in charge of this business of salvation that we’re dealing with here. It says in Scripture,

What is man and woman that you bother with them;
    why take a second look their way?
You made them not quite as high as angels,
    bright with Eden’s dawn light;
Then you put them in charge
    of your entire handcrafted world.

When God put them in charge of everything, nothing was excluded. But we don’t see it yet, don’t see everything under human jurisdiction. What we do see is Jesus, made “not quite as high as angels,” and then, through the experience of death, crowned so much higher than any angel, with a glory “bright with Eden’s dawn light.” In that death, by God’s grace, he fully experienced death in every person’s place.

10-13 It makes good sense that the God who got everything started and keeps everything going now completes the work by making the Salvation Pioneer perfect through suffering as he leads all these people to glory. Since the One who saves and those who are saved have a common origin, Jesus doesn’t hesitate to treat them as family, saying,

I’ll tell my good friends, my brothers and sisters, all I know about you;
I’ll join them in worship and praise to you.

Again, he puts himself in the same family circle when he says,

Even I live by placing my trust in God.

And yet again,

I’m here with the children God gave me.

14-15 Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it’s logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death. By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the Devil’s hold on death and freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death.

16-18 It’s obvious, of course, that he didn’t go to all this trouble for angels. It was for people like us, children of Abraham. That’s why he had to enter into every detail of human life. Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people’s sins, he would have already experienced it all himself—all the pain, all the testing—and would be able to help where help was needed.

The Message (MSG)

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

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