Isaiah 43The Message (MSG)
When You’re Between a Rock and a Hard Place
43 1-4 But now, God’s Message,
5-7 “So don’t be afraid: I’m with you.
8-13 Get the blind and deaf out here and ready—
You Didn’t Even Do the Minimum
14-15 God, your Redeemer,
16-21 This is what God says,
22-24 “But you didn’t pay a bit of attention to me, Jacob.
25 “But I, yes I, am the one
26-28 “So, make your case against me. Let’s have this out.
Isaiah 44The Message (MSG)
Proud to Be Called Israel
44 1-5 “But for now, dear servant Jacob, listen—
6-8 God, King of Israel,
Lover of Emptiness
9-11 All those who make no-god idols don’t amount to a thing, and what they work so hard at making is nothing. Their little puppet-gods see nothing and know nothing—they’re total embarrassments! Who would bother making gods that can’t do anything, that can’t “god”? Watch all the no-god worshipers hide their faces in shame. Watch the no-god makers slink off humiliated when their idols fail them. Get them out here in the open. Make them face God-reality.
12 The blacksmith makes his no-god, works it over in his forge, hammering it on his anvil—such hard work! He works away, fatigued with hunger and thirst.
13-17 The woodworker draws up plans for his no-god, traces it on a block of wood. He shapes it with chisels and planes into human shape—a beautiful woman, a handsome man, ready to be placed in a chapel. He first cuts down a cedar, or maybe picks out a pine or oak, and lets it grow strong in the forest, nourished by the rain. Then it can serve a double purpose: Part he uses as firewood for keeping warm and baking bread; from the other part he makes a god that he worships—carves it into a god shape and prays before it. With half he makes a fire to warm himself and barbecue his supper. He eats his fill and sits back satisfied with his stomach full and his feet warmed by the fire: “Ah, this is the life.” And he still has half left for a god, made to his personal design—a handy, convenient no-god to worship whenever so inclined. Whenever the need strikes him he prays to it, “Save me. You’re my god.”
18-19 Pretty stupid, wouldn’t you say? Don’t they have eyes in their heads? Are their brains working at all? Doesn’t it occur to them to say, “Half of this tree I used for firewood: I baked bread, roasted meat, and enjoyed a good meal. And now I’ve used the rest to make an abominable no-god. Here I am praying to a stick of wood!”
20 This lover of emptiness, of nothing, is so out of touch with reality, so far gone, that he can’t even look at what he’s doing, can’t even look at the no-god stick of wood in his hand and say, “This is crazy.”
21-22 “Remember these things, O Jacob.
23 High heavens, sing!
24 God, your Redeemer,
25-28 He makes the magicians look ridiculous
Isaiah 45The Message (MSG)
The God Who Forms Light and Darkness
45 1-7 God’s Message to his anointed,
8-10 “Open up, heavens, and rain.
11-13 Thus God, The Holy of Israel, Israel’s Maker, says:
14 God says:
“The workers of Egypt, the merchants of Ethiopia,
Look at the Evidence
15-17 Clearly, you are a God who works behind the scenes,
18-24 God, Creator of the heavens—
“I am God,
24-25 All who have raged against him
1 Peter 4The Message (MSG)
Learn to Think Like Him
4 1-2 Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.
3-5 You’ve already put in your time in that God-ignorant way of life, partying night after night, a drunken and profligate life. Now it’s time to be done with it for good. Of course, your old friends don’t understand why you don’t join in with the old gang anymore. But you don’t have to give an account to them. They’re the ones who will be called on the carpet—and before God himself.
6 Listen to the Message. It was preached to those believers who are now dead, and yet even though they died (just as all people must), they will still get in on the life that God has given in Jesus.
7-11 Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!
Glory Just Around the Corner
12-13 Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.
14-16 If you’re abused because of Christ, count yourself fortunate. It’s the Spirit of God and his glory in you that brought you to the notice of others. If they’re on you because you broke the law or disturbed the peace, that’s a different matter. But if it’s because you’re a Christian, don’t give it a second thought. Be proud of the distinguished status reflected in that name!
17-19 It’s judgment time for God’s own family. We’re first in line. If it starts with us, think what it’s going to be like for those who refuse God’s Message!
If good people barely make it,
So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he’s doing, and he’ll keep on doing it.