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Jeremiah 10The Message (MSG)

The Stick Gods

10 1-5 Listen to the Message that God is sending your way, House of Israel. Listen most carefully:

“Don’t take the godless nations as your models.
    Don’t be impressed by their glamour and glitz,
    no matter how much they’re impressed.
The religion of these peoples
    is nothing but smoke.
An idol is nothing but a tree chopped down,
    then shaped by a woodsman’s ax.
They trim it with tinsel and balls,
    use hammer and nails to keep it upright.
It’s like a scarecrow in a cabbage patch—can’t talk!
    Dead wood that has to be carried—can’t walk!
Don’t be impressed by such stuff.
    It’s useless for either good or evil.”

6-9 All this is nothing compared to you, O God.
    You’re wondrously great, famously great.
Who can fail to be impressed by you, King of the nations?
    It’s your very nature to be worshiped!
Look far and wide among the elite of the nations.
    The best they can come up with is nothing compared to you.
Stupidly, they line them up—a lineup of sticks,
    good for nothing but making smoke.
Gilded with silver foil from Tarshish,
    covered with gold from Uphaz,
Hung with violet and purple fabrics—
    no matter how fancy the sticks, they’re still sticks.

10 But God is the real thing—
    the living God, the eternal King.
When he’s angry, Earth shakes.
    Yes, and the godless nations quake.

11-15 “Tell them this, ‘The stick gods
    who made nothing, neither sky nor earth,
Will come to nothing
    on the earth and under the sky.’”
But it is God whose power made the earth,
    whose wisdom gave shape to the world,
    who crafted the cosmos.
He thunders, and rain pours down.
    He sends the clouds soaring.
He embellishes the storm with lightnings,
    launches wind from his warehouse.
Stick-god worshipers looking mighty foolish,
    god-makers embarrassed by their handmade gods!
Their gods are frauds—dead sticks,
    deadwood gods, tasteless jokes.
    When the fires of judgment come, they’ll be ashes.

16 But the Portion-of-Jacob is the real thing.
    He put the whole universe together
And pays special attention to Israel.
    His name? God-of-the-Angel-Armies!

17-18 Grab your bags,
    all you who are under attack.
God has given notice:
    “Attention! I’m evicting
Everyone who lives here,
    And right now—yes, right now!
I’m going to press them to the limit,
    squeeze the life right out of them.”

19-20 But it’s a black day for me!
    Hopelessly wounded,
I said, “Why, oh why
    did I think I could bear it?”
My house is ruined—
    the roof caved in.
Our children are gone—
    we’ll never see them again.
No one left to help in rebuilding,
    no one to make a new start!

21 It’s because our leaders are stupid.
    They never asked God for counsel,
And so nothing worked right.
    The people are scattered all over.

22 But listen! Something’s coming!
    A big commotion from the northern borders!
Judah’s towns about to be smashed,
    left to all the stray dogs and cats!

23-25 I know, God, that mere mortals
    can’t run their own lives,
That men and women
    don’t have what it takes to take charge of life.
So correct us, God, as you see best.
    Don’t lose your temper. That would be the end of us.
Vent your anger on the godless nations,
    who refuse to acknowledge you,
And on the people
    who won’t pray to you—
The very ones who’ve made hash out of Jacob,
    yes, made hash
And devoured him whole,
    people and pastures alike.

The Message (MSG)

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

Jeremiah 11The Message (MSG)

The Terms of This Covenant

11 The Message that came to Jeremiah from God:

2-4 “Preach to the people of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem. Tell them this: ‘This is God’s Message, the Message of Israel’s God to you. Anyone who does not keep the terms of this covenant is cursed. The terms are clear. I made them plain to your ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt, out of the iron furnace of suffering.

4-5 “‘Obey what I tell you. Do exactly what I command you. Your obedience will close the deal. You’ll be mine and I’ll be yours. This will provide the conditions in which I will be able to do what I promised your ancestors: to give them a fertile and lush land. And, as you know, that’s what I did.’”

“Yes, God,” I replied. “That’s true.”

6-8 God continued: “Preach all this in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. Say, ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant and carry them out! I warned your ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt and I’ve kept up the warnings. I haven’t quit warning them for a moment. I warned them from morning to night: “Obey me or else!” But they didn’t obey. They paid no attention to me. They did whatever they wanted to do, whenever they wanted to do it, until finally I stepped in and ordered the punishments set out in the covenant, which, despite all my warnings, they had ignored.’”

9-10 Then God said, “There’s a conspiracy among the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. They’ve plotted to reenact the sins of their ancestors—the ones who disobeyed me and decided to go after other gods and worship them. Israel and Judah are in this together, mindlessly breaking the covenant I made with their ancestors.”

11-13 “Well, your God has something to say about this: Watch out! I’m about to visit doom on you, and no one will get out of it. You’re going to cry for help but I won’t listen. Then all the people in Judah and Jerusalem will start praying to the gods you’ve been sacrificing to all these years, but it won’t do a bit of good. You’ve got as many gods as you have villages, Judah! And you’ve got enough altars for sacrifices to that impotent sex god Baal to put one on every street corner in Jerusalem!”

14 “And as for you, Jeremiah, I don’t want you praying for this people. Nothing! Not a word of petition. Indeed, I’m not going to listen to a single syllable of their crisis-prayers.”

Promises and Pious Programs

15-16 “What business do the ones I love have figuring out
    how to get off the hook? And right in the house of worship!
Do you think making promises and devising pious programs
    will save you from doom?
Do you think you can get out of this
    by becoming more religious?
A mighty oak tree, majestic and glorious—
    that’s how I once described you.
But it will only take a clap of thunder and a bolt of lightning
    to leave you a shattered wreck.

17 “I, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who planted you—yes, I have pronounced doom on you. Why? Because of the disastrous life you’ve lived, Israel and Judah alike, goading me to anger with your continuous worship and offerings to that sorry god Baal.”

18-19 God told me what was going on. That’s how I knew.
    You, God, opened my eyes to their evil scheming.
I had no idea what was going on—naive as a lamb
    being led to slaughter!
I didn’t know they had it in for me,
    didn’t know of their behind-the-scenes plots:
“Let’s get rid of the preacher.
    That will stop the sermons!
Let’s get rid of him for good.
    He won’t be remembered for long.”

20 Then I said, “God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    you’re a fair judge.
You examine and cross-examine
    human actions and motives.
I want to see these people shown up and put down!
    I’m an open book before you. Clear my name.”

21-23 That sent a signal to God, who spoke up: “Here’s what I’ll do to the men of Anathoth who are trying to murder you, the men who say, ‘Don’t preach to us in God’s name or we’ll kill you.’ Yes, it’s God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaking. Indeed! I’ll call them to account: Their young people will die in battle, their children will die of starvation, and there will be no one left at all, none. I’m visiting the men of Anathoth with doom. Doomsday!”

The Message (MSG)

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

Jeremiah 12The Message (MSG)

What Makes You Think You Can Race Against Horses?

12 1-4 You are right, O God, and you set things right.
    I can’t argue with that. But I do have some questions:
Why do bad people have it so good?
    Why do con artists make it big?
You planted them and they put down roots.
    They flourished and produced fruit.
They talk as if they’re old friends with you,
    but they couldn’t care less about you.
Meanwhile, you know me inside and out.
    You don’t let me get by with a thing!
Make them pay for the way they live,
    pay with their lives, like sheep marked for slaughter.
How long do we have to put up with this—
    the country depressed, the farms in ruin—
And all because of wickedness, these wicked lives?
    Even animals and birds are dying off
Because they’ll have nothing to do with God
    and think God has nothing to do with them.

5-6 “So, Jeremiah, if you’re worn out in this footrace with men,
    what makes you think you can race against horses?
And if you can’t keep your wits during times of calm,
    what’s going to happen when troubles break loose
        like the Jordan in flood?
Those closest to you, your own brothers and cousins,
    are working against you.
They’re out to get you. They’ll stop at nothing.
    Don’t trust them, especially when they’re smiling.

7-11 “I will abandon the House of Israel,
    walk away from my beloved people.
I will turn over those I most love
    to those who are her enemies.
She’s been, this one I held dear,
    like a snarling lion in the jungle,
Growling and baring her teeth at me—
    and I can’t take it anymore.
Has this one I hold dear become a preening peacock?
    But isn’t she under attack by vultures?
Then invite all the hungry animals at large,
    invite them in for a free meal!
Foreign, scavenging shepherds
    will loot and trample my fields,
Turn my beautiful, well-cared-for fields
    into vacant lots of tin cans and thistles.
They leave them littered with junk—
    a ruined land, a land in lament.
The whole countryside is a wasteland,
    and no one will really care.

12-13 “The barbarians will invade,
    swarm over hills and plains.
The judgment sword of God will take its toll
    from one end of the land to the other.
    Nothing living will be safe.
They will plant wheat and reap weeds.
    Nothing they do will work out.
They will look at their meager crops and wring their hands.
    All this the result of God’s fierce anger!”

14-17 God’s Message: “Regarding all the bad neighbors who abused the land I gave to Israel as their inheritance: I’m going to pluck them out of their lands, and then pluck Judah out from among them. Once I’ve pulled the bad neighbors out, I will relent and take them tenderly to my heart and put them back where they belong, put each of them back in their home country, on their family farms. Then if they will get serious about living my way and pray to me as well as they taught my people to pray to that god Baal, everything will go well for them. But if they won’t listen, then I’ll pull them out of their land by the roots and cart them off to the dump. Total destruction!” God’s Decree.

The Message (MSG)

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

John 14The Message (MSG)

The Road

14 1-4 “Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.”

Thomas said, “Master, we have no idea where you’re going. How do you expect us to know the road?”

6-7 Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!”

Philip said, “Master, show us the Father; then we’ll be content.”

9-10 “You’ve been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don’t understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act.

11-14 “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.

The Spirit of Truth

15-17 “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!

18-20 “I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you’re going to see me because I am alive and you’re about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I’m in my Father, and you’re in me, and I’m in you.

21 “The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that’s who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him.”

22 Judas (not Iscariot) said, “Master, why is it that you are about to make yourself plain to us but not to the world?”

23-24 “Because a loveless world,” said Jesus, “is a sightless world. If anyone loves me, he will carefully keep my word and my Father will love him—we’ll move right into the neighborhood! Not loving me means not keeping my words. The message you are hearing isn’t mine. It’s the message of the Father who sent me.

25-27 “I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.

28 “You’ve heard me tell you, ‘I’m going away, and I’m coming back.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I’m on my way to the Father because the Father is the goal and purpose of my life.

29-31 “I’ve told you this ahead of time, before it happens, so that when it does happen, the confirmation will deepen your belief in me. I’ll not be talking with you much more like this because the chief of this godless world is about to attack. But don’t worry—he has nothing on me, no claim on me. But so the world might know how thoroughly I love the Father, I am carrying out my Father’s instructions right down to the last detail.

“Get up. Let’s go. It’s time to leave here.”

The Message (MSG)

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

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