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Jeremiah 18The Message (MSG)

To Worship the Big Lie

18 1-2 God told Jeremiah, “Up on your feet! Go to the potter’s house. When you get there, I’ll tell you what I have to say.”

3-4 So I went to the potter’s house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel. Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot.

5-10 Then God’s Message came to me: “Can’t I do just as this potter does, people of Israel?” God’s Decree! “Watch this potter. In the same way that this potter works his clay, I work on you, people of Israel. At any moment I may decide to pull up a people or a country by the roots and get rid of them. But if they repent of their wicked lives, I will think twice and start over with them. At another time I might decide to plant a people or country, but if they don’t cooperate and won’t listen to me, I will think again and give up on the plans I had for them.

11 “So, tell the people of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem my Message: ‘Danger! I’m shaping doom against you, laying plans against you. Turn back from your doomed way of life. Straighten out your lives.’

12 “But they’ll just say, ‘Why should we? What’s the point? We’ll live just the way we’ve always lived, doom or no doom.’”

13-17 God’s Message:

“Ask around.
    Survey the godless nations.
Has anyone heard the likes of this?
    Virgin Israel has become a slut!
Does snow disappear from the Lebanon peaks?
    Do alpine streams run dry?
But my people have left me
    to worship the Big Lie.
They’ve gotten off the track,
    the old, well-worn trail,
And now bushwhack through underbrush
    in a tangle of roots and vines.
Their land’s going to end up a mess—
    a fool’s memorial to be spit on.
Travelers passing through
    will shake their heads in disbelief.
I’ll scatter my people before their enemies,
    like autumn leaves in a high wind.
On their day of doom, they’ll stare at my back as I walk away,
    catching not so much as a glimpse of my face.”

18 Some of the people said, “Come on, let’s cook up a plot against Jeremiah. We’ll still have the priests to teach us the law, wise counselors to give us advice, and prophets to tell us what God has to say. Come on, let’s discredit him so we don’t have to put up with him any longer.”

19-23 And I said to God:

God, listen to me!
    Just listen to what my enemies are saying.
Should I get paid evil for good?
    That’s what they’re doing. They’ve made plans to kill me!
Remember all the times I stood up for them before you,
    speaking up for them,
    trying to soften your anger?
But enough! Let their children starve!
    Let them be massacred in battle!
Let their wives be childless and widowed,
    their friends die and their proud young men be killed.
Let cries of panic sound from their homes
    as you surprise them with war parties!
They’re all set to lynch me.
    The noose is practically around my neck!
But you know all this, God.
    You know they’re determined to kill me.
Don’t whitewash their crimes,
    don’t overlook a single sin!
Round the bunch of them up before you.
    Strike while the iron of your anger is hot!”

The Message (MSG)

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

Jeremiah 19The Message (MSG)

Smashing the Clay Pot

19 1-2 God said to me, “Go, buy a clay pot. Then get a few leaders from the people and a few of the leading priests and go out to the Valley of Ben-hinnom, just outside the Potsherd Gate, and preach there what I tell you.

3-5 “Say, ‘Listen to God’s Word, you kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem! This is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel. I’m about to bring doom crashing down on this place. Oh, and will ears ever ring! Doom—because they’ve walked off and left me, and made this place strange by worshiping strange gods, gods never heard of by them, their parents, or the old kings of Judah. Doom—because they have massacred innocent people. Doom—because they’ve built altars to that no-god Baal, and burned their own children alive in the fire as offerings to Baal, an atrocity I never ordered, never so much as hinted at!

6-9 “‘And so it’s payday, and soon’—God’s Decree!—‘this place will no longer be known as Topheth or Valley of Ben-hinnom, but Massacre Meadows. I’m canceling all the plans Judah and Jerusalem had for this place, and I’ll have them killed by their enemies. I’ll stack their dead bodies to be eaten by carrion crows and wild dogs. I’ll turn this city into such a museum of atrocities that anyone coming near will be shocked speechless by the savage brutality. The people will turn into cannibals. Dehumanized by the pressure of the enemy siege, they’ll eat their own children! Yes, they’ll eat one another, family and friends alike.’

10-13 “Say all this, and then smash the pot in front of the men who have come with you. Then say, ‘This is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies says: I’ll smash this people and this city like a man who smashes a clay pot into so many pieces it can never be put together again. They’ll bury bodies here in Topheth until there’s no more room. And the whole city will become a Topheth. The city will be turned by people and kings alike into a center for worshiping the star gods and goddesses, turned into an open grave, the whole city an open grave, stinking like a sewer, like Topheth.’”

14-15 Then Jeremiah left Topheth, where God had sent him to preach the sermon, and took his stand in the court of God’s Temple and said to the people, “This is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies to you: ‘Warning! Danger! I’m bringing down on this city and all the surrounding towns the doom that I have pronounced. They’re set in their ways and won’t budge. They refuse to do a thing I say.’”

The Message (MSG)

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

Jeremiah 20The Message (MSG)

Life’s Been Nothing but Trouble and Tears

20 1-5 The priest Pashur son of Immer was the senior priest in God’s Temple. He heard Jeremiah preach this sermon. He whipped Jeremiah the prophet and put him in the stocks at the Upper Benjamin Gate of God’s Temple. The next day Pashur came and let him go. Jeremiah told him, “God has a new name for you: not Pashur but Danger-Everywhere, because God says, ‘You’re a danger to yourself and everyone around you. All your friends are going to get killed in battle while you stand there and watch. What’s more, I’m turning all of Judah over to the king of Babylon to do whatever he likes with them—haul them off into exile, kill them at whim. Everything worth anything in this city, property and possessions along with everything in the royal treasury—I’m handing it all over to the enemy. They’ll rummage through it and take what they want back to Babylon.

“‘And you, Pashur, you and everyone in your family will be taken prisoner into exile—that’s right, exile in Babylon. You’ll die and be buried there, you and all your cronies to whom you preached your lies.’”

7-10 You pushed me into this, God, and I let you do it.
    You were too much for me.
And now I’m a public joke.
    They all poke fun at me.
Every time I open my mouth
    I’m shouting, “Murder!” or “Rape!”
And all I get for my God-warnings
    are insults and contempt.
But if I say, “Forget it!
    No more God-Messages from me!”
The words are fire in my belly,
    a burning in my bones.
I’m worn out trying to hold it in.
    I can’t do it any longer!
Then I hear whispering behind my back:
    “There goes old ‘Danger-Everywhere.’ Shut him up! Report him!”
Old friends watch, hoping I’ll fall flat on my face:
    “One misstep and we’ll have him. We’ll get rid of him for good!”

11 But God, a most fierce warrior, is at my side.
    Those who are after me will be sent sprawling—
Slapstick buffoons falling all over themselves,
    a spectacle of humiliation no one will ever forget.

12 Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, no one fools you.
    You see through everyone, everything.
I want to see you pay them back for what they’ve done.
    I rest my case with you.

13 Sing to God! All praise to God!
    He saves the weak from the grip of the wicked.

14-18 Curse the day
    I was born!
The day my mother bore me—
    a curse on it, I say!
And curse the man who delivered
    the news to my father:
“You’ve got a new baby—a boy baby!”
    (How happy it made him.)
Let that birth notice be blacked out,
    deleted from the records,
And the man who brought it haunted to his death
    with the bad news he brought.
He should have killed me before I was born,
    with that womb as my tomb,
My mother pregnant for the rest of her life
    with a baby dead in her womb.
Why, oh why, did I ever leave that womb?
    Life’s been nothing but trouble and tears,
    and what’s coming is more of the same.

The Message (MSG)

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

Psalm 93The Message (MSG)

93 1-2 God is King, robed and ruling,
God is robed and surging with strength.

And yes, the world is firm, immovable,
Your throne ever firm—you’re Eternal!

3-4 Sea storms are up, God,
Sea storms wild and roaring,
Sea storms with thunderous breakers.

Stronger than wild sea storms,
Mightier than sea-storm breakers,
Mighty God rules from High Heaven.

What you say goes—it always has.
“Beauty” and “Holy” mark your palace rule,
God, to the very end of time.

The Message (MSG)

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

John 17The Message (MSG)

Jesus’ Prayer for His Followers

17 1-5 Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said:

Father, it’s time.
Display the bright splendor of your Son
So the Son in turn may show your bright splendor.
You put him in charge of everything human
So he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge.
And this is the real and eternal life:
That they know you,
The one and only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
I glorified you on earth
By completing down to the last detail
What you assigned me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor,
The very splendor I had in your presence
Before there was a world.

6-12 I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.
They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.
They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I’m not praying for the God-rejecting world
But for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.
Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,
And my life is on display in them.
For I’m no longer going to be visible in the world;
They’ll continue in the world
While I return to you.
Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind.
As long as I was with them, I guarded them
In the pursuit of the life you gave through me;
I even posted a night watch.
And not one of them got away,
Except for the rebel bent on destruction
(the exception that proved the rule of Scripture).

13-19 Now I’m returning to you.
I’m saying these things in the world’s hearing
So my people can experience
My joy completed in them.
I gave them your word;
The godless world hated them because of it,
Because they didn’t join the world’s ways,
Just as I didn’t join the world’s ways.
I’m not asking that you take them out of the world
But that you guard them from the Evil One.
They are no more defined by the world
Than I am defined by the world.
Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth;
Your word is consecrating truth.
In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world,
I give them a mission in the world.
I’m consecrating myself for their sakes
So they’ll be truth-consecrated in their mission.

20-23 I’m praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.

24-26 Father, I want those you gave me
To be with me, right where I am,
So they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me,
Having loved me
Long before there ever was a world.
Righteous Father, the world has never known you,
But I have known you, and these disciples know
That you sent me on this mission.
I have made your very being known to them—
Who you are and what you do—
And continue to make it known,
So that your love for me
Might be in them
Exactly as I am in them.

The Message (MSG)

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

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