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Job 22The Message (MSG)

Eliphaz Attacks Job—The Third Round

Come to Terms with God

22 1-11 Once again Eliphaz the Temanite took up his theme:

“Are any of us strong enough to give God a hand,
    or smart enough to give him advice?
So what if you were righteous—would God Almighty even notice?
    Even if you gave a perfect performance, do you think
        he’d applaud?
Do you think it’s because he cares about your purity
    that he’s disciplining you, putting you on the spot?
Hardly! It’s because you’re a first-class moral failure,
    because there’s no end to your sins.
When people came to you for help,
    you took the shirts off their backs, exploited their helplessness.
You wouldn’t so much as give a drink to the thirsty,
    or food, not even a scrap, to the hungry.
And there you sat, strong and honored by everyone,
    surrounded by immense wealth!
You turned poor widows away from your door;
    heartless, you crushed orphans.
Now you’re the one trapped in terror, paralyzed by fear.
    Suddenly the tables have turned!
How do you like living in the dark, sightless,
    up to your neck in flood waters?

12-14 “You agree, don’t you, that God is in charge?
    He runs the universe—just look at the stars!
Yet you dare raise questions: ‘What does God know?
    From that distance and darkness, how can he judge?
He roams the heavens wrapped in clouds,
    so how can he see us?’

15-18 “Are you going to persist in that tired old line
    that wicked men and women have always used?
Where did it get them? They died young,
    flash floods sweeping them off to their doom.
They told God, ‘Get lost!
    What good is God Almighty to us?’
And yet it was God who gave them everything they had.
    It’s beyond me how they can carry on like this!

19-20 “Good people see bad people crash, and call for a celebration.
    Relieved, they crow,
‘At last! Our enemies—wiped out.
    Everything they had and stood for is up in smoke!’

21-25 “Give in to God, come to terms with him
    and everything will turn out just fine.
Let him tell you what to do;
    take his words to heart.
Come back to God Almighty
    and he’ll rebuild your life.
Clean house of everything evil.
    Relax your grip on your money
    and abandon your gold-plated luxury.
God Almighty will be your treasure,
    more wealth than you can imagine.

26-30 “You’ll take delight in God, the Mighty One,
    and look to him joyfully, boldly.
You’ll pray to him and he’ll listen;
    he’ll help you do what you’ve promised.
You’ll decide what you want and it will happen;
    your life will be bathed in light.
To those who feel low you’ll say, ‘Chin up! Be brave!’
    and God will save them.
Yes, even the guilty will escape,
    escape through God’s grace in your life.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Mark 7The Message (MSG)

The Source of Your Pollution

1-4 The Pharisees, along with some religion scholars who had come from Jerusalem, gathered around him. They noticed that some of his disciples weren’t being careful with ritual washings before meals. The Pharisees—Jews in general, in fact—would never eat a meal without going through the motions of a ritual hand-washing, with an especially vigorous scrubbing if they had just come from the market (to say nothing of the scourings they’d give jugs and pots and pans).

The Pharisees and religion scholars asked, “Why do your disciples flout the rules, showing up at meals without washing their hands?”

6-8 Jesus answered, “Isaiah was right about frauds like you, hit the bull’s-eye in fact:

These people make a big show of saying the right thing,
    but their heart isn’t in it.
They act like they are worshiping me,
    but they don’t mean it.
They just use me as a cover
    for teaching whatever suits their fancy,
Ditching God’s command
    and taking up the latest fads.”

9-13 He went on, “Well, good for you. You get rid of God’s command so you won’t be inconvenienced in following the religious fashions! Moses said, ‘Respect your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone denouncing father or mother should be killed.’ But you weasel out of that by saying that it’s perfectly acceptable to say to father or mother, ‘Gift! What I owed you I’ve given as a gift to God,’ thus relieving yourselves of obligation to father or mother. You scratch out God’s Word and scrawl a whim in its place. You do a lot of things like this.”

14-15 Jesus called the crowd together again and said, “Listen now, all of you—take this to heart. It’s not what you swallow that pollutes your life; it’s what you vomit—that’s the real pollution.”

17 When he was back home after being with the crowd, his disciples said, “We don’t get it. Put it in plain language.”

18-19 Jesus said, “Are you being willfully stupid? Don’t you see that what you swallow can’t contaminate you? It doesn’t enter your heart but your stomach, works its way through the intestines, and is finally flushed.” (That took care of dietary quibbling; Jesus was saying that all foods are fit to eat.)

20-23 He went on: “It’s what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution.”

24-26 From there Jesus set out for the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house there where he didn’t think he would be found, but he couldn’t escape notice. He was barely inside when a woman who had a disturbed daughter heard where he was. She came and knelt at his feet, begging for help. The woman was Greek, Syro-Phoenician by birth. She asked him to cure her daughter.

27 He said, “Stand in line and take your turn. The children get fed first. If there’s any left over, the dogs get it.”

28 She said, “Of course, Master. But don’t dogs under the table get scraps dropped by the children?”

29-30 Jesus was impressed. “You’re right! On your way! Your daughter is no longer disturbed. The demonic affliction is gone.” She went home and found her daughter relaxed on the bed, the torment gone for good.

31-35 Then he left the region of Tyre, went through Sidon back to Galilee Lake and over to the district of the Ten Towns. Some people brought a man who could neither hear nor speak and asked Jesus to lay a healing hand on him. He took the man off by himself, put his fingers in the man’s ears and some spit on the man’s tongue. Then Jesus looked up in prayer, groaned mightily, and commanded, “Ephphatha!—Open up!” And it happened. The man’s hearing was clear and his speech plain—just like that.

36-37 Jesus urged them to keep it quiet, but they talked it up all the more, beside themselves with excitement. “He’s done it all and done it well. He gives hearing to the deaf, speech to the speechless.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Mark 8The Message (MSG)

A Meal for Four Thousand

1-3 At about this same time he again found himself with a hungry crowd on his hands. He called his disciples together and said, “This crowd is breaking my heart. They have stuck with me for three days, and now they have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they’ll faint along the way—some of them have come a long distance.”

His disciples responded, “What do you expect us to do about it? Buy food out here in the desert?”

He asked, “How much bread do you have?”

“Seven loaves,” they said.

6-10 So Jesus told the crowd to sit down on the ground. After giving thanks, he took the seven bread loaves, broke them into pieces, and gave them to his disciples so they could hand them out to the crowd. They also had a few fish. He pronounced a blessing over the fish and told his disciples to hand them out as well. The crowd ate its fill. Seven sacks of leftovers were collected. There were well over four thousand at the meal. Then he sent them home. He himself went straight to the boat with his disciples and set out for Dalmanoutha.

11-12 When they arrived, the Pharisees came out and started in on him, badgering him to prove himself, pushing him up against the wall. Provoked, he said, “Why does this generation clamor for miraculous guarantees? If I have anything to say about it, you’ll not get so much as a hint of a guarantee.”

Contaminating Yeast

13-15 He then left them, got back in the boat, and headed for the other side. But the disciples forgot to pack a lunch. Except for a single loaf of bread, there wasn’t a crumb in the boat. Jesus warned, “Be very careful. Keep a sharp eye out for the contaminating yeast of Pharisees and the followers of Herod.”

16-19 Meanwhile, the disciples were finding fault with each other because they had forgotten to bring bread. Jesus overheard and said, “Why are you fussing because you forgot bread? Don’t you see the point of all this? Don’t you get it at all? Remember the five loaves I broke for the five thousand? How many baskets of leftovers did you pick up?”

They said, “Twelve.”

20 “And the seven loaves for the four thousand—how many bags full of leftovers did you get?”

“Seven.”

21 He said, “Do you still not get it?”

22-23 They arrived at Bethsaida. Some people brought a sightless man and begged Jesus to give him a healing touch. Taking him by the hand, he led him out of the village. He put spit in the man’s eyes, laid hands on him, and asked, “Do you see anything?”

24-26 He looked up. “I see men. They look like walking trees.” So Jesus laid hands on his eyes again. The man looked hard and realized that he had recovered perfect sight, saw everything in bright, twenty-twenty focus. Jesus sent him straight home, telling him, “Don’t enter the village.”

The Messiah

27 Jesus and his disciples headed out for the villages around Caesarea Philippi. As they walked, he asked, “Who do the people say I am?”

28 “Some say ‘John the Baptizer,’” they said. “Others say ‘Elijah.’ Still others say ‘one of the prophets.’”

29 He then asked, “And you—what are you saying about me? Who am I?”

Peter gave the answer: “You are the Christ, the Messiah.”

30-32 Jesus warned them to keep it quiet, not to breathe a word of it to anyone. He then began explaining things to them: “It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the elders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and after three days rise up alive.” He said this simply and clearly so they couldn’t miss it.

32-33 But Peter grabbed him in protest. Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter. “Peter, get out of my way! Satan, get lost! You have no idea how God works.”

34-37 Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?

38 “If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I’m leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you’ll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendor of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels.”

The Message (MSG)

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

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