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Job 6The Message (MSG)

Job Replies to Eliphaz

God Has Dumped the Works on Me

1-7 Job answered:

“If my misery could be weighed,
    if you could pile the whole bitter load on the scales,
It would be heavier than all the sand of the sea!
    Is it any wonder that I’m screaming like a caged cat?
The arrows of God Almighty are in me,
    poison arrows—and I’m poisoned all through!
    God has dumped the whole works on me.
Donkeys bray and cows moo when they run out of pasture—
    so don’t expect me to keep quiet in this.
Do you see what God has dished out for me?
    It’s enough to turn anyone’s stomach!
Everything in me is repulsed by it—
    it makes me sick.

Pressed Past the Limits

8-13 “All I want is an answer to one prayer,
    a last request to be honored:
Let God step on me—squash me like a bug,
    and be done with me for good.
I’d at least have the satisfaction
    of not having blasphemed the Holy God,
    before being pressed past the limits.
Where’s the strength to keep my hopes up?
    What future do I have to keep me going?
Do you think I have nerves of steel?
    Do you think I’m made of iron?
Do you think I can pull myself up by my bootstraps?
    Why, I don’t even have any boots!

My So-Called Friends

14-23 “When desperate people give up on God Almighty,
    their friends, at least, should stick with them.
But my brothers are fickle as a gulch in the desert—
    one day they’re gushing with water
From melting ice and snow
    cascading out of the mountains,
But by midsummer they’re dry,
    gullies baked dry in the sun.
Travelers who spot them and go out of their way for a drink
    end up in a waterless gulch and die of thirst.
Merchant caravans from Tema see them and expect water,
    tourists from Sheba hope for a cool drink.
They arrive so confident—but what a disappointment!
    They get there, and their faces fall!
And you, my so-called friends, are no better—
        there’s nothing to you!
    One look at a hard scene and you shrink in fear.
It’s not as though I asked you for anything—
    I didn’t ask you for one red cent—
Nor did I beg you to go out on a limb for me.
    So why all this dodging and shuffling?

24-27 “Confront me with the truth and I’ll shut up,
    show me where I’ve gone off the track.
Honest words never hurt anyone,
    but what’s the point of all this pious bluster?
You pretend to tell me what’s wrong with my life,
    but treat my words of anguish as so much hot air.
Are people mere things to you?
    Are friends just items of profit and loss?

28-30 “Look me in the eyes!
    Do you think I’d lie to your face?
Think it over—no double-talk!
    Think carefully—my integrity is on the line!
Can you detect anything false in what I say?
    Don’t you trust me to discern good from evil?”

The Message (MSG)

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

Job 7The Message (MSG)

There’s Nothing to My Life

1-6 “Human life is a struggle, isn’t it?
    It’s a life sentence to hard labor.
    Like field hands longing for quitting time
    and working stiffs with nothing to hope for but payday,
I’m given a life that meanders and goes nowhere—
    months of aimlessness, nights of misery!
I go to bed and think, ‘How long till I can get up?’
    I toss and turn as the night drags on—and I’m fed up!
I’m covered with maggots and scabs.
    My skin gets scaly and hard, then oozes with pus.
My days come and go swifter than the click of knitting needles,
    and then the yarn runs out—an unfinished life!

7-10 “God, don’t forget that I’m only a puff of air!
    These eyes have had their last look at goodness.
And your eyes have seen the last of me;
    even while you’re looking, there’ll be nothing left to look at.
When a cloud evaporates, it’s gone for good;
    those who go to the grave never come back.
They don’t return to visit their families;
    never again will friends drop in for coffee.

11-16 “And so I’m not keeping one bit of this quiet,
    I’m laying it all out on the table;
    my complaining to high heaven is bitter, but honest.
Are you going to put a muzzle on me,
    the way you quiet the sea and still the storm?
If I say, ‘I’m going to bed, then I’ll feel better.
    A little nap will lift my spirits,’
You come and so scare me with nightmares
    and frighten me with ghosts
That I’d rather strangle in the bedclothes
    than face this kind of life any longer.
I hate this life! Who needs any more of this?
    Let me alone! There’s nothing to my life—it’s nothing
        but smoke.

17-21 “What are mortals anyway, that you bother with them,
    that you even give them the time of day?
That you check up on them every morning,
    looking in on them to see how they’re doing?
Let up on me, will you?
    Can’t you even let me spit in peace?
Even suppose I’d sinned—how would that hurt you?
    You’re responsible for every human being.
Don’t you have better things to do than pick on me?
    Why make a federal case out of me?
Why don’t you just forgive my sins
    and start me off with a clean slate?
The way things are going, I’ll soon be dead.
    You’ll look high and low, but I won’t be around.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Job 8The Message (MSG)

Bildad’s Response

Does God Mess Up?

1-7 Bildad from Shuhah was next to speak:

“How can you keep on talking like this?
    You’re talking nonsense, and noisy nonsense at that.
Does God mess up?
    Does God Almighty ever get things backward?
It’s plain that your children sinned against him—
    otherwise, why would God have punished them?
Here’s what you must do—and don’t put it off any longer:
    Get down on your knees before God Almighty.
If you’re as innocent and upright as you say,
    it’s not too late—he’ll come running;
    he’ll set everything right again, reestablish your fortunes.
Even though you’re not much right now,
    you’ll end up better than ever.

To Hang Your Life from One Thin Thread

8-19 “Put the question to our ancestors,
    study what they learned from their ancestors.
For we’re newcomers at this, with a lot to learn,
    and not too long to learn it.
So why not let the ancients teach you, tell you what’s what,
    instruct you in what they knew from experience?
Can mighty pine trees grow tall without soil?
    Can luscious tomatoes flourish without water?
Blossoming flowers look great before they’re cut or picked,
    but without soil or water they wither more quickly than grass.
That’s what happens to all who forget God—
    all their hopes come to nothing.
They hang their life from one thin thread,
    they hitch their fate to a spider web.
One jiggle and the thread breaks,
    one jab and the web collapses.
Or they’re like weeds springing up in the sunshine,
    invading the garden,
Spreading everywhere, overtaking the flowers,
    getting a foothold even in the rocks.
But when the gardener rips them out by the roots,
    the garden doesn’t miss them one bit.
The sooner the godless are gone, the better;
    then good plants can grow in their place.

20-22 “There’s no way that God will reject a good person,
    and there is no way he’ll help a bad one.
God will let you laugh again;
    you’ll raise the roof with shouts of joy,
With your enemies thoroughly discredited,
    their house of cards collapsed.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Acts 12The Message (MSG)

Peter Under Heavy Guard

12 1-4 That’s when King Herod got it into his head to go after some of the church members. He murdered James, John’s brother. When he saw how much it raised his popularity ratings with the Jews, he arrested Peter—all this during Passover Week, mind you—and had him thrown in jail, putting four squads of four soldiers each to guard him. He was planning a public lynching after Passover.

All the time that Peter was under heavy guard in the jailhouse, the church prayed for him most strenuously.

Then the time came for Herod to bring him out for the kill. That night, even though shackled to two soldiers, one on either side, Peter slept like a baby. And there were guards at the door keeping their eyes on the place. Herod was taking no chances!

7-9 Suddenly there was an angel at his side and light flooding the room. The angel shook Peter and got him up: “Hurry!” The handcuffs fell off his wrists. The angel said, “Get dressed. Put on your shoes.” Peter did it. Then, “Grab your coat and let’s get out of here.” Peter followed him, but didn’t believe it was really an angel—he thought he was dreaming.

10-11 Past the first guard and then the second, they came to the iron gate that led into the city. It swung open before them on its own, and they were out on the street, free as the breeze. At the first intersection the angel left him, going his own way. That’s when Peter realized it was no dream. “I can’t believe it—this really happened! The Master sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s vicious little production and the spectacle the Jewish mob was looking forward to.”

12-14 Still shaking his head, amazed, he went to Mary’s house, the Mary who was John Mark’s mother. The house was packed with praying friends. When he knocked on the door to the courtyard, a young woman named Rhoda came to see who it was. But when she recognized his voice—Peter’s voice!—she was so excited and eager to tell everyone Peter was there that she forgot to open the door and left him standing in the street.

15-16 But they wouldn’t believe her, dismissing her, dismissing her report. “You’re crazy,” they said. She stuck by her story, insisting. They still wouldn’t believe her and said, “It must be his angel.” All this time poor Peter was standing out in the street, knocking away.

16-17 Finally they opened up and saw him—and went wild! Peter put his hands up and calmed them down. He described how the Master had gotten him out of jail, then said, “Tell James and the brothers what’s happened.” He left them and went off to another place.

18-19 At daybreak the jail was in an uproar. “Where is Peter? What’s happened to Peter?” When Herod sent for him and they could neither produce him nor explain why not, he ordered their execution: “Off with their heads!” Fed up with Judea and Jews, he went for a vacation to Caesarea.

The Death of Herod

20-22 But things went from bad to worse for Herod. Now people from Tyre and Sidon put him on the warpath. But they got Blastus, King Herod’s right-hand man, to put in a good word for them and got a delegation together to iron things out. Because they were dependent on Judea for food supplies, they couldn’t afford to let this go on too long. On the day set for their meeting, Herod, robed in pomposity, took his place on the throne and regaled them with a lot of hot air. The people played their part to the hilt and shouted flatteries: “The voice of God! The voice of God!”

23 That was the last straw. God had had enough of Herod’s arrogance and sent an angel to strike him down. Herod had given God no credit for anything. Down he went. Rotten to the core, a maggoty old man if there ever was one, he died.

24 Meanwhile, the ministry of God’s Word grew by leaps and bounds.

25 Barnabas and Saul, once they had delivered the relief offering to the church in Jerusalem, went back to Antioch. This time they took John with them, the one they called Mark.

The Message (MSG)

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

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