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Joshua 1The Message (MSG)

1-9 After the death of Moses the servant of God, God spoke to Joshua, Moses’ assistant:

“Moses my servant is dead. Get going. Cross this Jordan River, you and all the people. Cross to the country I’m giving to the People of Israel. I’m giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on—just as I promised Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon east to the Great River, the Euphrates River—all the Hittite country—and then west to the Great Sea. It’s all yours. All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”

The Taking of the Land

10-11 Then Joshua gave orders to the people’s leaders: “Go through the camp and give this order to the people: ‘Pack your bags. In three days you will cross this Jordan River to enter and take the land God, your God, is giving you to possess.’”

12-15 Then Joshua addressed the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. He said, “Remember what Moses the servant of God commanded you: God, your God, gives you rest and he gives you this land. Your wives, your children, and your livestock can stay here east of the Jordan, the country Moses gave you; but you, tough soldiers all, must cross the River in battle formation, leading your brothers, helping them until God, your God, gives your brothers a place of rest just as he has done for you. They also will take possession of the land that God, your God, is giving them. Then you will be free to return to your possession, given to you by Moses the servant of God, across the Jordan to the east.”

16-18 They answered Joshua: “Everything you commanded us, we’ll do. Wherever you send us, we’ll go. We obeyed Moses to the letter; we’ll also obey you—we just pray that God, your God, will be with you as he was with Moses. Anyone who questions what you say and refuses to obey whatever you command him will be put to death. Strength! Courage!”

The Message (MSG)

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

Joshua 2The Message (MSG)

Rahab

Joshua son of Nun secretly sent out from Shittim two men as spies: “Go. Look over the land. Check out Jericho.” They left and arrived at the house of a harlot named Rahab and stayed there.

The king of Jericho was told, “We’ve just learned that men arrived tonight to spy out the land. They’re from the People of Israel.”

The king of Jericho sent word to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you to stay the night in your house. They’re spies; they’ve come to spy out the whole country.”

4-7 The woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, two men did come to me, but I didn’t know where they’d come from. At dark, when the gate was about to be shut, the men left. But I have no idea where they went. Hurry up! Chase them—you can still catch them!” (She had actually taken them up on the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax that were spread out for her on the roof.) So the men set chase down the Jordan road toward the fords. As soon as they were gone, the gate was shut.

8-11 Before the spies were down for the night, the woman came up to them on the roof and said, “I know that God has given you the land. We’re all afraid. Everyone in the country feels hopeless. We heard how God dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you left Egypt, and what he did to the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you put under a holy curse and destroyed. We heard it and our hearts sank. We all had the wind knocked out of us. And all because of you, you and God, your God, God of the heavens above and God of the earth below.

12-13 “Now promise me by God. I showed you mercy; now show my family mercy. And give me some tangible proof, a guarantee of life for my father and mother, my brothers and sisters—everyone connected with my family. Save our souls from death!”

14 “Our lives for yours!” said the men. “But don’t tell anyone our business. When God turns this land over to us, we’ll do right by you in loyal mercy.”

15-16 She lowered them down out a window with a rope because her house was on the city wall to the outside. She told them, “Run for the hills so your pursuers won’t find you. Hide out for three days and give your pursuers time to return. Then get on your way.”

17-20 The men told her, “In order to keep this oath you made us swear, here is what you must do: Hang this red rope out the window through which you let us down and gather your entire family with you in your house—father, mother, brothers, and sisters. Anyone who goes out the doors of your house into the street and is killed, it’s his own fault—we aren’t responsible. But for everyone within the house we take full responsibility. If anyone lays a hand on one of them, it’s our fault. But if you tell anyone of our business here, the oath you made us swear is canceled—we’re no longer responsible.”

21 She said, “If that’s what you say, that’s the way it is,” and sent them off. They left and she hung the red rope out the window.

22 They headed for the hills and stayed there for three days until the pursuers had returned. The pursuers had looked high and low but found nothing.

23-24 The men headed back. They came down out of the hills, crossed the river, and returned to Joshua son of Nun and reported all their experiences. They told Joshua, “Yes! God has given the whole country to us. Everybody there is in a state of panic because of us.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Psalm 37The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

37 1-2 Don’t bother your head with braggarts
    or wish you could succeed like the wicked.
In no time they’ll shrivel like grass clippings
    and wilt like cut flowers in the sun.

3-4 Get insurance with God and do a good deed,
    settle down and stick to your last.
Keep company with God,
    get in on the best.

5-6 Open up before God, keep nothing back;
    he’ll do whatever needs to be done:
He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day
    and stamp you with approval at high noon.

Quiet down before God,
    be prayerful before him.
Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder,
    who elbow their way to the top.

8-9 Bridle your anger, trash your wrath,
    cool your pipes—it only makes things worse.
Before long the crooks will be bankrupt;
    God-investors will soon own the store.

10-11 Before you know it, the wicked will have had it;
    you’ll stare at his once famous place and—nothing!
Down-to-earth people will move in and take over,
    relishing a huge bonanza.

12-13 Bad guys have it in for the good guys,
    obsessed with doing them in.
But God isn’t losing any sleep; to him
    they’re a joke with no punch line.

14-15 Bullies brandish their swords,
    pull back on their bows with a flourish.
They’re out to beat up on the harmless,
    or mug that nice man out walking his dog.
A banana peel lands them flat on their faces—
    slapstick figures in a moral circus.

16-17 Less is more and more is less.
    One righteous will outclass fifty wicked,
For the wicked are moral weaklings
    but the righteous are God-strong.

18-19 God keeps track of the decent folk;
    what they do won’t soon be forgotten.
In hard times, they’ll hold their heads high;
    when the shelves are bare, they’ll be full.

20 God-despisers have had it;
    God’s enemies are finished—
Stripped bare like vineyards at harvest time,
    vanished like smoke in thin air.

21-22 Wicked borrows and never returns;
    Righteous gives and gives.
Generous gets it all in the end;
    Stingy is cut off at the pass.

23-24 Stalwart walks in step with God;
    his path blazed by God, he’s happy.
If he stumbles, he’s not down for long;
    God has a grip on his hand.

25-26 I once was young, now I’m a graybeard—
    not once have I seen an abandoned believer,
    or his kids out roaming the streets.
Every day he’s out giving and lending,
    his children making him proud.

27-28 Turn your back on evil,
    work for the good and don’t quit.
God loves this kind of thing,
    never turns away from his friends.

28-29 Live this way and you’ve got it made,
    but bad eggs will be tossed out.
The good get planted on good land
    and put down healthy roots.

30-31 Righteous chews on wisdom like a dog on a bone,
rolls virtue around on his tongue.
His heart pumps God’s Word like blood through his veins;
    his feet are as sure as a cat’s.

32-33 Wicked sets a watch for Righteous,
he’s out for the kill.
God, alert, is also on watch—
    Wicked won’t hurt a hair of his head.

34 Wait passionately for God,
don’t leave the path.
He’ll give you your place in the sun
    while you watch the wicked lose it.

35-36 I saw Wicked bloated like a toad,
croaking pretentious nonsense.
The next time I looked there was nothing—
    a punctured bladder, vapid and limp.

37-38 Keep your eye on the healthy soul,
scrutinize the straight life;
There’s a future
    in strenuous wholeness.
But the willful will soon be discarded;
    insolent souls are on a dead-end street.

39-40 The spacious, free life is from God,
it’s also protected and safe.
God-strengthened, we’re delivered from evil—
    when we run to him, he saves us.

The Message (MSG)

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

1 Corinthians 3The Message (MSG)

1-4 But for right now, friends, I’m completely frustrated by your unspiritual dealings with each other and with God. You’re acting like infants in relation to Christ, capable of nothing much more than nursing at the breast. Well, then, I’ll nurse you since you don’t seem capable of anything more. As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way? When one of you says, “I’m on Paul’s side,” and another says, “I’m for Apollos,” aren’t you being totally infantile?

5-9 Who do you think Paul is, anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us—servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master. We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working.

9-15 Or, to put it another way, you are God’s house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely.

16-17 You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple.

18-20 Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool—that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. It’s written in Scripture,

He exposes the chicanery of the chic.
The Master sees through the smoke screens
    of the know-it-alls.

21-23 I don’t want to hear any of you bragging about yourself or anyone else. Everything is already yours as a gift—Paul, Apollos, Peter, the world, life, death, the present, the future—all of it is yours, and you are privileged to be in union with Christ, who is in union with God.

The Message (MSG)

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

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