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Numbers 12The Message (MSG)

Camp Hazeroth

12 1-2 Miriam and Aaron talked against Moses behind his back because of his Cushite wife (he had married a Cushite woman). They said, “Is it only through Moses that God speaks? Doesn’t he also speak through us?”

God overheard their talk.

3-8 Now the man Moses was a quietly humble man, more so than anyone living on Earth. God broke in suddenly on Moses and Aaron and Miriam saying, “Come out, you three, to the Tent of Meeting.” The three went out. God descended in a Pillar of Cloud and stood at the entrance to the Tent. He called Aaron and Miriam to him. When they stepped out, he said,

Listen carefully to what I’m telling you.
    If there is a prophet of God among you,
I make myself known to him in visions,
    I speak to him in dreams.
But I don’t do it that way with my servant Moses;
    he has the run of my entire house;
I speak to him intimately, in person,
    in plain talk without riddles:
    He ponders the very form of God.
So why did you show no reverence or respect
    in speaking against my servant, against Moses?

The anger of God blazed out against them. And then he left.

10 When the Cloud moved off from the Tent, oh! Miriam had turned leprous, her skin like snow. Aaron took one look at Miriam—a leper!

11-12 He said to Moses, “Please, my master, please don’t come down so hard on us for this foolish and thoughtless sin. Please don’t make her like a stillborn baby coming out of its mother’s womb with half its body decomposed.”

13 And Moses prayed to God:

Please, God, heal her,
    please heal her.

14-16 God answered Moses, “If her father had spat in her face, wouldn’t she be ostracized for seven days? Quarantine her outside the camp for seven days. Then she can be readmitted to the camp.” So Miriam was in quarantine outside the camp for seven days. The people didn’t march on until she was readmitted. Only then did the people march from Hazeroth and set up camp in the Wilderness of Paran.

The Message (MSG)

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

Numbers 13The Message (MSG)

Scouting Out Canaan

13 1-2 God spoke to Moses: “Send men to scout out the country of Canaan that I am giving to the People of Israel. Send one man from each ancestral tribe, each one a tried-and-true leader in the tribe.”

3-15 So Moses sent them off from the Wilderness of Paran at the command of God. All of them were leaders in Israel, one from each tribe. These were their names:

from Reuben: Shammua son of Zaccur
from Simeon: Shaphat son of Hori
from Judah: Caleb son of Jephunneh
from Issachar: Igal son of Joseph
from Ephraim: Hoshea son of Nun
from Benjamin: Palti son of Raphu
from Zebulun: Gaddiel son of Sodi
from Manasseh (a Joseph tribe): Gaddi son of Susi
from Dan: Ammiel son of Gemalli
from Asher: Sethur son of Michael
from Naphtali: Nahbi son of Vophsi
from Gad: Geuel son of Maki.

16 These are the names of the men Moses sent to scout out the land. Moses gave Hoshea (Salvation) son of Nun a new name—Joshua (God-Saves).

17-20 When Moses sent them off to scout out Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and then into the hill country. Look the land over, see what it is like. Assess the people: Are they strong or weak? Are there few or many? Observe the land: Is it pleasant or harsh? Describe the towns where they live: Are they open camps or fortified with walls? And the soil: Is it fertile or barren? Are there forests? And try to bring back a sample of the produce that grows there—this is the season for the first ripe grapes.”

21-25 With that they were on their way. They scouted out the land from the Wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob toward Lebo Hamath. Their route went through the Negev Desert to the town of Hebron. Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, descendants of the giant Anak, lived there. Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt. When they arrived at the Eshcol Valley they cut off a branch with a single cluster of grapes—it took two men to carry it—slung on a pole. They also picked some pomegranates and figs. They named the place Eshcol Valley (Grape-Cluster-Valley) because of the huge cluster of grapes they had cut down there. After forty days of scouting out the land, they returned home.

26-27 They presented themselves before Moses and Aaron and the whole congregation of the People of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. They reported to the whole congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told the story of their trip:

27-29 “We went to the land to which you sent us and, oh! It does flow with milk and honey! Just look at this fruit! The only thing is that the people who live there are fierce, their cities are huge and well fortified. Worse yet, we saw descendants of the giant Anak. Amalekites are spread out in the Negev; Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites hold the hill country; and the Canaanites are established on the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan.”

30 Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses and said, “Let’s go up and take the land—now. We can do it.”

31-33 But the others said, “We can’t attack those people; they’re way stronger than we are.” They spread scary rumors among the People of Israel. They said, “We scouted out the land from one end to the other—it’s a land that swallows people whole. Everybody we saw was huge. Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants (the Anak giants come from the Nephilim). Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Psalm 90The Message (MSG)

A Prayer of Moses, Man of God

90 1-2 God, it seems you’ve been our home forever;
    long before the mountains were born,
Long before you brought earth itself to birth,
    from “once upon a time” to “kingdom come”—you are God.

3-11 So don’t return us to mud, saying,
    “Back to where you came from!”
Patience! You’ve got all the time in the world—whether
    a thousand years or a day, it’s all the same to you.
Are we no more to you than a wispy dream,
    no more than a blade of grass
That springs up gloriously with the rising sun
    and is cut down without a second thought?
Your anger is far and away too much for us;
    we’re at the end of our rope.
You keep track of all our sins; every misdeed
    since we were children is entered in your books.
All we can remember is that frown on your face.
    Is that all we’re ever going to get?
We live for seventy years or so
    (with luck we might make it to eighty),
And what do we have to show for it? Trouble.
    Toil and trouble and a marker in the graveyard.
Who can make sense of such rage,
    such anger against the very ones who fear you?

12-17 Oh! Teach us to live well!
    Teach us to live wisely and well!
Come back, God—how long do we have to wait?—
    and treat your servants with kindness for a change.
Surprise us with love at daybreak;
    then we’ll skip and dance all the day long.
Make up for the bad times with some good times;
    we’ve seen enough evil to last a lifetime.
Let your servants see what you’re best at—
    the ways you rule and bless your children.
And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us,
    confirming the work that we do.
    Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

The Message (MSG)

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

Mark 2The Message (MSG)

A Paraplegic

1-5 After a few days, Jesus returned to Capernaum, and word got around that he was back home. A crowd gathered, jamming the entrance so no one could get in or out. He was teaching the Word. They brought a paraplegic to him, carried by four men. When they weren’t able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher. Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said to the paraplegic, “Son, I forgive your sins.”

6-7 Some religion scholars sitting there started whispering among themselves, “He can’t talk that way! That’s blasphemy! God and only God can forgive sins.”

8-12 Jesus knew right away what they were thinking, and said, “Why are you so skeptical? Which is simpler: to say to the paraplegic, ‘I forgive your sins,’ or say, ‘Get up, take your stretcher, and start walking’? Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both . . .” (he looked now at the paraplegic), “Get up. Pick up your stretcher and go home.” And the man did it—got up, grabbed his stretcher, and walked out, with everyone there watching him. They rubbed their eyes, incredulous—and then praised God, saying, “We’ve never seen anything like this!”

The Tax Collector

13-14 Then Jesus went again to walk alongside the lake. Again a crowd came to him, and he taught them. Strolling along, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, at his work collecting taxes. Jesus said, “Come along with me.” He came.

15-16 Later Jesus and his disciples were at home having supper with a collection of disreputable guests. Unlikely as it seems, more than a few of them had become followers. The religion scholars and Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company and lit into his disciples: “What kind of example is this, acting cozy with the riffraff?”

17 Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting the sin-sick, not the spiritually-fit.”

Feasting or Fasting?

18 The disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees made a practice of fasting. Some people confronted Jesus: “Why do the followers of John and the Pharisees take on the discipline of fasting, but your followers don’t?”

19-20 Jesus said, “When you’re celebrating a wedding, you don’t skimp on the cake and wine. You feast. Later you may need to pull in your belt, but not now. As long as the bride and groom are with you, you have a good time. No one throws cold water on a friendly bonfire. This is Kingdom Come!”

21-22 He went on, “No one cuts up a fine silk scarf to patch old work clothes; you want fabrics that match. And you don’t put your wine in cracked bottles.”

23-24 One Sabbath day he was walking through a field of ripe grain. As his disciples made a path, they pulled off heads of grain. The Pharisees told on them to Jesus: “Look, your disciples are breaking Sabbath rules!”

25-28 Jesus said, “Really? Haven’t you ever read what David did when he was hungry, along with those who were with him? How he entered the sanctuary and ate fresh bread off the altar, with the Chief Priest Abiathar right there watching—holy bread that no one but priests were allowed to eat—and handed it out to his companions?” Then Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made to serve us; we weren’t made to serve the Sabbath. The Son of Man is no lackey to the Sabbath. He’s in charge!”

The Message (MSG)

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

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