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Zechariah 13The Message (MSG)

Washing Away Sins

13 “On the Big Day, a fountain will be opened for the family of David and all the leaders of Jerusalem for washing away their sins, for scrubbing their stained and soiled lives clean.

2-3 “On the Big Day”—this is God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaking—“I will wipe out the store-bought gods, erase their names from memory. People will forget they ever heard of them. And I’ll get rid of the prophets who polluted the air with their diseased words. If anyone dares persist in spreading diseased, polluting words, his very own parents will step in and say, ‘That’s it! You’re finished! Your lies about God put everyone in danger,’ and then they’ll stab him to death in the very act of prophesying lies about God—his own parents, mind you!

4-6 “On the Big Day, the lying prophets will be publicly exposed and humiliated. Then they’ll wish they’d never swindled people with their ‘visions.’ No more masquerading in prophet clothes. But they’ll deny they’ve even heard of such things: ‘Me, a prophet? Not me. I’m a farmer—grew up on the farm.’ And if someone says, ‘And so where did you get that black eye?’ they’ll say, ‘I ran into a door at a friend’s house.’

7-9 “Sword, get moving against my shepherd,
    against my close associate!”
        Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
“Kill the shepherd! Scatter the sheep!
    The back of my hand against even the lambs!
All across the country”—God’s Decree—
    “two-thirds will be devastated
    and one-third survive.
I’ll deliver the surviving third to the refinery fires.
    I’ll refine them as silver is refined,
    test them for purity as gold is tested.
Then they’ll pray to me by name
    and I’ll answer them personally.
I’ll say, ‘That’s my people.’
    They’ll say, ‘God—my God!’”

The Message (MSG)

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

Zechariah 14The Message (MSG)

The Day Is Coming

14 1-2 Note well: God’s Judgment Day is on the way:
    “Plunder will be piled high and handed out.
I’m bringing all the godless nations
    to war against Jerusalem—
Houses plundered,
    women raped,
Half the city taken into exile,
    the other half left behind.”

3-5 But then God will march out against the godless nations and fight—a great war! That’s the Day he’ll take his stand on the Mount of Olives, facing Jerusalem from the east. The Mount of Olives will be split right down the middle, from east to west, leaving a wide valley. Half the mountain will shift north, the other half south. Then you will run for your lives down the valley, your escape route that will take you all the way to Azal. You’ll run for your lives, just as you ran on the day of the great earthquake in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah. Then my God will arrive and all the holy angels with him.

6-7 What a Day that will be! No more cold nights—in fact, no more nights! The Day is coming—the timing is God’s—when it will be continuous day. Every evening will be a fresh morning.

What a Day that will be! Fresh flowing rivers out of Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea, half to the western sea, flowing year-round, summer and winter!

God will be king over all the earth, one God and only one. What a Day that will be!

10-11 The land will stretch out spaciously around Jerusalem—to Geba in the north and Rimmon in the south, with Jerusalem towering at the center, and the commanding city gates—Gate of Benjamin to First Gate to Corner Gate to Hananel Tower to the Royal Winery—ringing the city full of people. Never again will Jerusalem be totally destroyed. From now on it will be a safe city.

12-14 But this is what will happen to all who fought against Jerusalem: God will visit them with a terrible plague. People’s flesh will rot off their bones while they are walking around; their eyes will rot in their sockets and their tongues in their mouths; people will be dying on their feet! Mass hysteria when that happens—total panic! Fellow soldiers fighting and killing each other—holy terror! And then Judah will jump into the fray!

14-15 Treasures from all the nations will be piled high—gold, silver, the latest fashions. The plague will also hit the animals—horses, mules, camels, donkeys. Everything alive in the military camps will be hit by the plague.

16-19 All the survivors from the godless nations that fought against Jerusalem will travel to Jerusalem every year to worship the King, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, and celebrate the Feast of Booths. If any of these survivors fail to make the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship the King, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, there will be no rain. If the Egyptians don’t make the pilgrimage and worship, there will be no rain for them. Every nation that does not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths will be hit with the plague. Egypt and any other nation that does not make pilgrimage to celebrate the Feast of Booths gets punished.

20-21 On that Day, the Big Day, all the horses’ harness bells will be inscribed “Holy to God.” The cooking pots in the Temple of God will be as sacred as chalices and plates on the altar. In fact, all the pots and pans in all the kitchens of Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to God-of-the-Angel-Armies. People who come to worship, preparing meals and sacrifices, will use them. On that Big Day there will be no buying or selling in the Temple of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

The Message (MSG)

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

Psalm 147The Message (MSG)

147 Hallelujah!
It’s a good thing to sing praise to our God;
    praise is beautiful, praise is fitting.

2-6 God’s the one who rebuilds Jerusalem,
    who regathers Israel’s scattered exiles.
He heals the heartbroken
    and bandages their wounds.
He counts the stars
    and assigns each a name.
Our Lord is great, with limitless strength;
    we’ll never comprehend what he knows and does.
God puts the fallen on their feet again
    and pushes the wicked into the ditch.

7-11 Sing to God a thanksgiving hymn,
    play music on your instruments to God,
Who fills the sky with clouds,
    preparing rain for the earth,
Then turning the mountains green with grass,
    feeding both cattle and crows.
He’s not impressed with horsepower;
    the size of our muscles means little to him.
Those who fear God get God’s attention;
    they can depend on his strength.

12-18 Jerusalem, worship God!
    Zion, praise your God!
He made your city secure,
    he blessed your children among you.
He keeps the peace at your borders,
    he puts the best bread on your tables.
He launches his promises earthward—
    how swift and sure they come!
He spreads snow like a white fleece,
    he scatters frost like ashes,
He broadcasts hail like birdseed—
    who can survive his winter?
Then he gives the command and it all melts;
    he breathes on winter—suddenly it’s spring!

19-20 He speaks the same way to Jacob,
    speaks words that work to Israel.
He never did this to the other nations;
    they never heard such commands.
Hallelujah!

The Message (MSG)

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

Luke 15The Message (MSG)

The Story of the Lost Sheep

15 1-3 By this time a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, “He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.” Their grumbling triggered this story.

4-7 “Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.

The Story of the Lost Coin

8-10 “Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.”

The Story of the Lost Son

11-12 Then he said, “There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’

12-16 “So the father divided the property between them. It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.

17-20 “That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father.

20-21 “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’

22-24 “But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.

25-27 “All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day’s work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, ‘Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound.’

28-30 “The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’

31-32 “His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!’”

The Message (MSG)

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

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