A A A A A
Bible Book List

Zephaniah 1The Message (MSG)

No Longer Giving God a Thought or a Prayer

God’s Message to Zephaniah son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah. It came during the reign of Josiah son of Amon, who was king of Judah:

“I’m going to make a clean sweep of the earth,
    a thorough housecleaning.” God’s Decree.

“Men and women and animals,
    including birds and fish—
Anything and everything that causes sin—will go,
    but especially people.

4-6 “I’ll start with Judah
    and everybody who lives in Jerusalem.
I’ll sweep the place clean of every trace
    of the sex-and-religion Baal shrines and their priests.
I’ll get rid of the people who sneak up to their rooftops at night
    to worship the star gods and goddesses;
Also those who continue to worship God
    but cover their bases by worshiping other king-gods as well;
Not to mention those who’ve dumped God altogether,
    no longer giving him a thought or offering a prayer.

7-13 “Quiet now!
    Reverent silence before me, God, the Master!
Time’s up. My Judgment Day is near:
    The Holy Day is all set, the invited guests made holy.
On the Holy Day, God’s Judgment Day,
    I will punish the leaders and the royal sons;
I will punish those who dress up like foreign priests and priestesses,
    Who introduce pagan prayers and practices;
And I’ll punish all who import pagan superstitions
    that turn holy places into hellholes.
Judgment Day!” God’s Decree!
    “Cries of panic from the city’s Fish Gate,
Cries of terror from the city’s Second Quarter,
    sounds of great crashing from the hills!
Wail, you shopkeepers on Market Street!
    Moneymaking has had its day. The god Money is dead.
On Judgment Day,
    I’ll search through every closet and alley in Jerusalem.
I’ll find and punish those who are sitting it out, fat and lazy,
    amusing themselves and taking it easy,
Who think, ‘God doesn’t do anything, good or bad.
    He isn’t involved, so neither are we.’
But just wait. They’ll lose everything they have,
    money and house and land.
They’ll build a house and never move in.
    They’ll plant vineyards and never taste the wine.

A Day of Darkness at Noon

14-18 “The Great Judgment Day of God is almost here.
    It’s countdown time: . . . seven, six, five, four . . .
Bitter and noisy cries on my Judgment Day,
    even strong men screaming for help.
Judgment Day is payday—my anger paid out:
    a day of distress and anguish,
    a day of catastrophic doom,
    a day of darkness at noon,
    a day of black storm clouds,
    a day of bloodcurdling war cries,
    as forts are assaulted,
    as defenses are smashed.
I’ll make things so bad they won’t know what hit them.
    They’ll walk around groping like the blind.
    They’ve sinned against God!
Their blood will be poured out like old dishwater,
    their guts shoveled into slop buckets.
Don’t plan on buying your way out.
    Your money is worthless for this.
This is the Day of God’s Judgment—my wrath!
    I care about sin with fiery passion—
A fire to burn up the corrupted world,
    a wildfire finish to the corrupting people.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Zephaniah 2The Message (MSG)

Seek God

1-2 So get yourselves together. Shape up!
    You’re a nation without a clue about what it wants.
Do it before you’re blown away
    like leaves in a windstorm,
Before God’s Judgment-anger
    sweeps down on you,
Before God’s Judgment Day wrath
    descends with full force.

Seek God, all you quietly disciplined people
    who live by God’s justice.
Seek God’s right ways. Seek a quiet and disciplined life.
    Perhaps you’ll be hidden on the Day of God’s anger.

All Earth-Made Gods Will Blow Away

4-5 Gaza is scheduled for demolition,
    Ashdod will be cleaned out by high noon,
    Ekron pulled out by the roots.
Doom to the seaside people,
    the seafaring people from Crete!
The Word of God is bad news for you
    who settled Canaan, the Philistine country:
“You’re slated for destruction—
    no survivors!”

6-7 The lands of the seafarers
    will become pastureland,
A country for shepherds and sheep.
    What’s left of the family of Judah will get it.
Day after day they’ll pasture by the sea,
    and go home in the evening to Ashkelon to sleep.
Their very own God will look out for them.
    He’ll make things as good as before.

8-12 “I’ve heard the crude taunts of Moab,
    the mockeries flung by Ammon,
The cruel talk they’ve used to put down my people,
    their self-important strutting along Israel’s borders.
Therefore, as sure as I am the living God,” says
        God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    Israel’s personal God,
“Moab will become a ruin like Sodom,
    Ammon a ghost town like Gomorrah,
One a field of rocks, the other a sterile salt flat,
    a moonscape forever.
What’s left of my people will finish them off,
    will pick them clean and take over.
This is what they get for their bloated pride,
    their taunts and mockeries of the people
    of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
God will be seen as truly terrible—a Holy Terror.
    All earth-made gods will shrivel up and blow away;
And everyone, wherever they are, far or near,
    will fall to the ground and worship him.
Also you Ethiopians,
    you, too, will die—I’ll see to it.”

13-15 Then God will reach into the north
    and destroy Assyria.
He will waste Nineveh,
    leave her dry and treeless as a desert.
The ghost town of a city,
    the haunt of wild animals,
Nineveh will be home to raccoons and coyotes—
    they’ll bed down in its ruins.
Owls will hoot in the windows, ravens will croak in the doorways—
    all that fancy woodwork now a perch for birds.
Can this be the famous Fun City
    that had it made,
That boasted, “I’m the Number-One City!
    I’m King of the Mountain!”
So why is the place deserted,
    a lair for wild animals?
Passersby hardly give it a look;
    they dismiss it with a gesture.

The Message (MSG)

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

Zephaniah 3The Message (MSG)

Sewer City

1-5 Doom to the rebellious city,
    the home of oppressors—Sewer City!
The city that wouldn’t take advice,
    wouldn’t accept correction,
Wouldn’t trust God,
    wouldn’t even get close to her own god!
Her very own leaders
    are rapacious lions,
Her judges are rapacious timber wolves
    out every morning prowling for a fresh kill.
Her prophets are out for what they can get.
    They’re opportunists—you can’t trust them.
Her priests desecrate the Sanctuary.
    They use God’s law as a weapon to maim and kill souls.
Yet God remains righteous in her midst,
    untouched by the evil.
He stays at it, day after day, meting out justice.
    At evening he’s still at it, strong as ever.
But evil men and women, without conscience
    and without shame, persist in evil.

“So I cut off the godless nations.
    I knocked down their defense posts,
Filled her roads with rubble
    so no one could get through.
Her cities were bombed-out ruins,
    unlivable and unlived in.

“I thought, ‘Surely she’ll honor me now,
    accept my discipline and correction,
Find a way of escape from the trouble she’s in,
    find relief from the punishment I’m bringing.’
But it didn’t faze her. Bright and early
    she was up at it again, doing the same old things.

“Well, if that’s what you want, stick around.”
    God’s Decree.
“Your day in court is coming,
    but remember I’ll be there to bring evidence.
I’ll bring all the nations to the courtroom,
    round up all the kingdoms,
And let them feel the brunt of my anger,
    my raging wrath.
My zeal is a fire
    that will purge and purify the earth.

God Is in Charge at the Center

9-13 “In the end I will turn things around for the people.
    I’ll give them a language undistorted, unpolluted,
Words to address God in worship
    and, united, to serve me with their shoulders to the wheel.
They’ll come from beyond the Ethiopian rivers,
    they’ll come praying—
All my scattered, exiled people
    will come home with offerings for worship.
You’ll no longer have to be ashamed
    of all those acts of rebellion.
I’ll have gotten rid of your arrogant leaders.
    No more pious strutting on my holy hill!
I’ll leave a core of people among you
    who are poor in spirit—
What’s left of Israel that’s really Israel.
    They’ll make their home in God.
This core holy people
    will not do wrong.
They won’t lie,
    won’t use words to flatter or seduce.
Content with who they are and where they are,
    unanxious, they’ll live at peace.”

14-15 So sing, Daughter Zion!
    Raise the rafters, Israel!
Daughter Jerusalem,
    be happy! celebrate!
God has reversed his judgments against you
    and sent your enemies off chasing their tails.
From now on, God is Israel’s king,
    in charge at the center.
There’s nothing to fear from evil
    ever again!

God Is Present Among You

16-17 Jerusalem will be told:
    “Don’t be afraid.
Dear Zion,
    don’t despair.
Your God is present among you,
    a strong Warrior there to save you.
Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love
    and delight you with his songs.

18-20 “The accumulated sorrows of your exile
    will dissipate.
I, your God, will get rid of them for you.
    You’ve carried those burdens long enough.
At the same time, I’ll get rid of all those
    who’ve made your life miserable.
I’ll heal the maimed;
    I’ll bring home the homeless.
In the very countries where they were hated
    they will be venerated.
On Judgment Day
    I’ll bring you back home—a great family gathering!
You’ll be famous and honored
    all over the world.
You’ll see it with your own eyes—
    all those painful partings turned into reunions!”
        God’s Promise.

The Message (MSG)

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

John 9The Message (MSG)

True Blindness

1-2 Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”

3-5 Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”

6-7 He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man’s eyes, and said, “Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “Sent”). The man went and washed—and saw.

Soon the town was buzzing. His relatives and those who year after year had seen him as a blind man begging were saying, “Why, isn’t this the man we knew, who sat here and begged?”

Others said, “It’s him all right!”

But others objected, “It’s not the same man at all. It just looks like him.”

He said, “It’s me, the very one.”

10 They said, “How did your eyes get opened?”

11 “A man named Jesus made a paste and rubbed it on my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ I did what he said. When I washed, I saw.”

12 “So where is he?”

“I don’t know.”

13-15 They marched the man to the Pharisees. This day when Jesus made the paste and healed his blindness was the Sabbath. The Pharisees grilled him again on how he had come to see. He said, “He put a clay paste on my eyes, and I washed, and now I see.”

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “Obviously, this man can’t be from God. He doesn’t keep the Sabbath.”

Others countered, “How can a bad man do miraculous, God-revealing things like this?” There was a split in their ranks.

17 They came back at the blind man, “You’re the expert. He opened your eyes. What do you say about him?”

He said, “He is a prophet.”

18-19 The Jews didn’t believe it, didn’t believe the man was blind to begin with. So they called the parents of the man now bright-eyed with sight. They asked them, “Is this your son, the one you say was born blind? So how is it that he now sees?”

20-23 His parents said, “We know he is our son, and we know he was born blind. But we don’t know how he came to see—haven’t a clue about who opened his eyes. Why don’t you ask him? He’s a grown man and can speak for himself.” (His parents were talking like this because they were intimidated by the Jewish leaders, who had already decided that anyone who took a stand that this was the Messiah would be kicked out of the meeting place. That’s why his parents said, “Ask him. He’s a grown man.”)

24 They called the man back a second time—the man who had been blind—and told him, “Give credit to God. We know this man is an impostor.”

25 He replied, “I know nothing about that one way or the other. But I know one thing for sure: I was blind . . . I now see.”

26 They said, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

27 “I’ve told you over and over and you haven’t listened. Why do you want to hear it again? Are you so eager to become his disciples?”

28-29 With that they jumped all over him. “You might be a disciple of that man, but we’re disciples of Moses. We know for sure that God spoke to Moses, but we have no idea where this man even comes from.”

30-33 The man replied, “This is amazing! You claim to know nothing about him, but the fact is, he opened my eyes! It’s well known that God isn’t at the beck and call of sinners, but listens carefully to anyone who lives in reverence and does his will. That someone opened the eyes of a man born blind has never been heard of—ever. If this man didn’t come from God, he wouldn’t be able to do anything.”

34 They said, “You’re nothing but dirt! How dare you take that tone with us!” Then they threw him out in the street.

35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and went and found him. He asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36 The man said, “Point him out to me, sir, so that I can believe in him.”

37 Jesus said, “You’re looking right at him. Don’t you recognize my voice?”

38 “Master, I believe,” the man said, and worshiped him.

39 Jesus then said, “I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.”

40 Some Pharisees overheard him and said, “Does that mean you’re calling us blind?”

41 Jesus said, “If you were really blind, you would be blameless, but since you claim to see everything so well, you’re accountable for every fault and failure.”

The Message (MSG)

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

Bible Gateway Recommends

The Message Bible, Compact Soft leather-look, tan
The Message Bible, Compact Soft leather-look, tan
Retail: $29.99
Our Price: $20.49Save: $9.50 (32%)
5.0 of 5.0 stars
Buy Now
The Message Compact Bible, Soft Imitation Leather, Graphite
The Message Compact Bible, Soft Imitation Leather, Graphite
Retail: $29.99
Our Price: $20.99Save: $9.00 (30%)Buy Now
  Back

1 of 1

You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more

Viewing of
Cross references
Footnotes