JUSTICE IN THE BIBLE
He will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. (Isaiah 33:5)
Exodus 16:17-18 - The People of Israel went to work and started gathering [manna], some more,
some less, but when they measured out what they had gathered, those who gathered more had no extra and those who gathered
less weren't short - each person had gathered as much as was needed.
Exodus 21:15 - If someone hits father or
mother, the penalty is death.
Exodus 21:16 - If someone kidnaps a person, the penalty is death, regardless of whether
the person has been sold or is still held in possession.
Exodus 22:21 - Don't abuse or take advantage of strangers;
you, remember, were once strangers in Egypt.
Exodus 22:22-24 - Don't mistreat widows or orphans. If you do and
they cry out tome, you can be sure I'll take them most seriously; I'll show my anger and come raging among you with the sword,
and your wives will end up widows and your children orphans.
Exodus 22:25 - If you lend money to my people, to any
of the down-and-out among you, don't come down hard on them and gouge them with interest.
Exodus 22:26-27 - If
you take your neighbor's coat as security, give it back before nightfall; it may be your neighbor's only covering - what else
does the person have to sleep in? And if I hear the neighbor crying out from the cold, I'll step in - I'm compassionate.
23:8 - Don't take bribes. Bribes blind perfectly good eyes and twist the speech of good people.
Exodus 23:9 -
Don't take advantage of a stranger. You know what it's like to be a stranger; you were strangers in Egypt
Exodus 23:10-12 - Sow your land for six years and gather in its crops, but in the seventh
year leave it alone and give it a rest so that your poor may eat from it. What they leave, let the wildlife have.
Do the same with your vineyards and olive groves.
Leviticus 5:1 - If you sin by not stepping up and offering yourself as a witness to something
you've heard or seen in cases of wrongdoing, you'll be held responsible
Leviticus 19:9-10 - When you harvest your land, don't harvest right up to the edges of your
field or gather the gleanings from the harvest. Don't strip your vineyard bare or go back and pick up the fallen grapes.
Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am God, your God.
Leviticus 19:13 - Don't exploit your friend or rob him. Don't hold back the wages of
a hired hand overnight.
Leviticus 19:15 - Don't pervert justice. Don't show favoritism to either the poor or
to the great. Judge on the basis of what is right.
Leviticus 19:18 (quoted by Yeshua) - Love your neighbor as yourself
YEAR OF JUBILEE
Leviticus 25 - God spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai: "Speak to the People of Israel. Tell
them, When you enter the land which I am going to give you, the land will observe a Sabbath to God. Sow your fields,
prune your vineyards, and take in your harvests for six years. But the seventh year th eland will take a Sabbath of
complete and total rest, a Sabbath to God; you will not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Don't reap what grows
of itself; don't harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land gets of year of complete and total rest.
But you can eat from what the land volunteers during the Sabbath year - you and your men and women servants, your hired hands,
and the foreigner who live in the country, and, of course, also your livestock and the wild animals in the land can eat from
it. Whatever the land volunteers of itself can be eaten.
Count off seven Sabbaths of years - seven times seven years: Seven Sabbaths of years adds
up to forty-nine years. Then sound loud blasts on the ram's horn on the tenth day of the seventh month, the Day of Atonement.
Sound the ram's horn all over the land. Sanctify the fiftieth year; make it a holy year. Proclaim freedom all
over the land to everyone who lives in it - a Jubilee for you: Each person will go back to his family's property and reunite
with his extended family. The fiftieth year is your Jubilee year. Don't sow; don't reap what volunteers itself
in the fields; don't harvest the untended vines because it's the Jubilee and a holy year for you. You're permitted to
eat from whatever volunteers itself in the fields.
In the year of Jubilee everyone returns home to his family property.
If you sell or buy property fro one of your countrymen, don't cheat him. Calculate
the purchase price on the basis of the number of years since the Jubilee. He is obliged to set the sale price on the
basis of the number of harvests remaining until the next Jubilee. The more years left, the less money; decrease the
price. What you are buying and selling in fact is the number of crops you're going to harvest. Don't cheat each
other. Fear your God. I am God, your God.
The land cannot be sold permanently because the land is mind and you are foreigners - you're
my tenants. You must provide for the right of redemption for any of the land that you own.
If one of your brothers becomes poor and has to sell any of his land, his nearest relative
is to come and buy back what his brother sold. If a man has no one to redeem it but he later prospers and earns enought
for its redemption, he is to calculate the value since he sold it and refund the balance to the man whom he sold it; he can
then go back to his own land. If he doesn't get together enough money to repay him, what he sold reamins in the possession
of the buyer until the year of Jubilee. In the Jubilee it will be returned and he can go back and live on his land.
If a man sells a house in a walled city, he retains the right to buy it back for a full year
after the sale. At any time during that year he can redeem it. But if it is not redeemed before the full year
has passed, it becomes the permanent possession of the buyer and his descendants. It is not returned in the Jubilee.
However, houses in unwalled villages are treated the same as fields. They can be redeemd and have to be returned at
As to the Levitical cities, houses in the cities owned by the Levites are always subject
to redemption. Levitical property is always redeemable if it is sold in atown that they hold and reverts to them
in the Jubilee, because the houses in the towns of the Levites are their property among the People of Israel. The pastures
belonging to their cities may not be sold; they are their permanent possession.
If one of your brothers becomes indigent and cannot support himself, help him, the same as
you would a foreigner or a guest so that he can continue to live in your neighborhood. Don't gouge him with interest
charges; out of reverence for your God help your brother to continue to live with you in the neighborhood. Don't take
advantage of his plight by running up big interest charges on his loans, and don't give him food for profit. I am your
God who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.
If one of your brothers becomes indigent and has to sell himself to you, don't make him work
as a slave. Treat him as ahired hand or a guest among you. He will work for you until the Jubilee, after
which he and his children are set free to go back to his clan and his ancestral land. Because the People of Israel are
my servants whom I brought out of Egypt, they must be never be sold as slaves. Don't tyrannize them; fear your God.
Deuteronomy 14:28-29 - At the end of every third year, gather the tithe from all your produce
of that year and put it aside in storage. Keep it in reserve for the Levite who won't get any property or inheritance
as you will, and for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow who live in your neighborhood. That way they'll have plenty
to eat and God, your God, will bless you in all your work.
Deuteronomy 15:1-15 - At the end of every seventh year, cancel all debts. This is the procedure:
Everyone who has lent money to a neighbor writes it off. You must not press your neighbor or his brother for payment:
All-Debts-Are-Canceled- God says so. You may collect payment from foreigners, but whatever you have lent to your fellow
Israelite you must write off.
There must be no poor people among you because God is going to bless you lavishly
in this land that God, your God, is giving you as an inheritance, your very own land. But only if you listen obediently
to the Voice of God, your God, diligently observing every commandment that I command you today. Oh yes - God, your God,
will bless you just as he promised. You will lend to many nations but won't borrow from any; you'll rule many nations
but none will rule over you.
When you happen on someone who's in trouble or needs help among your people with whom you
live in this land that God, your God, is giving you, don't look the other way pretending that you don't see him. Don't
keep a tight grip on your purse. No. Look at him, open your purse, lend whatever and as much as he needs. Don't
count the cost. Don't listen to that selfish voice saying, "It's almost the seventh year, the year of All-Debts-Are-Canceled,"
and turn aside and leave your needy neighbor in the lurch, refusing to help him. He'll call God's attention to you and
your blatant sin.
Give freely and spontaneously. Don't have a stingy heart. The way you handle
matters like this triggers God, your God's, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always
going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your
neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.
If a Hebrew man or Hebrew woman was sold to you and has served you for six years, in the
seventh year you must set him or her free, released into a free life. And when you set them free don't send them off
empty-handed. Provide them with some animals, plenty of bread and wine and oil. Load them with provisions from
all the blessings with which God, your God, has blessed you. Don't for a minute forget that you were once slaves in
Egypt and God, your God, redeemed you from that slave world.
Deuteronomy 16:18-19 - Appoint judges and officers, organized by tribes, in all the towns
that God, your God, is giving you. They are to judge the people fairly and honestly. Don't twist the law.
Don't play favorites. Don't take a bribe - a bribe blinds even a wise person; it undermines the intentions of the best
Deuteronomy 16:20 - The right! The right! Pursue only what's right! It's
the only way you can really live and possess the land that God, your God, is giving you.
Deuteronomy 17:14-17 - When you enter the land that God, your God, is giving you and take
it over and settle down, and then say, "I'm going to get me a king, a king like all the nations around me," make sure you
get yourself a kig whom God, your God, chooses. Choose your king from among your kinsmen; don't take a foreigner - only
a kinsman. And make sure he doesn't build up a war machine, amassing military horses and chariots. He must not
send people to Egypt to get more horses, because God told you, "You'll never go back there again!" And make sure he
doesn't build up a harem, collecting wives who will divert him from the straight and narrow. And make sure he
doesn't pile up a lot of silver and gold.
Deuteronomy 23:15-16 - Don't return a runaway slave to his master; he's come to you for refuge.
Let him live wherever he wishes within the protective gates of your city. Don't take advantage of him. (Paul contradicted
this Scripture in the book of Philemon)
Deuteronomy 24:14-15 - Don't abuse a laborer who is destitute and needy, whether he is a
fellow Israelite living in your land and in your city. Pay him at the end of workday; he's living from hand to mouth
and needs it now. If you hold back his pay, he'll protest to God and you'll have sin on your books.
Deuteronomy 24:17-22 - Make sure foreigners and orphans get their just rights. Don't
take the cloak of a widow as security for a loan. Don't ever forget that you were once slaves in Egypt and God, your
God, got you out of there. I command you: Do what I'm telling you.
When you harvest your grain and forget a sheaf back in the field, don't go back and get it;
leave it for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow so that God, your God, will bless you in all your work. When you
shake the olives off your trees, don't go back over the branches and strip them bare - what's left is for the foreigners,
the orphan, and the widow. And when you cut the grapes in your vineyard, don't take every last grape - leave a few for
the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow. Don't ever forget that you were a slave in Egypt. I command you: Do
what I'm telling you.
1 Samuel 8:10-18 - So Samuel told them, delivered God's warning to the people who were asking
him to give them a king. He said, "This is the way the kind of king you're talking about operates. He'll take
your sons and make soldiers of them - chariotry, cavalry, infantry, regimented in battalions and squadrons. He'll put
some to forced labor on his farms, plowing and harvesting, and others to making either weapons of war or chariots in which
he can ride in luxury. He'll put your daughters to work as beauticians and waitresses and cooks. He'll conscript
your best fields, vineyards, and orchards and hand them over to his special freinds. He'll tax your harvests and vintage
to support his extensive bureaucracy. Your prize workers and best animals he'll take for his own use. He'll lay
a tax on your flocks and you'll end up no better than slaves. The day will come when you will cry in desperation because
of this king you so much want for yourselves. But don't expect God to answer."
1 Samuel 12:20-22 - Samuel said to them, "Don't be fearful. It's true that you have
done something very wrong. All the same, don't turn your back on God. Worship and serve him heart and soul!
Don't chase after ghost-gods. There's nothing to them. They can't help you. They're nothing but ghost-gods!
God, simply because of who He is, is not going to walk off and leave his people. God took delight in making you into
his very own people.
Nehemiah 5:1-13 - A great protest was mounted by the people, including the wives, against
their fellow Jews. Some said, "We have big families, and we need food just to survive."
Others said, "We're having to mortgage our fields and vineyards and homes to get enough grain
to keep from starving."
And others said, "We're having to borrow money to pay the royal tax on our fields and vineyards.
Look: We're the same flesh and blood as our brothers here; our children are just as good as theirs. Yet here we are
having to sell our children off as slavesss - some of our daughters have already been sold - and we can't do anthing about
it because our fields and vineyards are owned by somebody else."
I got really angry when I heard their protest and complaints. After thinking it over,
I called the nobles and officials on the carpet. I said, "Each one of you is gouging his brother."
Then I called a big meeting to deal with them. I told them, "We did everything we could
to buy back our Jewish brothers who had to sell themselves as slaves to foreigners. And now you're selling these same
brothers back into debt slavery! Does that mean that we have to buy them back again?"
They said nothing. What could they say?
"What you're doing is wrong. Is there no fear of God left in you? Don't you care
what the nations aroudn here, our enemies, think of you?
I and my brothers and the people working for me have also loaned them money. But this
gouging them with interest has to stop. Give them back their foreclosed fields, vineyards, olive groves, and homes right
And forgive your claims on their money, grain, new wine, and olive oil."
They said, "We'll give it all back. We won't make any more demands on them. We'll
do everything you say."
Then I called the priests together and made them promise to keep their word. Then I
emptied my pockets, turning them inside out, and said, "So may God empty the pockets and house of everyone who doesn't keep
this promise - turned inside out and emptied."
Everyone gave a wholehearted "Yes, we'll do it!" and praised God. And the people did
what they promised.
Psalms 41:1 - Dignify those who are down on their luck; you'll feel good - that's what God
Psalms 58 - Is this any way to run a country? Is there an honest politician in the
house? Behind the scenes you brew cauldrons of evil, behind closed doors you make deals with demons.
The wicked crawl from the wrong side of the cradle; thier first words out of the womb are
lies. Poison, lethal rattlesnake poison, drips from their forked tongues - deaf to threats, deaf to charm, decades of
wax built up in their ears.
God, smash their teeth to bits, leave them toothless tigers. Let their lives be buckets
of water spilled, all that's left a damp stain in the sand. Let them be trampled grass worn smooth by the traffic.
Let them dissolve into snail slime, be a miscarried fetus that never sees sunlight. Before what they cook up is half-done,
God, throw it out with the garbage!
The righteous will call up their friends when see the wicked get their reward, Serve up their
blood in goblets as they toast one another, Everyone's cheering, "It's worth it to play by the rules! God's handing
out trophies and tending the earth!"
Psalms 68:5-6 - Father of orphans, champion of widows, is God in His holy house. God
makes homes for the homeless, leads prisoners to freedom, but leaves rebels to rot in hell.
Psalms 72:1-14 - Give the gift of wise rule to the king, O God, the gift of just rule to
the crown prince. May he judge your people rightly, be honorable to your meek and lowly . Let the mountains give
exhuberant witness; shape the hills with the countours of right living. Please stand up for the poor, help the children
of the needy, come down hard on the cruel tyrants. Outlast the sun, outlive the moon - age after age after age.
Be rain fall on cut grass, earth-refreshing rain showers. Let righteousness burst into blossom and peace abound until
the moon fades to nothing. Rule from sea to sea from the River to the Rim. Foes will fall on their knees before
God, his enemies lick the dust. Kings remote and legendary will pay homage, kings rich and resplendent will turn over
their wealth. All kings will fall down and worship, and godless nations sign up to serve him, because he rescues the
poor at the first sign of need, the destitute who ran out of luck. He opens a place in his heart for the down and out,
he restores the wretched of the earth. He frees them from tyranny and torture - when they bleed, he bleeds; when they
die, he dies.
Psalms 82 - God calls the judges into his courtroom, he puts all the judges in the dock.
"Enough! You've corrupted justice long enough, you've let the wicked get away with murder. You're here to defend
the defenseless, to make sure that underdogs get a fair break; Your job is to stand up for the powerless, and prosecute all
those who exploit them."
Ignorant judges! Head-in-the-sand judges! They haven't a clue to what's going
on. And now everything's falling apart, the world's coming unglued.
"I commissioned you judges, each one of you, deputies of the High God, But you've betrayed
your commission and now you're stripped of your rank, busted."
O God, give them their just deserts! You've got the whole world in your hands!
Proverbs 14:21 - It's criminal to ignore a neighbor in need, but compassion for the poor
- what a blessing!
Proverbs 14:31 - You insult your Maker when you exploit the powerless; when you're kind to
the poor you honor God.
Proverbs 17:5 - Whoever mocks poor people insult their Creator; gloating over misfortune
is a punishable crime.
Proverbs 19:1 - Better to be poor and honest than a rich person no one can trust.
Proverbs 19:17 - Mercy to the needy is a loan to God, and God pays those loans in full.
Proverbs 19:22 (Septuagint): Mercy is a fruit to a man: and a poor man is better than a rich
Proverbs 23:10-11 - Don't stealthily move back the boundary lines or cheat orphans out of
their property, for they have a powerful Advocate who will go to bat for them.
Proverbs 28:3 - The wicked who oppress the poor are like a hailstorm that beats down the
Proverbs 28:5 - Justice makes no sense to the evilminded; those who seek God know it inside
Proverbs 28:6 - It's better to be poor and direct than rich and crooked.
Proverbs 28:8 - Get as rich as you want through cheating and extortion but eventually some
friend of the poor is going to give it all back to them
Proverbs 28:11 (Septuagint) - A rich man is wise in his own conceit, but an intelligent poor
man will condemn him.
Proverbs 28:15 - Lions roar and bears charge - and the wicked lord it over the poor.
Proverbs 28:19 - Work your garden - you'll end up with plenty of food; Play and party - you'll
end up with an empty plate.
Proverbs 28:20 - Committed and persistent work pays off; get-rich-quick schemes are ripoffs.
Proverbs 28:22 - A miser in a hurry to get rich doesn't know that he'll end up broke
Proverbs 28:27 - Be generous to the poor - you'll never go hungry; shut your eyes to
their needs, and run a gauntlet of curses.
Proverbs 29:7 - The good hearted understand what it's like to be poor; the hardhearted haven't
the faintest idea.
Proverbs 29:14 - Leadership gains authority and respect when the voiceless poor are treated
Proverbs 31:8-9 - Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers.
Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!
Ecclesiastes 2:11-25 - Then I took a good look at everything I'd done, looked at all the
sweat and hard work. But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke and spitting into the wind. There
was nothing to say of it. Nothing.
And then I took a hard look at what's smart and what's stupid. What's left to do after
you've been king? That's a hard act to follow. You just do what you can, and that's it. But I did see that
it's better to be smart than stupid, just as light is better than darkness. Even so, the smart ones see where they're
going and the stupid ones grope in the dark, they're all the same in the end. One fate for all - and that's it.
When I realized that my fate's the same as the fool's, I had to ask myself, "So why bother
being wise?" It's all smoke, nothing but smoke. The smart and the stupid both disappear out of sight. In
a day or two they're both forgotten. Yes, both the smart and the stupid die, and that's it.
I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It's
smoke - and spitting into the wind.
And I hated everything I'd accomplished and accumulated on this earth. I can't take
it with me - no, I have to leave it to whoever comes after me. Whether they're worthy or worthless - and who's to tell?
- they'll take over the earthly results of my intense thinking and hard work. Smoke.
That's when I called it quits, gave up on anything that could be hoped for on this earth.
What's the point of working your fingers to the bond if you hand over what you worked for to someone who never lifted a finger
for it? Smoke, that's what it is. A bad business form start to finish. So what do you get from a life of
hard labor? Pain and grief from dawn to dusk. Never a decent night's rest. Nothing but smoke.
The best you can do with your life is to have a good time and get by the best you can.
The way I see it, that's it - divine fate. Whether we feast or fast, it's up to God. God may give wisdom and knowledge
and joy to his favorites, but sinners are assigned a life of hard labor, and end up turning their wages over to God's favorites.
Nothing but smoke - and spitting into the wind.
Ecclesiastes 3:16-22 - I took another good look at what's going on: The very place of judgment
- corrupt! The place of righteousness - corrupt! I said to myself, "God will judge righteous and wicked."
There's a right time for every thing, every deed - and there's no getting around it. I said to myself regarding the
human race, "God's testing the lot of us, showing us up as nothing but animals."
Humans and animals come to the same end - humans die, animals die. We all breathe the
same air. So there's really no advantage in being human. None. Everything's smoke. We all end up in
the same place - we all came from dust, we all end up as dust. Nobody knows for sure that the human spirit rises up
to heaven or that the animal spirit sinks into the earth. So I made up my mind that there's nothing better for us men
and women than to have a good time in whatever we do - that's our lot. Who knows if there's anything else to life?
Ecclesiastes 4 - Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place
on this planet - the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims
from them. So I congratulated the dead who are already dead instead of the living who are still alive. But luckier
than the dead or the living is the person who has never even been, who has never seen the bad business that takes place on
Then I observed al the work and ambition motivated by envy. What a waste! Smoke.
And spitting into the wind.
The fool sits back and takes it easy.
His sloth is slow suicide.
One handful of peaceful repose
Is better than two fistfuls of worried work -
More spitting into the wind.
I turned my head and saw yet another wisp of smoke on its way to nothingness: a solitary
person, completely alone - no children, no family, no friends - yet working obsessively late into the night, compulsively
greedy for more and more, never bothering to ask, "Why am I working like a dog, never having any fun? And who cares?"
More smoke. A bad business.
It's better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share
the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, but if there's no one to help,
tough! Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night.
By yourself you're unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you
round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped.
A poor youngster with some wisdom is better off than an old but foolish king who doesn't
know which end is up. I saw a youth just like this start with nothing and go from rags to riches, and I saw everyone
rally to the rule of this young successor to the king. Even so, the excitement died quickly, the throngs of people soon
lost interest. Can't you see it's only smoke? And spitting into the wind?
Ecclesiastes 5:8-20 - Don't be too upset when you see the poor kicked around, and justice
and right violated all over the place. Exploitation filters down from one petty official to another. There's no
end to it, and nothing can be done about it. But the good earth doesn't cheat anyone - even a bad king is honestly served
by a field.
The one who loves money is never satisfied with money. Nor the one who loves wealth
with big profits. More smoke. The more loot you get, the more looters show up. And what fun is that - to
be robbed in broad daylight?
Hard and honest work earns a good night's sleep, Whether supper is beans or steak, But a
rich man's belly gives him insomnia.
Here's a piece of bad luck I've seen happen: A man hoards far more wealth than is good for
him And then loses it all in a bad business deal. He fathered a child but hasn't a cent left to give him. He arrived
naked from the womb of his mother; He'll leave in the same condition - with nothing. This is bad luck, for sure - naked
he came, naked he went. So what was the point of working for a salary of smoke? All for a miserable life spent
in the dark?
After looking at the way things are on this earth, here's what I've decided is the best way
to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you
life. And that's about it. That's the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the
bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what's given and delighting in the work. It's God's gift! God deals
out joy in the present, the now. It's useless to brood over how long we might live.
Ecclesiastes 6:1-7 - I looked long and hard at what goes on around here, and let me tell
you, things are bad. And people feel it. There are people, for instance, on whom God showers everything - money,
property, reputation - all they ever wanted or dreamed of. And then God doesn't let them enjoy it. Some stranger
comes along and has all the fun. It's more of what I'm calling smoke. A bad business.
Say a couple have scores of children and live a long, long life but never enjoy themselves
- even though they end up with a big funeral! I'd say that a stillborn baby gets the better deal. It gets its
start in a mist and ends up in the dark - unnamed. It sees nothing and knows nothing, but is better off by far than
Even if someone lived a thousand years - make it two thousand - but didn't enjoy anything,
what's the point? Doesn't everyone end up in the same place?
We work to feed our appetites; meanwhile our souls go hungry.
Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 - Be generous: Invest in acts of charity. Charity yields high returns.
Don't hoard your goods; spread them around. Be a blessing to others. This could be your last night.
Isaiah 1:13-17 - Quit your worship charades. I can't stand your trivial religious games:
Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings - meetings, meetings, meetings, - I can't stand one more! Meetings
for this, meetings for that. I hate them! You've worn me out! I'm sick of your religion, religion, religion,
while you go right on sinning. When you put on your next prayer-performance, I'll be looking the other way. No
matter how long or loud or often you pray, I'll not be listening. And do you know why? Because you've been tearing
people to pieces, and your hands are bloody. Go home and wash up. Clean up your act. Sweep your lives clean
of your evildoingss so I don't have to look at them any longer. Say no to wrong. Learn to do good. Work
for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless.
Isaiah 1:21-31 - Oh! Can you believe it? The chaste city has become a whore!
She was once all justice, everyone living as good neighbors, And now they're all at one another's throats. Your coins
are all counterfeits. Your wine is watered down. Your leaders are turncoats who keep company with crooks.
They sell themselves to the highest bidder and grab anything not nailed down. They never stand up for the homeless,
never stick up for the defenseless.
This Decree, therefore, of the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the Strong One of Israel: "This
is it! I'll get my oppressors off my back. I'll get back at my enemies. I'll give you the back of my hand,
purge the junk from your life, clean you up. I'll set honest judges and wise counselors among you just like it was back
in the beginning. Then you'll be renamed City-That-Treats-People-Right, the True-Blue City." God's right ways
will put Zion right again. God's right actions will restore her penitents. But it's curtains for rebels and God-traitors,
a dead end for those who walk out on God. Your dalliances in those oak grove shrines will leave you looking mighty foolish,
All that fooling around in god and goddess gardens that you thought was the latest thing. You'll end up like an oak
tree with all its leaves falling off, Like an unwatered garden, withered and brown. "The Big Man" will turn out to be
dead bark and twigs, and his "work," the spark that starts the fire that exposes man and work both as nothing but cinders
Isaiah 2:1-9 - There's a day coming when the mountain of God's House will be The Mountain
- solid, towering over all mountains. All nations will river toward it, people from all over set out for it. They'll
say, "Come, let's climb God's Mountain, go to the House of the God of Jacob. He'll show us the way He works so we can
live the way we're made." Zion's the source of the revelation. God's Message comes from Jerusalem. He'll
settle thinigs fairly between nations. He'll make things right between many peoples. They'll turn their swords
into shovels, their spears into hoes. No more will nation fight nation; they won't play war anymore. Come, family
of Jacob, let's live in the light of God.
God, you've walked out on your family Jacob because their world is full of hokey religion,
Philistine witchcraft, and pagan hocussss-pocus, a world rolling in wealth, Stuffed with things, no end to its machines and
gadgets, And gods - gods of all sorts and sizes. These people make their own gods and worship what they make.
A degenerate race, facedown in the gutter. Don't bother with them! They're not worth forgiving.
Isaiah 3:12-13 (Septuagint) - O my people, your extractors strip you and extortioners rule
over you: O my people, they that pronounce you blessed lead you astray, and pervert the path of your feet.
Isaiah 3:13-24 - God enters the courtroom. He takes his place at the bench to judge
his people. God calls for order in the court, hauls the leaders of his people into the dock: "You've played havoc with
this country. Your houses are stuffed with what your've stolen from the poor. What is this anyway? Stomping
on my people, grinding the faces of the poor into the dirt?" That 's what the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies says.
God says, "Zion women are stuck-up, prancing around in their high heels, Making eyes at all
the men in the street, swinging their hips, Tossing their hair, gaudy and garish in cheap jewelry." The Master will
fix it so those Zion women will all turn bald - Scabby, bald-headed women. The Master will do it.
The time is coming when the Master will strip them of their fancy baubles - the dangling
earrings, anklets and bracelets, combs and mirrors and silk scarves, diamond brooches and pearl necklaces, the rings on their
fingers and the rings on their toes, the latest fashions in hats, exotic perfumes and aphrodisiacs, gowns and capes, all the
world's finest in fabrics and design.
Instead of wearing seductive scents, these women are going to smell like rotting cabbages;
Instead of modeling flowing gowns, they'll be sporting rags; Instead of their stylish hairdos, scruffy beads; Instead of beauty
markss, scabs and scars.
Isaiah 5:7-10 - Do you get it? The vineyard of God-of-the-Angel-Armies is the country
of Israel. All the men and women of Judah are the garden he was so proud of. He looked for a crop of justice and
saw them murdering each other. He looked for a harvest of righteousness and heard only the moans of victims.
Doom to you who buy up all the houses and grab all the land for yourselves - Exposing the
old owners, posting NO TRESPASSING signs, Taking over the country, leaving everyone homeless and landless. I overheard
God-of-the-Angel-Armies say: "Those mighty houses will end up empty. Those extravagant estates will be deserted.
A ten-acre vineyard will produce a pint of wine, a fifty-pound sack of seed, a quart of grain."
Isaiah 5:18-20 - Doom to you who use lies to sell evil, who haul sin to market by the truckload,
Who say, "What's God waiting for? Let him get a move on so we can see it. Whatever The Holy of Israel has cooked
up, we'd like to check it."
Doom to you who call evil good and good evil, Who put darkness in place of light and light
in place of darkness, Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Isaiah 5:21-23 - Doom to you who think you're so smart, who huld such a high opinion of yourselves!
All you're good at is drinking - champion boozers who collect trophies from drinking bouts And then line your pockets with
bribes from the guilty while you violate the rights of the innocent.
Isaiah 9:1-7 - But there'll be no darkness for those who were in trouble. Earlier he
did bring the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali into disrepute, but the time is coming when he'll make that whole area glorious
- the road along the Sea, the country past the Jordan, international Galilee.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. For those who lived in a
land of deep shadows - light! sunbursts of light! You repopulated the nation, you expanded its joy. Oh,
they're so glad in your presence! Festival joy! The joy of a great celebration, sharing rich gifts and warm greetings.
The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants - all their whips and cudgels and curses - Is gone, done away with, a deliverance
as surprising and sudden as Gideon's old victory over Midian. The boots of all those invading troops, along with their
shirts soaked with innocent blood, Will be piled in a heap and burned, a fire that will burn for days! For a child has
been born - for us! the gift of a son - for us! He'll take over the running of the world. His names will
be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace, His ruling authority will grow, and there'll be no limits
to the peace he brings. He'll rule from the historic David throne over that promised kingdom. He'll put that kingdom
on a firm footing and keep it going with fair dealings and right living, beginning now and lasting always. The
zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies will do all this.
Isaiah 10:1-4 - Doom to you legislate evil, who make laws that make victims - Laws that make
misery for the poor, that rob my destitute people of dignity, Exploiting defenseless widows, taking advantage of homeless
children. What will you have to say on Judgment Day, when Doomsday arrives out of the blue? Who will you get to
help you? What good will your money money do you? A sorry sight you'll be then, huddled with the prisoners, or
just some corpses stacked in the street. Even after all this, God is still angry, his fist still raised, ready to hit
Isaiah 11:1-9 - A green Shoot will sprout from Jesse's stump, from his roots a budding Branch.
The life-giving Spirit of God will hover over him, the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding. The Spirit that
gives direction and builds strength, the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God. Fear-of-God will be all his
joy and delight. He won't judge by appearances, won't decide on the basis of hearsay. He'll judge the needy by
what is right, render decisions on earth's poor with justice. His words will bring everyone to awed attention.
A mere breath from his lips will topple the wicked. Each morning he'll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots, and build
righteousness and faithfulness in the land.
The wolf will romp with the lamb, the leopard sleep with the kid. Calf and lion will eat from
the same trough, and a little child will tend them. Cow and bear will graze the same pasture, their calves and cubs
grow up together, and the lion eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will crawl over rattlesnake dens, the toddler
stick his hand down the hole of a serpent. Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill on my holy mountain.
The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive, a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide.
Isaiah 16:4-5 - "When all this is all over," Judah answers, "the tyrant toppled, The killing at an
end, all signs of these cruelties long gone, A new government of love will be established in the venerable David tradition.
A Ruler you can depend upon will head this government, a ruler passionate for justice, a ruler quick to set things right."
Isaiah 25:1-5 - God, you are my God. I celebrated you. I praise you. You've done
your share of miracle-wonders, well-thought-out plans, solid and sure. Here you've reduced the city to rubble, the strong
city to a pile of stones. The enemy Big City is a non-city, never to be a city again. Superpowers will see it
and honor you, brutal oppressors will bow in worshipful reverence. They'll see that you take care of the poor, that
you take care of poor people in trouble, Provide a warm, dry place in bad weather, provide a cool place when it's hot.
Brutal oppressors are like a winter blizzard and vicious foreigners like high noon in the desert. But you, shelter from
the storm and shade from the sun, shut the mouths of the big-mouthed bullies.
Isaiah 28:16-17 - But the Master, God, has something to say to this: "Watch closely. I'm laying
a foundation in Zion, a solid granite foundation, squared and true. And this is the meaning of the stone: A TRUSTING
LIFE WON'T TOPPLE. I'll make justice the measuring stick and righteousness the plumb line for the building. A
hailstorm will knock down the shantytown of lies, and a flash flood will wash out the rubble.
Isaiah 29:17-21 - And then before you know it, and without you having anything to do with it, wasted
Lebanon will be transformed into lush gardens, and mount Carmel reforested. At that time the deaf will hear word-for-word
what's been written. After a lifetime in the dark, the blind will see. The castoffs of society will be laughing
and dancing in God, the down-and-outs shouting praise to the The Holy of Israel. For there'll be nore gangs on the street.
Cynical scoffers will be an extinct species. Those who never missed a chance to hurt or demean will never be heard
of again: Gone the people who corrupted the courts, gone the people who cheated the poor, gone the people who victimized the
Isaiah 32:1-8 - But look! A king will rule in the right way, and his leaders will carry out
justice. Each one will stand as a shelter from high winds, provide safe cover in stormy weather. Each will be
cool running water in parched land, a huge granite outcrop giving shade in the desert. Anyone who looks will see, anyone
who listens will hear. The impulsive will make sound decisions, the tongue-tied will speak with eloquence. No
more will fools become celebrities, nor crooks be rewarded with fame. For fools are fools and that's that, thinking
up new ways to do mischief. They leave a wake of wrecked lives and lies about God, turning their backs on the homeless
hungry, ignoring those dying of thirst in the streets. And the crooks? Underhanded sneaks they are, inventive
in sin and scandal, Exploiting the poor with scams and lies, unmoved by the victimized poor. But those who are noble
make nobler plans, and stand for what is noble.
Isaiah 32:15-20 - Yes, weep and grieve until the Spirit is poured down on us from above and the badlands
desert grows crops and the fertile fields become forests. Justice will move into the badlands desert. Right will
build a home in the fertile field. And where there's Right, there'll be Peace and the progency of Right: quiet lives
and endless trust. My people will live in a peaceful neighborhood - in safe houses, in quiet gardens. The forest
of your pride will be clear-cut, the city showing off your power leveled. But you will enjoy a blessed life, planting
well-watered fields and gardens, with your farm animals grazing freely.
Isaiah 33:15-16 - The answer's simple: Live right, speak the truth, despise exploitation, refuse
bribes, reject violence, avoid evil amusements. This is how you raise your standard of living! A safe and stable
way to live. A nourishing, satisfying way to live.
Isaiah 33:17-19 - Oh, you'll see the king - a beautiful sight! And you'll take in the wide
vistas of land. In your mind you'll go over the old terrors: "What happened to that Assyrian inspector who condemned
and confiscated? And the one who gouged us of taxes? And that cheating moneychanger?" Gone! Out of
sight forever! Their insolence nothing now but a fading stain on the carpet! No more putting up with a
language you can't understand, no more sounds of gibberish in your ears.
Isaiah 42:6,7 - I am God. I have called you to live right and well. I have kept
taken responsibility for you, kept you safe. I have set you among my people to bind them to me, and provided you as
a lighthouse to the nations, to make a start at bringing people into the open, into light: opening blind eyes, releasing prisoners
from dungeons, emptying the dark prisons.
Isaiah 55:1-5 - Hey there! All who are thirsty, come to the water! Are you penniless? Come
anyway - buy and eat! Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk. Buy without money - everything's free! Why
do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy? Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the
best, fill yourself with only the finest. Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing
words. I'm making a lasting coveant commitment with you, the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love.
I set him up as a witnes to the nations, made him a prince and leader of the nations, And now I'm doing it to you: You'll
summon nations you'rve never heard of, and nations who've never heard of you will come running to you because of me, your
God, because The Holy of Israel has honored you."
Isaiah 58 - "Shout! A full-throated shout! Hold nothing back - a trumpet-blast
shout! Tell my people what's wrong with their lives, face my family Jacob with their sins! They're busy, busy,
busy at worship, and love studying all about me. To all appearances they're a nation of right-living people - law-abiding,
God-honoring. They ask me, "What's the right thing to do?" and love having me on their side. But they also
complain, 'Why do we fast and you don't look our way? Why do we humble ourselves and you don't even notice?'
"Well, here's why: "The bottom line on your 'fast days' is profit. You drive
your employees much too hard. You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight. You fast, but you swing a mean
fist. The kind of fasting you do won't get your prayers off the ground. Do you think this is the kind of fast
day I'm after: a day to show off humility? TO put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black? Do
you call that fasting, a fast day that , I, God, would like?
"This is the kind of fast day I'm after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation
in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I'm interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with
the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your
own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness
will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You'll
call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.'
"If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people's
sins, If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, your lives will begin to glow in
the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I'll give you
a full life in the emptiest of places - firm muscles, strong bones. You'll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling
spring that never runs dry. You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out
of your past. You'll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community
"If you watch your step on the Sabbath and don't use my holy day for personal advantage,
if you treat the Sabbath as a day of joy, God's holy day as a celebration, if you honor it by refusing 'business as usual,'
making money, running here and there - Then you'll be free to enjoy God! Oh, I'll make you ride high and soar above
it all. I'll make you feast on the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob." Yes! God says so!
Isaiah 59 - Look! Listen! God's arm is not amputated - he can still save.
God's ears are not stopped up - he can still hear. There's nothing wrong with God; the wrong is in you. Your wrongheaded
lives caused the split between you and God. Your sins got between you so that he doesn't hear. Your hands are
drenched in blood, your fingers dripping with guilt, your lips smeared with lies, your tongue swollen from muttering obscenities.
No one speaks up for the right, no one deals fairly. They trust in illusion, they tell lies, they get pregnant with
mischief and have sin-babies. They hatch snake eggs and weave spider webs. Eat an egg and die; break an egg and
get a snake! The spider webs are no good for shirts or shawls. No one can wear these weavings! They weave
wickedness, they hatch violence. They compete in the race to do evil and run to be the first to murder. They plan
and plot evil, think and breathe evil, and leave a trail of wrecked lives behind them. They know nothing about peace
and less than nothing about justice. They make tortuously twisted roads. No peace for the wretched who walks down
Which means that we're a far cry from fair dealing, and we're not even close to right livign.
We long for light but sink into darkness, long for brightness but stumble through the night. Like the blind, we
inch along a wall, groping eyeless in the dark. We shuffle our way in broad daylight, like the dead, but somehow walking.
We're no better off than bears, groaning, and no worse off than doves, moaning. We look for justice - not a sign of
it; for salvation - not so much as a hint.
Our wrongdoings pile up before you, God, our sins stand up and accuse us. Our wrongdoings
stare us down; we know in detail what we've done: Mocking and denying God, not following your God, spreading false rumors,
inciting sedition, pregnant with lies, muttering malice. Justice is beaten back, righteousness is banished to the sidelines,
truth staggers down the street, honesty is nowhere to be found, good is missing in action. Anyone renouncing evil is
beaten and robbed.
God looked and saw evil looming on the horizon - so much evil and no sign of justice.
He couldn't believe what he saw: not a soul around to correct this awful situation. So he did it himself, took on the
work of Salvation, fueled by his own Righteousness. He dressed in Righteousness, put it on like a suit of armor, with
Salvation on his head like a helmet, Put on Judgment like an overcoat, and threw a cloak of Passion across his shoulders.
He'll make everyone pay for what they've done: fury for his foes, just deserts for his enemies. Even the far-off islands
will get paid in full. In the west they'll fear the name of God, in the east they'll fear the glory of God, for he'll
arrive like a river in floor stage, whipped to a torrent by the wind of God. "I'll arrive in Zion as a Redeemer, to
those in Jacob who leave their sins." God's Decree.
God looked and saw evil looming on the horizon
- so much evil and no sign of justice. He couldn't believe what he saw: not a soul around to correct this awful situation.
So he did it himself, took on the work of Salvation, fueled by his own Righteousness. He dressed in Righteousness, put
it on like a suit of armor, with Salvation on his head like a helmet, Put on Judgment like an overcoat, and threw a cloak
of Passion across his shoulders. He'll make everyone pay for what they've done: fury for his foes, just deserts for
his enemies. Even the far-off islands will get paid in full. In the west they'll fear the name of God, in the
east they'll fear the glory of God, for he'll arrive like a river in floor stage, whipped to a torrent by the wind of God.
"I'll arrive in Zion as a Redeemer, to those in Jacob who leave their sins." God's Decree.
"As for me," God says, "this is my covenant with
them: My Spirit that I've placed upon you and the words that I've given you to speak, they're not going to leave your mouths
nor the mouths of your children nor the mouths of your grandchildren. You will keep repeating these words and won't ever stop,"
God's orders. Isaiah 61:1-9 –
The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because
God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, Announce freedom to all captives, pardon
all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of his grace - a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies - and to
comfort all who mourn, to care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages
of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Rename them "oaks of righteousness" planted
by God to display his glory. They'll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage. They'll start over on the
ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new. You'll hire outsiders to herd your flocks and foreigners to work
your fields, But you'll have the title "Priests of God," honored as ministers of our God. You'll feast on the bounty of nations,
you'll bask in their glory. Because you got a double does of trouble and more than your share of contempt, your inheritance
in the land will be doubled and your joy go on forever. Because I, God, love fair dealing and hate thievery and crime, I'll
pay your wages on time and in full, and establish my eternal covenant with you. Your descendants will become well-known all
over. Your children in foreign countries will be recognized at once as the people I have blessed."
Jeremiah 5:26-31 - "My people are inflitrated by
wicked men, unscrupulous men on the hunt. They set traps for the unsuspecting. Their victims are innocent men and women. Their
houses are stuffed with ill-gotten gain, like a hunter's bag full of birds. Pretentious and powerful and rich, hugely obese,
oily with rolls of fat. Worse, they have no conscience. Right and wrong mean nothing to them. They stand for nothing, stand
up for no one, throw orphans to the wolves, exploit the poor. Do you think I'll stand by and do nothing about this?" God's
Decree. "Don't you think I'll take serious measures against a people like this? "Unspeakable! Sickening! What's happened in
this country? Prophets preach lies and priests hire on as their assistants. And my people love it. They eat it up! But what
will you do when it's time to pick up the pieces?"
Jeremiah 6:13-15 - "Everyone's after the dishonest
dollar, little people and big people alike. Prophets and priests and everyone in between twist words and doctor truth. My
people are broken - shattered! - and they put on Band-Aids, saying, 'It's not so bad. You'll be just fine.' But things are
not 'just fine'! Do you suppose they are embarrassed over this outrage? No, they have no shame. They don't even know how to
blush. There's no hope for them. They've hit bottom and there's no getting up. As far as I'm concerned, they're finished."
God has spoken.
8:10-12 - "So here's what will happen to the know-it-alls: I'll make them wifeless and homeless. Everyone's after the dishonest
dollar, little and big people alike. Prophets and priests and everyone in between twist words and doctor truth. My dread Daughter
- my people - broken, shattered, and yet they put on Band-Aids, saying, "It's not so bad. You'll be just fine." But things
are not "just fine"! Do you suppose they are embarrassed over this outrage? Not really. They have no shame. They don't even
know how to blush. There's no hope for them. They've hit bottom and there's no getting up. As far as I'm concerned, they're
finished." God has spoken.
Jeremiah 21:11-14 - "To the royal house of Judah,
listen to God's Message! House of David, listen - God's Message to you: 'Start each day by dealing with justice. Rescue victims
from their exploiters. Prevent fire - the fire of my anger - for once it starts, it can't be put out. Your evil regime is
fuel for my anger. Don't you realize that I'm against you, yes, against you. You think you've got it made, all snug and secure.
You say, "Who can possibly get to us? Who can crash our party?" Well, I can - and will! I'll punish your evil regime. I'll
start a fire that will rage unchecked, burn everything in sight to cinders."
Jeremiah 22:13-17 - "Doom to him who builds palaces
but bullies people, who makes a fine house but destroys lives, who cheats his workers and won't pay them for their work, who
says, 'I'll build me an elaborate mansion with spacious rooms and fancy windows. I'll bring in rare and expensive woods and
the latest in interior decor.' So, that makes you a king - living in a fancy palace? Your father got along just fine, didn't
he? He did what was right and treated people fairly, and things went well with him. He stuck up for the down-and-out, and
things went well for Judah. Isn't this what it means to know me?" God's Decree! "But you're blind and brainless. All you think
about is yourself, taking advantage of the weak, bulldozing your way, bullying victims."
Jeremiah 23:5-6 - "Time's coming" - God's Decree
- "when I'll establish a truly righteous David-Branch, a ruler who knows how to rule justly. He'll make sure of justice and
keep people united. In his time Judah will be secure again and Israel will live in safety. This is the name they'll give him:
Jeremiah 34:8-20 - God delivered a Message to
Jeremiah after King Zedekiah made a covenant with the people of Jerusalem to decree freedom to the slaves who were Hebrews,
both men and women. The covenant stipulated that no one in Judah would own a fellow Jew as a slave. All the leaders and people
who signed the covenant set free the slaves, men and women alike. But a little while later, they reneged on the covenant,
broke their promise and forced their former slaves to become slaves again. Then Jeremiah received this Message from God: "God,
the God of Israel, says, 'I made a covenant with your ancestors when I delivered them out of their slavery in Egypt. At the
time I made it clear: "At the end of seven years, each of you must free any fellow Hebrew who has to sell himself to you.
After he has served six years, set him free." But your ancestors totally ignored me. “‘And now, you - what have
you done? First you turned back to the right way and did the right thing, decreeing freedom for your brothers and sisters
- and you made it official in a solemn covenant in my Temple. And then you turned right around and broke your word, making
a mockery of both me and the covenant, and made them all slaves again, these men and women you'd just set free. You forced
them back into slavery. " 'So here is what I, God, have to say: You have not obeyed me and set your brothers and sisters free.
Here is what I'm going to do: I'm going to set you free - God's Decree - free to get killed in war or by disease or by starvation.
I'll make you a spectacle of horror. People all over the world will take one look at you and shudder. Everyone who violated
my covenant, who didn't do what was solemnly promised in the covenant ceremony when they split the young bull into two halves
and walked between them, all those people that day who walked between the two halves of the bull - leaders of Judah and Jerusalem,
palace officials, priests, and all the rest of the people -I'm handing the lot of them over to their enemies who are out to
kill them. Their dead bodies will be carrion food for vultures and stray dogs." Ezekiel 16:49-50 - " 'The sin of your sister
Sodom was this: She lived with her daughters in the lap of luxury - proud, gluttonous, and lazy. They ignored the oppressed
and the poor. They put on airs and lived obscene lives. And you know what happened: I did away with them."
Ezekiel 18:1-18 - God's Message to me: "What do
you people mean by going around the country repeating the saying, The parents ate green apples, the children got the stomachache?
"As sure as I'm the living God, you're not going to repeat this saying in Israel any longer. Every soul - man, woman, child
- belongs to me, parent and child alike. You die for your own sin, not another's. "Imagine a person who lives well, treating
others fairly, keeping good relationships - doesn't eat at the pagan shrines, doesn't worship the idols so popular in Israel,
doesn't seduce a neighbor's spouse, doesn't indulge in casual sex, doesn't bully anyone, doesn't pile up bad debts, doesn't
steal, doesn't refuse food to the hungry, doesn't refuse clothing to the ill-clad, doesn't exploit the poor, doesn't live
by impulse and greed, doesn't treat one person better than another, But lives by my statutes and faithfully honors and obeys
my laws. This person who lives upright and well shall live a full and true life. Decree of God, the Master. "But if this person
has a child who turns violent and murders and goes off and does any of these things, even though the parent has done none
of them - eats at the pagan shrines, seduces his neighbor's spouse, bullies the weak, steals, piles up bad debts, admires
iols, commits outrageous obscenities, exploits the poor "-do you think this person, the child, will live? Not a chance! Because
he's done all these vile things, he'll die. And his death will be his own fault. "Now look: Suppose that this child has a
child who sees all the sins done by his parent. The child sees them, but doesn't follow in the parent's footsteps - doesn't
eat at the pagan shrines, doesn't worship the popular idols of Israel, doesn't seduce his neighbor's spouse, doesn't bully
anyone, doesn't refuse to loan money, doesn't steal, doesn't refuse food to the hungry, doesn't refuse to give clothes to
the ill-clad, doesn't live by impulse and greed, doesn't exploit the poor. He does what I say; he performs my laws and lives
by my statutes. "This person will not die for the sins of the parent; he will live truly and well. But the parent will die
for what the parent did, for the sins of - oppressing the weak, robbing brothers and sisters, doing what is dead wrong in
Ezekiel 22:6-12 - "Your leaders, the princes of
Israel among you, compete in crime. You're a community that's insolent to parents, abusive to outsiders, oppressive against
orphans and widows. You treat my holy things with contempt and desecrate my Sabbaths. You have people spreading lies and spilling
blood, flocking to the hills to the sex shrines and fornicating unrestrained. Incest is common. Men force themselves on women
regardless of whether they're ready or willing. Sex is now anarchy. Anyone is fair game: neighbor, daughter-in-law, sister.
Murder is for hire, usury is rampant, extortion is commonplace."
Ezekiel 37:1-14 - God grabbed me. God's Spirit
took me up and set me down in the middle of an open plain strewn with bones. He led me around and among them - a lot of bones!
There were bones all over the plain - dry bones, bleached by the sun. He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" I
said, "Master, God, only you know that." He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones: 'Dry bones, listen to the Message of God!'"
God, the Master, told the dry bones, "Watch this: I'm bringing the breath of life to you and you'll come to life. I'll attach
sinews to you, put meat on your bones, cover you with skin, and breathe life into you. You'll come alive and you'll realize
that I am God!" I prophesied just as I'd been commanded. As I prophesied, there was a sound and, oh, rustling! The bones moved
and came together, bone to bone. I kept watching. Sinews formed, then muscles on the bones, then skin stretched over them.
But they had no breath in them. He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath. Prophesy, son of man. Tell the breath, 'God, the Master,
says, Come from the four winds. Come, breath. Breathe on these slain bodies. Breathe life!" So I prophesied, just as he commanded
me. The breath entered them and they came alive! They stood up on their feet, a huge army. Then God said to me, "Son of man,
these bones are the whole house of Israel. Listen to what they're saying: 'Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone, there's
nothing left of us.' "Therefore, prophesy. Tell them, 'God, the Master, says: I'll dig up your graves and bring you out alive
- O my people! Then I'll take you straight to the land of Israel. When I dig up graves and bring you out as my people, you'll
realize that I am God. I'll breathe my life into you and you'll live. Then I'll lead you straight back to your land and you'll
realize that I am God. I've said it and I'll do it. God's Decree.'"
Hosea 4:1-10 - Attention all Israelites! God's
Message! God indicts the whole population: "No one is faithful. No one loves. No one knows the first thing about God. All
this cussing and lying and killing, theft and loose sex sheer anarchy, one murder after another! And because of all this,
the very land itself weeps and everything in it is grief-stricken - animals in the fields and birds on the wing, even the
fish in the sea are listless, lifeless. "But don't look for some to blame. No finger pointing! You priest, are the one in
the dock. You stumble around in broad daylight, And then the prophets take over and stumble all night. Your mother is as bad
as you. My people are ruined because they don't know what's right or true. Because you've turned your back on knowledge, I've
turned my back on you priests. Because you refuse to recognize the revelation of God, I'm no longer recognizing your children.
The more priests, the more sin. They traded in their glory for shame. They pig out on my people's sins. They can't wait for
the latest in evil. The result: You can't tell the people from the priests, the priests from the people. I'm on my way to
make them both pay and take the consequences of the bad lives they've lived. They'll eat and be as hungry as ever, have sex
and get no satisfaction. They walked out on me, their God, for a life of rutting with whores.
Hosea 5:1 - "Listen to this, priests! Attention,
people of Israel! Royal family - all ears! You're in charge of justice around here. But what have you done? Exploited people
at Mizpah, ripped them off on Tabor, Victimized them at Shittim. I'm going to punish the lot of you. Hosea 5:10 - "Israel's
rulers are crooks and thieves, cheating the people of their land, And I'm angry, good and angry. Every inch of their bodies
is going to feel my anger."
Amos 2:6-8 - God's Message: "Because of the three
great sins of Israel - make that four - I'm not putting up with them any longer. They bell and sell upstanding people. People
for them are only things - ways of making money. They'd sell a poor man for a pair of shoes. They'd sell their own grandmother!
They grind the penniless into the dirt, shove the luckless into the ditch. Everyone and his brother sleep with the 'sacred
whore' - a sacrilege against my Holy Name. Stuff they've extorted from the poor is piled up at the shrine of their god, while
they sit around drinking wine they've conned from their victims.
Amos 3:13-15 - "Listen and bring witness against
Jacob's family" - this is God's Word, God-of-the-Angel-Armies! "Note well! The day I make Israel pay for its sins, pay for
the sin-altars of worship at Bethel, The horned altars will all be dehorned and scattered around. I'll tear down the winter
palace, smash the summer palace - all your fancy buildings. The luxury homes will be demolished, all those pretentious houses."
Amos 4:1-3 - "Listen to this, cows of Bashan grazing
on the slopes of Samaria. You women! Mean to the poor, cruel to the down-and-out! Indolent and pampered, you demand of your
husbands, 'Bring us a tall, cool drink!' "This is serious - I, God, have sworn by my holiness! Be well warned: Judgment Day
is coming! They're goiong to rope you up and haul you off, keep the stragglers in line with cattle prods. They'll drag you
through the ruined city walls, forcing you out single file, and kick you to kingdom come." God's Decree.
Amos 5:4-15 - God's Message to the family of Israel:
"Seek me and live. Don't fool around at those shrines of Bethel, don't waste time taking trips to Gilgal, and don't bother
going down to Beersheba. Gilgal is here today and gone tomorrow and Bethel is all show, no substance." So seek God and live!
You don't want to end up with nothing to show for your life but a pile of ashes, a house burned to the ground. For God will
send just such a fire, and the firefighters will show up too late. Woe to you who turn justice into vinegar and stomp righteousness
into the mud. Do you realize where you are? You're in a cosmos star-flung with constellations by God, a world God wakes up
each morning and puts to bed each night. God dips water from the ocean and gives the land a drink. God, God-revealed, does
all this. And he can destroy it as easily as make it. He can turn this vast wonder into total waste. People hate this kind
of talk. Raw truth is never popular. But here it is, bluntly spoken: Because you run roughshod over the poor and take the
bread right out of their mouths, you're never going to move into the luxury homes you have built. You're never going to drink
wine from the expensive vineyards you've planted. I know precisely the extent of your violations, the enormity of your sins.
Appalling! You bully right-living people, taking bribes right and left and kicking the poor when they're down. Justice is
a lost cause. Evil is epidemic. Decent people throw up their hands. Protest and rebuke are useless, a waste of breath. Seek
good and not evil - and live! You talk about God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, being your best friend. Well, live like it,
and maybe it will happen. Hate evil and love good, then work it out in the public square. Maybe God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
will notice your remnant and be gracious.
5:21-24 - "I can't stand your religious meetings.I'm fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with
your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I'm sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and
image making. I've had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want?
I want justice - oceans of it. I want fairness - rivers of it. That's what I want. That's all I want.
6:3-6 - Woe to you who are rushing headlong to disaster! Catastrophe is just around the corner! Woe to those who live in luxury
and expect everyone else to serve them! Woe to those who live only for today, indifferent to the fate of others! Woe to the
playboys, playgirls, who think life is a party held just for them! Woe to those addicted to feeling good - life without pain!
those obsessed with looking good - life without wrinkles! THey could not care less about their country going to ruin.
8:4-6 - Listen to this, you who walk all over the weak, you who treat poor people as less than nothing, who say, "When's my
next paycheck coming so I can go out and live it up? How long till the weekend when I can go out and have a good time?" Who
give little and take much, and never do an honest day's work. You exploit the poor, using them - and then, when they're used
up, you discard them.
Micah 2:1-5 - Doom to those who plot evil, who
go to bed dreaming up crimes! As soon as it's morning, they're off, full of energy, doing what they've planned. They covet
fields and grab them, find homes and take them. They bully the neighbor and his family, see people only for what they can
get out of them. God has had enough. He says, "I have some plans of my own: Disaster because of this interbreeding evil! Your
necks are on the line. You're not walking away from this. It's doomsday for you. Mocking ballads will be sung of you, and
you yourselves will sing the blues: 'Our lives are ruined, our homes and lands auctioned off. They take everything, leave
us nothing! All is sold to the highest bidder.'" And there'll be no one to stand up for you, no one to speak for you before
God and his jury.
Micah 3:1-12 - Then I said: "Listen, leaders of
Jacob, leaders of Israel: Don't you know anything of justice? Haters of good, lovers of evil: isn't justice in your job description?
But you skin my people alive. You rip the meat off their bones. You break up the bones, chop the meat, and throw it in a pot
for cannibal stew." The time's coming, though, when these same leaders will cry out for help to God, but he won't listen.
He'll turn his face the other way because of their history of evil. Here is God's Message to the prophets, the preachers who
lie to my people: "For as long as they're well paid and well fed, the prophets preach, 'Isn't life wonderful! Peace to all!'
But if you don't pay up and jump on their bandwagon, their 'God bless you' turns into 'God damn you.' Therefore, you're going
blind. You'll see nothing. The sun has set on the prophets. They've had their day; from now on it's night. Visionaries will
be confused, experts will be all mixed up. They'll hid behind their reputations and make lame excuses to cover up their God-ignorance."
But me - I'm filled with God's power, filled with God's Spirit of justice and strength, ready to confront Jacob's crime and
Israel's sin. The leaders of Jacob and the leaders of Israel are leaders contemptuous of justice, who twist and distort right
living, leaders who build Zion by killing people, who expand Jerusalem by committing crimes. Judges sell verdicts to the highest
bidder, priests mass-market their teaching, prophets preach for high fees, all the while posturing and pretending dependence
on God: "We've got God on our side. He'll protect us from disaster." Because of people like you, Zion will be turned back
into farmland, Jerusalem end up as a pile of rubble, and instead of the Temple on the mountain, a few scraggly scrub pines.
Micah 4:1-4 - But when all is said and done, God's
Temple on the mountain, firmly fixed, will dominate all mountains, towering above surrounding hills. People will stream to
it and many nations will set out for it, saying, "Come, let's climb God's mountain. Let's go the Temple of Jacob's God. He
will teach us how to live. We'll know how to live God's way." True teaching will issue from Zion, God's revelation from Jerusalem.
He'll establish justice in the rabble of nations and settle disputes in faraway places. They'll trade in their swords for
shoverls, their spears for rakes and hoes. Nations will quit fighting each other, quit learning how to kill one another. Each
man will sit under his own shade tree, each woman in safety will tend her own garden. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so, and
he means what he says. Micah 4:6-8 - "On that great day," God says, "I will round up all the hurt and homeless, everyone I
have bruised or banished. I will transform the battered into a company of the elite. I will make a strong nation out of the
long lost, a showcase exhibit of God's rule in action, as I rule from Mount Zion, from here to eternity. "And you stragglers
around Jerusalem, eking out a living in shantytowns: The glory that once was will be again. Jerusalem's daughter will be the
Micah 5:10-15 - "The day is coming" - God's Decree
- "When there will be no more war. None. I'll slaughter you war horses and demolish your chariots. I'll dismantle military
posts and level your fortifications. I'll abolish your religious black markets, your underworld traffic in black magic. I
will smash your carved and cast gods and chop down your phallic posts. No more taking control of the world, worshiping what
you do or make. I'll root out your sacred sex-and-power centers and destroy the God-defiant. In raging anger, I'll make a
clean sweep of godless nations who haven't listened." Micah 6:8 - But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and
loyal in your love, and don't take yourself too seriously - take God seriously.
Micah 6:8-16 - "But he's already made it plain
how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your
neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don't take yourself too seriously - take God seriously. Attention!
God calls out to the city! If you know what's good for you, you'll listen. So listen, all of you! This is
serious business. Do you expect me to overlook obscene wealth you've piled up by cheating and fraud? Do you think I'll
tolerate shady deals and shifty scheming? I'm tired of the violent rich bullying their way with bluff and lies. I'm fed up.
Beginning now, you're finished. You'll pay for your sins down to your last cent. No matter how much you get, it will never
be enough - hollow stomachs, empty hearts. No matter how hard you work, you'll have nothing to show for it - bankrupt lives,
wasted souls. You'll plant grass but never get a lawn. You'll make jelly but never spread it on your bread. You'll press apples
but never drink the cider. You have lived by the standards of your king, Omri, the decadent lifestyle of the family of Ahab.
Because you've slavishly followed their fashions, I'm forcing you into bankruptcy. Your way of life will be laughed at, a
tasteless joke. Your lives will be derided as futile and fake."
Micah 7:1-6 - I'm overwhelmed with sorrow! sunk
in a swamp of despair! I'm like someone who goes to the garden to pick cabbages and carrots and corn and returns empty-handed,
finds nothing for soup or sandwich or salad. There's not a decent person in sight. Right-living humans are extinct. They're
all out for one another's blood, animals preying on each other. They've all become experts in evil. Corrupt leaders demand
bribes. The powerful rich make sure they get what they want. The best and brightest are thistles. The top of the line is crabgrass.
But no longer: It's exam time. Look at them slinking away in disgrace! Don't trust your neighbor, don't confide in your friend.
Watch your words, even with your spouse. Neighborhoods and families are falling to pieces. The closer they are - sons, daughters,
in-laws - the worse they can be. Your own family is the enemy.
Habakkuk 1:1-4 - The problem as God gave Habakkuk
to see it: God, how long do I have to cry out for help before you listen? How many times do I have to yell, "Help! Murder!
Police!" before you come to the rescue? Why do you force me to look at evil, stare trouble in the face day after day? Anarchy
and violence break out, quarrels and fights all over the place. Law and order fall to pieces. Justice is a joke. The wicked
have the righteous hamstrung and stand justice on its head.
Habakkuk 2:4-17 - "Look at that man, bloated by
self-importance - full of himself but soul-empty. But the person in right standing before God through loyal and steady believing
is fully alive, really alive. "Note well: Money deceives. The arrogant rich don't last. They are more hungry for wealth than
the grave is for cadavers. Like death, they always want more, but the 'more' they get is dead bodies. They are cemeteries
filled with dead nations, graveyards filled with corpses. Don't give people like this a second thought. Soon the whole world
will be taunting them: "'Who do you think you are - getting rich by stealing and extortion? How long do you think you can
get away with this?' Indeed, how long before your victims wake up, stand up and make you the victim? You've plundered nation
after nation. Now you'll get a taste of your own medicine. All the survivors are out to plunder you, a payback for all your
murders and massacres. "Who do you think you are - recklessly grabbing and looting, living it up, acting like king of the
mountain, acting above it all, above trials and troubles? You've engineered the ruin of your own house. In ruining others
you've ruined yourself. You've undermined your foundations, rotted out your own soul. The bricks of your house will speak
up and accuse you. The woodwork will step forward with evidence. "Who do you think you are - building a town by murder, a
city with crime? Don't you know that God-of-the-Angel-Armies makes sure nothing comes of that but ashes, makes sure the harder
you work at the king of thing, the less you are? Meanwhile the earth fills up with awareness of God's glory as the waters
cover the sea. "Who do you think you are - inviting your neighbors to your drunken parties, giving them too much to drink,
roping them into your sexual orgies? You thought you were having the time of your life. Wrong! It's a time of disgrace. All
the time you were drinking, you were drinking from the cup of God's wrath. You'll wake up holding your throbbing head, hung
over - hung over from Lebanon violence, hung over from animal massacres, hung over from murder and mayhem, from multiple violations
of place and people.
Zephaniah 3:1-5 - 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
een 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.
Zephaniah 3:9-15 - "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 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." So sing, Daugher 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!
Zephaniah 3:18-20 - "The accmulated 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.
Zechariah 7:7-10 - "There's nothing new to say
on the subject. Don't you still have the message of the earlier prophets from the time when Jerusalem was still a thriving,
bustling city and the outlying countryside, the Negev and Shephelah, was populated? [This is the message that God gave Zechariah.]
Well, the message hasn't changed. God-of-the-Angel-Armies said then and says now: "Treat one another justly. Love your neighbors.
Be compassionate with each other. Don't take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor. Don't plot and scheme against
one another - that's evil.'"
Zechariah 9:9-13 - "Shout and cheer, Daughter
Zion! Raise the roof, Daugher Jerusalem! Your king is coming! a good king who makes all things right, a humble king riding
a donkey, a mere colt of a donkey. I've had it with war - no more chariots in Ephraim, no more war horses in Jerusalem, no
more swords and spears, bows and arrows. He will offer peace to the nations, a peaceful rule worldwide, from the four winds
to the seven seas. "And you, because of my blood covenant with you, I'll release your prisoners from their hopeless cells.
Come home, hope-filled prisoners! This very day I'm declaring a double bonus - everything you lost returned twice-over! Judah
is now my weapon, the bow I'll pull, setting Ephraim as an arrow to the string. I'll wake up your sons, O Zion, to counter
your sons, O Greece. From now on people are my swords."
Zechariah 10:3-5 - God-of-the-Angel-Armies will
step in and take care of his flock, the people of Judah. He'll revive their spirits, make them proud to be on God's side.
God will use them in his work of rebuilding, use them as foundations and pillars, use them as tools and instruments, use them
to oversee his work. They'll be a workforce to be proud of, working as one, their heads held high, striding through swamps
and mud, courageous and vigorous because God is with them, undeterred by the world's thugs.
Zechariah 11:6 - God's Decree: "I'm washing my
hands of the people of this land. From now on they're all on their own. It's dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest, and the
devil take the hindmost. Don't look for help from me."
Malachi 3:5 - "Yes, I'm on my way to visit you
with Judgment. I'll present compelling evidence against sorcerers, adulterers, liars, those who exploit workers, those who
take advantage of widows and orphans, those who are inhospitable to the homeless - anyone and everyone who doesn't honor me."
A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies."
4:23-25 - From there he went all over Galilee. He used synagogues for meeting places and taught people the truth of God. God's
kingdom was his theme - the beginning right now they were under God's government, a good government! He also healed people
of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives. Word got aroudn the entire Roman province of Syria. People brought
anybody with an ailment, whether mental, emotional, or physical. Jesus healed them, one and all. More and more people came,
the momentum gathering. Besides those form Galilee, crowds came from the "Ten Towns" across the lake, others up from Jerusalem
and Judea, still others from across the Jordan.
Matthew 5:1-12 - When Jesus saw his ministry drawing
huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet
place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said: "You're blessed when you're at the end of your
rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. "You're blessed when you fell you've lost what is most dear to you.
Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. "You're blessed when you're content with just who you are - no
more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought. "You're blessed when
you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat. "You're blessed when you care.
At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for. "You're blessed when you get your inside world - your mind
and heart - put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. "You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate
instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family. "You're blessed
when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom. "Not only that
- count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it
means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens - give a cheer,
even! for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and
witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble."
Matthew 6:19-34 - "Don't hoard treasure down here
where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust, or worse! - stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's
safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is theplace you will most
want to be, and end up being. "Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your
body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds
on your windows, what a dark life you will have! "You can't worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you'll end up hating
the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can't worship God and Money both. "If you decide for God, living
a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your
closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance
than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless
in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. "Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller
by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion - do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of
looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever
seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. "If God
gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers - most of which are never even seen - don't you think he'll attend to
you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with
getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you
know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-intiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out.
You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and
don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when
the time comes."
Matthew 7:12 - "Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb
guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God's
Law and Prophets and this is what you get."
Matthew 7:13-14 - "Don't look for shortcuts to
God. The market is flooded with surefire, easy-going formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time.
Don't fall that for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life - to God! - is vigorous and requires total
Matthew 7:15-20 - "Be wary of false preachers
who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don't be impressed
with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit
your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned."
Matthew 8:1-4 - Yeshua healed a leper and told
him not to tell anyone.
Matthew 8:5-13- Yeshua healed the child of a Roman
Matthew 8:14-15 - Yeshua healed Peter's mother-in-law.
Matthew 8:16-17 - That evening a lot of demon-afflicted
people were brought to him. He relieved the inwardly tormented. He cured the bodily ill. He fulfilled Isaiah's well-known
sermon: He took our illnesses, He carried our diseases.
8:28-34 - Yeshua cast the demons out of two possessed men and cast them into the pigs.
Matthew 9:1-8 - Yeshua healed a paraplegic
Matthew 9:18-26 - A woman who had hemorrhaged
for twelve years was healed by touching the hem of his garment. Then, he healed the daughter (who they thought was dead) of
a town official.
9:27-28 - Yeshua healed two blind men and told them not to tell anyone.
9:32-33 - A man that was dumb because of an evil spirit was healed by Yeshua.
Matthew 10:5-8 - Jesus sent his twelve harvest
hands out with this charge: "Don't begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don't try to be dramatic
by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom
is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously,
so live generously.
Matthew 10:9-15 - "Don't think that you have to
put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. You don't need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need
to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light. "When you enter a town or village, don't insist on staying in a luxury
inn. Get a modest place with some modest people, and be content there until you leave. "When you knock on a door, be courteous
in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don't welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don't
make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they'll be mighty sory - but it's
no concern of yours now."
Matthew 12:15-21 - Jesus, knowing they were out
to get him, moved on. A lot of people followed him, and he healed them all. He also cautioned them to keep it quiet, following
guidelines set down by Isaiah: Look well at my handpicked servant; I love him so much, take such delight in him. I've placed
my Spirit on h im; he'll decree justice to the nations. But he won't yell, won't raise his voice; there'll be no commotion
in the streets. He won't walk over anyone's feelings, won't push you into a corner. Before you know it, his justice will triump;
the mere sound of his name will signal hope, even among far-off unbelievers.
12:22-23 - Yeshua healed a demon-afflicted person that was both blind and deaf
Matthew 13:44 - "God's kingdom is like a treasure
hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic - what a find! - and proceeds
to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field."
Matthew 13:45-46 - "Or, God's kingdom is like
a jewel merchant on the hunt for excellent pearls. Finding one that is flawless, he immediately sells everything and buys
14:13-21 - Yeshua healed the sick and fed 5,000 with two fish and five barley loves. Matthew 15:21-31 - Yeshua healed the
daughter of the Canaanite woman that was afflicted with an evil spirit. He also healed the paraplegic, the blind, the maimed,
and the mute.
Matthew 15:32-39 - Yeshua fed 4,000 with seven
loaves and a few fish
Matthew 16:24-26 - Then Jesus went to work on
his disciples. "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from
suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to
finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever
trade your soul for?"
Matthew 17:14-16 - Yeshua cast the demon out of
Matthew 19:16-30 - Another day, a man stopped
Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" Jesus said, "Why do you question me about what's
good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you." The man aksed, "What in
particular?" Jesus said, "Don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie, honor your father and mother, and love
your neighbor as you do yourself." The young man said, "I've done all that. What's left?" "If you want to give it all you've
got," Jesus replied, "go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then
come follow me." That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding
on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn't bear to let go. As he watched him go, Jesus told his disciples, "Do you have
any idea how difficult it is for the rich man to enter God's kingdom? Let me tell you, it's easier to gallop a camel through
a needle's eye than for the rich to enter God's kingdom." The disciples were staggered. "Then who has any chance at all?"
Jesus looked hard at them and said, "No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world
if you trust God to do it." Then Peter chimed in, "We left everything and followed you. What do we get out of it?" Jesus replied,
"Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously , you who have followed
me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices homes, family, fields
- whatever - because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life.
This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first."
20:26-28 - So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, "You've observed how godless rulers throw their weight
around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It's not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great
must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came
to serve, not be served - and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.
Matthew 20:29-34 - Yeshua healed two blind men
Matthew 21:12-14 - Jesus went straight to the
Temple and threw out everyone who had set up shop, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of loan sharks and the stalls
of dove merchants. He quoted this text: My house was designated a house of prayer; you have made it a hangout for thieves.
Now there was room for the blind and crippled to get in. They came to Jesus and he healed them.
21:18-20 - Early the next morning Jesus was returning to the city. He was hungry. Seeing a lone fig tree alongside the road,
he approached it anticipating a breakfast of figs. When he got to the tree, there was nothing but fig leaves. He said, "No
more figs [symbol of the Roman Empire] from this tree - ever!" The fig tree withered on the spot, a dry stick. The disciples
saw it happen. They rubbed their eyes, saying, "Did we really see this? A leafy tree one minute, a dry stick the next?" But
Jesus was matter-of-fact: "Yes - and if you embrace this kingdom life and don't doubt God, you'll not only do minor feats
like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you'll tell, 'Go jump in the
lake,' and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer,
gets included as you lay hold of God."
21:33-46 - "Here's another story. Listen closely. There was once man, a wealthy farmer, who planted a vineyard. He fenced
it, dug a winepress, put up a watchtower, then turned it over to the farmhands and went off on a trip. When it was time to
harvest the grapes, he sent his servants back to collect his profits. "The farmhands grabbed the first servant and beat him
up. The next one they murdered. They threw stones at the third but he got away. The owner tried again, sending more servants.
They got the same treatment. The owner was at the end of his rope. He decided to send his son. 'Surely,' he thought, 'they
will respect my son.' "But when the farmhands saw the son arrive, they rubbed their hands in greed. 'This is the heir! Let's
kill him and have it all for ourselves.' They grabbed him, threw him out, and killed him. "Now when the owner of the vineyard
arrives home from his trip, what do you think he will do to the farmhands?" "He'll kill them - a rotten bunch, and good riddance,"
they answered. "Then he'll assign the vineyard to farmhands who will hand over the profits when it's time." Jesus said, "Right
- and you can read it for yourselves in your Bibles: The stone the masons threw out is now the cornerstone. This is God's
work; we rub our eyes, we can hardly believe it! "This is the way it is with you. God's kingdom will be taken back from you
and handed over to a people who will live out a kingdom life. Whoever stumbles on this Stone gets smashed." When the religious
leaders heard this story, they knew it was aimed at them. They wanted to arrest Jesus and put him in jail, but intimidated
by public opinion, they held back. Most people held him to be prophet of God.
Matthew 22:34-40 - When the Pharisees heard how
he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing
a question they hoped would show him up: "Teacher, which command in God's Law is the most important?" Jesus said, "'Love the
Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there
is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's
Law and the Prophets hangs from them."
Matthew 23:1-12 - Now Jesus turned to address
his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them: "The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers
in God's Law. You won't go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good
line, but they don't live it. They don't take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It's all spit-and-polish
veneer. "Instead of giving you God's Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of
rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn't
think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery
prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening
in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called 'Doctor' and 'Reverend.' "Don't let people
do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don't set people
as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No
one else should carry the title of 'Father'; you have only one Father, and he's in heaven. And don't let people maneuver you
into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them - Christ. "Do you want to stand out? Then step
down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself,
your life will count for plenty."
23:23-26 - "You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every
nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God's Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment - the absolute basics!
- you carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. Do you have any idea
how silly you look, writing a life story that's wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons? "You're
hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the
sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Supid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming
surface will mean something!"
Matthew 25:31-46 - "When he finally arrives, blazing
in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will
be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his
right and goats to his left. "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take
what's coming you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why: I was hungry and
you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave
me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me' "Then those 'sheep' are going to say,
'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when
did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you
did one of these things to somoneone overlooked or ignored, that was me - you did it to me.' "Then he will turn to the 'goats,'
the ones on his left, and say, 'Get out, worthless goats! You're good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because
- I was thirsty and you gave me no meal, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was homeless and you gave me no bed, I
was shivering and you gave me no clothes, Sick and in prison, and you never visited.' "Then those 'goats' are going to say,
'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison
and didn't help?' "He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone
who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me - you failed to do it to me.' "Then those 'goats' will be herded to their
eternal doom, but the 'sheep' to their eternal reward.
Luke 1:46-55 - And Mary said, I'm bursting with
God-news; I'm dancing the song of my Savior God. God took one good look at me, and look what happened - I'm the most fortunate
woman on earth! What God has done for me will never be forgotten, the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him. He bared his arm and showed his strength, scattered
the bluffing braggarts. He knocked tyrants off their high horses, pulled victims out of the mud. The starving poor sat down
to a banquet; the callous rich were left out in the cold. He embraced his chosen child, Israel; he remembered and piled on
the mercies, piled them high. It's exactly what he promised, beginning with Abraham and right up to now.
Luke 3:10-14 - The crowd asked him [John the Baptist],
"Then what are we supposed to do?" "If you have two coats, give one away," he said. "Do the same with your food." Tax men
also came to be baptized and said, "Teacher, what should we do?" He told them, "No more extortion - collect only what is required
by law." Soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?" He told them, "No shakedowns, no blackmail - and be content with your
4:16-21 - He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When
he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was
written, God's Spirit is one me; he's chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, sent me to announce pardon
to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free, to announce, "This is God's year to
Luke 10:21-37 - Just then a religon scholar stood
up with a question to test Jesus. "Teacher what do I need to do to get eternal life?" He answered, "What's written in God's
Law? How do you interpret it?" He said, "That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence
- and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself." "Good answer!" said Jesus. "Do it and you'll live." Looking
for a loophole, he asked, "And just how would you define 'neighbor'?" Jesus answered by telling a story. "There was once a
man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went
off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the
other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man. "A Samaritan traveling the road came on
him. When he saw the man's condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds.
Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took two silver coins and
gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill - I'll pay you on my way
back.' "What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?" "The one who treated him
kindly," the religion scholar responded. Jeus said, "Go and do the same."
12:13-21 - Someone out of the crowd said, "Teacher, order my brother to give me a fair share of the family inheritance." He
replied, "Mister, what makes you think it's any of my business to be a judge or mediator for you?" Speaking to the people,
he went one, "Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when
you have a lot." Then, he told them this story: "The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself:
'What can I do? My barn isn't big enough for this harvest.' Then he said, 'Here's what I'll do: I'll tear down my barns and
build bigger ones. Then I'll gather in all my grain and goods, and I'll say to myself, Self, you've done well! You've got
it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!' "Just then God showed up and said, 'Fool! Tonight
you die. And your barnful of goods - who gets it?' "That's what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God."
13:31-35 - Just then some Pharisees came up and said, "Run for your life! Herod's on the hunt. He's out to kill you!" Jesus
said, "Tell that fox that I've no time for him right now. Today and tomorrow I'm busy clearing out the demons and healing
the sick; the third day I'm wrapping things up. Besides, it's not proper for a prophet to come to a bad end outside Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killer of prophets, abuser of the messengers of God! How often I've longed to gather your children,
gather your children like a hen, her brood safe under wings - but you refused and turned away! And now it's too late: You
won't see me again until the day you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of God."
14:7-14 - He went on to tell a story to the guests around the table. Noticing how each had tried to elbow into the place of
honor, he said, "When someone invites you to dinner, don't take the place of honor. Somebody more important than you might
have been invited by the host. Then he'll come and call out in front of everybody, 'You're in the wrong place. The place of
honor belongs to this man.' Red-faced, you'll have to make your way to the very last table, the only place left. "When you're
invited to dinner, go and sit at the last place. Then when the host comes he may very well say, 'Friend, come up to the front.'
That will give the dinner guests something to talk about! What I'm saying is, if you walk around with your nose in the air,
you're going to end up flat on your face. But if you're content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself."
Then he turned to the host. "The next time you put on a dinner, don't just your friends and family and rich neighbors, the
kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of
the tracks. You'll be - and experience - a blessing. They won't be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned
- oh, how it will be returned - at the resurrection of God's people."
Luke 16:1-9 - Jesus said to his disciples, "There
was once a rich man who had a manager. He got reports that the manager had been taking advantage of his position by running
up huge personal expenses. So he called him in and said, 'What's this I hear about you? You're fired. And I want a complete
audit of your books.' "The manager said to himself, 'What am I going to do? I've lost my job as manager. I'm not strong enough
for a laboring job, and I'm too proud to beg...Ah, I've got a plan.. Here's what I'll do...then when I'm turned out into the
street, people will take me into their houses.' "Then he went at it. One after another, he called in the people who were in
debt to his master. He said to the first, 'How much do you owe my master?' "He replied, 'A hundgred jugs of olive oil.' "The
manager said, 'Here, take your bill, sit down here - quick now - write fifty.' "To the next he said, 'And you, what do you
owe?' "He answered, 'A hundred sacks of wheat.' "He said, 'Take your bill, write in eighty.' "Now here's a surprise: The master
praised the crooked manager! And why? Because he knew how to look after himself. Streetwise people are smarter in this regard
than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by thier wits. I want you to be smart
in the same way - but for what is right - using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your
attention on the bare essentials, so you'll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior."
16:10-18 - Jesus went on to make these comments: If you;re honest in small things, you'll be honest in big things; If you're
a crook in small things, you'll be a crook in big things. If you're not honest in small jobs, who will put you in charge of
the store? No worker can serve two bosses: He'll either hate the first and love the second or adore the first and despise
the second. You can't serve both God and the Bank. When the Pharisees, a money-obsessed bunch, heard him say these things,
they rolled their eyes, dismissing him as hopelessly out of touch. So Jesus spoke to them: "You are masters at making yourselves
look good in front of others, but God knows what's behind the appearance. What society sees and calls monumental, God sees
through and calls monstrous. God's Law and the Prophets climaxed in John; Now it's all kingdom of God - the glad news and
compelling invitation to every man and woman. The sky will disintegrate and the earth dissolve before a single letter of God's
Law wears out. Using the legalities of divorce as a cover for lust is adultery; Using the legalities of marriage as a cover
for lust is adultery."
16:19-31 - "There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption.
A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps
off the rich man's table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores. "Then he died, this poor man, and
was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked
up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. He called out, 'Father Abraham, mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his
finger in water to cool my tongue. I'm in agony in this fire.' "But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that in your lifetime you
got the good things and Lazarlus the bad things. It's not like that here. Here he's consoled and you're tormented. Besides,
in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can
anyone cross over from you to us.' "The rich man said, 'Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father where
I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won't end up here in this place of torment.' "Abraham
answered, 'They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.' "'I know, Father Abraham,' he
said, "but they're not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.' "Abraham replied,
'If they won't listen to Moses and the Prophets, they're not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.'" John
10: 11-13 - "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired
man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged
and scattered by the wolf. He's only in it for the money. The sheep don't matter to him.
John 10:22-24 - Yeshua celebrated Hanukkah
John 13: 1-17 - Just before the Passover Feast,
Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued
to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firnly in his grip,
all set for the betrayal. Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and
was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water
into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said,
"Master, you wash my feet?" Jesus answered, "You don't understand now what I'm doing, but it will be clear enough to you later."
Peter persisted, "You're not going to wash my feet - ever!" Jesus said, "If I don't wash you, you can't be part of what I'm
doing." "Master!" said Peter. "Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!" Jesus said, "If you've had a bath in
the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you're cleaned from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness,
not hygiene. So now you're clean. But not everyone of you." (He knew who was betraying him. That's why he said, "Not everyone
of you." After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.
Then he said, "Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as 'Teacher' and 'Master,' and rightly so. That is
what i am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other's feet. I've laid down a pattern
for you. What I've done, you do. I'm only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee
doesn't give orders to the employer. If you understand what I'm telling you, act like it - and live a blessed life. J
ohn 15:18-27 - "If you find the godless world
is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world's terms, the world would love you as one of
its own. But since I picked you to live on God's terms and no longer on the world's terms, the world is going to hate you.
"When that happens, remember this: Servants don't get better treatment than their masters. If they beat on me, they will certainly
beat on you. If they did what I told them, they will do what you tell them. "They are going to do all these things to you
because of the way they treated me, because they don't know the One who sent me. If I hadn't come and told them all this in
plain language, it wouldn't be so bad. As it is, they have no excuse. Hate me, hate my Father - it's all the same. If I hadn't
done what I have done among them, works no one has ever done, they wouldn't be to blame. But they saw the God-signs and hated
anyway, both me and my Father. Interesting - they have verified the truth of their own Scriptures where it was written, "They
hated me for no good reason." "When the Friend I paln to send you from the Father comes - the Spirit of Truth issuing from
the Father - he will confirm everything about me. You, too, from your side must give your confirming evidence, since you are
in this with me from the start."
Acts 2:38-47 - Peter said, "Change your life.
Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, into the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the
Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away - whomever, in fact, our Master
God invites." He went on in this vein for a long time, urging them over and over, "Get out while you can; get out of this
sick and stupid culture!" That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed
themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.
Acts 4:32-37 - The whole congregation of believers
was united as one - one heart, one mind! They didn't even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, "That's mine;
you can have it.' They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and
grace was on all of them. And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold
them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according
to each person's need. Joseph, called by the apostles "Barnabas (which means "Son of Comfort"), a Levite born in Cyprus, sold
a field that he owned, brought the money, and made an offering of it to the apostles.
Acts 5:1-11 - But a man named Ananias - his wife,
Sapphira, conniving in this with him - sold a piece of land, secretly kept part of the price for himself, and then brought
the rest to the apostles and made an offering of it. Peter said, "Ananias, how did Satan get you to lie to the Holy Spirit
and secretly keep back part of the price of the field? Before you sold it, it was all yours, and after you sold it, the money
was yours to do with as you wished. So what got into you to pull a trick like this? You didn't lie to men but to God." Ananias,
when he heard those words, fell down dead. That put the fear of God into everyone who heard of it. The younger men went right
to work and wrapped him up, then carried him out and buried him. Not more than three hours later, his wife, knowing nothing
of what had happened, came in. Peter said, "Tell me, were you given this price for your field?" "Yes," she said, "that price."
Peter responded, "What's going on here that you connived to conspire against the Spirit of the Master? The men who buried
your husband are at the door, and you're next." No sooner were the words out of his mouth than she also fell down, dead. When
the young men returned they found her body. They carried her out and buried her beside her husband. By this time the whole
church, and, in fact, everyone who heard of these things had a healthy respect for God. They knew God was not to be trifled
Acts 5:12-16 [They carried the sick in the streets
and laid them on stretchers hoping they would be touched by Peter's shadow when he walked by. They came from the villages
surrounding Jerusalem bringing their sick and they all were healed.]
James 9:9-11 - When down-and-outers get a break,
cheer! And when the arrogant rich are down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as wildflower, so don't ever count
on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before
you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that's a picture of the "prosperous life." At the very moment everyone
is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.
James 2:1-7 - My dear friends, don't let public
opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive
suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, "Sit here, sir; this
is the best seat in the house!" and either ignore the street person or say, "Better sit here in the back row," haven't you
segregated God's children and proved that you are judges that can't be trusted? Listen, dear friends. Isn't it clear by now
that God operates quite differently? He chose the world's down-and-out as the kingdom's first citizens, with full rights and
privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God. And here you are abusing these same citizens! Isn't the high
and mighty who exploit you, who use the courts to rob you blind?
James 2:14-26 - Dear friends, do you think you'll
get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that
a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, "Good morning,
friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!" and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of
soup - where does that get you? Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? I can already hear
one of you agreeing by saying, "Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I'll handle the works department." Not
so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show my faith apart from my works. Faith and
works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove. Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then
observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That's just great. Demons do that, but what
good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with
a corpse on your hands? Wasn't our ancestor Abraham "made right with God by works" when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial
altar? Isn't it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in owrks? That the works are
"works of faith"? The full meaning of "believe" in the Scripture sentence, "Abraham believed God and was set right with God,"
includes his action. It's that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named "God's friends." Is it not evident that
a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works? The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot.
Wasn't her action in hiding God's spies and helping them escape - that seamless unity of believing and doing - what counted
with God? The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the
same thing: a corpse.
5:1-6 - And a final word to you arrogant rich: Take some lessons in lament. You'll need buckets for the tears when the crash
comes upon you. Your money is corrupt and your fine clothes stink. Your greedy luxuries are a cancer in your gut, destroying
your life from within. You thought you were piling up wealth. What you've piled up is judgment. All the workers you've exploited
and cheated cry out for judgment. The groans of the workers you used and abused are a roar in the ears of the Master Avenger.
You've looted the earth and lived it up. But all you'll have to show for is a fatter than usual corpse. In fact, what you've
done is condemn and murder perfectly good persons, who stand there and take it.
1 John 2:15-17 - Don't love the world's ways.
Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the
world - wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important - has nothing to do with the Father.
It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out - but whoever does what God
wants is set for eternity.
Revelations 1:4-7 - I, John , am writing this
to the seven churches in Asia province: All the best to you from The God Who Is, the God who was, and The God about to arrive,
and from the Seven Spirits assembled before his throne, and from Jesus Christ - Loyal Witness, Firstborn from the dead, Ruler
of all earthly kings. Glory and strength to Christ, who loves us, who blood-washed our sins from our lives, who made us a
kingdom, priests for his Father, forever - and yes, he's on his way! Riding the clouds he'll be seen by every eye, those who
mocked and killed him will see him.
Tobit 4:5-11 - My son, be mindful of the Lord
our God, all thy days, and let not thy will be set to sin, or to transgress his commandments: do uprightly all thy life long,
and follow not the ways of unrighteousness. For if thou deal truly, thy doings shall prosperously succeed to thee, and to
all them that live justly. Give alms of thy substance; and when thou givest alms, let not thine eye be envious, neither turn
thy face from any poor, and the face of God shall not turn away from thee. If thou hast abundance, give alms accordingly:
if thou have but a little, be not afraid to give according to that little: for t hous layest up a good treasure for thyself
against the day of neccessity. Because that alms do deliver from death and suffereth not to come into darkness. For alms is
a good gift unto that give it in the sight of the most High
The Message: The Bible in ContemporaryLanguage
All verses cited will be from a contemporary Bible
translation called "The Message" unless otherwise noted.