Jeremiah 3; Jeremiah 4; Jeremiah 5; 1 Timothy 4 (English Standard Version)

1 "If a man divorces his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man's wife, will he return to her? Would not that land be greatly polluted? You have played the whore with many lovers; and would you return to me? declares the LORD. 2 Lift up your eyes to the bare heights, and see! Where have you not been ravished? By the waysides you have sat awaiting lovers like an Arab in the wilderness. You have polluted the land with your vile whoredom. 3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, and the spring rain has not come; yet you have the forehead of a whore; you refuse to be ashamed. 4 Have you not just now called to me, 'My father, you are the friend of my youth-- 5 will he be angry forever, will he be indignant to the end?' Behold, you have spoken, but you have done all the evil that you could."

Faithless Israel Called to Repentance

6 The LORD said to me in the days of King Josiah: "Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? 7 And I thought, 'After she has done all this she will return to me,' but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore. 9 Because she took her whoredom lightly, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and tree. 10 Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the LORD." 11 And the LORD said to me, "Faithless Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, "'Return, faithless Israel, declares the LORD. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the LORD; I will not be angry forever. 13 Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the LORD your God and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the LORD. 14 Return, O faithless children, declares the LORD; for I am your master; I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. 15 "'And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And when you have multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, declares the LORD, they shall no more say, "The ark of the covenant of the LORD." It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. 17 At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the LORD, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the LORD in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for a heritage. 19 "'I said, How I would set you among my sons, and give you a pleasant land, a heritage most beautiful of all nations. And I thought you would call me, My Father, and would not turn from following me. 20 Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband, so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel, declares the LORD.'" 21 A voice on the bare heights is heard, the weeping and pleading of Israel's sons because they have perverted their way; they have forgotten the LORD their God. 22 "Return, O faithless sons; I will heal your faithlessness." "Behold, we come to you, for you are the LORD our God. 23 Truly the hills are a delusion, the orgies on the mountains. Truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel. 24 "But from our youth the shameful thing has devoured all for which our fathers labored, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our shame, and let our dishonor cover us. For we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and we have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God." 1 "If you return, O Israel, declares the LORD, to me you should return. If you remove your detestable things from my presence, and do not waver, 2 and if you swear, 'As the LORD lives,' in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory." 3 For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: "Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds."

Disaster from the North

5 Declare in Judah, and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say, "Blow the trumpet through the land; cry aloud and say, 'Assemble, and let us go into the fortified cities!' 6 Raise a standard toward Zion, flee for safety, stay not, for I bring disaster from the north, and great destruction. 7 A lion has gone up from his thicket, a destroyer of nations has set out; he has gone out from his place to make your land a waste; your cities will be ruins without inhabitant. 8 For this put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned back from us." 9 "In that day, declares the LORD, courage shall fail both king and officials. The priests shall be appalled and the prophets astounded." 10 Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD, surely you have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, 'It shall be well with you,' whereas the sword has reached their very life." 11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, "A hot wind from the bare heights in the desert toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow or cleanse, 12 a wind too full for this comes for me. Now it is I who speak in judgment upon them." 13 Behold, he comes up like clouds; his chariots like the whirlwind; his horses are swifter than eagles-- woe to us, for we are ruined! 14 O Jerusalem, wash your heart from evil, that you may be saved. How long shall your wicked thoughts lodge within you? 15 For a voice declares from Dan and proclaims trouble from Mount Ephraim. 16 Warn the nations that he is coming; announce to Jerusalem, "Besiegers come from a distant land; they shout against the cities of Judah. 17 Like keepers of a field are they against her all around, because she has rebelled against me, declares the LORD. 18 Your ways and your deeds have brought this upon you. This is your doom, and it is bitter; it has reached your very heart."

Anguish over Judah's Desolation

19 My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh the walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly; I cannot keep silent, for I hear the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. 20 Crash follows hard on crash; the whole land is laid waste. Suddenly my tents are laid waste, my curtains in a moment. 21 How long must I see the standard and hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 "For my people are foolish; they know me not; they are stupid children; they have no understanding. They are 'wise'--in doing evil! But how to do good they know not." 23 I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. 25 I looked, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the air had fled. 26 I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a desert, and all its cities were laid in ruins before the LORD, before his fierce anger. 27 For thus says the LORD, "The whole land shall be a desolation; yet I will not make a full end. 28 "For this the earth shall mourn, and the heavens above be dark; for I have spoken; I have purposed; I have not relented, nor will I turn back." 29 At the noise of horseman and archer every city takes to flight; they enter thickets; they climb among rocks; all the cities are forsaken, and no man dwells in them. 30 And you, O desolate one, what do you mean that you dress in scarlet, that you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, that you enlarge your eyes with paint? In vain you beautify yourself. Your lovers despise you; they seek your life. 31 For I heard a cry as of a woman in labor, anguish as of one giving birth to her first child, the cry of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands, "Woe is me! I am fainting before murderers."

Jerusalem Refused to Repent

1 Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to see if you can find a man, one who does justice and seeks truth, that I may pardon her. 2 Though they say, "As the LORD lives," yet they swear falsely. 3 O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth? You have struck them down, but they felt no anguish; you have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent. 4 Then I said, "These are only the poor; they have no sense; for they do not know the way of the LORD, the justice of their God. 5 I will go to the great and will speak to them, for they know the way of the LORD, the justice of their God." But they all alike had broken the yoke; they had burst the bonds. 6 Therefore a lion from the forest shall strike them down; a wolf from the desert shall devastate them. A leopard is watching their cities; everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces, because their transgressions are many, their apostasies are great. 7 "How can I pardon you? Your children have forsaken me and have sworn by those who are no gods. When I fed them to the full, they committed adultery and trooped to the houses of whores. 8 They were well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for his neighbor's wife. 9 Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the LORD; and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this? 10 "Go up through her vine rows and destroy, but make not a full end; strip away her branches, for they are not the LORD's. 11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have been utterly treacherous to me, declares the LORD. 12 They have spoken falsely of the LORD and have said, 'He will do nothing; no disaster will come upon us, nor shall we see sword or famine. 13 The prophets will become wind; the word is not in them. Thus shall it be done to them!'"

The Lord Proclaims Judgment

14 Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of hosts: "Because you have spoken this word, behold, I am making my words in your mouth a fire, and this people wood, and the fire shall consume them. 15 Behold, I am bringing against you a nation from afar, O house of Israel, declares the LORD. It is an enduring nation; it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know, nor can you understand what they say. 16 Their quiver is like an open tomb; they are all mighty warriors. 17 They shall eat up your harvest and your food; they shall eat up your sons and your daughters; they shall eat up your flocks and your herds; they shall eat up your vines and your fig trees; your fortified cities in which you trust they shall beat down with the sword." 18 "But even in those days, declares the LORD, I will not make a full end of you. 19 And when your people say, 'Why has the LORD our God done all these things to us?' you shall say to them, 'As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.'" 20 Declare this in the house of Jacob; proclaim it in Judah: 21 "Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not. 22 Do you not fear me? declares the LORD. Do you not tremble before me? I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it. 23 But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away. 24 They do not say in their hearts, 'Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.' 25 Your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have kept good from you. 26 For wicked men are found among my people; they lurk like fowlers lying in wait. They set a trap; they catch men. 27 Like a cage full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; therefore they have become great and rich; 28 they have grown fat and sleek. They know no bounds in deeds of evil; they judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy. 29 Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the LORD, and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this?" 30 An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: 31 the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?

Some Will Depart from the Faith

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

A Good Servant of Christ Jesus

6 If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. 11 Command and teach these things. 12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
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