Jeremiah 1; Jeremiah 2; 1 Timothy 3

1 These are the words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests from the town of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. 2 The first gave messages to Jeremiah during the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah. 3 The ’s messages continued throughout the reign of King Jehoiakim, Josiah’s son, until the eleventh year of the reign of King Zedekiah, another of Josiah’s sons. In August of that eleventh year the people of Jerusalem were taken away as captives. 4 The gave me this message: 5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” 6 “O Sovereign ,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” 7 The replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 8 And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the , have spoken!” 9 Then the reached out and touched my mouth and said, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth! 10 Today I appoint you to stand up against nations and kingdoms. Some you must uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow. Others you must build up and plant.” 11 Then the said to me, “Look, Jeremiah! What do you see?” And I replied, “I see a branch from an almond tree.” 12 And the said, “That’s right, and it means that I am watching, and I will certainly carry out all my plans.” 13 Then the spoke to me again and asked, “What do you see now?” And I replied, “I see a pot of boiling water, spilling from the north.” 14 “Yes,” the said, “for terror from the north will boil out on the people of this land. 15 Listen! I am calling the armies of the kingdoms of the north to come to Jerusalem. I, the , have spoken! “They will set their thrones at the gates of the city. They will attack its walls and all the other towns of Judah. 16 I will pronounce judgment on my people for all their evil— for deserting me and burning incense to other gods. Yes, they worship idols made with their own hands! 17 “Get up and prepare for action. Go out and tell them everything I tell you to say. Do not be afraid of them, or I will make you look foolish in front of them. 18 For see, today I have made you strong like a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall. You will stand against the whole land— the kings, officials, priests, and people of Judah. 19 They will fight you, but they will fail. For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the , have spoken!”
1 The gave me another message. He said, 2 “Go and shout this message to Jerusalem. This is what the says: “I remember how eager you were to please me as a young bride long ago, how you loved me and followed me even through the barren wilderness. 3 In those days Israel was holy to the , the first of his children. All who harmed his people were declared guilty, and disaster fell on them. I, the , have spoken!” 4 Listen to the word of the , people of Jacob—all you families of Israel! 5 This is what the says: “What did your ancestors find wrong with me that led them to stray so far from me? They worshiped worthless idols, only to become worthless themselves. 6 They did not ask, ‘Where is the who brought us safely out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness— a land of deserts and pits, a land of drought and death, where no one lives or even travels?’ 7 “And when I brought you into a fruitful land to enjoy its bounty and goodness, you defiled my land and corrupted the possession I had promised you. 8 The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the ?’ Those who taught my word ignored me, the rulers turned against me, and the prophets spoke in the name of Baal, wasting their time on worthless idols. 9 Therefore, I will bring my case against you,” says the . “I will even bring charges against your children’s children in the years to come. 10 “Go west and look in the land of Cyprus ; go east and search through the land of Kedar. Has anyone ever heard of anything as strange as this? 11 Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones, even though they are not gods at all? Yet my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols! 12 The heavens are shocked at such a thing and shrink back in horror and dismay,” says the . 13 “For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me— the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all! 14 “Why has Israel become a slave? Why has he been carried away as plunder? 15 Strong lions have roared against him, and the land has been destroyed. The towns are now in ruins, and no one lives in them anymore. 16 Egyptians, marching from their cities of Memphis and Tahpanhes, have destroyed Israel’s glory and power. 17 And you have brought this upon yourselves by rebelling against the your God, even though he was leading you on the way! 18 “What have you gained by your alliances with Egypt and your covenants with Assyria? What good to you are the streams of the Nile or the waters of the Euphrates River? 19 Your wickedness will bring its own punishment. Your turning from me will shame you. You will see what an evil, bitter thing it is to abandon the your God and not to fear him. I, the Lord, the of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken! 20 “Long ago I broke the yoke that oppressed you and tore away the chains of your slavery, but still you said, ‘I will not serve you.’ On every hill and under every green tree, you have prostituted yourselves by bowing down to idols. 21 But I was the one who planted you, choosing a vine of the purest stock—the very best. How did you grow into this corrupt wild vine? 22 No amount of soap or lye can make you clean. I still see the stain of your guilt. I, the Sovereign , have spoken! 23 “You say, ‘That’s not true! I haven’t worshiped the images of Baal!’ But how can you say that? Go and look in any valley in the land! Face the awful sins you have done. You are like a restless female camel desperately searching for a mate. 24 You are like a wild donkey, sniffing the wind at mating time. Who can restrain her lust? Those who desire her don’t need to search, for she goes running to them! 25 When will you stop running? When will you stop panting after other gods? But you say, ‘Save your breath. I’m in love with these foreign gods, and I can’t stop loving them now!’ 26 “Israel is like a thief who feels shame only when he gets caught. They, their kings, officials, priests, and prophets— all are alike in this. 27 To an image carved from a piece of wood they say, ‘You are my father.’ To an idol chiseled from a block of stone they say, ‘You are my mother.’ They turn their backs on me, but in times of trouble they cry out to me, ‘Come and save us!’ 28 But why not call on these gods you have made? When trouble comes, let them save you if they can! For you have as many gods as there are towns in Judah. 29 Why do you accuse me of doing wrong? You are the ones who have rebelled,” says the . 30 “I have punished your children, but they did not respond to my discipline. You yourselves have killed your prophets as a lion kills its prey. 31 “O my people, listen to the words of the ! Have I been like a desert to Israel? Have I been to them a land of darkness? Why then do my people say, ‘At last we are free from God! We don’t need him anymore!’ 32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry, or a bride her wedding dress? Yet for years on end my people have forgotten me. 33 “How you plot and scheme to win your lovers. Even an experienced prostitute could learn from you! 34 Your clothing is stained with the blood of the innocent and the poor, though you didn’t catch them breaking into your houses! 35 And yet you say, ‘I have done nothing wrong. Surely God isn’t angry with me!’ But now I will punish you severely because you claim you have not sinned. 36 First here, then there— you flit from one ally to another asking for help. But your new friends in Egypt will let you down, just as Assyria did before. 37 In despair, you will be led into exile with your hands on your heads, for the has rejected the nations you trust. They will not help you at all.
1 This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be an elder, he desires an honorable position.” 2 So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. 3 He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. 4 He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. 5 For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? 6 An elder must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall. 7 Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap. 8 In the same way, deacons must be well respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers or dishonest with money. 9 They must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed and must live with a clear conscience. 10 Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons. 11 In the same way, their wives must be respected and must not slander others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do. 12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife, and he must manage his children and household well. 13 Those who do well as deacons will be rewarded with respect from others and will have increased confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus. 14 I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, 15 so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16 Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith : Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory.