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James 5; Jeremiah 29; Jeremiah 30; Psalm 133

James 5

Warning to the Rich

1 Come now, you rich people! Weep and wail over the miseries that are coming on you. 2 Your wealth is ruined: your clothes are moth-eaten; 3 your silver and gold are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You stored up treasure in the last days! 4 Look! The pay that you withheld from the workers who reaped your fields cries out, and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. 5 You have lived luxuriously on the land and have indulged yourselves. You have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned-you have murdered-the righteous man; he does not resist you.

Waiting for the Lord

7 Therefore, brothers, be patient until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord's coming is near. 9 Brothers, do not complain about one another, so that you will not be judged. Look, the judge stands at the door! 10 Brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord's name as an example of suffering and patience. 11 See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job's endurance and have seen the outcome from the Lord: the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

Truthful Speech

12 Now above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. Your "yes" must be "yes," and your "no" must be "no," so that you won't fall under judgment.

Effective Prayer

13 Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they should pray over him after anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours; yet he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the land. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its fruit. 19 My brothers, if any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 he should know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his life from death and cover a multitude of sins.

Jeremiah 29

Jeremiah's Letter to the Exiles

1 This is the text of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the rest of the elders of the exiles, the priests, the prophets, and all the people Nebuchadnezzar had deported from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 [This was] after King Jeconiah,the queen mother, the court officials, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metalsmiths had left Jerusalem. 3 [The letter was sent] by Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah whom Zedekiah king of Judah had sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. [The letter] stated: 4 This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says to all the exiles I deported from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 "Build houses and live [in them]. Plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters. Take wives for your sons and give your daughters to men [in marriage] so that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there; do not decrease. 7 Seek the welfare of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it has prosperity, you will prosper." 8 For this is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: "Don't let your prophets who are among you and your diviners deceive you, and don't listen to the dreams you elicit from them, 9 for they are prophesying falsely to you in My name. I have not sent them." [This is] the Lord's declaration. 10 For this is what the Lord says: "When 70 years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm My promise concerning you to restore you to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you"-[this is] the Lord's declaration-"plans for [your] welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you"-the Lord's declaration-"and I will restore your fortunesand gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you"-the Lord's declaration. "I will restore you to the place I deported you from." 15 You have said, "The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon!" 16 But this is what the Lord says concerning the king sitting on David's throne and concerning all the people living in this city-that is, concerning your brothers who did not go with you into exile. 17 This is what the Lord of Hosts says: "I am about to send against them sword, famine, and plague and will make them like rotten figs that are inedible because they are so bad. 18 I will pursue them with sword, famine, and plague. I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth-a curse and a desolation, an object of scorn and a disgrace among all the nations where I will have banished them. 19 [I will do this] because they have not listened to My words"-[this is] the Lord's declaration-"that I sent to them with My servants the prophets time and time again.And you too have not listened." [This is] the Lord's declaration. 20 Hear the word of the Lord, all you exiles I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon. 21 This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says to Ahab son of Kolaiah and to Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, the ones prophesying a lie to you in My name: "I am about to hand them over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will kill them before your very eyes. 22 Based on [what happens to] them, all the exiles of Judah who are in Babylon will create a curse that says: May the Lord make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire! 23 because they have committed an outrage in Israel by committing adultery with their neighbors' wives and have spoken a lie in My name, which I did not command them. I am He who knows, and I am a witness." [This is] the Lord's declaration. 24 To Shemaiah the Nehelamite you are to say, 25 "This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: You in your own name have sent out letters to all the people of Jerusalem, to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, and to all the priests, saying: 26 The Lord has appointed you priest in place of Jehoiada the priest to be the chief officer in the temple of the Lord, responsible for every madman who acts like a prophet. You must confine him in stocks and an iron collar. 27 So now, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth who has been acting like a prophet among you? 28 For he has sent [word] to us in Babylon, claiming: The exile will be long. Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat their produce." 29 Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the hearing of Jeremiah the prophet.

A Message about Shemaiah

30 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 31 "Send [a message] to all the exiles, saying: This is what the Lord says concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite. Because Shemaiah prophesied to you, though I did not send him, and made you trust a lie, 32 this is what the Lord says: I am about to punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his descendants. There will not be even one of his [descendants] living among these people, nor will any ever see the good that I will bring to My people"-[this is] the Lord's declaration-"for he has preached rebellion against the Lord."

Jeremiah 30

Restoration from Captivity

1 [This is] the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord. 2 This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: "Write down on a scroll all the words that I have spoken to you, 3 for the days are certainly coming"-[this is] the Lord's declaration-"when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah"-the Lord's declaration. "I will restore them to the land I gave to their ancestors and they will possess it." 4 These are the words the Lord spoke to Israel and Judah. 5 Yes, this is what the Lord says: We have heard a cry of terror, of dread-there is no peace. 6 Ask and see whether a male can give birth. Why then do I see every man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor and every face turned pale? 7 How awful that day will be! There will be none like it! It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be delivered out of it. 8 "On that day"-[this is] the declaration of the Lord of Hosts-"I will break his yoke from your neck and snap your fetters so strangers will never again enslave him. 9 They will serve the Lord their God and I will raise up David their king for them." 10 As for you, My servant Jacob, do not be afraid- [this is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration- and do not be dismayed, Israel, for I will without fail save you from far away, your descendants, from the land of their captivity! Jacob will return and have calm and quiet with no one to frighten him. 11 For I will be with you- [this is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration- to save you! I will bring destruction on all the nations where I have scattered you; however, I will not bring destruction on you. I will discipline you justly, but I will by no means leave you unpunished.

Healing Zion's Wounds

12 For this is what the Lord says: Your injury is incurable; your wound most severe. 13 No one takes up the case for your sores. You have nothing that can heal you. 14 All your lovers have forgotten you; they no longer look for you, for I have struck you like an enemy would, with the discipline of someone cruel, because of your enormous guilt and your innumerable sins. 15 Why do you cry out about your injury? Your pain has no cure! I have done these things to you because of your enormous guilt and your innumerable sins. 16 Nevertheless, all who devoured you will be devoured, and all your adversaries-all of them- will go off into exile. Your despoilers will become spoil, and all who plunder you will be plundered. 17 But I will bring you health and will heal you of your wounds- [this is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration- for they call you The Outcast, that Zion no one cares about.

Restoration of the Land

18 This is what the Lord says: I will certainly restore the fortunes of Jacob's tents and show compassion on his dwellings. Every city will be rebuilt on its mound; every citadel will stand on its proper site. 19 Thanksgiving will come out of them, a sound of celebration. I will multiply them, and they will not decrease; I will honor them, and they will not be insignificant. 20 His children will be as in past days; his congregation will be established in My presence. I will punish all his oppressors. 21 Jacob's leader will be one of them; his ruler will issue from him. I will invite him to Me, and he will approach Me, for who would otherwise risk his life to approach Me? [This is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration. 22 You will be My people, and I will be your God.

The Wrath of God

23 Look, a storm from the Lord! Wrath has gone forth. A churning storm, it will whirl about the head of the wicked. 24 The Lord's burning anger will not turn back until He has completely fulfilled the purposes of His heart. In time to come you will understand it.

Psalm 133

Living in Harmony

A Davidic song of ascents.

1 How good and pleasant it is when brothers can live together! 2 It is like fine oil on the head, running down on the beard, running down Aaron's beard, on his robes. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon falling on the mountains of Zion. For there the Lord has appointed the blessing- life forevermore.
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