Jeremiah 22; Jeremiah 23; Titus 1

1 The Lord told me to go to the palace of the king of Judah, the descendant of David, and there tell the king, his officials, and the people of Jerusalem to listen to what the Lord had said: 3 "I, the Lord, command you to do what is just and right. Protect the person who is being cheated from the one who is cheating him. Do not mistreat or oppress aliens, orphans, or widows; and do not kill innocent people in this holy place. 4 If you really do as I have commanded, then David's descendants will continue to be kings. And they, together with their officials and their people, will continue to pass through the gates of this palace in chariots and on horses. 5 But if you do not obey my commands, then I swear to you that this palace will fall into ruins. I, the Lord, have spoken. 6 "To me, Judah's royal palace is as beautiful as the land of Gilead and as the Lebanon Mountains; but I will make it a desolate place where no one lives. 7 I am sending men to destroy it. They will all bring their axes, cut down its beautiful cedar pillars, and throw them into the fire. 8 "Afterward many foreigners will pass by and ask one another why I, the Lord, have done such a thing to this great city. 9 Then they will answer that it is because you have abandoned your covenant with me, your God, and have worshiped and served other gods." 10 People of Judah, do not weep for King Josiah; do not mourn his death. But weep bitterly for Joahaz, his son; they are taking him away, never to return, never again to see the land where he was born. 11 The Lord says concerning Josiah's son Joahaz, who succeeded his father as king of Judah, "He has gone away from here, never to return. 12 He will die in the country where they have taken him, and he will never again see this land." 13 Doomed is the one who builds his house by injustice and enlarges it by dishonesty; who makes his people work for nothing and does not pay their wages. 14 Doomed is the one who says, "I will build myself a mansion with spacious rooms upstairs." So he puts windows in his house, panels it with cedar, and paints it red. 15 Does it make you a better king if you build houses of cedar, finer than those of others? Your father enjoyed a full life. He was always just and fair, and he prospered in everything he did. 16 He gave the poor a fair trial, and all went well with him. That is what it means to know the Lord. 17 But you can only see your selfish interests; you kill the innocent and violently oppress your people. The Lord has spoken. 18 So then, the Lord says about Josiah's son Jehoiakim, king of Judah, "No one will mourn his death or say, "How terrible, my friend, how terrible!' No one will weep for him or cry, "My lord! My king!' 19 With the funeral honors of a donkey, he will be dragged away and thrown outside Jerusalem's gates." 20 People of Jerusalem, go to Lebanon and shout, go to the land of Bashan and cry; call out from the mountains of Moab, because all your allies have been defeated. 21 The Lord spoke to you when you were prosperous, but you refused to listen. That is what you've done all your life; you never would obey the Lord. 22 Your leaders will be blown away by the wind, your allies taken as prisoners of war, your city disgraced and put to shame because of all the evil you have done. 23 You rest secure among the cedars brought from Lebanon; but how pitiful you'll be when pains strike you, pains like those of a woman in labor. 24 The Lord said to King Jehoiachin, son of King Jehoiakim of Judah, "As surely as I am the living God, even if you were the signet ring on my right hand, I would pull you off 25 and give you to people you are afraid of, people who want to kill you. I will give you to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia and his soldiers. 26 I am going to force you and your mother into exile. You will go to a country where neither of you was born, and both of you will die there. 27 You will long to see this country again, but you will never return." 28 I said, "Has King Jehoiachin become like a broken jar that is thrown away and that no one wants? Is that why he and his children have been taken into exile to a land they know nothing about?" 29 O land, land, land! Listen to what the Lord has said: 30 "This man is condemned to lose his children, to be a man who will never succeed. He will have no descendants who will rule in Judah as David's successors. I, the Lord, have spoken."
1 How terrible will be the Lord's judgment on those rulers who destroy and scatter his people! 2 This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the rulers who were supposed to take care of his people: "You have not taken care of my people; you have scattered them and driven them away. Now I am going to punish you for the evil you have done. 3 I will gather the rest of my people from the countries where I have scattered them, and I will bring them back to their homeland. They will have many children and increase in number. 4 I will appoint rulers to take care of them. My people will no longer be afraid or terrified, and I will not punish them again. I, the Lord, have spoken. 5 The Lord says, "The time is coming when I will choose as king a righteous descendant of David. That king will rule wisely and do what is right and just throughout the land. 6 When he is king, the people of Judah will be safe, and the people of Israel will live in peace. He will be called "The Lord Our Salvation.' 7 "The time is coming," says the Lord, "when people will no longer swear by me as the living God who brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt. 8 Instead, they will swear by me as the living God who brought the people of Israel out of a northern land and out of all the other countries where I had scattered them. Then they will live in their own land." 9 My heart is crushed, and I am trembling. Because of the Lord, because of his holy words, I am like a man who is drunk, someone who has had too much wine. 10 The land is full of people unfaithful to the Lord; they live wicked lives and misuse their power. Because of the Lord's curse the land mourns and the pastures are dry. 11 The Lord says, "The prophets and the priests are godless; I have caught them doing evil in the Temple itself. 12 The paths they follow will be slippery and dark; I will make them stumble and fall. I am going to bring disaster on them; the time of their punishment is coming. I, the Lord, have spoken. 13 I have seen the sin of Samaria's prophets: they have spoken in the name of Baal and have led my people astray. 14 But I have seen the prophets in Jerusalem do even worse: they commit adultery and tell lies; they help people to do wrong, so that no one stops doing what is evil. To me they are all as bad as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah 15 "So then, this is what I, the Lord Almighty, say about the prophets of Jerusalem: I will give them bitter plants to eat and poison to drink, because they have spread ungodliness throughout the land." 16 The Lord Almighty said to the people of Jerusalem, "Do not listen to what the prophets say; they are filling you with false hopes. They tell you what they have imagined and not what I have said. 17 To the people who refuse to listen to what I have said, they keep saying that all will go well with them. And they tell everyone who is stubborn that disaster will never touch them." 18 I said, "None of these prophets has ever known the Lord's secret thoughts. None of them has ever heard or understood his message, or ever listened or paid attention to what he said. 19 His anger is a storm, a furious wind that will rage over the heads of the wicked 20 and it will not end until he has done everything he intends to do. In days to come his people will understand this clearly." 21 The Lord said, "I did not send these prophets, but even so they went. I did not give them any message, but still they spoke in my name 22 If they had known my secret thoughts, then they could have proclaimed my message to my people and could have made them give up the evil lives they live and the wicked things they do. 23 "I am a God who is everywhere and not in one place only. 24 No one can hide where I cannot see them. Do you not know that I am everywhere in heaven and on earth? 25 I know what those prophets have said who speak lies in my name and claim that I have given them my messages in their dreams. 26 How much longer will those prophets mislead my people with the lies they have invented? 27 They think that the dreams they tell will make my people forget me, just as their ancestors forgot me and turned to Baal. 28 The prophet who has had a dream should say it is only a dream, but the prophet who has heard my message should proclaim that message faithfully. What good is straw compared with wheat? 29 My message is like a fire and like a hammer that breaks rocks in pieces. 30 I am against those prophets who take each other's words and proclaim them as my message. 31 I am also against those prophets who speak their own words and claim they came from me. 32 Listen to what I, the Lord, say! I am against the prophets who tell their dreams that are full of lies. They tell these dreams and lead my people astray with their lies and their boasting. I did not send them or order them to go, and they are of no help at all to the people. I, the Lord, have spoken." 33 The Lord said to me, "Jeremiah, when one of my people or a prophet or a priest asks you, "What is the Lord's message?' you are to say, "You are a burden to the Lord, and he is going to get rid of you.' 34 If any of my people or a prophet or a priest even uses the words "the Lord's burden,' I will punish them and their families. 35 Instead, each one of them should ask their friends and their relatives, "What answer has the Lord given? What has the Lord said?' 36 So they must no longer use the words "the Lord's burden,' because if any of them do, I will make my message a real burden to them. The people have perverted the words of their God, the living God, the Lord Almighty 37 Jeremiah, ask the prophets, "What answer did the Lord give you? What did the Lord say?' 38 And if they disobey my command and use the words "the Lord's burden,' then tell them tha 39 I will certainly pick them up and throw them far away from me, both them and the city that I gave to them and their ancestors. 40 I will bring on them everlasting shame and disgrace that will never be forgotten."
1 From Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I was chosen and sent to help the faith of God's chosen people and to lead them to the truth taught by our religion, 2 which is based on the hope for eternal life. God, who does not lie, promised us this life before the beginning of time, 3 and at the right time he revealed it in his message. This was entrusted to me, and I proclaim it by order of God our Savior. 4 I write to Titus, my true son in the faith that we have in common. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace. 5 I left you in Crete, so that you could put in order the things that still needed doing and appoint church elders in every town. Remember my instructions: 6 an elder must be without fault; he must have only one wife, and his children must be believers and not have the reputation of being wild or disobedient. 7 For since a church leader is in charge of God's work, he should be without fault. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered, or a drunkard or violent or greedy for money. 8 He must be hospitable and love what is good. He must be self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the message which can be trusted and which agrees with the doctrine. In this way he will be able to encourage others with the true teaching and also to show the error of those who are opposed to it. 10 For there are many, especially the converts from Judaism, who rebel and deceive others with their nonsense. 11 It is necessary to stop their talk, because they are upsetting whole families by teaching what they should not, and all for the shameful purpose of making money. 12 It was a Cretan himself, one of their own prophets, who spoke the truth when he said, "Cretans are always liars, wicked beasts, and lazy gluttons." For this reason you must rebuke them sharply, so that they may have a healthy faith 14 and no longer hold on to Jewish legends and to human commandments which come from people who have rejected the truth. 15 Everything is pure to those who are themselves pure; but nothing is pure to those who are defiled and unbelieving, for their minds and consciences have been defiled. 16 They claim that they know God, but their actions deny it. They are hateful and disobedient, not fit to do anything good.
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