Jeremiah 9; Jeremiah 10; Jeremiah 11; 1 Timothy 6

1 I wish my head were a well of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I could cry day and night for my people who have been killed. 2 I wish I had a place to stay in the desert where I could get away from my people. They are all unfaithful, a mob of traitors. 3 They are always ready to tell lies; dishonesty instead of truth rules the land. The Lord says, "My people do one evil thing after another and do not acknowledge me as their God." 4 Everyone must be on guard against their friends, and no one can trust their relatives; for all relatives are as deceitful as Jacob, and everyone slanders their friends. 5 They all mislead their friends, and no one tells the truth; they have taught their tongues to lie and will not give up their sinning. They do one violent thing after another, and one deceitful act follows another. The Lord says that his people reject him. 7 Because of this the Lord Almighty says, "I will refine my people like metal and put them to the test. My people have done evil - what else can I do with them? 8 Their tongues are like deadly arrows; they always tell lies. Everyone speaks friendly words to their neighbors, but they are really setting a trap for them. 9 Will I not punish them for these things? Will I not take revenge on a nation like this? I, the Lord, have spoken." 10 I said, "I will mourn for the mountains and weep for the pastures, because they have dried up, and no one travels through them. The sound of livestock is no longer heard; birds and wild animals have fled and gone." 11 The Lord says, "I will make Jerusalem a pile of ruins, a place where jackals live; the cities of Judah will become a desert, a place where no one lives." 12 I asked, "Lord, why is the land devastated and dry as a desert, so that no one travels through it? Who is wise enough to understand this? To whom have you explained it so that they can tell others?" 13 The Lord answered, "This has happened because my people have abandoned the teaching that I gave them. They have not obeyed me or done what I told them. 14 Instead, they have been stubborn and have worshiped the idols of Baal as their ancestors taught them to do. 15 So then, listen to what I, the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, will do: I will give my people bitter plants to eat and poison to drink. 16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have heard about, and I will send armies against them until I have completely destroyed them." 17 The Lord Almighty said, "Think about what is happening! Call for the mourners to come, for the women who sing funeral songs." 18 The people said, "Tell them to hurry and sing a funeral song for us, until our eyes fill with tears, and our eyelids are wet from crying." 19 Listen to the sound of crying in Zion: "We are ruined! We are completely disgraced! We must leave our land; our homes have been torn down." 20 I said, "Listen to the Lord, you women, and pay attention to his words. Teach your daughters how to mourn, and your friends how to sing a funeral song. 21 Death has come in through our windows and entered our palaces; it has cut down the children in the streets and the young men in the marketplaces. 22 Dead bodies are scattered everywhere, like piles of manure on the fields, like grain cut and left behind by the reapers, grain that no one gathers. This is what the Lord has told me to say." 23 The Lord says, "The wise should not boast of their wisdom, nor the strong of their strength, nor the rich of their wealth. 24 If any want to boast, they should boast that they know and understand me, because my love is constant, and I do what is just and right. These are the things that please me. I, the Lord, have spoken." 25 The Lord says, "The time is coming when I will punish the people of Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and the desert people, who have their hair cut short. All these people are circumcised, but have not kept the covenant it symbolizes. None of these people and none of the people of Israel have kept my covenant."
1 People of Israel, listen to the message that the Lord has for you. 2 He says, "Do not follow the ways of other nations; do not be disturbed by unusual sights in the sky, even though other nations are terrified. 3 The religion of these people is worthless. A tree is cut down in the forest; it is carved by the tools of the woodworker 4 and decorated with silver and gold. It is fastened down with nails to keep it from falling over. 5 Such idols are like scarecrows in a field of melons; they cannot speak; they have to be carried because they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them: they can cause you no harm, and they can do you no good." 6 Lord, there is no one like you; you are mighty, and your name is great and powerful. 7 Who would not honor you, the king of all nations? You deserve to be honored. There is no one like you among all the wise men of the nations or among any of their kings. 8 All of them are stupid and foolish. What can they learn from wooden idols? 9 Their idols are covered with silver from Spain and with gold from Uphaz, all the work of artists; they are dressed in violet and purple cloth woven by skilled weavers. 10 But you, Lord, are the true God, you are the living God and the eternal king. When you are angry, the world trembles; the nations cannot endure your anger. 11 (You people must tell them that the gods who did not make the earth and the sky will be destroyed. They will no longer exist anywhere on earth.) 12 The Lord made the earth by his power; by his wisdom he created the world and stretched out the heavens. 13 At his command the waters above the sky roar; he brings clouds from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning flash in the rain and sends the wind from his storeroom. 14 At the sight of this, people feel stupid and senseless; those who make idols are disillusioned, because the gods they make are false and lifeless. 15 They are worthless and should be despised; they will be destroyed when the Lord comes to deal with them. 16 The God of Jacob is not like them; he is the one who made everything, and he has chosen Israel to be his very own people. The Lord Almighty is his name. 17 People of Jerusalem, you are under siege! Gather up your belongings. 18 The Lord is going to throw you out of this land; he is going to crush you until not one of you is left. The Lord has spoken. 19 The people of Jerusalem cried out, "How badly we are hurt! Our wounds will not heal. And we thought this was something we could endure! 20 Our tents are ruined; the ropes that held them have broken. Our children have all gone away; there is no one left to put up our tents again; there is no one to hang their curtains." 21 I answered, "Our leaders are stupid; they do not ask the Lord for guidance. This is why they have failed, and our people have been scattered. 22 Listen! News has come! There is a great commotion in a nation to the north; its army will turn the cities of Judah into a desert, a place where jackals live." 23 Lord, I know that none of us are in charge of our own destiny; none of us have control over our own life. 24 Correct your people, Lord, but do not be too hard on us or punish us when you are angry; that would be the end of us. 25 Turn your anger on the nations that do not worship you and on the people who reject you. They have killed your people; they have destroyed us completely and left our country in ruins.
1 The Lord said to me, 2 "Listen to the terms of the covenant. Tell the people of Judah and of Jerusalem 3 that I, the Lord God of Israel, have placed a curse on everyone who does not obey the terms of this covenant. 4 It is the covenant I made with their ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, the land that was like a blazing furnace to them. I told them to obey me and to do everything that I had commanded. I told them that if they obeyed, they would be my people and I would be their God. 5 Then I would keep the promise I made to their ancestors that I would give them the rich and fertile land which they now have." I said, "Yes, Lord." 6 Then the Lord said to me, "Go to the cities of Judah and to the streets of Jerusalem. Proclaim my message there and tell the people to listen to the terms of the covenant and to obey them. 7 When I brought their ancestors out of Egypt, I solemnly warned them to obey me, and I have kept on warning the people until this day. 8 But they did not listen or obey. Instead, everyone continued to be as stubborn and evil as ever. I had commanded them to keep the covenant, but they refused. So I brought on them all the punishments described in it." 9 Then the Lord said to me, "The people of Judah and of Jerusalem are plotting against me. 10 They have gone back to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to do what I said; they have worshiped other gods. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant that I made with their ancestors. 11 So now I, the Lord, warn them that I am going to bring destruction on them, and they will not escape. And when they cry out to me for help, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the people of Judah and of Jerusalem will go to the gods to whom they offer sacrifices and will cry out to them for help. But those gods will not be able to save them when this destruction comes. 13 The people of Judah have as many gods as they have cities, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem have set up as many altars for sacrifices to that disgusting god Baal as there are streets in the city. 14 Jeremiah, don't pray to me or plead with me on behalf of these people. When they are in trouble and call to me for help, I will not listen to them." 15 The Lord says, "The people I love are doing evil things. What right do they have to be in my Temple? Do they think they can prevent disaster by making promises and by offering animal sacrifices? Will they then rejoice? 16 I once called them a leafy olive tree, full of beautiful fruit; but now, with a roar like thunder I will set its leaves on fire and break its branches. 17 "I, the Lord Almighty, planted Israel and Judah; but now I threaten them with disaster. They have brought this on themselves because they have done wrong; they have made me angry by offering sacrifices to Baal." 18 The Lord informed me of the plots that my enemies were making against me. 19 I was like a trusting lamb taken out to be killed, and I did not know that it was against me that they were planning evil things. They were saying, "Let's chop down the tree while it is still healthy; let's kill him so that no one will remember him any more." 20 Then I prayed, "Almighty Lord, you are a just judge; you test people's thoughts and feelings. I have placed my cause in your hands; so let me watch you take revenge on these people." 21 The people of Anathoth wanted me killed, and they told me that they would kill me if I kept on proclaiming the Lord's message. 22 So the Lord Almighty said, "I will punish them! Their young men will be killed in war; their children will die of starvation. 23 I have set a time for bringing disaster on the people of Anathoth, and when that time comes, none of them will survive."
1 Those who are slaves must consider their masters worthy of all respect, so that no one will speak evil of the name of God and of our teaching. 2 Slaves belonging to Christian masters must not despise them, for they are believers too. Instead, they are to serve them even better, because those who benefit from their work are believers whom they love. You must teach and preach these things. 3 Whoever teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the true words of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the teaching of our religion 4 is swollen with pride and knows nothing. He has an unhealthy desire to argue and quarrel about words, and this brings on jealousy, disputes, insults, evil suspicions, 5 and constant arguments from people whose minds do not function and who no longer have the truth. They think that religion is a way to become rich. 6 Well, religion does make us very rich, if we are satisfied with what we have. 7 What did we bring into the world? Nothing! What can we take out of the world? Nothing! 8 So then, if we have food and clothes, that should be enough for us. 9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and are caught in the trap of many foolish and harmful desires, which pull them down to ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a source of all kinds of evil. Some have been so eager to have it that they have wandered away from the faith and have broken their hearts with many sorrows. 11 But you, man of God, avoid all these things. Strive for righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. 12 Run your best in the race of faith, and win eternal life for yourself; for it was to this life that God called you when you firmly professed your faith before many witnesses. 13 Before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who firmly professed his faith before Pontius Pilate, I command you 14 to obey your orders and keep them faithfully until the Day when our Lord Jesus Christ will appear. 15 His appearing will be brought about at the right time by God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. 16 He alone is immortal; he lives in the light that no one can approach. No one has ever seen him; no one can ever see him. To him be honor and eternal power! Amen. 17 Command those who are rich in the things of this life not to be proud, but to place their hope, not in such an uncertain thing as riches, but in God, who generously gives us everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share with others. 19 In this way they will store up for themselves a treasure which will be a solid foundation for the future. And then they will be able to win the life which is true life. 20 Timothy, keep safe what has been entrusted to your care. Avoid the profane talk and foolish arguments of what some people wrongly call "Knowledge." 21 For some have claimed to possess it, and as a result they have lost the way of faith. God's grace be with you all.
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