Jeremiah 14; Jeremiah 15; Jeremiah 16; Jeremiah 17

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Jeremiah 14

1 These are the words that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah about the time when there was no rain:
2 "The nation of Judah cries as if someone has died, and her cities are very sad. They are distressed over the land. A cry goes up to God from Jerusalem.
3 The important men send their servants to get water. They go to the wells, but they find no water. So they return with empty jars. They are ashamed and embarrassed and cover their heads in shame.
4 The ground is dry and cracked open, because no rain falls on the land. The farmers are upset and sad, so they cover their heads in shame.
5 Even the mother deer in the field leaves her newborn fawn to die, because there is no grass.
6 Wild donkeys stand on the bare hills and sniff the wind like wild dogs. But their eyes go blind, because there is no food."
7 We know that we suffer because of our sins. Lord, do something to help us for the good of your name. We have left you many times; we have sinned against you.
8 God, the Hope of Israel, you have saved Israel in times of trouble. Why are you like a stranger in the land, or like a traveler who only stays one night?
9 Why are you like someone who has been attacked by surprise, like a warrior who is not able to save anyone? But you are among us, Lord, and we are called by your name so don't leave us without help!
10 This is what the Lord says about the people of Judah: "They really love to wander from me; they don't stop themselves from leaving me. So now the Lord will not accept them. He will now remember the evil they do and will punish them for their sins."
11 Then the Lord said, "Don't pray for good things to happen to the people of Judah.
12 Even if they give up eating, I will not listen to their prayers. Even if they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings to me, I will not accept them. Instead, I will destroy the people of Judah with war, hunger, and terrible diseases."
13 But I said, "Oh, Lord God, the prophets keep telling the people, 'You will not suffer from an enemy's sword or from hunger. I, the Lord, will give you peace in this land.'"
14 Then the Lord said to me, "Those prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them or appoint them or speak to them. They have been prophesying false visions, idolatries, worthless magic, and their own wishful thinking.
15 So this is what I say about the prophets who are prophesying in my name. I did not send them. They say, 'No enemy will attack this country with swords. There will never be hunger in this land.' So those prophets will die from hunger and from an enemy's sword.
16 And the people to whom the prophets speak will be thrown into the streets of Jerusalem. There they will die from hunger and from an enemy's sword. And no one will be there to bury them, or their wives, or their sons, or their daughters. I will punish them.
17 "Jeremiah, speak this message to the people of Judah: 'Let my eyes be filled with tears night and day, without stopping. My people have received a terrible blow; they have been hurt badly.
18 If I go into the country, I see people killed by swords. If I go into the city, I see much sickness, because the people have no food. Both the priests and the prophets have been taken to a foreign land.'"
19 Lord, have you completely rejected the nation of Judah? Why have you hurt us so badly that we cannot be made well again? We hoped for peace, but nothing good has come. We looked for a time of healing, but only terror came.
20 Lord, we admit that we are wicked and that our ancestors did evil things. We have sinned against you.
21 For your sake, do not hate us. Do not take away the honor from your glorious throne. Remember your agreement with us, and do not break it.
22 Do foreign idols have the power to bring rain? Does the sky itself have the power to send down showers? No, it is you, Lord our God. You are our only hope, because you are the one who made all these things.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Jeremiah 15

1 Then the Lord said to me: "I would not feel sorry for the people of Judah even if Moses and Samuel prayed for them. Send them away from me! Tell them to go!
2 When they ask you, 'Where will we go?' tell them: 'This is what the Lord says: Those who are meant to die will die. Those who are meant to die in war will die in war. Those who are meant to die from hunger will die from hunger. Those who are meant to be taken captive will be taken captive.'
3 "I will send four kinds of destroyers against them," says the Lord. "I will send war to kill, dogs to drag the bodies away, and the birds of the air and wild animals to eat and destroy the bodies.
4 I will make the people of Judah hated by everyone on earth because of what Manasseh did in Jerusalem. (Manasseh son of Hezekiah was king of the nation of Judah.)
5 "Who will feel sorry for you, Jerusalem? Who will be sad and cry for you? Who will go out of his way to ask how you are?
6 Jerusalem, you have left me," says the Lord. "You keep going farther and farther away, so I have taken hold of you and destroyed you. I was tired of holding back my anger.
7 I have separated the people of Judah with my pitchfork and scattered them at the city gates of the land. My people haven't changed their ways. So I have destroyed them and taken away their children.
8 There are more widows than grains of sand in the sea. I brought a destroyer at noontime against the mothers of the young men of Judah. I suddenly brought pain and fear on the people of Judah.
9 When the enemy attacked, a woman with seven sons felt faint because they would all die. She became weak and unable to breathe. Her bright day became dark from sadness. She felt shame and disgrace. I will hand over to the enemies, too!" says the Lord.
10 Mother, I am sorry that you gave birth to me since I must accuse and criticize the whole land. I have not loaned or borrowed anything, but everyone curses me.
11 The Lord said, "I have saved you for a good reason. I have made your enemies beg you in times of disaster and trouble.
12 No one can smash a piece of iron or bronze that comes from the north.
13 Your wealth and treasures I will give to others free of charge, because the people of Judah have sinned throughout the country.
14 I will make you slaves to your enemies in a land you have never known. My anger is like a hot fire, and it will burn against you."
15 Lord, you understand. Remember me and take care of me. Punish for me those who are hurting me. Don't destroy me while you remain patient with them. Think about the shame I suffer for you.
16 Your words came to me, and I listened carefully to them. Your words made me very happy, because I am called by your name, Lord God All-Powerful.
17 I never sat with the crowd as they laughed and had fun. I sat by myself, because you were there, and you filled me with anger at the evil around me.
18 I don't understand why my pain has no end. I don't understand why my injury is not cured or healed. Will you be like a brook that goes dry? Will you be like a spring that stops flowing?
19 So this is what the Lord says: "If you change your heart and return to me, I will take you back. Then you may serve me. And if you speak things that have worth, not useless words, then you may speak for me. Let the people of Judah turn to you, but you must not change and be like them.
20 I will make you as strong as a wall to this people, as strong as a wall of bronze. They will fight against you, but they will not defeat you, because I am with you. I will rescue you and save you," says the Lord.
21 "I will save you from these wicked people and rescue you from these cruel people."
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Jeremiah 16

1 Then the Lord spoke his word to me:
2 "You must not get married or have sons or daughters in this place."
3 The Lord says this about the sons and daughters born in this land and their mothers and fathers:
4 "They will die of terrible diseases, and no one will cry for them or bury them. Their bodies will lie on the ground like dung. They will die in war, or they will starve to death. Their bodies will be food for the birds of the sky and for the wild animals."
5 So this is what the Lord says: "Jeremiah, do not go into a house where there is a funeral meal. Do not go there to cry for the dead or to show your sorrow for them, because I have taken back my blessing, my love, and my pity from these people," says the Lord.
6 "Important people and common people will die in the land of Judah. No one will bury them or cry for them or cut himself or shave his head to show sorrow for them.
7 No one will bring food to comfort those who are crying for the dead. No one will offer a drink to comfort someone whose mother or father has died.
8 "Do not go into a house where the people are having a feast to sit down to eat and drink,
9 because this is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: I will soon stop the sounds of joy and gladness and the happy sounds of brides and bridegrooms in this place. This will happen during your lifetime.
10 "When you tell the people of Judah these things, they will ask you, 'Why has the Lord said these terrible things to us? What have we done wrong? What sin have we done against the Lord our God?'
11 "Then say to them: 'This is because your ancestors quit following me,' says the Lord. 'And they followed other gods and served and worshiped them. Your ancestors left me and quit obeying my teaching.
12 But you have done even more evil than your ancestors. You are very stubborn and do only what you want to do; you have not obeyed me.
13 So I will throw you out of this country and send you into a land that you and your ancestors never knew. There you can serve other gods day and night, because I will not help you or show you any favors.'
14 "People say, 'As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the people of Israel out of Egypt . . .' But the time is coming," says the Lord, "when people will not say this anymore.
15 They will say instead, 'As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites from the northern land and from all the countries where he had sent them . . .' And I will bring them back to the land I gave to their ancestors.
16 "I will soon send for many fishermen to come to this land," says the Lord. "And they will catch the people of Judah. After that, I will send for many hunters to come to this land. And they will hunt the people of Judah on every mountain and hill and in the cracks of the rocks.
17 I see everything they do. They cannot hide from me the things they do; their sin is not hidden from my eyes.
18 I will pay back the people of Judah twice for every one of their sins, because they have made my land unclean. They have filled my country with their hateful idols."
19 Lord, you are my strength and my protection, my safe place in times of trouble. The nations will come to you from all over the world and say, "Our ancestors had only false gods, useless idols that didn't help them.
20 Can people make gods for themselves? They will not really be gods!"
21 The Lord says, "So I will teach those who make idols. This time I will teach them about my power and my strength. Then they will know that my name is the Lord.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Jeremiah 17

1 "The sin of the people of Judah is written with an iron tool. Their sins were cut with a hard point into the stone that is their hearts. Their sins were cut into the corners of their altars.
2 Even their children remember their altars to idols and their Asherah idols beside the green trees and on the high hills.
3 My mountain in the open country and your wealth and treasures I will give away to other people. I will give away the places of worship in your country, because you sinned by worshiping there.
4 You will lose the land I gave you, and it is your own fault. I will let your enemies take you as their slaves to a land you have never known. This is because you have made my anger burn like a hot fire, and it will burn forever."
5 This is what the Lord says: "A curse is placed on those who trust other people, who depend on humans for strength, who have stopped trusting the Lord.
6 They are like a bush in a desert that grows in a land where no one lives, a hot and dry land with bad soil. They don't know about the good things God can give.
7 "But the person who trusts in the Lord will be blessed. The Lord will show him that he can be trusted.
8 He will be strong, like a tree planted near water that sends its roots by a stream. It is not afraid when the days are hot; its leaves are always green. It does not worry in a year when no rain comes; it always produces fruit.
9 "More than anything else, a person's mind is evil and cannot be healed. No one truly understands it.
10 But I, the Lord, look into a person's heart and test the mind. So I can decide what each one deserves; I can give each one the right payment for what he does."
11 Like a bird hatching an egg it did not lay, so are the people who get rich by cheating. When their lives are half finished, they will lose their riches. At the end of their lives, it will be clear they were fools.
12 From the beginning, our Temple has been honored as a glorious throne for God.
13 Lord, hope of Israel, those who leave you will be shamed. People who quit following the Lord will be like a name written in the dust, because they have left the Lord, the spring of living water.
14 Lord, heal me, and I will truly be healed. Save me, and I will truly be saved. You are the one I praise.
15 The people of Judah keep asking me, "Where is the word from the Lord? Let's see that message come true!"
16 Lord, I didn't run away from being the shepherd you wanted. I didn't want the terrible day to come. You know everything I have said; you see all that is happening.
17 Don't be a terror to me. I run to you for safety in times of trouble.
18 Make those who are hurting me be ashamed, but don't bring shame to me. Let them be terrified, but keep me from terror. Bring the day of disaster on my enemies. Destroy them, and destroy them again.
19 This is what the Lord said to me: "Go and stand at the People's Gate of Jerusalem, where the kings of Judah go in and out. And then go to all the other gates of Jerusalem.
20 Say to them there: 'Hear the word of the Lord, kings of Judah, all you people of Judah, and all who live in Jerusalem, who come through these gates into the city.
21 This is what the Lord says: Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem.
22 Don't take a load out of your houses on the Sabbath or do any work on that day. But keep the Sabbath as a holy day, as I commanded your ancestors.
23 But your ancestors did not listen or pay attention to me. They were very stubborn and did not listen. I punished them, but it didn't do any good.
24 But you must be careful to obey me, says the Lord. You must not bring a load through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath, but you must keep the Sabbath as a holy day and not do any work on that day.
25 "'If you obey this command, kings who sit on David's throne will come through the gates of Jerusalem with their officers. They will come riding in chariots and on horses, along with the people of Judah and Jerusalem. And the city of Jerusalem will have people living in it forever.
26 People will come to Jerusalem from the villages around it, from the towns of Judah, from the land of Benjamin, from the western hills, from the mountains, and from southern Judah. They will all bring to the Temple of the Lord burnt offerings, sacrifices, grain offerings, incense, and offerings to show thanks to God.
27 But you must obey me and keep the Sabbath day as a holy day. You must not carry any loads into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. If you don't obey me, I will start a fire at the gates of Jerusalem, and it will burn until it burns even the strong towers. And it will not be put out.'"
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.