Jeremiah 10; Jeremiah 11; Jeremiah 12; Jeremiah 13

1 People of Israel, listen to what the LORD is telling you. 2 He says, "Do not follow the practices of other nations. Do not be terrified by warnings in the sky. Do not be afraid, even though the nations are terrified by them. 3 The practices of those nations are worthless. People cut a tree out of the forest. A skilled worker shapes the wood with a sharp tool. 4 Others decorate it with silver and gold. They use a hammer to nail it to the floor. They want to keep it from falling down. 5 The statues of their gods can't speak. They are like scarecrows in a field of melons. They have to be carried around because they can't walk. So do not worship them. They can't do you any harm. And they can't do you any good either." 6 Lord, no one is like you. You are great. You are mighty and powerful. 7 King of the nations, everyone should have respect for you. That's what people should give you. Among all of the wise people in the nations there is no one like you. No one can compare with you in all of their kingdoms. 8 All of them are foolish. They don't have any sense. They think they are taught by worthless wooden gods. 9 Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish. Gold is brought from Uphaz. People who are skilled in working with wood and gold make a statue. Then they put blue and purple clothes on it. The whole thing is made by skilled workers. 10 But you are the only true God. You are the only living God. You are the King who rules forever. When you are angry, the earth trembles with fear. The nations can't stand up under your anger. 11 The LORD says to the Jews who are living in Babylonia, "Tell the people of the nations, 'Your gods did not make the heavens and the earth. In fact, those gods will disappear from the earth. They will vanish from under the heavens.' " 12 But God used his power to make the earth. His wisdom set the world in place. His understanding spread the heavens out. 13 When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar. He makes clouds rise from one end of the earth to the other. He sends lightning along with the rain. He brings the wind out from his storerooms. 14 No one has any sense. No one knows anything at all. Everyone who works with gold is put to shame by his wooden gods. The metal gods he worships are fakes. They can't even breathe. 15 They are worthless. People make fun of them. When the LORD judges them, they will be destroyed. 16 The God of Jacob is not like them. He gives his people everything they need. He made everything that exists. And that includes Israel. It's the nation that belongs to him. His name is The LORD Who Rules Over All. 17 People of Jerusalem, your enemies have surrounded you. They are attacking you. So gather up what belongs to you. Then leave the land. 18 The LORD says, "I am about to throw out of this land everyone who lives in it. I will bring trouble on them. They will be captured." 19 How terrible it will be for me! I've been wounded! And my wound can't be healed! In spite of that, I said to myself, "I'm sick. But I'll have to put up with it." 20 Jerusalem is like a tent that has been destroyed. All of its ropes have snapped. My people have gone away from me. Now no one is left to set up my tent. I have no one to set it up for me. 21 The leaders of my people are like shepherds who don't have any sense. They don't ask the LORD for advice. That's why they don't succeed. And that's why their whole flock is scattered like sheep. 22 Listen! A message is coming! I hear the sound of a great army marching down from the north! It will turn Judah's towns into a desert. They will become a home for wild dogs. 23 Lord, I know that a man doesn't control his own life. He doesn't direct his own steps. 24 Correct me, Lord. But please be fair. Don't correct me when you are angry. If you do, nothing will be left of me. 25 Pour out your burning anger on the nations. They don't pay any attention to you. They refuse to worship you. They have destroyed the people of Jacob. They've wiped them out completely. They've also destroyed the land they lived in.
1 A message came to me from the Lord. He said, 2 "Listen to the terms of the covenant I made with my people long ago. Tell Judah the terms still apply to them. Tell those who live in Jerusalem that they must obey them too. 3 "I am the God of Israel. So let the people know what I want them to do. Tell them I am saying, 'May the man who does not obey the terms of the covenant be under my curse. 4 I gave those terms to your people long ago. That was when I brought them out of Egypt. I saved them out of that furnace that melts iron down and makes it pure.' I said, 'Obey me. Do everything I command you to do. Then you will be my people. And I will be your God. 5 " 'I raised my hand and made an oath to your people long ago. I promised them I would give them a land that had plenty of milk and honey.' It is the land you own today. I kept my promise." I replied, "Amen, Lord." 6 The LORD said to me, "Here is what I want you to announce in the towns of Judah. Say it also in the streets of Jerusalem. Tell the people, 'Listen to the terms of my covenant. Obey them. 7 Long ago I brought your people up from Egypt. From that time until today, I warned them again and again. I said, "Obey me." 8 " 'But they did not listen. They did not pay any attention to me. Instead, they did what their stubborn and evil hearts wanted them to do. So I brought down on them all of the curses of the covenant. I commanded them to obey it. But they refused.' " 9 The LORD continued, "The people of Judah have made some evil plans. So have those who live in Jerusalem. 10 All of them have returned to the sins their people committed long ago. Those people refused to listen to what I told them. And now the people of Israel and Judah alike have worshiped other gods and served them. They have broken the covenant I made with their people who lived before them. 11 "So I say, 'I will bring trouble on them. They will not be able to escape it. They will cry out to me. But I will not listen to them. 12 " 'The people of Jerusalem and of the towns of Judah will cry out to the gods they burn incense to. But those gods will not help them at all when trouble strikes them. 13 Judah, you have as many gods as you have towns. And in Jerusalem you have set up as many altars as there are streets. You are burning incense to that shameful god Baal.' 14 "Jeremiah, do not pray for those people. Do not make any appeal or request for them. They will call out to me when they are in trouble. But I will not listen to them. 15 "I love the people of Judah. But they are working out their evil plans along with many others. So what are they doing in my temple? Can meat that is offered to me keep me from punishing you? When you do evil things, you get a lot of pleasure from them." 16 People of Judah, the LORD once called you a healthy olive tree. He thought its fruit was beautiful. But now he will come with the roar of a mighty storm. He will set the tree on fire. And its branches will be broken. 17 The LORD who rules over all planted you. But now he has ordered your enemies to destroy you. The people of Israel and Judah have done what is evil. They have made the LORD very angry by burning incense to Baal. 18 The LORD told me about the evil plans of my enemies. That's how I knew about them. He showed me what they were doing. 19 I had been like a gentle lamb that was led off to be killed. I didn't realize they had made plans against me. They had said, "Let's destroy the tree and its fruit. Let's cut him off while he's still living. Then his name won't be remembered anymore." 20 But Lord, you rule over all. You always judge fairly. You put people's hearts and minds to the test. So pay them back for what they've done. I've committed my cause to you. 21 The LORD says, "Jeremiah, here is what I am telling you about the men of Anathoth. They want to kill you. They are saying, 'Don't prophesy in the LORD's name. If you do, we will kill you with our own hands.' " 22 So the LORD who rules over all says, "I will punish them. Their young men will be killed with swords. Their sons and daughters will die of hunger. 23 Only a few people will be left alive. I will judge the men of Anathoth. I will destroy them when the time to punish them comes."
1 Lord, when I bring a matter to you, you always do what is right. But now I would like to speak with you about whether you are being fair. Why are sinful people successful? Why do those who can't be trusted have an easy life? 2 You have planted them. Their roots are deep in the ground. They grow and produce fruit. They honor you by what they say. But their hearts are far away from you. 3 Lord, you know me and see me. You test my thoughts about you. Drag those people off like sheep to be killed! Set them apart for the day of their death! 4 How long will the land be thirsty for water? How long will the grass in every field be dry? The people who live in the land are evil. So the animals and birds have died. And that's not all. The people are saying, "The LORD won't see what happens to us." 5 The LORD says, "Suppose you have run in a race with other men. And suppose they have worn you out. Then how would you be able to race against horses? Suppose you feel safe only in open country. Then how would you get along in the bushes near the Jordan River? 6 Even your own family has turned against you. They have shouted loudly at you. They might say nice things about you. But do not trust them. 7 "I will turn my back on my people. I will desert my land. I love the people of Judah. In spite of that, I will hand them over to their enemies. 8 My land has become to me like a lion in the forest. It roars at me. So I hate it. 9 My own land has become like a spotted hawk. And other hawks surround it and attack it. Come, all of you wild animals! Gather together! Come together to eat up my land. 10 Many shepherds will destroy my vineyard. They will walk all over it. They will turn my pleasant vineyard into a dry and empty land. 11 My vineyard will become a desert. It will be dry and empty in my sight. The whole land will be completely destroyed. And no one even cares. 12 Many will come to destroy it. They will gather on the bare hilltops in the desert. I will use them as my sword to destroy my people. They will kill them from one end of the land to the other. No one will be safe. 13 People will plant wheat. But all they will gather is thorns. They will wear themselves out. But they will not have anything to show for it. My anger is burning against you. So you will be ashamed of the crop you gather." 14 The LORD continues, "All of my evil neighbors have taken over the land I gave my people Israel. So I will pull them up by their roots from the lands they live in. And I will pull up the roots of the people of Judah from among them. 15 "But after I pull those nations up, I will show my tender love to them again. I will bring all of them back to their own lands. I will take all of them back to their own countries. 16 "Suppose they learn to follow the practices of my people. And they take an oath and make a promise in my name. They say, 'You can be sure that the LORD is alive.' They do it just as they once taught my people to take oaths in Baal's name. Then I will give them a place among my people. 17 "But what if one of those nations does not listen? Then you can be sure I will pull it up by the roots and destroy it," announces the Lord.
1 The LORD said to me, "Go and buy a linen belt. Put it around your waist. But do not let it get wet." 2 So I bought a belt, just as the LORD had told me to do. And I put it around my waist. 3 Then another message came to me from the Lord. He said, 4 "Take off the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist. Go to Perath. Hide the belt there in a crack in the rocks." 5 So I went and hid it at Perath. I did just as the LORD had told me to do. 6 Many days later the LORD spoke to me again. He told me, "Go to Perath. Get the belt I told you to hide there." 7 So I went to Perath. I dug up the belt. I took it from the place where I had hidden it. But it had rotted. It was completely useless. 8 Then another message came to me from the Lord. He said, 9 "In the same way, I will destroy Judah's pride. And I will destroy the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 "Those people are evil. They refuse to listen to what I say. They do what their stubborn hearts want them to do. They chase after other gods. They serve them and worship them. So they will be like this belt. They will be completely useless. 11 A belt is tied around a man's waist. In the same way, I tied all of the people of Israel and Judah to me," announces the Lord. "I wanted them to be my people. They should have brought me fame and praise and honor. But they have not listened to me. 12 "Tell them, 'The LORD is the God of Israel. He says, "Every wineskin should be filled with wine." ' "The people might say to you, 'Don't we know that every wineskin should be filled with wine?' 13 "If they do, tell them, 'The LORD says, "I am going to fill with wine everyone who lives in this land. I will make the kings who sit on David's throne drunk. And I will fill with wine the priests, the prophets and everyone who lives in Jerusalem. 14 I will smash them against one another. I will punish parents and children alike," announces the Lord. "I will not feel sorry for them. I will not show them any kindness. My tender love for them will not keep me from destroying them." ' " 15 People of Judah, listen to me. Pay attention. Don't be proud. The LORD has spoken. 16 Give glory to the LORD your God. Honor him before he sends darkness to cover the land. Do it before you trip and fall on the darkened hills. You hope that light will come. But he will turn it into thick darkness. He will change it to deep shadows. 17 If you don't listen, I will sob in secret. Because you are so proud, I will sob bitterly. Tears will flow from my eyes. The LORD's flock will be taken away as prisoners. 18 Speak to the king and his mother. Tell them, "Come down from your thrones. Your glorious crowns are about to fall from your heads." 19 The gates of the cities in the Negev Desert will be shut tight. There won't be anyone to open them. You will be carried away as prisoners. You will be taken away completely. 20 Jerusalem, look up! Your enemies are coming from the north. Where is the flock you were supposed to take care of? Where are the sheep you were so proud of? 21 You have worked hard to make special friends. But the LORD will let them rule over you. Then what will you say? Suffering will take hold of you. It will be like the pain of a woman having a baby. 22 Suppose you ask yourself, "Why has this happened to me?" It's because you have committed so many sins. That's the reason your skirt has been torn off. That's why your body has been treated so badly. 23 Can people from Ethiopia change their skin? Can leopards change their spots? It's the same with you. You have always done what is evil. So how can you do what is good? 24 The LORD says, "I will scatter you like straw that the desert wind blows away. 25 That is what will happen to you. I have appointed it for you," announces the Lord. "You have forgotten me. You have trusted in other gods. 26 So I will pull your skirt up over your face. Then people will see the shame of your naked body. 27 They will see that you have not been faithful to me. You have committed adultery with other gods. And you have acted like a prostitute who does not have any shame. I have seen what you did on the hills and in the fields. And I hate it. How terrible it will be for you, Jerusalem! How long will you choose to be 'unclean'?"
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