Jeremiah 14; Jeremiah 15; Jeremiah 16; Jeremiah 17

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Jeremiah 14

1 A message came to me from the Lord. He told me there wouldn't be any rain in the land. He said,
2 "Judah is filled with sadness. Its cities are wasting away. The people sob over the land. Crying is heard in Jerusalem.
3 The nobles send their servants to get water. They go to the wells. But they do not find any water. They return with empty jars. They are terrified. They do not have any hope. They cover their heads.
4 The ground is dry and cracked. There isn't any rain in the land. The farmers are terrified. They cover their heads.
5 Even the does in the fields desert their newborn fawns. There isn't any grass to eat.
6 Wild donkeys stand on the bare hilltops. They long for water as wild dogs do. Their eyesight fails because they do not have any grass to eat."
7 Our sins are a witness against us. Lord, do something for the honor of your name. We have completely turned away from you. We've sinned against you.
8 You are Israel's only hope. You save us when we're in trouble. Why are you like a stranger to us? Why are you like a traveler who stays for only one night?
9 Why are you like a man who is taken by surprise? Why are you like a soldier who can't save anyone? Lord, you are among us. And we are your people. Please don't desert us!
10 The LORD has given me a message about these people. He says, "They really love to wander away from me. Their feet go down the wrong path. I do not accept these people. I will remember the evil things they have done. I will punish them for their sins."
11 The LORD continued, "Do not pray that things will go well with them.
12 Even if they go without food, I will not listen to their cry for help. They might sacrifice burnt offerings and grain offerings. But I will not accept them. Instead, I will destroy them with war, hunger and plague."
13 But I said, "LORD and King, the prophets keep telling them something else. They say, 'You won't have to suffer from war or hunger. Instead, the LORD will give you peace and rest in this place.' "
14 Then the LORD said to me, "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them. I have not even spoken to them. Everything they tell you about their visions or secret knowledge is a lie. They pretend to bring you messages from other gods. They try to get you to believe their own mistaken ideas.
15 "So here is what I am saying about the prophets who are prophesying in my name. I did not send them. But they are saying, 'No war or hunger will come to this land.' Those same prophets will die because of war and hunger.
16 And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem. They will die because of hunger and war. No one will bury their bodies. No one will bury their wives or children. I will pour trouble out on them. That is exactly what they should get.
17 "Jeremiah, give them this message. Tell them, " 'Let tears flow from my eyes. Let them pour out night and day. Never let them stop. The people of my own nation have suffered a terrible wound. They have been crushed.
18 Suppose I go into the country. Then I see people who have been killed with swords. Or suppose I go into the city. Then I see people who have died of hunger. Prophet and priest alike have gone to a land they hadn't had anything to do with before.' "
19 Lord, have you turned your back on Judah completely? Do you hate the city of Zion? Why have you made us suffer? We can't be healed. We hoped peace would come. But nothing good has happened to us. We hoped we would finally be healed. But all we got was terror.
20 Lord, we admit we've done evil things. We also admit that our people of long ago were guilty. It's true that we've sinned against you.
21 For the honor of your name, don't turn your back on us. Don't bring shame on your glorious throne in the temple. Remember the covenant you made with us. Please don't break it.
22 Do any of the worthless gods of the nations bring rain? Do the skies send down showers all by themselves? No. LORD our God, you send the rain. So we put our hope in you. You are the one who does all of those things.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Jeremiah 15

1 Then the LORD said to me, "Suppose Moses and Samuel were standing in front of me. Even then my heart would not feel sorry for these people. Send them away from me! Let them go!
2 "Suppose they ask you, 'Where should we go?' "Then tell them, 'The LORD says, " ' "Those I have appointed to die will die. Those I have appointed to be killed with swords will be killed with swords. Those I have appointed to die of hunger will die of hunger. Those I have appointed to be taken away as prisoners will be taken away." '
3 "I will send four kinds of destroyers against them," announces the Lord. "Swords will kill them. Dogs will drag them away. Birds of the air will eat them up. And wild animals will destroy them.
4 "I will make all of the kingdoms on earth hate them. That will happen because of what Manasseh did in Jerusalem. He was king of Judah and the son of Hezekiah.
5 "Jerusalem, who will have pity on you? Who will sob over you? Who will stop to ask how you are doing?
6 You have said no to me," announces the Lord. "You keep on turning away from me. So I will destroy you with my own hands. I can't show you my tender love anymore.
7 I will stand at the city gates of the land. I will separate the straw from the grain. I will destroy my people. I will bring great sorrow on them. They have not changed their ways.
8 I will increase the number of their widows. They will be more than the grains of sand on the seashore. At noon I will bring a destroyer against the mothers of the young men among my people. All at once I will bring down on them great suffering and terror.
9 Mothers who have many children will grow weak. They will take their last breath. The sun will set on them while it is still day. They will be dishonored and put to shame. All those who are left alive I will kill with swords. I will have their enemies do it," announces the Lord.
10 My mother, I wish I had never been born! The whole land opposes me. They fight against me. I haven't made loans to anyone. And I haven't borrowed anything. But everyone still calls down curses on me.
11 The LORD said, "Jeremiah, I will keep you safe for a good purpose. I will make your enemies ask you to pray for them. They will make their appeal to you when they are in great trouble.
12 "People of Judah, the armies of Babylonia will come from the north. They are as strong as iron and bronze. Can anyone break their power?
13 I will give away your wealth and your treasures. Your enemies will carry off everything. And they will not pay anything for it. That will happen because you have sinned so much. You have done it all through your country.
14 I will make you slaves to your enemies. You will serve them in a land you have not had anything to do with before. My anger will start a fire that will burn you up."
15 Lord, you understand how much I'm suffering. Show concern for me. Take care of me. Pay back those who are trying to harm me. You are patient. Don't take my life away from me. Think about how much shame I suffer because of you.
16 When I received your words, I ate them. They filled me with joy. My heart took delight in them. LORD God who rules over all, I belong to you.
17 I never sat around with those who go to wild parties. I never had a good time with them. I sat alone because you had put your powerful hand on me. Your anger against sin was burning inside me.
18 Why does my pain never end? Why is my wound so deep? Why can't I ever get well? To me you are like a stream that runs dry. You are like a spring that doesn't have any water.
19 So the LORD says, "Turn away from your sins. Then I will heal you. And then you will be able to serve me. Speak words that are worthy, not worthless. Then you will be speaking for me. Let these people turn to you. But you must not turn to them.
20 I will make you like a wall to them. I will make you like a strong bronze wall. The people will fight against you. But they will not overcome you. I am with you. I will save you," announces the Lord.
21 "I will save you from the hands of evil people. I will set you free from those who treat you badly."
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Jeremiah 16

1 A message came to me from the Lord. He said,
2 "You must not get married. You must not have any sons or daughters in this land."
3 Here is the LORD's message about the children who are born in this place. He says about them and their parents,
4 "Some of them will die of deadly sicknesses. No one will sob over them. Their bodies will not be buried. Instead, they will be like trash lying there on the ground. Others will die because of war and hunger. Their bodies will not be buried. Instead, they will become food for the birds of the air and the wild animals."
5 The LORD says, "Jeremiah, do not enter a house where a meal is being served because someone has died. Do not go there to sob or to comfort the family. I will not bless these people anymore. I have taken my love and pity away from them," announces the Lord.
6 "Important and ordinary people alike will die in this land. Their bodies will not be buried. No one will sob over them. No one will cut himself or shave his head because of them.
7 No one will offer food or drink to comfort those who sob over the dead. No one will do it even if someone's father or mother has died.
8 "Do not enter a house where a big dinner party is being held. Do not sit down there to eat and drink.
9 I am the LORD who rules over all. I am the God of Israel. I am telling you, 'In your days I will judge your people. You will see it with your own eyes. I will put an end to the sounds of joy and gladness here in Jerusalem. The voices of brides and grooms will not be heard anymore.'
10 "Tell these people all of those things. They will ask you, 'Why has the LORD decided to send so much trouble on us? We haven't done anything wrong. We haven't committed any sins against the LORD our God.'
11 "When they say that, tell them, 'I did it because your people of long ago deserted me,' announces the Lord. 'They followed other gods. They served them and worshiped them. They deserted me. They did not obey my law.
12 " 'But you have done more evil things than they did. All of you are doing what your stubborn and evil hearts want you to do. You are not obeying me.
13 " 'So I will throw you out of this land. I will send you away to a land that you and your people have not had anything to do with before. There you will serve other gods day and night. And I will not show you any favor.'
14 "But a new day is coming," announces the Lord. "At that time people will no longer say, 'The LORD brought the people of Israel up out of Egypt. And that's just as sure as he is alive.'
15 "Instead, they will say, 'The LORD brought the people of Israel up out of the land of the north. He gathered them out of all of the countries where he had forced them to go. And that's just as sure as he is alive.' I will bring them back to the land I gave their people long ago.
16 "But now I will send for many fishermen," announces the Lord. "They will catch some of these people. After that, I will send for many hunters. They will hunt the others down on every mountain and hill. They will bring them out of the cracks in the rocks.
17 My eyes see everything these people do. What they do is not hidden from me. I always see their sin.
18 I will pay them back double for their sin and the evil things they have done. They have made my land 'unclean.' They have set up lifeless statues of their evil gods. They have filled my land with them. I hate those gods."
19 Lord, you give me strength. You are like a fort to me. When I'm in trouble, I go to you for safety. The nations will come to you from one end of the earth to the other. They will gather together and say, "Our people of long ago didn't own anything except statues of gods. The statues were worthless. They didn't do them any good.
20 Do men really make their own gods? Yes. But they aren't really gods at all!"
21 The LORD says, "So I will teach them about myself. This time I will show them how powerful and mighty I am. Then they will know that I am the Lord.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Jeremiah 17

1 "Judah's sin is carved with an iron tool. It is written with a sharp stone. It is carved on the tablets of their hearts. It is written on the horns that stick out from the corners of their altars.
2 Even their children offer sacrifices to other gods on those altars. They use the poles that were made to worship the goddess Asherah. They worship strange gods beside the green trees and on the high hills.
3 I will give away my holy Mount Zion to the Babylonians. Your enemies will carry off your wealth and all of your treasures. I will give away your high places. That will happen because you have sinned. You have done it all through your country.
4 You will lose the land I gave you. And it will be your own fault. I will make you slaves to your enemies. You will serve them in a land you have not had anything to do with before. You have set my anger on fire. It will burn forever."
5 The LORD says, "Those who trust in man are under my curse. They depend on human strength. Their hearts turn away from me.
6 They will be like a bush in a dry and empty land. They will not enjoy success when it comes. They will live in dry places in the desert. It is a land of salt where no one else lives.
7 "But I will bless any man who trusts in me. I will show my favor to the one who depends on me.
8 He will be like a tree that is planted near water. It sends out its roots beside a stream. It is not afraid when heat comes. Its leaves are always green. It does not worry when there is no rain. It always bears fruit."
9 A human heart is more dishonest than anything else. It can't be healed. Who can understand it?
10 The LORD says, "I look deep down inside human hearts. I see what is in people's minds. I reward a man in keeping with his conduct. I bless him based on what he has done."
11 Some people get rich in the wrong way. They are like a partridge that hatches eggs it didn't lay. When their lives are half over, their riches will desert them. In the end they will prove how foolish they have been.
12 Our temple is where the LORD's glorious throne is. From the beginning it has been high and lifted up.
13 Lord, you are Israel's only hope. Everyone who deserts you will be put to shame. The names of those who turn away from you will be listed among the dead. Lord, they have deserted you. You are the spring of water that gives life.
14 Lord, heal me. Then I will be healed. Save me from my enemies. Then I will be saved. You are the one I praise.
15 They keep saying to me, "What has happened to the message the LORD gave you? Let it come true right now!"
16 I haven't run away from being the shepherd of your people. You know I haven't wanted the day of Jerusalem's fall to come. You are aware of every word that comes from my lips.
17 Don't be a terror to me. When I'm in trouble, I go to you for safety.
18 Let those who attack me be put to shame. But keep me from shame. Let them be terrified. But keep me from terror. Bring the day of trouble on them. Destroy them once and for all.
19 The LORD said to me, "Go. Stand at the city gate where the people gather together. That is where the kings of Judah go in and out. Also go to all of the other gates of Jerusalem.
20 Say, 'Listen to the LORD's message, you kings of Judah and all of you people of Judah and Jerusalem. You always come through these gates.
21 " 'The LORD says, "Make sure you do not carry a load on the Sabbath day. Do not bring it through the gates of Jerusalem.
22 Do not bring a load out of your houses on the Sabbath. Do not do any work on that day. Instead, keep the Sabbath day holy. Do as I commanded your people long ago.
23 But they did not listen. They did not pay any attention to me. They were stubborn. They would not listen or pay attention when I corrected them.
24 " ' "Be careful to obey me," announces the Lord. "Do not bring a load through the gates of this city on the Sabbath. Instead, keep the Sabbath day holy. Do not do any work on it.
25 " ' "Then kings who sit on David's throne will come through the gates of this city. They and their officials will come riding in chariots and on horses. The people of Judah and Jerusalem will come along with them. And this city will always have people living in it.
26 Some will come from the towns of Judah. And some will come in from the villages around Jerusalem. Others will come from the territory of Benjamin. And others will come in from the western hills. Still others will come from the central hill country and the Negev Desert. All of them will bring burnt offerings and sacrifices. They will come bringing grain offerings, incense and thank offerings. They will take all of those offerings to my house.
27 " ' "But what if you do not obey me? Suppose you do not keep the Sabbath day holy. And suppose you carry a load through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Then I will start a fire that can't be put out. It will begin at the gates of Jerusalem. It will destroy its mighty towers." ' "
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.