Day 276 of the One Year Audio Bible Experience Podcast. Babylon approaches sinful Judah. Philippians: Paul receives a Gift
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The Enemy Surrounds Jerusalem
“Run for your lives, people of Benjamin!
Run away from Jerusalem!
Blow the war trumpet in Tekoa!
Send up a smoke signal at Beth Hakkerem!
Disaster is coming from the north.†
Terrible destruction is coming to you.
2 Jerusalem,‡ you are like a beautiful meadow,¶
but I will destroy you!
3 Enemy shepherds will surround you
with all their flocks.
They will set up their tents all around you,
and each one will let his sheep eat the grass.”
4 They say:
“Get ready to fight against Jerusalem. Get up! We will attack the city at noon. But it is already getting late.
The evening shadows are growing long.
5 So get up! We will attack the city at night!
Let’s destroy the strong walls that are around Jerusalem.”
6 This is what the LORD All-Powerful says:
“Cut down the trees around Jerusalem. Build ramps up against the walls.
This city should be punished
because there is no justice here—only slavery.
7 As a well keeps its water fresh,
so Jerusalem keeps its wickedness fresh.
I hear about the robbing and violence in this city all the time.
All the people I see are sick or in pain.
8 Listen to this warning, Jerusalem, or I will turn my back on you.
I will make your land an empty desert. No one will be able to live there.”
9 This is what the LORD All-Powerful says:
“Gather§ the people of Israel who were left on their land.
Gather them as you would gather the last grapes on a grapevine.
Check each vine again,
like the workers when they pick the grapes.”
10 Who can I speak to?
Who can I warn?
Who will listen to me?
The people of Israel have closed their ears,
so they cannot hear my warnings. They don’t like the LORD’s teachings. They don’t want to hear his message. 11 But I am full of the LORD’s anger, and I am tired of holding it in!
“Pour out my anger on the children play- ing in the streets
and on the young soldiers gathered there as well.
A man and his wife will both be captured as well as all the old people.
12 Their houses will be given to others.
Their fields and their wives will be given to other people.
I will reach out
and punish the people of Judah,” says the LORD.
13 “All the people of Israel want more
and more money.
All of them, from the least important to the most important, are like that.
Even the prophets and priests tell lies.
14 They should bandage the wounds my people have suffered,
but they treat their wounds like small scratches.
They say, ‘It’s all right, everything is all right.’
But it is not all right!
15 They should be ashamed of the dis- gusting things they do,
but they are not ashamed at all.
They don’t know enough to be embar- rassed by their sins.
So they will be punished with everyone else.
They will be thrown to the ground when I punish the people,”
says the LORD.
16 This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask where the old road is.
Ask for the road that will lead the right way,
and walk on that road.
If you do, you will find rest for yourselves.
But you said, ‘We will not walk on the good road.’
17 I chose watchmen* to watch over you.
I told them, ‘Listen for the sound of the war trumpet.’
But they said, ‘We will not listen!’
18 So listen, all you nations,
and pay attention, you people in those countries.
19 Hear this, people of the earth:
I am going to bring disaster to the people of Judah
because of all the evil they planned,
and because they ignored my messages. They refused to obey my law.
20 Why do you bring me incense from the
country of Sheba?‡
Why do you bring me sweet-smelling cane from a faraway country?
Your burnt offerings don’t make me happy.
Your sacrifices don’t please me.”
21 So this is what the LORD says:
“I will give the people of Judah problems.
They will be like stones that make people fall.
Fathers and sons will stumble over them. Friends and neighbors will die.”
22 This is what the LORD says:
“An army is coming from the north.*
A great nation is coming from faraway places on the earth.
23 The soldiers carry bows and spears.
They are cruel;
they have no mercy. They are so powerful.
They sound like the roaring ocean as they ride their horses.
That army is coming, ready for battle. It is coming to attack you, Jerusalem.” 24 We have heard the news about that army,
and we are paralyzed with fear. We feel trapped by our troubles, in pain like a woman giving birth. 25 Don’t go out into the fields.
Don’t go on the roads
because the enemy has swords, and there is terror all around us. 26 My people, put on rags
and roll in the dirt.† Mourn for the dead.
Cry as if you had lost an only son.
Do this because the destroyer
will come against us very quickly.
27 “Jeremiah, I want you to be like a worker who tests metals.
You will test my people and watch how they live.
28 My people have turned against me
and refuse to change, hard as bronze and iron.
They tells lies about people
and cheat everyone they deal with.
29 They are like silver that cannot be made pure,
even in the hottest fire.
Every effort to purify them is useless. Nothing has worked to get rid of the evil. 30 My people will be called ‘Rejected Silver’,
because I, the LORD, did not accept them.”
Jeremiah Speaks at the Temple
This is the LORD’s message to Jeremiah: 2 “Jeremiah, stand at the
gate of the LORD’s house. Teach this message at the gate:
“‘Hear the message from the LORD, all you people of the nation of Judah. All you who come through these gates to worship the LORD, hear this mes- sage. 3 The LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: Change your lives and do what is right. Then I will let you live in this place. 4 Don’t trust the lies that some people tell. They say, “This is the Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD!”¶ 5 If you change your lives and do what is right, I will let you live in this place. You must be fair to each other. 6 You must not take advantage of widows, orphans or immigrants living in your land. Don’t kill innocent people in this place! And don’t follow other gods, because they will only ruin your lives. 7 If you obey me, I will let you live in this place. I gave this land to your ancestors for them to keep forever.
8 “‘But you are trusting lies that are worthless. 9 Will you steal and murder? Will you commit adultery? Will you falsely accuse other people? Will you worship the false god Baal and follow other gods that you have not known? 10 If you commit these sins, do you think that you can stand before me in this house that is called by my name? Do you think you can stand before me and say, “We are safe,” just so you can do all these disgusting things? 11 This Temple is called by my name. Is this Temple nothing more to you than a hideout for robbers? I have been watching you.’” This message is from the LORD.
12 “You people of Judah, go to Shiloh and see what I did there. That’s the place where I first made a house for my name. Go there and see what I did to that place because of the evil my people Israel did.* 13 You people of Judah were doing all these evil things too. This message is from the LORD! I spoke to you again and again, but you refused to listen to me. I called to you, but you did not answer. 14 So I will destroy the house called by my name in Jerusalem. I will destroy that Temple as I destroyed Shiloh. And that house in Jerusalem that is called by my name is the Temple you trust in. I gave that place to you and to your ancestors. 15 I will throw you away from me just as I threw away all your brothers from Ephraim.
16 “As for you, Jeremiah, don’t pray for these people of Judah. Don’t beg for them or pray for them. Don’t beg me to help them. I will not listen to your prayer for them. 17 I know you see what they are doing in the towns of Judah. You can
see what they are doing in the streets of the city of Jerusalem. 18 This is what the people of Judah are doing: the chil- dren gather wood. The fathers use the wood to make a fire. The women make the dough and then make cakes of bread to offer to the Queen of Heaven. The people of Judah pour out drink offerings to worship other gods. They do this to make me angry. 19 But I am not the one they are really hurting. This message is from the LORD. They are only hurting themselves. They are bringing shame on themselves.”
20 So this is what the Lord GOD says:
“I will show my anger against this place. I will punish people and animals. I will punish the trees in the field and the crops that grow in the ground. My anger will be like a hot fire—no one will be able to stop it.”
Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice
21 This is what the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: “Go and offer as many burnt offerings and sacrifices as you want. Eat the meat of all those sacrifices and offerings yourselves. 22 When I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, I did not give them instructions or commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23 I only gave them this command: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Do all that I command, and good things will happen to you.’
24 “But your ancestors did not lis- ten to me. They did not pay attention to me. They were stubborn and did what they wanted to do. They did not become good. They became even more evil—they went backward, not forwards. 25 From the day that your ancestors left Egypt to this day, I have sent my servants to you. My servants are the prophets. I sent them to you again and again. 26 But your ancestors did not listen to me. They did not pay attention to me. They were very stubborn and did even more evil than their fathers did.
27 “Jeremiah, you will tell these things to the people of Judah. But they will not listen to you. You will call to them, but they will not answer you. 28 So you must tell them these things: ‘This is the nation whose people did not obey the LORD their God. They did not listen to his teachings. Even after being punished, they refused to change. They are no longer faithful to God. They don’t even claim to be true to him.’
The Valley of Slaughter
29 “Jeremiah, cut off your hair and throw it away.* Go up to the bare hilltop and cry, because the LORD has rejected this generation of people. He has turned his back on these people. And in anger he will punish them.
2 Euodia and Syntyche, you both belong to the Lord, so please agree with each other. 3 For this I make a special request to my friend who has served with me so faithfully: help these women. They worked hard with me in telling people the Good News, together with Clement and others who worked with me. Their names are recorded in the book of life.
5 Wise warriors are more powerful than strong ones.
Knowledge is more useful than physical strength.
6 So get good advice before you go to
To win, you must have many good advisers.
— 22 —
7 Fools cannot understand wisdom.
and trying all kinds of mixed drinks.
31 So be careful with wine.
It is pretty and red as it sparkles in the cup,
and it goes down so smoothly when you drink it.
32 But in the end, it will bite like a snake;
it will sting you with its poison.
33 Wine will cause you to see strange things
They have nothing to say when people are discussing important things.
— 23 —
8 If you start planning ways to do wrong, people will learn that you are a
9 Such foolish plans are wrong,
and people have no respect for someone who laughs at what is right.
— 24 —
10 You don’t really know how strong you are
until you are tested in times of trouble.
— 25 —
11 If an innocent person is being dragged away for execution,
do all you can to save them.
12 You cannot say, “It’s none of my business.”
The Lord knows everything, and he knows why you do things.
He watches you,
and he will pay you back for what you do.
— 26 —
13 My son, eat honey; it is good.
Honey straight from the honeycomb is the sweetest.
14 In the same way, know that wisdom is
good for you.
Wisdom will give you something to hope for that will not disappoint you.
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