Day 277 of the Holy Bible One Year CHALLENGE. Jeremiah cries for Jerusalem and Judah. Colossians: An Introduction
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30 Do this because I have seen the people of Judah doing evil things. This message is from the LORD. They have set up their disgusting idols in the Temple that is called by my name. They have polluted my house with their false gods! 31 The people of Judah have built places of worship at Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom where they kill their own sons and daughters and burn them as sacrifices. This is something I never commanded. The thought of such a terrible thing never entered my mind! 32 So I warn you, says the LORD, the days are coming when people will not call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hin- nom any more. No, they will call it the Valley of Slaughter. They will give it this name because they will bury the dead
people in Topheth until there is no more room to bury anyone else. 33 Then the bodies of the dead people will become food for the birds. Wild animals will eat the bodies of those people. There will be no one left alive to chase the birds or animals away. 34 I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and happiness in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. The happy voices of brides and bride-grooms will no longer be heard in Judah or Jerusalem. The land will become an empty desert.”
This message is from the LORD: “At that time the enemy will take the bones of the kings and important rulers of Judah from their tombs. They will also take the bones of the priests and prophets and all who lived in Jerusalem from their tombs. 2 They will spread the bones on the ground under the sun, moon and stars, which the people of Jerusalem loved and served. Yes, my people followed them like gods, looked to them for help, and worshipped them. No one will gather their bones to bury again. They will be left scattered on the ground like manure.
3 “I will force the people of Judah to leave their homes and their land. They will be taken away to foreign lands. Some of the people of Judah who were not killed in the war will wish that they had been killed.” This message is from the LORD All-Powerful.
Sin and Punishment
4 “Jeremiah, tell the people of Judah that this is what the LORD says:
“You know if a man falls down, he gets up again.
And if a man goes the wrong way, he turns around and comes back.
5 The people of Judah went the wrong way.
Why then do the people of Jerusalem continue going the wrong way?
They believe their own lies
and refuse to turn around and come back.
6 I have listened to them very carefully,
but they don’t say what is right. They are not sorry for their sins.
They don’t think about the evil they have done.
They do things without thinking.
They are like horses running into a battle.
7 Even the birds in the sky
know the right time to do things.
The storks, doves, swifts and thrushes know when it is time to fly to a new home.
But my people don’t know
what the LORD wants them to do.
8 “You keep saying, ‘We are wise because we have the LORD’s teachings!’
But this is not true, because the scribes have lied with their pens.
9 These wise people refused to listen to
the LORD’s teachings.
So they are not really wise at all. These wise people will be trapped. They will be shocked and ashamed.
10 So I will give their wives to other men.
I will give their fields to new owners.
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.
11 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!
12 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 embarrassed 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.
13 “I will take away their fruit and their crops
so that there will be no harvest,” says the LORD.
“There will be no grapes on the vine and no figs on the fig tree.
Even the leaves will become dry and die. I will take away the things I gave them.”* 14 “They will say, ‘Why are we just sit-
Come, let’s run to the strong cities.
If the LORD our God is going to make us die,
then let’s die there.
We have sinned against the LORD,
so he has given us poisoned water to drink.
15 We hoped to have peace,
but nothing good has come.
We hoped that he would heal us, but only disaster has come.
16 From the land of the tribe of Dan,
we hear the snorting† of the enemy’s horses.
The ground shakes from the pounding of their hooves.
They have come to destroy the land and everything in it.
They have come to destroy the city and all the people who live there.’
17 “People of Judah, I am sending poisonous snakes* to attack you.
These snakes cannot be controlled. They will bite you,”
says the LORD.
Jeremiah Cries Out to God
18 There is no relief for my sadness. I am sick with sorrow.
19 Listen to my poor people.
Everywhere in this land they are crying for help:
“Is the LORD still at Zion? Is Zion’s King still there?”
And God says, “Why did my people make me angry by worshipping idols,
their useless false gods?” 20 The people cry out, “Summer is over.
The time for harvest is past, and still no one has come to save us.”
21 I hurt because my people are hurting. I am filled with sorrow, too sad to speak. 22 There must be some medicine in the land of Gilead.
There must be a doctor there.
So why are my people still hurting? Why has no one healed them?
If my head were filled with water,
and if my eyes were a fountain of tears,
I would cry day and night for my people who have been destroyed.
2 If only I had a place in the desert—
a house where travellers spend the night—
so I could leave my people. I could go away from them,
because they are all unfaithful to God. They have all turned against him.
This is what the LORD says:
3 “They use their tongues like a bow; lies fly from their mouths like arrows. Lies, not truth,
have grown strong in this land. They go from one sin to another. They don’t know me.
4 “Watch your neighbors!
Don’t trust your own brothers, because every brother is a cheat.
Every neighbour talks behind your back.
5 Everyone lies to their neighbour; no one tells the truth.
The people of Judah have taught their tongues to lie.
They sinned until they were too tired to come back.
6 One bad thing followed after another,
and lies followed lies.
The people refused to know me,” says the LORD.
7 So the LORD All-Powerful says:
“A worker heats metal in a fire to test it and see if it is pure.
I will test the people of Judah like that. I have no other choice.
My people have sinned.
8 The people of Judah have tongues like deadly arrows.
Their mouths speak lies.
They all speak kindly to their neighbours,
but they are secretly planning ways to attack them.
9 Should I punish the people of Judah
for doing these things?
You know I should punish a nation such as this.
I should give it the punishment it deserves,”
says the LORD.
10 I, Jeremiah, will cry for the mountains.
I will sing a funeral song for the empty fields,
because all the animals have been taken away.
No one goes there any more.
The sounds of cattle cannot be heard. The birds have flown away,
and the animals are gone.
11 “I will make the city of Jerusalem a pile of ruins.
It will be a home for jackals.
I will destroy the cities in the land of Judah,
so no one will live there.”
12 Is anyone wise enough to understand this picture of our land? Why is it ruined and as empty as a desert that no one can cross? Does anyone have an ex- planation from the LORD that they can tell us?
13 The LORD answered: “This has happened because the people of Judah stopped following the teachings I gave them. They refused to listen to me, and they have not done what I told them to do. 14 They were stubborn and decided to worship the false god Baal, as they learned to do from their ancestors.” 15 So the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: “I will soon make the people of Judah eat bitter food and drink poisoned water. 16 I will scatter them through other nations that they and their ancestors knew nothing about. I will send an army with swords to chase them down until they have all been killed.”
Greetings from Paul, an apostle for Christ Jesus.* I am an apostle be-
cause that is what God wanted. Greetings also from Timothy, our brother in Christ.
2 To God’s holy people who live in
Colossae, our faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
3 In our prayers we always thank God for you. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 We thank him because we have heard about the faith you have in Christ Jesus and the love you have for all of God’s people. 5 Your faith and love come from knowing you will receive what you hope for. God is keeping it safe for you in heaven. It is the same hope you have had since you first heard the true message, the Good News 6 that was told to you. Throughout the world, this Good News is bringing blessings and is spreading. And that’s what has been happening among you since the first time you heard it and understood the truth about God’s grace. 7 You heard it from Epaphras, our dear friend who serves the Lord with us. He helps us* as a faithful servant of Christ. 8 He also told us about the love you have from the Spirit.
9 Since the day we heard these things about you, we have continued praying for you. This is what we pray: that God will make you completely sure of what he wants by giving you all the wisdom and spiritual under- standing you need; 10 that this will help you live in a way that brings honour to the Lord and pleases him in every way; that your life will produce good works of every
kind and that you will grow in your knowledge of God;† 11 that God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will be patient and not give up when troubles come.
Then you will be happy 12 and give thanks to the Father. He has made you able to have what he has promised to give all his holy people, who live in the light. 13 God made us free from the power of darkness. And he brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son. 14 The Son paid the price to make us free, meaning that all our sins are forgiven.
The Son of God Is the Same as God
15 No one can see God,
but the Son is exactly like God.
He rules over everything that has been made.‡
16 Through his power all things were made:
things in heaven and on earth, seen and not seen—
all spiritual rulers, lords, powers and authorities.
Everything was made through him and for him.
17 The Son was there before anything was made,
and all things continue because of him.
18 He is the head of the body, which is the church.
He is the beginning of everything else.
And he is the first among all who will be raised from death.
So in all things he is most important. 19 God was pleased for all of himself to live in the Son.
20 And through him, God was happy
to bring all things back to himself again—
things on earth and things in heaven.
God made peace through the blood sacrifice of his Son on the cross.
21 At one time you were separated from God. You were his enemies in your minds, because the evil you did was against him. 22 But now he has made you his friends again. He did this by the death Christ suffered in his body. He did it so that he could present you to himself as people who are holy, free from blame and without anything that would make you guilty before him. 23 And that is what will happen if you continue to believe in the Good News you heard. You must remain strong and sure in your faith. You must not let anything cause you to give up the hope that became yours when you heard the Good News. That same Good News has been told to everyone on earth, and that’s the work that I, Paul, was given to do.
12 What can I give the LORD
for all that he has done for me?
13 He saved me,
so I will give him a drink offering, and I will call on the LORD’s name.
14 I will give the LORD what I promised
in front of all his people.
15 The LORD loves his faithful people. He cares when one of them dies.
16 LORD, I am your servant!
Yes, I am your slave, as my mother was. You set me free from the chains of death. 17 I will give you an offering of
and I will call on the LORD’s name.
18 I will stand before the gathering of his people
and give the LORD what I promised.
19 I will do this in Jerusalem,
in the courtyards of the LORD’s Temple. Praise the LORD!
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