Day 279 of the Holy Bible One Year CHALLENGE. Warnings to Judah. Sign of the Loincloth. Colossians: Debt of sin forgiven
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Evil Plans Against Jeremiah
18 The LORD showed me that the men of Anathoth* were making plans against me. He showed me what they were do- ing, so I knew they were against me. 19 Before he showed me this, I was like a gentle lamb waiting to be butchered. I did not understand that they were against me. They were saying this about me:
“Let us destroy the tree and its fruit! Let us kill him!
Then people will forget him.”
20 So I prayed, “LORD All-Powerful, you are a fair judge.
You know how to test people’s hearts and minds.
I trust you to defend me.
So I wait to see you give them the punishment they deserve.”
21 The LORD said to me: “Those people from Anathoth are planning to take your life. They are telling you not to prophesy in the name of the LORD, or they will kill you. This is what I have to say about them: 22 I, the LORD All-Powerful, promise that I will soon punish those people. Their young men will die in war. Their sons and daughters will die from hunger. 23 No one from the city of Anathoth will be left. No one will survive. I will punish them and cause something bad to happen to them.”
Jeremiah Complains to God
LORD, if I argue with you, you are always right.
But I want to ask you about some things that don’t seem right.
Why are wicked people successful?
Why do people who cannot be trusted have such easy lives?
2 You have put these wicked people here
like plants with strong roots.
They grow and produce fruit.
With their mouths, they say that you are near and dear to them,
but in their hearts they are really far away from you.
3 But you know my heart, LORD.
You see me and test my mind.
Drag the evil people away like sheep to be killed.
Choose them for the day of slaughter.
4 How much longer will the land be dry? How long will the grass be dry and dead?
The birds and the animals of this land have all died,
and it is the fault of the wicked. But they are saying,
“Jeremiah will not live long enough to see what happens to us.”
God’s Answer to Jeremiah
5 “Jeremiah, if running a race against men makes you tired,
how will you race against horses? If you trip and fall in an open field,
what will you do in the thorn bushes by the Jordan River?
6 These men are your own brothers.
Members of your own family are making plans against you.
People from your own family are shouting at you.
Don’t trust them, even when they speak to you like friends.
The Lord Rejects Judah
7 “I have abandoned my house. I have left my own property.†
I have given Judah, the one I love, to her enemies.
8 My own people turned against me like a wild lion.
They roared at me,
so I turned away from them.
9 My own people have become like
a dying animal surrounded by vultures. These birds are circling around her.
Come on, wild animals.
Come get something to eat.
10 Many shepherds have ruined my vineyard.
They have trampled the plants in my field.
They have made my beautiful field a desert.
11 They have turned it into an empty desert.
It is dry and dead.
The whole land has been ruined, and no one is left to care for it.
12 The empty hills are covered with soldiers
who have come to destroy everything.
The LORD is using them to punish that land from one end to the other.
No one is safe.
13 The people will plant wheat, but they will harvest only thorns.
They will work hard until they are very tired,
but they will get nothing for all their work.
They will be ashamed of their crop. The LORD’s anger caused this.”
The Lord’s Promise to Israel’s Neighbours
14 This is what the LORD says: “I will tell you what I will do for all those who
live around the land of Israel. They are very wicked. They have destroyed the land I gave to the people of Israel. I will pull the evil people up and throw them out of their land, and I will pull the people of Judah up with them. 15 But after I pull them up out of their land, I will feel sorry for them. I will bring each family home to their own land. 16 I want them to learn the ways of my people. They once taught my people to use Baal’s name to make promises. Now I want them to begin a promise by saying, ‘As surely as the LORD lives’. Then I will make them successful as a part of my people. 17 But if a nation does not listen to my message, I will completely destroy it. I will pull it up like a dead plant.” This message is from the LORD.
The Sign of the Loincloth
This is what the LORD said to me: “Jeremiah, go and buy a
linen loincloth. Then put it around your waist. Don’t let it get wet.”
2 So I bought a linen loincloth, just as the LORD told me to do, and I put it around my waist. 3 Then the message from the LORD came to me a second time. 4 This was the message: “Jeremiah, take the loincloth you bought and are wearing, and go to Perath. Hide the loincloth there in a crack in the rocks.”
5 So I went to Perath and hid the loincloth there, just as the LORD told me to do. 6 Many days later the LORD said to me, “Now, Jeremiah, go to Perath. Get the loincloth that I told you to hide there.”
7 So I went to Perath and dug up the loincloth. I took it out of the crack in the rocks where I had hidden it. But now I could not wear the loincloth, because it was ruined. It was good for nothing.
8 Then the message from the LORD
came to me. 9 This is what the LORD said: “That loincloth shows how I will ruin the proud people of Judah and Jerusalem. 10 They refuse to listen to me. They are stubborn and do only what they want to do. They follow and worship other gods. They will be like this linen loincloth. They will be ruined and good for nothing. 11 Just as a loin- cloth is wrapped around a man’s waist, I wrapped the people of Israel and Ju- dah around me, says the LORD. I did this because I wanted them to be my people and bring me fame, praise and honour. But they did not listen to me.
Warnings to Judah
12 “Jeremiah, say to the people of Judah: ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Every wine jar should be filled with wine.’ They will laugh and say to you, ‘Of course, we know that every wine jar should be filled with wine.’ 13 Then you will say to them, ‘This is what the LORD says: I will make every- one who lives in this land as helpless as a drunk. I am talking about the kings who sit on David’s throne. I am also talking about the priests, the prophets and all the people who live in Jerusalem. 14 I will smash them against each other like jars, even the fathers and sons.’ This message is from the LORD. ‘I will not feel sorry for them or have mercy on them. I will not allow my pity for them to stop me from destroying the people of Judah.’”
15 Listen and pay attention. The LORD has spoken to you. Do not be proud.
16 Honour the LORD your God.
Praise him or he will bring darkness.
Praise him before you fall on the dark hills.
You people of Judah are hoping for light, but the Lord will turn the light into thick
He will change it into the deepest gloom.
17 If you people will not listen to him, I will cry alone because of your pride. My eyes will overflow with tears,
because the LORD’s flock* will be taken
away as captives.
18 Tell these things to the king and his mother:
“Come down from your thrones.
Your beautiful crowns have fallen from your heads.”
19 The cities in the Negev are locked.
No one can open them.
All the people of Judah have been taken away as captives.
They were carried away as prisoners.
20 Jerusalem, look!
The enemy is coming from the north!† What will happen to the cities of Judah?
They were put under your care like a beautiful flock of sheep.
Where are they now?
21 I will let your enemies become your rulers—
people you once trusted with your secrets.
What will you say then?
Surely you will feel great pain, like a woman giving birth.
22 You might ask yourself,
“Why has this bad thing happened to me?”
It happened because of your many sins.
That’s why they were allowed to tear off your clothes
and take advantage of you.
23 A black man cannot change the colour of his skin,
and a leopard cannot change its spots.
And you, Jerusalem, who always do what is evil,
cannot change and do good.
24 “I will force you to leave your homes. You will run in all directions.
You will be like chaff blown away by the desert wind.
25 This is what will happen to you.
This is your part in my plans.” This message is from the LORD. “Why will this happen?
Because you forgot me. You trusted false gods.
26 Jerusalem, I will pull your skirt up
over your face.
Everyone will see you,
and you will be ashamed.
27 I have seen the disgusting things you have done.*
I have seen you laughing and having sex with your lovers.
I have seen your disgraceful worship of other gods
on the hills and in the fields.
It will be very bad for you, Jerusalem!
How long will you continue your filthy sins?”
Continue to Follow Christ Jesus
6 You accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, so continue to live following him. 7 You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God.
8 Be sure you are not led away by the teaching of those who have nothing worth saying and only plan to deceive you. That teaching is only human tradition and comes from the evil forces that rule people’s lives. It is not from Christ. 9 I say this because God himself— all that he is—really does live in Christ completely. 10 And because you belong to Christ, you are also complete, having everything you need. Christ is ruler over every other power and authority.
11 In Christ you were circumcised in a different way, not by human hands. That is, you took part in Christ’s death, which was a kind of circumcision—a stripping away of his physical body.* 12 When you were baptized, you were buried with him and raised to life with him because of your faith in God’s power. God is the one who raised Christ from death.
13 You were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not part of God’s people. But God gave you new life together with Christ. He forgave all our sins. 14 Because we broke God’s laws, we owed a debt. A record of that debt listed all the rules we failed to follow. But God forgave us of that debt. He took away the record of it and nailed it to the cross. 15 At the cross he stripped away the power of the rulers and authorities of the spiritual world. He won the victory over them there. And he led them away as prisoners for the whole world to see.
Your New Life Is From Christ Alone
16 So don’t let anyone criticize you for what you eat or drink or for not following Jewish customs (festivals, New Moon celebrations or Sabbath days). 17 In the past those things were like a shadow that showed what was coming. But what we have now is real. It is Christ! 18 Some people love doing unpleasant things that make them feel humble. They claim to take part in wor-
ship with angels. They talk about see- ing these things in visions. Don’t listen to them when they say you are wrong because you don’t do these things. It is so foolish for them to feel such pride, because it is all based on their own human experience. 19 They don’t keep themselves under the control of the head. Christ is the head, and the whole body depends on him. Because of Christ all the parts of the body care for each other and help each other. So the body is made stronger and held together as God causes it to grow.
20 You died with Christ and were made
free from the forces that rule people’s lives. So why do you act as if you still belong to the world? I mean, why do you follow rules like these: 21 “Don’t eat this”, “Don’t taste that”, “Don’t touch that”? 22 These rules are talking about earthly things that are gone after they are used. They are only human commands and teachings. 23 These rules may seem to be wise as part of a made-up reli- gion in which people punish their bodies and do things to make them feel humble. But these rules don’t help people control the desires of their human weakness.
The LORD will be faithful to us forever! Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD because he is good!
His faithful love will continue forever!
2 Israel, say it:
“His faithful love will continue forever!”
3 Aaron’s family,* say it:
“His faithful love will continue forever!”
4 You people worshipping the LORD, say it:
“His faithful love will continue forever!”
5 I was in trouble, so I called to the LORD for help.
The LORD answered and set me free.
6 The LORD is with me, so I will not be afraid.
No one on earth can do anything to harm me.
7 The LORD is my helper.
I will see my enemies defeated. 8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to trust in people.
9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to trust in great leaders.
10 Many enemies surrounded me,
but with the LORD’s power I defeated them.
11 They surrounded me again and again,
but I defeated them with the LORD’s power.
12 They surrounded me like a swarm of bees,
but they were quickly destroyed like a fast-burning bush.
I defeated them with the LORD’s power.
13 My enemy attacked me and almost de- stroyed me,
but the LORD helped me.
14 The LORD is my strength, the one who protects me!
He is the one who saved me.
15 You can hear the victory celebration in the tents of those who do what is right.
The LORD has shown his great power again!
16 The LORD’s arm is raised in victory.
The LORD has shown his great power again.
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