Day 282 of the Holy Bible One Year CHALLENGE. Jeremiah prays after he is beaten. 1 Thessalonians: an Introduction
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1 Thessalonians 1
1 Thessalonians 2: 1-16
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The Potter and the Clay
This is the message that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
2 “Jeremiah, go down to the potter’s
house. I will give you my message there.”
3 So I went down to the potter’s house
and saw him working with clay on a pot- ter’s wheel. 4 He was shaping the clay into a pot. But something went wrong with this pot. So he used the same clay to make another pot. With his hands he shaped the pot the way he wanted it to be.
5 Then this message from the LORD came to me: 6 “People of Israel, you know that I can do the same thing with you. You are like the clay in the potter’s hands, and I am the potter.” This mes- sage is from the LORD. 7 “There may be times when I will announce my plans to completely destroy a nation or a king- dom. I may say that I am going to pull it up by its roots. 8 But if the people of
that nation change their hearts and lives and stop doing evil things, I will change my mind. I will not bring on them the disaster I planned. 9 There may be other times when I will announce my plans to build up a nation or a kingdom and make it strong. 10 But if I see that nation do- ing evil things and refusing to obey me, I will change my mind about the good I had planned to do for them.
11 “So, Jeremiah, say to the people of
Judah and those who live in Jerusalem: ‘This is what the LORD says: I am preparing troubles for you and making plans against you. So stop doing the evil things you are doing. Every person must change and start doing good.’ 12 But the people of Judah will answer, ‘We don’t care what you say. We will continue to live as we like. We would rather be stub- born and do the evil things we want to do.’”
13 Listen to what the LORD says:
“Ask the other nations this question: ‘Have you ever heard of anything so
Israel, a nation as dear to me as a young daughter,
has done this terrible thing! This is wrong!
14 It is like seeing Lebanon’s mountains
without any snow!
It is like seeing the streams that flow from there run out of water.
This never happens!
15 But my people have forgotten me. They burn offerings to worthless idols.
They have left the right way that their ancestors followed,
and they stumble on the path they have chosen.
Instead of staying on the good road I showed them,
*17:26 the land where … Benjamin lives The land of Benjamin was just north of the land of Judah.
they prefer to walk on bumpy paths.
16 So their land will become a horrible sight,
a place for people from now on to pity.
All who pass by there will be shocked by what has happened.
They will just shake their heads at what they see.
17 Like a strong east wind, I will scatter
I will use their enemies to scatter them like dust.
When disaster comes upon them,
they will see me leaving, not coming to help.”
The People Plan Evil and Jeremiah Prays
18 Then the enemies of Jeremiah said, “Come, let us make plans against Jeremiah. We will always have a priest to tell us what the law says. We will still have wise men to advise us and prophets to tell us a message from God. So who needs Jeremiah? Let’s tell lies to ruin him. And let’s stop listening to what he says.”
19 LORD, listen to me!
Listen to what my enemies are saying.
20 I have done only good to them.
It is not right for them to pay me back with evil,
but they are preparing a death trap for me!
Remember that I begged you to help them.
I asked only good for them.
I tried to keep you from punishing them in anger.
21 So now make their children starve to
Let their enemies kill them with swords.
Let their wives lose their children and husbands.
Let their men die from disease,
and let their young men be killed in battle.
22 They dug a pit for me to fall into.
They hid traps for me to step in.
So let them cry out in their houses when you suddenly bring an enemy
23 LORD, you know about their plans to kill me.
So don’t forgive their crimes or erase their sins.
Make them fall down in defeat. Punish them in your anger!
The Broken Jar
This is what the LORD said to me: “Jeremiah, go and buy a clay jar
from a potter. Take some of the lead- ers of the people and some of the lead- ing priests with you. 2 Go out to the Val- ley of Ben Hinnom, near the front of the Potsherd Gate.* Tell everyone there the message I give you. 3 Say to them, ‘Kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem, lis- ten to this message from the LORD! This is what the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: I will soon make a terri- ble thing happen to this place! Everyone who hears about it will be amazed and full of fear. 4 I will do these things be- cause the people of Judah have turned away from me. They have polluted this place by offering sacrifices to foreign gods. They know nothing about these gods. And none of their ancestors or any of the kings of Judah knew any- thing about them. They have filled this place with the blood of innocent chil- dren. 5 They have built altars to hon- our the god Baal, and they use them to
*19:2 Potsherd Gate The exact location of this gate is not known, though it was probably at the south-western part of the city.
burn their sons in the fire as sacrifices. I never commanded them to do such a ter- rible thing. I never had such a thought. 6 Now people call this place Topheth and the Valley of Hinnom. But I give you this warning. This message is from the LORD: The days are coming when people will call this place the Valley of Slaugh- ter. 7 At this place, I will ruin the plans of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. The enemy will chase them, and I will let the people of Judah be killed with swords. I will make their dead bodies food for the birds and wild animals. 8 I will completely destroy this city. Peo- ple will whistle and shake their heads when they pass by Jerusalem. They will be shocked when they see how the city was destroyed. 9 The enemy will bring its army around the city. That army will not let people go out to get food, so the peo- ple in the city will begin to starve. They will become so hungry that they will eat the bodies of their own sons and daugh- ters, and then they will begin to eat each other.’
10 “Jeremiah, tell this to the people, and while they are watching, break the jar. 11 Then say to them: ‘The LORD All-Powerful says: I will break the na- tion of Judah and the city of Jerusalem, just like someone breaking a clay jar! And like a broken jar, the nation of Ju- dah cannot be put back together again. People will be buried here in Topheth until it is filled with dead bodies. 12 I will do the same thing to the city of Jerusalem and its people. The whole city will be polluted with dead bodies like Topheth.’ This message is from the LORD. 13 ‘The houses in Jerusalem, in- cluding the palaces of the kings of Ju- dah, will be polluted like Topheth. This
will happen because the people wor- shipped false gods on the roofs of their houses.* They worshipped the stars and burned sacrifices to honour them. They gave drink offerings to false gods.’”
14 Then Jeremiah left Topheth where
the LORD had told him to speak. Jeremiah went to the LORD’s Temple and stood in the courtyard. Jeremiah said to all the people: 15 “This is what the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel says: ‘I said I would bring many disasters to Jerusalem and the villages around it. I will soon make this happen because the people are very stubborn. They refuse to listen and obey me.’”
Jeremiah and Pashhur
Pashhur son of Immer was a priest and the highest officer in
the Temple of the LORD. When he heard Jeremiah say those things in the Tem- ple courtyard, 2 he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten. And he had his hands and feet locked between large blocks of wood. This was at the Upper Gate of Ben- jamin of the LORD’s Temple. 3 The next day Pashhur released Jeremiah from the blocks. Then Jeremiah said to him, “The LORD’s name for you is not Pashhur. Now his name for you is ‘Terror All Around’. 4 That is your name because of what the LORD says: ‘I will soon make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends. You will watch enemies killing your friends with swords. I will put all the people of Judah under the control of the king of Babylon. He will take
some of them away to Babylon, and his army will kill others with their swords. 5 I will give all the wealth of this city to your enemies—everything its people have worked for, everything valuable
*19:13 roofs of their houses People built their houses with flat roofs that were used as an extra room.
and all the treasure of the kings of Ju- dah. The enemy will raid the city, take everything and carry it to Babylon. 6 And you, Pashhur, and all the people living in your house will be taken away. You will be forced to go and live in the country of Babylon. You will die in Babylon, and you will be buried in that foreign coun- try. You told lies to your friends. You said these things would not happen. But now all your friends will also die and be buried in Babylon.’”
Jeremiah’s Fifth Complaint
7 LORD, you tricked me, and I certainly was fooled.
You are stronger than I am, so you won. I have become a joke.
People laugh at me and make fun of me all day long.
8 Every time I speak, I shout.
I am always shouting about violence and destruction.
I tell the people about the message that I received from the LORD,
but they only insult me and make fun of me.
9 Sometimes I say to myself, “I will forget
I will not speak any more in his name.”
But when I say that, his message is like a fire burning inside me!
It feels like it is burning deep in my bones!
I get tired of trying to hold his message inside,
and finally, I am not able to hold it in.
10 I hear people whispering against me.
Everywhere, I hear things that frighten me.
Even my friends are speaking against me.
People are just waiting for me to make a mistake.
They are saying, “Let us lie and say that he did something bad.
Maybe we can trick Jeremiah.
Then we will grab him
and take our revenge on him.”
11 But the LORD is with me. He is like a strong soldier.
So those who are chasing me will fall. They will not defeat me.
They will fail.
They will be disappointed. They will be ashamed,
and they will never forget that shame.
12 LORD All-Powerful, you test good people.
You look deeply into a person’s mind.
I told you my arguments against these people.
So let me see you give them the punish- ment they deserve.
13 Sing to the LORD!
Praise the LORD!
He saves the lives of the poor! He saves them from the wicked!
Jeremiah’s Sixth Complaint
14 Curse the day that I was born!
Don’t bless the day my mother gave birth to me.
15 Curse the man who told my father the
news that I was born. “It’s a boy!” he said. “You have a son.”
He made my father very happy when he told him the news.
16 Let that man be like the cities the
LORD destroyed.* He had no pity on them.
Let him hear shouts of war in the morning;
let him hear battle cries at noontime,
17 because he did not kill me while I was in my mother’s womb. If he had killed me then,
*20:16 cities the LORD destroyed That is, Sodom and Gomorrah. See Gen. 19.
my mother would have been my grave, and I would not have been born.
18 Why did I have to come out of her
All I have seen is trouble and sorrow, and my life will end in shame.
1 Thessalonians 1
Greetings from Paul, Silas and Timothy.
To the church in Thessalonica that be- longs to God the Father and the Lord Je- sus Christ.
Grace and peace be yours.
The Life and Faith of the Thessalonians
2 We always thank God for all of you and remember you in our prayers. 3 Ev- ery time we pray to God our Father, we remember all that you have done be- cause of your faith. We remember the work you have done out of love. And we remember how faithful you have been because of your hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4 Brothers and sisters, God loves you.
And we know that he has chosen you to be his people. 5 When we brought the Good News to you, we came with more than words. We brought that Good News with power, with the Holy Spirit and with the sure knowledge that it was true. And you know what good examples we were for you while we were there. 6 And you followed our example and the exam- ple of the Lord. You suffered much, but still you accepted the teaching with joy. The Holy Spirit gave you that joy.
7 The result is that you became an ex- ample to all the believers in Macedo- nia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s teaching has spread from you throughout Greece and beyond. In fact, your faith in God has become known everywhere, so we never have to tell anyone about it. 9 Peo- ple everywhere are already telling the story about the good way you accepted us when we were there with you. They tell about how you stopped worshipping idols and changed to serve the living and true God. 10 And you began waiting for God’s Son to come from heaven—the Son God raised from death. He is Jesus, who saves us from God’s angry judge- ment that is coming.
1 Thessalonians 2: 1-16
Paul’s Work in Thessalonica
Brothers and sisters, you know that our visit to you was not a failure.
2 But before we came to you, people in
Philippi had abused us with insults and made us suffer. You know all about that. And then, when we came to you, many people there caused us trouble. We told you God’s Good News but only because he gave us the courage we needed. 3 We had nothing to gain by asking you to be- lieve the Good News. We were not trying to trick or fool anyone. 4 No, we did it because God is the one who gave us this work. And this was only after he tested us and saw that we could be trusted to do it. So when we speak, we are only trying to please God, not anyone else. He is the one who can see what is in our hearts.
5 You know that we never tried to
influence you by saying nice things about you. We were not trying to get your money. We had no greed to hide from you. God knows that this is true. 6 We were not looking for praise from people—not from you or anyone else.
7 When we were with you, as apos- tles of Christ we could have used our authority to make you help us. But we were very gentle* with you. We were like a mother caring for her little chil- dren. 8 It was our deep love for you that made us happy to share God’s Good News with you. But not only that—we were also happy to share even our own lives with you. That’s how much we had come to love you. 9 Brothers and sisters, I know that you remember how hard we worked. We worked night and day to support ourselves so that we would not be a burden to anyone while we did the work of telling you God’s Good News.
*2:7 But … gentle Several Greek copies have “But we became babies”.
10 When we were there with you be- lievers, we were pure, honest and with- out fault in the way we lived. You know, just as God does, that this is true. 11 You know that we treated each one of you the way a father treats his own chil- dren. 12 We encouraged you, we com- forted you and we told you to live good lives for God. He calls you to be part of his glorious kingdom.
13 Also, we always thank God because
of the way you accepted his message. You heard it and accepted it as God’s message, not our own. And it really is God’s message. And it works in you who believe. 14 Brothers and sisters, you are just like God’s churches in Judea* that belong to Christ Jesus. I mean that you were mistreated by your own people, just as those believers were mistreated by other Jews. 15 It was also Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets. And they drove us away from you. They are not pleasing to God, and they are against everyone else. 16 I say this be- cause they are trying to stop us from telling those who are not Jews how they can be saved. But those Jews are just adding more and more sins to the ones they already have. Now the time has come for them to suffer God’s anger.
Great blessings belong to those whose lives are without
They follow the LORD’s teachings.
2 Great blessings belong to those who fol- low his rules!
They seek him with all their heart.
3 They don’t do wrong,
and they follow his ways.
4 Lord, you gave us your instructions
and told us to obey every one of them. 5 How I wish I could be more faithful in obeying your laws!
6 Then I would never feel ashamed when I look closely at your commands. 7 The more I understand how fair your
the more sincerely I will praise you.
8 I will obey your laws,
so please don’t leave me!
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