Day 286 of the Holy Bible One Year CHALLENGE. Jeremiah wears a yoke. Jerusalem is captured by Babylon. 2 Thessalonians: Intro
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2 Thessalonians 1
Psalm 119 25-32
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The Lord Made Nebuchadnezzar Ruler
A message from the LORD came to Jeremiah. It came during the fourth year that Zedekiah† son of Josiah was king of Judah. 2 This is what the LORD said to me: “Jeremiah, make a yoke out of straps and poles. Put that yoke on the back of your neck. 3 Then send a message to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon. Send the message by their officials who have come to Jerusalem to see King Zedekiah of Judah. 4 Tell them to give the message to their masters. Tell them that this is what the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: ‘Tell your masters that 5 I made the earth and all the people on it. I made all the animals on the earth. I did this with my great power and my strong arm. I can give the earth to anyone I choose. 6 Now I have given all your countries to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. He is my servant. I will make even the wild animals obey him. 7 All nations will serve Nebuchadnezzar and his son and his grandson. Then the time will come for Babylon to be defeated. Many nations and great kings will make Babylon their servant.
8 “‘All your nations or kingdoms must serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. You must put yourselves under his control. I will punish any nation that re- fuses to do this, says the LORD. I will destroy that nation with war, famine and disease. I will use Nebuchadnezzar to destroy any nation that fights against him. 9 So don’t listen to your prophets or fortune-tellers. Don’t listen to those who say they can find out what will happen in the future by interpreting dreams, talking to the dead or practicing witchcraft. They will all tell you, “You will not be slaves to the king of Babylon.” 10 But they are telling you lies. They will only cause you to be taken far from your homeland. I will force you to leave your homes, and you will die in another land. 11 “‘But that will not happen to any nation that is willing to obey and serve the king of Babylon. I will let them stay in their own land to live and work on their own farms,’ says the LORD.”
12 I gave the same message to King Zedekiah of Judah: “Zedekiah, you must place your neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and obey him. If you serve the king of Babylon and his peo- ple, you will live. 13 If you don’t agree to serve the king of Babylon, you and your people will die from war, hunger and disease. This is what the LORD said would happen. 14 But the false prophets are saying, ‘You will never be slaves to the king of Babylon.’ Don’t listen to those prophets, because they are telling you lies. 15 ‘I didn’t send them,’ says the LORD. ‘They are telling lies and saying that the message is from me. So I will send you people of Judah away. You will die, and the prophets who spoke to you will die too.’”
16 Then I told the priests and all the people that this is what the LORD says: “Those false prophets are saying, ‘The Babylonians took many things from the LORD’s Temple. These things will be brought back soon.’ Don’t listen to them because they are telling you lies. 17 Don’t listen to those prophets. Serve the king
of Babylon. Accept your punishment, and you will live. There is no reason for you to cause this city of Jerusalem to be destroyed. 18 If they are prophets and their message is from the LORD, let them pray. Let them pray to the LORD about the things that are still in the LORD’s Temple, in the king’s palace and in Jerusalem. Let them pray that all those things will not be taken away to Babylon.
19 “This is what the LORD All-Powerful says about the things that are still left in Jerusalem. In the Temple, there are the pillars, the bronze sea, the moveable stands and other valuable things.* King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon left those things in Jerusalem. 20 He didn’t take them away when he took Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah away as a prisoner. Nebuchadnezzar also took other important people away from Judah and Jerusalem. 21 This is what the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says about the things still left in the LORD’s Temple and in the king’s palace and in Jerusalem: 22 ‘All those things will be taken to Babylon too. They will be brought to Babylon until the day comes when I go to get them,’ says the LORD. ‘Then I will bring those things back. I will put them back in this place.’”
The False Prophet Hananiah
That same year, in the fifth month of the fourth year that Zedekiah† was king of Judah, the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur spoke to me. Hananiah was from the town of Gibeon. He was in the LORD’s Temple
when he spoke to me. The priests and all the people were there also. This is what Hananiah said: 2 “The LORD All- Powerful, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will break the yoke that the king of Babylon has put on the people of Judah. 3 Before two years are over, I will bring back all the things that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took from the LORD’s Temple. Nebuchadnezzar has carried those things to Babylon. But I will bring them back here to Jerusalem. 4 I will also bring the king of Judah, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, back to this place. And I will bring back all the people of Ju- dah that Nebuchadnezzar forced to leave their homes and go to Babylon,’ says the LORD. ‘So I will break the yoke that the king of Babylon put on the people of Judah.’”
5 Then the prophet Jeremiah answered the prophet Hananiah. They were standing in the Temple of the LORD. The priests and all the people there could hear Jeremiah’s answer. 6 Jeremiah said to Hananiah, “Amen! May the LORD do that. May the LORD make your message come true. May he bring the things of the LORD’s Temple back to this place from Babylon. And may he bring all those who were forced to leave their homes back to this place.
7 “But listen to what I have to say to you and to all the people. 8 There were prophets long before you and I became prophets, Hananiah. They spoke against many countries and great kingdoms and always warned that war, famine, and disease would come to them. 9 But the prophet who says that we will have peace must be tested. If his message comes true, people can know that he re- ally was sent by the LORD.”
10 Jeremiah was wearing a yoke around his neck. The prophet Hananiah took the yoke from Jeremiah’s neck and broke it. 11 Then Hananiah spoke loudly so that all the people could hear him. He said, “This is what the LORD says: ‘In the same way, I will break the yoke of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. He put that yoke on all the nations of the world, but I will break it before two years are over.’” After Hananiah said that, Jeremiah left the Temple.
12 After Hananiah had taken the yoke off Jeremiah’s neck and had broken it, this message from the LORD came to Jeremiah: 13 The LORD said to Jeremiah, “Go and tell Hananiah that this is what the LORD says: ‘You have broken a wooden yoke, but I will make a yoke of iron in the place of the wooden yoke. 14 The LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, is the one saying this. I will put a yoke of iron on the necks of all these nations. I will do that to make them serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and they will be slaves to him. I will even give Nebuchadnezzar control over the wild animals.’”
15 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to the prophet Hananiah: “Listen, Hananiah! The LORD did not send you. But you have made the people of Judah trust in lies. 16 So this is what the LORD says: ‘Soon I will take you from this earth, Hananiah. You will die this year because you taught the people to turn against the LORD.’”
17 Hananiah died in the seventh month of that same year.
A Letter to the Captives in Babylon
Jeremiah sent a letter to the captives in Babylon. He sent it to the leaders, the priests, the prophets and all the other people who Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 (This letter was sent after King Jehoiachin and the queen mother* and the officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem and the carpenters and metalworkers had been taken from Jerusalem.) 3 King Zedekiah of Ju- dah sent Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah to King Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah gave them the letter to take to Babylon. This is what the letter said:
4 This is what the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says to all the people he sent into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5 “Build houses and live in them. Settle in the land. Plant gardens and eat the food you grow. 6 Get married and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons, and let your daughters be married. Do this so that they also may have sons and daughters. Have many children and grow in number in Babylon. Don’t become fewer in number. 7 Also, do good things for the city where I sent you. Pray to the LORD for the city you are living in, because if there is peace in that city, you will have peace also.” 8 The LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says this: “Don’t let your prophets and those who practice magic fool you. Don’t listen to the dreams they have. 9 They are telling lies, and they are saying that their message is from me. But I didn’t send it.” This message is from the LORD.
10 This is what the LORD says: “Babylon will be powerful for 70 years. After that time, I will come to you people who are living in Babylon. I will keep my good promise to bring you back to Jerusalem. 11 I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the LORD. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you a future you can look forward to. 12 Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will search for me, and when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me. 14 I will let you find me.” This message is from the LORD. “And I will bring you back from your captivity. I forced you to leave this place. But I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have sent you,” says the LORD, “and I will bring you back to this place.”
15 You people may say, “The LORD has given us prophets here in Babylon.” 16 But this is what the LORD says about your relatives who were not carried away to Babylon. I am talking about the king who is sitting on David’s throne now and all the other people who are still in the city of Jerusalem. 17 The LORD All-Powerful says this: “I will soon bring war, famine and disease against those who are still in Jerusalem. And I will make them the same as bad figs that are too rotten to eat. 18 I will attack those who are still in Jerusalem with war, famine and disease. I will cause such pain that all the kingdoms of the earth will be frightened at what has happened to those people. They will be destroyed. People will be amazed when they hear what has happened. And people will use them as an example when they ask for bad things to happen to other people. People will insult them wherever I force them to go. 19 I will make all these things happen because the people of Jerusalem have not listened to my message. This message is from the LORD. I sent my message to them again and again. I used my servants the prophets to give my messages to them, but they didn’t listen.” This message is from the LORD. 20 “You people are captives. I forced you to leave Jerusalem and go to Babylon.” So listen to the message from the LORD.
21 This is what the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah: “These two men have been telling you lies. They have said that their message is from me. I will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. And he will kill them as the rest of you watch. 22 They will be an example of a terrible way to die. Yes, in the future, when the Jewish captives want something bad to happen to someone, they will say this curse: ‘May the LORD punish you like Zedekiah and Ahab, those men the king of Babylon burned in the fire!’ 23 They did terrible things among the people of Israel. They commit- ted adultery with their neighbors’ wives. They also spoke lies and said those lies were a message from me. I did not tell them to do that. I know what they have done. I am a witness.” This message is from the LORD.
2 Thessalonians 1
Greetings from Paul, Silas, and Timothy.
To the church in Thessalonica that be- longs to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Grace and peace to you from God the
Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Brothers and sisters, we thank God for you always. And that’s what we should do because you give us good reason to be thankful: your faith is growing more and more. And the love that every one of you has for each other is also growing. 4 So we tell the other churches of God how proud we are of you. We tell them how you patiently continue to be strong and have faith, even though you are being persecuted and are suffering many troubles.
God Will Make Things Right
5 This is proof that God is right in his judgment. He wants you to be worthy of his kingdom. Your suffering is for that kingdom. 6 God will do what is right. He will punish those who are causing you trouble. 7 And he will bring relief to you who are troubled. He will bring it to you and to us when the Lord Jesus comes from heaven for all to see, together with his powerful angels. 8 He will come with burning fire to punish those who don’t know God—those who refuse to accept the Good News about our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with a destruction that never ends. They will not be allowed to be with the Lord but will be kept away from his great power. 10 This will happen on the day when the Lord Jesus comes and receives honor among his holy people. He will be admired by all who have believed. And this includes you because you believed what we told you.
11 That is why we always pray for you. We ask our God to help you live the good way he wanted when he chose you. We pray that he will give you his power to do all the good you want to do and to perform the works that come from your faith. 12 Then the name of our Lord Je- sus will be honored because of you, and you will be honored because of him. This can happen only by the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Psalm 119 25-32
25 I lie here like a dying man.
Don’t let me wander from following your commands.
Say the word, and I will live again.
26 I told you about my life, and you answered me.
Now, teach me your laws.
27 Help me understand your instructions, and I will think about your wonderful teachings.
28 I am sad and tired.
Say the word, and make me strong again.
29 Don’t let me live a lie;
be kind to me and let me know your teachings.
30 I have chosen to be loyal to you;
I respect your laws.
31 I follow your rules closely, LORD. Don’t let me be put to shame.
32 I do my best to follow your commands
because you are the one who gives me the desire.
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