October 13 – Jeremiah 2-3, 2 Timothy 4:9-22, Psalm 96, Proverbs 25:20-22

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Jeremiah 2-3

Israel Forsakes the Lord

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord,

“I remember the devotion of your youth,
    your love as a bride,
how you followed me in the wilderness,
    in a land not sown.
Israel was holy to the Lord,
    the firstfruits of his harvest.
All who ate of it incurred guilt;
    disaster came upon them,
declares the Lord.”

Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord:

“What wrong did your fathers find in me
    that they went far from me,
and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?
They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord
    who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
who led us in the wilderness,
    in a land of deserts and pits,
in a land of drought and deep darkness,
    in a land that none passes through,
    where no man dwells?’
And I brought you into a plentiful land
    to enjoy its fruits and its good things.
But when you came in, you defiled my land
    and made my heritage an abomination.
The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’
    Those who handle the law did not know me;
the shepherds[a] transgressed against me;
    the prophets prophesied by Baal
    and went after things that do not profit.

“Therefore I still contend with you,
declares the Lord,
    and with your children’s children I will contend.
10 For cross to the coasts of Cyprus and see,
    or send to Kedar and examine with care;
    see if there has been such a thing.
11 Has a nation changed its gods,
    even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory
    for that which does not profit.
12 Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
    be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord,
13 for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
    the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
    broken cisterns that can hold no water.

14 “Is Israel a slave? Is he a homeborn servant?
    Why then has he become a prey?
15 The lions have roared against him;
    they have roared loudly.
They have made his land a waste;
    his cities are in ruins, without inhabitant.
16 Moreover, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes
    have shaved[b] the crown of your head.
17 Have you not brought this upon yourself
    by forsaking the Lord your God,
    when he led you in the way?
18 And now what do you gain by going to Egypt
    to drink the waters of the Nile?
Or what do you gain by going to Assyria
    to drink the waters of the Euphrates?[c]
19 Your evil will chastise you,
    and your apostasy will reprove you.
Know and see that it is evil and bitter
    for you to forsake the Lord your God;
    the fear of me is not in you,
declares the Lord God of hosts.

20 “For long ago I broke your yoke
    and burst your bonds;
    but you said, ‘I will not serve.’
Yes, on every high hill
    and under every green tree
    you bowed down like a whore.
21 Yet I planted you a choice vine,
    wholly of pure seed.
How then have you turned degenerate
    and become a wild vine?
22 Though you wash yourself with lye
    and use much soap,
    the stain of your guilt is still before me,
declares the Lord God.
23 How can you say, ‘I am not unclean,
    I have not gone after the Baals’?
Look at your way in the valley;
    know what you have done—
a restless young camel running here and there,
24     a wild donkey used to the wilderness,
in her heat sniffing the wind!
    Who can restrain her lust?
None who seek her need weary themselves;
    in her month they will find her.
25 Keep your feet from going unshod
    and your throat from thirst.
But you said, ‘It is hopeless,
    for I have loved foreigners,
    and after them I will go.’

26 “As a thief is shamed when caught,
    so the house of Israel shall be shamed:
they, their kings, their officials,
    their priests, and their prophets,
27 who say to a tree, ‘You are my father,’
    and to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
For they have turned their back to me,
    and not their face.
But in the time of their trouble they say,
    ‘Arise and save us!’
28 But where are your gods
    that you made for yourself?
Let them arise, if they can save you,
    in your time of trouble;
for as many as your cities
    are your gods, O Judah.

29 “Why do you contend with me?
    You have all transgressed against me,
declares the Lord.
30 In vain have I struck your children;
    they took no correction;
your own sword devoured your prophets
    like a ravening lion.
31 And you, O generation, behold the word of the Lord.
Have I been a wilderness to Israel,
    or a land of thick darkness?
Why then do my people say, ‘We are free,
    we will come no more to you’?
32 Can a virgin forget her ornaments,
    or a bride her attire?
Yet my people have forgotten me
    days without number.

33 “How well you direct your course
    to seek love!
So that even to wicked women
    you have taught your ways.
34 Also on your skirts is found
    the lifeblood of the guiltless poor;
you did not find them breaking in.
    Yet in spite of all these things
35 you say, ‘I am innocent;
    surely his anger has turned from me.’
Behold, I will bring you to judgment
    for saying, ‘I have not sinned.’
36 How much you go about,
    changing your way!
You shall be put to shame by Egypt
    as you were put to shame by Assyria.
37 From it too you will come away
    with your hands on your head,
for the Lord has rejected those in whom you trust,
    and you will not prosper by them.

“If[d] a man divorces his wife
    and she goes from him
and becomes another man’s wife,
    will he return to her?
Would not that land be greatly polluted?
You have played the whore with many lovers;
    and would you return to me?
declares the Lord.
Lift up your eyes to the bare heights, and see!
    Where have you not been ravished?
By the waysides you have sat awaiting lovers
    like an Arab in the wilderness.
You have polluted the land
    with your vile whoredom.
Therefore the showers have been withheld,
    and the spring rain has not come;
yet you have the forehead of a whore;
    you refuse to be ashamed.
Have you not just now called to me,
    ‘My father, you are the friend of my youth—
will he be angry forever,
    will he be indignant to the end?’
Behold, you have spoken,
    but you have done all the evil that you could.”

Faithless Israel Called to Repentance

The Lord said to me in the days of King Josiah: “Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? And I thought, ‘After she has done all this she will return to me,’ but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore. Because she took her whoredom lightly, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and tree. 10 Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the Lord.”

11 And the Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say,

“‘Return, faithless Israel,
declares the Lord.
I will not look on you in anger,
    for I am merciful,
declares the Lord;
I will not be angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt,
    that you rebelled against the Lord your God
and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree,
    and that you have not obeyed my voice,
declares the Lord.
14 Return, O faithless children,
declares the Lord;
    for I am your master;
I will take you, one from a city and two from a family,
    and I will bring you to Zion.

15 “‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And when you have multiplied and been fruitful in the land, in those days, declares the Lord, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the Lord.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. 17 At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for a heritage.

19 “‘I said,
    How I would set you among my sons,
and give you a pleasant land,
    a heritage most beautiful of all nations.
And I thought you would call me, My Father,
    and would not turn from following me.
20 Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband,
    so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel,
declares the Lord.’”

21 A voice on the bare heights is heard,
    the weeping and pleading of Israel’s sons
because they have perverted their way;
    they have forgotten the Lord their God.
22 “Return, O faithless sons;
    I will heal your faithlessness.”
“Behold, we come to you,
    for you are the Lord our God.
23 Truly the hills are a delusion,
    the orgies[e] on the mountains.
Truly in the Lord our God
    is the salvation of Israel.

24 “But from our youth the shameful thing has devoured all for which our fathers labored, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our shame, and let our dishonor cover us. For we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and we have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.”

2 Timothy 4:9-22

Personal Instructions

Do your best to come to me soon. 10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia,[a] Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. 12 Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. 16 At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Final Greetings

19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus. 21 Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers.[b]

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.[c]

Psalm 96

Worship in the Splendor of Holiness

96 Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
    tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering, and come into his courts!
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;[a]
    tremble before him, all the earth!

10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!
    Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
    he will judge the peoples with equity.”

11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
    let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12     let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13     before the Lord, for he comes,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Proverbs 25:20-22

20 Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart
    is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day,
    and like vinegar on soda.
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat,
    and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,
22 for you will heap burning coals on his head,
    and the Lord will reward you.