12 You, O Lord are [uncompromisingly] righteous and consistently just when I plead my case with You;
Yet let me discuss issues of justice with You:
Why has the way of the wicked prospered?
Why are those who deal in treachery (deceit) at ease and thriving?
You have planted them, they have also taken root;
They grow, they have even produced fruit.
You are [a]honored by their [hypocritical] lips
But [You are] far from their heart and mind.
But You, O Lord, know me [and understand my devotion to You];
You see me;
And You examine the attitude of my heart toward You.
Drag out the faithless like sheep for the slaughter [O Lord]
And set them apart for the day of slaughter.
How long must the land mourn
And the grass of the countryside wither?
Because of the wickedness and hypocrisy of those who live in it,
The beasts and the birds are consumed and are swept away [by the drought],
Because men [mocking me] have said, “He will not [live long enough to] see [what happens at] our final end.”
[The Lord rebukes Jeremiah for his impatience, saying] “If you have raced with men on foot and they have tired you out,
Then how can you compete with horses?
If you fall down in a land of peace [where you feel secure],
Then how will you do [among the lions] in the [flooded] thicket beside the Jordan?
“For even your [tribal] brothers and the household of your father,
Even they have dealt treacherously (unfaithfully) with you;
Indeed they are [like a pack of hounds] howling after you.
Do not believe them, although they may say kind words and promise you good things.”
“I have abandoned My house,
I have given up My [precious] inheritance (Judah);
I have given the [dearly] beloved of My life
Into the hands of her enemies.
“My inheritance has become to Me
Like a lion in the forest;
She has raised her voice and roared against Me;
So I have come to [treat her as if I] hate her.
“Is My inheritance like a speckled bird of prey to Me [unlike the others]?
Are the birds of prey (enemies) surrounding her on every side?
Go, gather all the [wild] beasts of the field;
Bring them to devour [her]!
“Many shepherds (invaders) have destroyed My vineyard (Judah),
They have trampled My field underfoot;
They have made My pleasant field
A desolate wilderness.
“They have made it a wasteland,
Desolate, it mourns before Me;
The whole land has been made a wasteland,
Because no man takes it to heart.
“Destroyers have come
On all the caravan roads in the desert,
For the sword of the Lord (Babylon) is devouring
From one end of the land even to the other;
No one has peace or a way of escape.
“They have planted wheat but have reaped thorns;
They have exhausted themselves but without profit.
So be ashamed of your harvest
Because of the fierce and raging anger of the Lord.”
14 Thus says the Lord regarding all My evil neighbors (Gentile nations) who strike at the inheritance which I have granted to My people Israel, “Behold, I will uproot them from their land and I will uproot the house of Judah from among them. 15 And it shall come about that after I have uprooted them, I will return and have compassion on them; and I will bring them back again, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land. 16 And if these [neighboring nations] will diligently learn the ways of My people, to swear by My Name, saying, ‘As the Lord lives’—even as they taught My people to swear by Baal, then they will be built up among My people. 17 But if [any nation] will not listen and obey, I will [completely] uproot and destroy that nation, says the Lord.”
The Ruined Waistband
13 Thus the Lord said to me, “Go and buy yourself a linen waistband and put it on your [b]loins, but do not put it in water.” 2 So I bought the waistband according to the word of the Lord and put it on my loins. 3 Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, 4 “Get up and take the waistband that you have bought, which is [wrapped] around your loins, and go to the [river] Euphrates and hide it there in a crevice of the rock.” 5 So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as the Lord had commanded me. 6 And after many days the Lord said to me, “Get up, go to the Euphrates and get the waistband which I commanded you to hide there.” 7 Then I went to the Euphrates and dug, and I took the waistband from the place where I had hidden it. And behold, the waistband was decayed and ruined; it was completely worthless.
8 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 9 “Thus says the Lord, ‘In this same way I shall destroy the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 These wicked and malevolent people, who refuse to listen to My words, who walk in the stubborn way of their heart and have followed other gods [which are nothing—just man-made carvings] to serve them and to worship them, let them be just like this waistband which is completely worthless. 11 For as the waistband clings to the body of a man, so I caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me,’ says the Lord, ‘that they might be for Me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory; but they did not listen and obey.’
12 “Therefore you are to speak this word to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Every jar should be filled with wine.”’ The people will say to you, ‘Do we not already know that every jar should be filled with wine?’ 13 Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am about to fill with drunkenness all the people of this land, even the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets and all the people of Jerusalem. 14 I will smash them one against another, both the fathers and the sons together,” says the Lord. “I shall destroy them [nothing will restrain Me]; I will not show pity nor be sorry nor have compassion.”’”
Listen and pay close attention, do not be haughty and overconfident,
For the Lord has spoken [says Jeremiah].
Give glory to the Lord your God,
Before He brings darkness
And before your feet stumble
On the dark and shadowy mountains,
And while you are longing for light
He turns it into the shadow of death,
And makes it into thick darkness.
But if you will not listen and obey,
My soul will weep in secret for your pride;
My eyes will weep bitterly
And flow with tears,
Because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.
Say to the king and the queen mother,
“Humble yourselves and take a lowly seat,
For your beautiful crown [the crown of your glory]
Has come down from your head.”
The cities of the South (the Negev) have been closed up,
And there is no one to open them;
All Judah has been carried into exile,
Completely carried away into exile.
“Lift up your eyes and see
Those coming from the north.
Where is the flock that was given to you [to shepherd],
Your beautiful flock?
“What will you say [O Jerusalem] when the Lord appoints [foreign nations to rule] over you—
Those former friends and allies whom you have encouraged [to be your companions]—
Will not pain seize you
Like [that of] a woman in childbirth?
“And if you [wonder and] say in your heart,
‘Why have these things happened to me?’
It is because of the greatness and nature of your sin
That your skirts have been [c]pulled away [subjecting you to public disgrace]
And [like a barefoot slave] your heels have been wounded.
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin
Or the leopard his spots?
Then you also can do good
Who are accustomed to evil and even trained to do it.
“Therefore I will scatter you like drifting straw
[Driven away] by the desert wind.
“This is your destiny, the portion [of judgment] measured to you
From Me,” says the Lord,
“Because you have forgotten Me
And trusted in [pagan] lies [the counterfeit gods, and the pretense of alliance].”
“So I Myself will throw your skirts up over your face,
That your shame may be exposed [publicly].
“I have seen your vile and detestable acts,
Even your adulteries and your lustful neighings [after idols],
And the lewdness of your prostitution
On the hills in the fields.
Woe (judgment is coming) to you, O Jerusalem!
How long will you remain unclean [by ignoring My precepts]?”
Drought and a Prayer for Mercy
14 The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:
And her gates languish;
Her people sit on the ground in mourning clothes
And the cry of Jerusalem has gone up.
“Their nobles have sent their servants for water;
They have come to the cisterns and found no water.
They have returned with empty vessels;
They have been shamed and humiliated,
And they cover their heads.
“The ground is cracked
Because there has been no rain on the land;
The farmers are distressed,
And they have covered their heads [in shame].
“The doe in the field has given birth only to abandon her young
Because there is no grass.
“And the wild donkeys stand on the barren heights;
They pant for air like jackals,
Their eyesight fails
Because there is no grass.
“O Lord, though our many sins testify against us” [prays Jeremiah],
“Act now [for us and] for Your name’s sake [so that the faithless may witness Your faithfulness]!
For our backslidings are countless;
We have sinned against You.
“O Hope of Israel,
Her Savior in time of distress and trouble,
Why should You be like a sojourner (temporary resident) in the land
Or like a traveler who turns aside and spreads his tent to linger [only] for a night?
“Why should You be [hesitant and inactive] like a man astounded and perplexed,
Like a mighty man unable to save?
Yet You, O Lord, are among us,
And we are called by Your name;
Do not leave us!”
10 Thus says the Lord to this people [Judah], “In the manner and to the degree [already pointed out] they have loved to wander; they have not restrained their feet. Therefore the Lord does not accept them; He will now remember [in detail] their wickedness and punish them for their sins.”
1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:12
Thanksgiving for These Believers
1 Paul, Silvanus (Silas), and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being from God].
2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, continually mentioning you in our prayers; 3 recalling unceasingly before our God and Father your work energized by faith, and your service motivated by love and unwavering hope in [the return of] our Lord Jesus Christ.(A) 4 [a]Brothers and sisters beloved by God, we know that He has chosen you; 5 for our good news [regarding salvation] came to you not only in word, but also in [its inherent] power and in the Holy Spirit and with great conviction [on our part]. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your benefit. 6 You became imitators of us and [through us] of the Lord, after you welcomed our message in [a time of] great trouble with the joy supplied by the Holy Spirit; 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in [b]Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For the word of the Lord has resounded from you and has echoed [like thunder], not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place [the news of] your [great] faith in God has spread, so that we never need to say anything about it. 9 For they themselves report about us, telling what kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to [look forward and confidently] wait for [the coming of] His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead—Jesus, who [personally] rescues us from the coming wrath [and draws us to Himself, granting us all the privileges and rewards of a new life with Him].
2 For you know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you has not been ineffective (fruitless, in vain), 2 but after we had already suffered and been outrageously treated in Philippi, as you know, yet in [the strength of] our God we summoned the courage to proclaim boldly to you the good news of God [regarding salvation] amid great opposition. 3 For our appeal does not come from delusion or impure motives, nor [is it motivated] by deceit [our message is complete, accurate, and based on the truth—it does not change]. 4 But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel [that tells the good news of salvation through faith in Christ], so we speak, not as [if we were trying] to please people [to gain power and popularity], but to please God who examines our hearts [expecting our best]. 5 For as you well know, we never came with words of flattery nor with a pretext for greed—God is our witness— 6 nor did we seek glory and honor from people, neither from you nor from anyone else, though as apostles of Christ we had the power to assert our authority. 7 But we behaved gently when we were among you, like a devoted mother tenderly caring for her own children. 8 Having such a deep affection for you, we [c]were delighted to share with you not only God’s good news but also our own lives, because you had become so very dear to us.
9 For you remember, [d]believers, our labor and hardship. We worked night and day [practicing our trade] in order not to be a [financial] burden to any of you while we proclaimed the gospel of God to you. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, how unworldly and just and blameless was our behavior toward you who believe [in our Lord Jesus Christ]. 11 For you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you just as a father does [in dealing with] his own children, [guiding you] 12 to live lives [of honor, moral courage, and personal integrity] worthy of the God who [saves you and] calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
- 1 Thessalonians 1:4 Lit Brethren.
- 1 Thessalonians 1:7 Greece was divided into two Roman provinces. The northern region was called Macedonia and the southern, Achaia. Thessalonica was an important seaport and was the capital city of Macedonia.
- 1 Thessalonians 2:8 Or resolved to.
- 1 Thessalonians 2:9 Lit brethren.
A Lament over the Destruction of Jerusalem, and Prayer for Help.
A Psalm of Asaph.
79 O God, the nations have invaded [the land of Your people] Your inheritance;
They have defiled Your sacred temple;
They have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
They have given the dead bodies of Your servants as food to the birds of the heavens,
The flesh of Your godly ones to the beasts of the earth.
They have poured out their blood like water all around Jerusalem,
And there was no one to bury them.
We have become an object of taunting to our neighbors [because of our humiliation],
A derision and mockery to those who encircle us.
How long, O Lord? Will You be angry forever?
Will Your jealousy [which cannot endure a divided allegiance] burn like fire?
Pour out Your wrath on the [Gentile] nations that do not know You,
And on the kingdoms that do not call on Your name.(A)
For they have devoured Jacob
And made his pasture desolate.
O do not remember against us the sins and guilt of our forefathers.
Let Your compassion and mercy come quickly to meet us,
For we have been brought very low.
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name;
Rescue us, forgive us our sins for Your name’s sake.
Why should the [Gentile] nations say, “Where is their God?”
Let there be known [without delay] among the nations in our sight [and to this generation],
Your vengeance for the blood of Your servants which has been poured out.
Let the groaning and sighing of the prisoner come before You;
According to the greatness of Your power keep safe those who are doomed to die.
And return into the lap of our neighbors sevenfold
The taunts with which they have taunted You, O Lord.
So we Your people, the sheep of Your pasture,
Will give You thanks forever;
We will declare and publish Your praise from generation to generation.
I went by the field of the lazy man,
And by the vineyard of the man lacking understanding and common sense;
And, behold, it was all overgrown with thorns,
And nettles were covering its surface,
And its stone wall was broken down.
When I saw, I considered it well;
I looked and received instruction.
“Yet a little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest [and daydream],”
Then your poverty will come as a robber,
And your want like an armed man.