16 “Behold (listen carefully), I will send for many fishermen,” says the Lord, “and they will fish for them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and out of the clefts of the rocks. 17 For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their wickedness concealed from My eyes. 18 I will first doubly repay and punish them for their wickedness and their sin [before I return them to their land], because they have profaned My land; they have filled My inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable idols and with their abominations.”
[Then said Jeremiah] “O Lord, my Strength and my Stronghold,
And my Refuge in the day of distress and need,
The nations will come to You
From the ends of the earth and say,
‘Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies and illusion,
[Worthless] things in which there is no benefit!’
“Can a man make gods for himself?
Such [things] are not gods!
“Therefore,” [says the Lord] “behold, I will make them know—
This time I will make them know
My power and My might;
And they will know and recognize [without any doubt] that My Name is the Lord.”
The Deceitful Heart
17 The sin of Judah is written down with an iron stylus;
With a diamond point it is engraved upon the tablet of their heart
And on the horns of their altars.
As they remember their children,
So they remember [in detail] their [pagan] altars and their [a]Asherim
Beside green trees on the high hills.
O [Jerusalem] My mountain in the countryside,
I will give [to the Babylonians, as the cost of your sin] your wealth and all your treasures as plunder,
And throughout your territory, your high places of sin.
And you will, through your own fault, let go of your [grip on your] inheritance
That I gave you;
And I will make you serve your enemies
In a land which you do not know;
For you have kindled a fire in My anger
Which will burn forever.
Thus says the Lord,
“Cursed is the man who trusts in and relies on mankind,
Making [weak, faulty human] flesh his strength,
And whose mind and heart turn away from the Lord.
“For he will be like a shrub in the [parched] desert;
And shall not see prosperity when it comes,
But shall live in the rocky places of the wilderness,
In an uninhabited salt land.
“Blessed [with spiritual security] is the man who believes and trusts in and relies on the Lord
And whose hope and confident expectation is the Lord.
“For he will be [nourished] like a tree planted by the waters,
That spreads out its roots by the river;
And will not fear the heat when it comes;
But its leaves will be green and moist.
And it will not be anxious and concerned in a year of drought
Nor stop bearing fruit.
“The heart is deceitful above all things
And it is [b]extremely sick;
Who can understand it fully and know its secret motives?(A)
“I, the Lord, search and examine the mind,
I test the heart,
To give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds.
“Like the partridge that hatches eggs which she has not laid,
So is he who makes a fortune in ways that are unjust.
It will be lost to him before his days are over,
And in the end he will be [nothing but] a fool.”
A glorious throne, set on high from the beginning,
Is the place of our sanctuary (the temple).
O Lord, the hope of Israel,
All who abandon You will be shamed.
Those who turn away on earth will be written down,
Because they have abandoned the Lord, the fountain of living waters.
Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed;
Save me and I will be saved,
For You are my praise.
Behold, they keep saying to me,
“Where is the word of the Lord [that is, the disaster that you prophesied]?
Let it come now!”
But as for me, I have not tried to escape from being a shepherd [walking] after You,
Nor have I longed for the woeful day [of judgment];
You know that, whatever I said
Was [spoken] in Your presence and was from You.
Do not be a terror to me;
You are my refuge and my hope in the day of disaster.
Let those who persecute me be shamed, but as for me, protect me from shame;
Let them lose courage, but let me be undaunted.
Bring on them a day of tragedy,
And destroy them with double destruction!
The Sabbath Must Be Kept
19 Thus the Lord said to me, “Go and stand in the [c]public gate, through which the kings of Judah come in and go out, and [stand] also in all the gates of Jerusalem; 20 and say to them, ‘Listen to the word of the Lord, kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the people of Jerusalem who enter through these gates. 21 Thus says the Lord, “Pay attention for your own good, [and for the sake of your future] do not carry any load on the Sabbath day or bring anything in through the gates of Jerusalem. 22 You shall not carry a load out of your houses on the Sabbath day nor do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy [by setting it apart as a day of worship], as I commanded your fathers. 23 Yet they would not listen and obey and control their behavior; but they were stiff-necked in order not to hear and take instruction.
24 But it will come about, if you listen diligently to Me,” says the Lord, “to bring no load in through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but keep the Sabbath day holy by doing no work on it, 25 then kings and princes who will sit on the throne of David will enter through the gates of this city, riding in chariots and on horses—the kings and their princes, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this city will be inhabited and endure throughout the ages. 26 People will come from the cities of Judah and the places all around Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the lowland, from the hill country and from the South (the Negev), bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, and bringing sacrifices of thanksgiving to the house of the Lord. 27 But if you will not listen to Me and keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying a load as you come in the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in her gates that cannot be extinguished, and it will devour the palaces of Jerusalem.”’”
The Potter and the Clay
18 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will make you hear My words.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and saw that he was working at the wheel. 4 But the vessel that he was making from clay was spoiled by the potter’s hand; so he made it over, reworking it and making it into another pot that seemed good to him.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” says the Lord. “Look carefully, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. 7 At one moment I might [suddenly] speak concerning a nation or kingdom, that I will uproot and break down and destroy; 8 if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will [d]relent and reverse My decision concerning the devastation that I intended to do. 9 Or at another time I might [suddenly] speak about a nation or kingdom that I will build up or establish; 10 and if they do evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will reverse My decision concerning the good with which I had promised to bless them. 11 Now then, say to the men of Judah and to the citizens of Jerusalem, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am shaping a disaster and working out a plan against you. Turn back, each of you from his evil way; correct your habits and change your actions for the better.”’ 12 But they will say, ‘That is hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act in accordance with the stubbornness of his evil heart.’
“Therefore thus says the Lord,
‘Ask now among the nations,
Who has heard of such things?
The virgin Israel
Has done a very vile and horrible thing.
‘Will the snow of [Mount] Lebanon melt and vanish from its rocks [which tower above Israel]?
Will the cold, rushing waters of foreign lands [that flow down from the distant land] be dried up?
‘Yet My people have forgotten Me;
They burn incense to worthless gods,
They have stumbled from their ways
From the ancient roads,
To walk in pathways,
Not on a highway,
Making their land a desolation and a horror,
A thing to be hissed at perpetually;
Everyone who passes by will be astounded
And shake his head [in scorn].
‘I will scatter them like an east wind
Before the enemy;
I will show them My back and not My face
In the day of their disaster [says the Lord].’”
18 Then [my enemies] said, “Come and let us work out schemes against Jeremiah. Surely the law is not going to be lost to the priest [as Jeremiah predicts], nor the counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come and let us strike him with our tongue [by making charges against him before the king], and let us ignore anything he says.”
Pay attention to me, O Lord [and intercede];
Listen to what my adversaries are saying [and are plotting against me]—
Should good be repaid with evil?
Yet they have dug a pit for me.
Remember [with compassion] that I stood before You
To speak good on their behalf,
To turn Your anger away from them.
Therefore, give their children over to the famine;
Give them over to the power of the sword.
And let their wives become childless and widowed;
Let their men meet death [by virulent disease],
Their young men be struck down by the sword in battle.
Let an outcry be heard from their houses
When You suddenly bring [a troop of] raiders upon them,
For they have dug a pit to capture me
And have hidden snares for my feet.
Yet You, O Lord, know
All their deadly plotting against me;
Do not forgive their wickedness
Or blot out their sin from Your sight.
But let them be overthrown before You;
Deal with them in the time of Your anger.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-5:11
Sanctification and Love
4 Finally, believers, we ask and admonish you in the Lord Jesus, that you follow the instruction that you received from us about how you ought to walk and please God (just as you are actually doing) and that you excel even more and more [pursuing a life of purpose and living in a way that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation]. 2 For you know what commandments and precepts we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, that you be sanctified [separated and set apart from sin]: that you abstain and back away from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor [being available for God’s purpose and separated from things profane], 5 not [to be used] in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God and are ignorant of His will; 6 and that [in this matter of sexual misconduct] no man shall transgress and defraud his brother because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we have told you before and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us to impurity, but to holiness [to be dedicated, and set apart by behavior that pleases Him, whether in public or in private]. 8 So whoever rejects and disregards this is not [merely] rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you [to dwell in you and empower you to overcome temptation].
9 Now concerning brotherly love, you have no need for anyone to write you, for you have been [personally] taught by God to love one another [that is, to have an unselfish concern for others and to do things for their benefit].(A) 10 For indeed you already do practice it toward all the [a]believers throughout Macedonia [by actively displaying your love and concern for them]. But we urge you, brothers and sisters, that you excel [in this matter] more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to live quietly and peacefully, and to mind your own affairs and work with your hands, just as we directed you, 12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders [exhibiting good character, personal integrity, and moral courage worthy of the respect of the outside world], and be dependent on no one and in need of nothing [be self-supporting].
Those Who Died in Christ
13 Now we do not want you to be uninformed, believers, about those who are asleep [in death], so that you will not grieve [for them] as the others do who have no hope [beyond this present life]. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again [as in fact He did], even so God [in this same way—by raising them from the dead] will bring with Him those [believers] who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For we say this to you by the Lord’s [own] word, that we who are still alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede [into His presence] those [believers] who have fallen asleep [in death]. 16 For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the [b]archangel and with the [blast of the] trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain [on the earth] will simultaneously be caught up (raptured) together with them [the resurrected ones] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord!(B) 18 Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words [concerning our reunion with believers who have died].
The Day of the Lord
5 Now as to the [c]times and dates, [d]brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly well that the day of the [return of the] Lord is coming just as a thief [comes unexpectedly and suddenly] in the night. 3 While they are saying, “Peace and safety [all is well and secure!]” then [in a moment unforeseen] destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains on a woman with child, and they will absolutely not escape [for there will be no way to escape the judgment of the Lord]. 4 But you, [e]believers, [all you who believe in Christ as Savior and acknowledge Him as God’s Son] are not in spiritual darkness [nor held by its power], that the day [of judgment] would overtake you [by surprise] like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We do not belong to the night nor to darkness. 6 So then let us not sleep [in spiritual indifference] as the rest [of the world does], but let us keep wide awake [alert and cautious] and let us be sober [self-controlled, calm, and wise]. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since we [believers] belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope and confident assurance of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us to [incur His] wrath [that is, He did not select us to condemn us], but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died [willingly] for us, so that whether we are awake (alive) or asleep (dead) [at Christ’s appearing], we will live together with Him [sharing eternal life]. 11 Therefore encourage and comfort one another and build up one another, just as you are doing.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:10 Lit brethren.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:16 Only Michael is identified as an archangel (Dan 10:13; Jude 9).
- 1 Thessalonians 5:1 The Greek word here for times refers to the length of time (indicating how long one must wait for something), while the word for dates refers to the particular time that a significant event will happen.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:1 Lit brethren.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:4 Lit brethren.
God’s Goodness and Israel’s Waywardness.
To the Chief Musician; set to the [a]Philistine lute. A Psalm of Asaph.
81 Sing aloud to God our strength;
Shout for joy to the God of Jacob (Israel).
Raise a song, sound the timbrel,
The sweet sounding lyre with the harp.
Blow the trumpet at the New Moon,
At the [b]full moon, on our feast day.
For this is a statute for Israel,
An ordinance of the God of Jacob.
He established it for a testimony in [c]Joseph
When He went throughout the land of Egypt.
I heard the language [of One whom] I did not know, saying,
“I removed the burden from his shoulder;
His hands were freed from the basket.
“You called in [the time of] trouble and I rescued you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.(A) Selah.
“Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you—
O Israel, if you would listen to Me!
“Let there be no strange god among you,
Nor shall you worship any foreign god.
“I am the Lord your God,
Who brought you up from the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.
“But My people would not listen to My voice,
And Israel did not [consent to] obey Me.
“So I gave them up to the stubbornness of their heart,
To walk in [the path of] their own counsel.(B)
“Oh, that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!
“Then I would quickly subdue and humble their enemies
And turn My hand against their adversaries;
Those who hate the Lord would pretend obedience to Him and cringe before Him,
And their time of punishment would be forever.
“But I would feed Israel with the finest of the wheat;
And with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
- Psalm 81:1 A technical musical term, meaning uncertain.
- Psalm 81:3 Or New Moon, lit covering, i.e. when the moon is “covered” or hidden. This was taken by the ancient rabbis to refer to the festival of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana).
- Psalm 81:5 Curiously, in this one verse Joseph’s name has an extra letter, an “h.” In an example of rabbinic lore, the ancient rabbis said that because Joseph sanctified the divine name in private (by resisting Potiphar’s wife) he merited having one letter of the divine name (Yahweh) added to his. Another rabbinic explanation is that when Pharaoh was about to elevate Joseph to power, the astrologers demanded that Joseph speak the 70 languages of the world. The angel Gabriel came to teach him, but Joseph was unable until Gabriel added to his name the extra letter from the divine name.
Do not be boastfully ambitious and claim honor in the presence of the king,
And do not stand in the place of great men;
For it is better that it be said to you, “Come up here,”
Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince,
Whom your eyes have seen.(A)
Do not rush out to argue your case [before magistrates or judges];
Otherwise what will you do in the end [when your case is lost and]
When your neighbor (opponent) humiliates you?(B)