12 If I took you to court, Lord,
you would win.
But I still have questions about your justice.
Why do guilty persons enjoy success?
Why are evildoers so happy?
2 You plant them, and they take root;
they flourish and bear fruit.
You are always on their lips
but far from their hearts.
3 Yet you, Lord, you know me.
You see me.
You can tell that I love you.[a]
So drag them away
and butcher them like sheep.
Prepare them for the slaughterhouse.
4 How long will the land mourn
and the grass in the fields dry up?
The animals and birds are swept away
due to the evil of those in the land.
The people say,
“God doesn’t see what we’re up to!”
5 If you have raced with people and are worn out,
how will you compete with horses?
If you fall down in an open field,[b]
how will you survive in the forest along the Jordan?
6 Even your relatives, your very family,
are planning to trap you.
They are out to get you.
So don’t trust them,
even if they appear to be on your side.
God’s lament over Judah’s destruction
7 I have abandoned my house;
I have deserted my inheritance.
I have given the one I love
into the power of her enemies.
8 My inheritance has turned against me
like a lion in the forest;
she growls at me;
therefore, I have rejected her.
9 My inheritance has become
like a bird of prey,
surrounded and attacked.[c]
Go, gather all the wild animals for the feast.
10 Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard;
they have trampled down my field;
they have reduced my treasured field
to a desolate wilderness.
11 They have devastated her;
desolate, she cries out to me in distress:
“The whole land is desolate,
and no one seems to care.”
12 Over all the desert roads
for the sword of the Lord devours
from one end of the land to the other;
no one is safe.
13 They have sown wheat and reaped weeds;
they have worn themselves out for nothing.
They will be ashamed of their[d] harvest
on account of the Lord’s fierce anger.
14 The Lord proclaims: The evil nations have seized the land[e] that I gave my people Israel. I’m going to dig them up from their own lands, and I will dig up the people of Judah from among them. 15 And after I have dug them up, I will again have compassion on them and restore their inheritance and their land. 16 And then, if they will learn the ways of my people, to make a solemn pledge in my name, “As the Lord lives,” just as they once taught my people to swear to Baal, then they will be built up in the midst of my people. 17 But if they don’t listen, I will dig up that nation; yes, I will dig up and destroy, declares the Lord.
Jeremiah’s symbolic acts
13 The Lord proclaimed to me: Go and buy a linen undergarment. Wear it for a while without washing it. 2 So I bought a linen undergarment, as the Lord told me, and I put it on. 3 The Lord spoke to me again: 4 Take the undergarment that you are wearing and go at once to the Euphrates and put it under a rock. 5 So I went and buried it at the Euphrates,[f] as the Lord instructed. 6 After a long time, the Lord said to me: Return to the Euphrates and dig up the undergarment that I commanded you to bury there. 7 So I went to the Euphrates and I dug up the linen undergarment from the place I had buried it. But it was ruined and good for nothing.
8 Then the Lord’s word came to me: 9 The Lord proclaims: In the same way I will ruin the brazen pride of Judah and Jerusalem! 10 Instead of listening to me, this wicked people follow their own willful hearts and pursue other gods, worshipping and serving them. They will become like this linen garment—good for nothing! 11 Just as a linen undergarment clings to the body, so I created the people of Israel and Judah to cling to me, declares the Lord, to be my people for my honor, praise, and grandeur. But they wouldn’t obey.
12 So deliver this word to them: The Lord the God of Israel proclaims: Every wine jug should be filled with wine. And they will answer you, “Don’t we already know that? Obviously every wine jug should be filled with wine!” 13 Then you should say to them: The Lord proclaims: I’m going to fill everyone who lives in this country with wine that makes them drunk, including the kings on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, and all those living in Jerusalem. 14 And I will shatter every one of them, even parents and children, declares the Lord. I won’t take pity; I won’t have compassion; I will show no mercy when I destroy them.
15 Listen closely, don’t be arrogant,
for the Lord has spoken.
16 Honor the Lord your God,
before it’s too late,
before you stumble
on the mountain paths
in the evening shadows.
Then you will hope for light,
only to find darkness and gloom.
17 If you are too proud to listen,
I will go off alone
and cry my eyes out.
I will weep uncontrollably
because the Lord’s flock
will be dragged off into exile.
18 Tell the king and the queen mother:
Come down from your lofty place,
because your glorious crowns
will soon be removed from your heads.
19 The towns of the arid southern plain will be surrounded;
no one will get in or out;
all Judah will be taken into exile;
everyone will be led away.
20 Lift up your eyes
and see who is approaching from the north.
Where is the flock entrusted to you,
your beautiful flock?
21 What will you say when he appoints someone as head over you:
your defenders, your trusted allies?[g]
Won’t pain grip you
like that of a woman in labor?
22 And when you ask yourself,
Why have all these things happened to me?
it is because of your many sins
that you have been stripped and violated.
23 Can a Cushite change his skin
or a leopard its spots?
Neither can you do good
when doing evil comes so naturally.
24 So I will scatter you[h] like straw
that is blown away by the desert winds.
25 This is the future
that I have prepared for you,
declares the Lord,
because you have forgotten me
and trusted in lies.
26 I myself will pull up your skirt over your face
and expose your shame.
27 I have seen your adultery and lust,
your disgusting idols and shameless prostitution
on the hills and in the fields.
How terrible for you, Jerusalem!
How long will you remain dirty?
Destruction on the horizon
14 The Lord’s word to Jeremiah concerning the droughts:
2 Judah mourns;
her gates wither away.
The people fall to the ground in sorrow,
as sobs of Jerusalem ascend.
3 The rich send their servants for water,
but the wells run dry.
They return with empty jars,
ashamed, bewildered, and in despair.
4 Because the ground is cracked due to lack of rain,
the farmers too are ashamed;
they cover their heads.
5 Even the doe in the field
abandons her newborn,
for there’s no grass.
6 The wild donkeys stand on the well-traveled paths,
panting like thirsty dogs;
they go blind
since there’s nothing to eat.
7 Even though our sins testify against us,
help us, Lord, for your name’s sake.
We have turned away from you
and sinned against you time and again.
8 You are the hope of Israel,
its savior in times of trouble.
Why are you like a stranger in the land,
like a tourist spending only the night?
9 Why are you like one taken by surprise,
like a warrior unable to act?
Yet you are in our midst, Lord;
we are called by your name.
Don’t give up on us.
10 This is what the Lord proclaims about this people:
Since they have loved to wander off
and haven’t restrained themselves,
I[i] won’t accept them.
Now I will recall their wrongdoing
and punish their sin.
1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:8
1 From Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy.
To the Thessalonians’ church that is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace and peace to all of you.
Thanksgiving to God
2 We always thank God for all of you when we mention you constantly in our prayers. 3 This is because we remember your work that comes from faith,[a] your effort that comes from love, and your perseverance that comes from hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father. 4 Brothers and sisters, you are loved by God, and we know that he has chosen you. 5 We know this because our good news didn’t come to you just in speech but also with power and the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know as well as we do what kind of people we were when we were with you, which was for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord when you accepted the message that came from the Holy Spirit with joy in spite of great suffering. 7 As a result you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The message about the Lord rang out from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia but in every place. The news about your faithfulness to God has spread so that we don’t even need to mention it. 9 People tell us about what sort of welcome we had from you and how you turned to God from idols. As a result, you are serving[b] the living and true God, 10 and you are waiting for his Son from heaven. His Son is Jesus, who is the one he raised from the dead and who is the one who will rescue us from the coming wrath.
Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica
2 As you yourselves know, brothers and sisters, our visit with you wasn’t a waste of time. 2 On the contrary, we had the courage through God to speak God’s good news in spite of a lot of opposition, although we had already suffered and were publicly insulted in Philippi, as you know. 3 Our appeal isn’t based on false information, the wrong motives, or deception. 4 Rather, we have been examined and approved by God to be trusted with the good news, and that’s exactly how we speak. We aren’t trying to please people, but we are trying to please God, who continues to examine our hearts. 5 As you know, we never used flattery, and God is our witness that we didn’t have greedy motives. 6 We didn’t ask for special treatment from people—not from you or from others— 7 although we could have thrown our weight around as Christ’s apostles. Instead, we were gentle with you like a nursing mother caring for her own children. 8 We were glad to share not only God’s good news with you but also our very lives because we cared for you so much.
A psalm of Asaph.
79 The nations have come into your inheritance, God!
They’ve defiled your holy temple.
They’ve made Jerusalem a bunch of ruins.
2 They’ve left your servants’ bodies
as food for the birds;
they’ve left the flesh of your faithful
to the wild animals of the earth.
3 They’ve poured out the blood of the faithful
like water all around Jerusalem,
and there’s no one left to bury them.
4 We’ve become a joke to our neighbors,
nothing but objects of ridicule
and disapproval to those around us.
5 How long will you rage, Lord? Forever?
How long will your anger burn like fire?
6 Pour out your wrath on the nations
who don’t know you,
on the kingdoms
that haven’t called on your name.
7 They’ve devoured Jacob
and demolished his pasture.
8 Don’t remember the iniquities of past generations;
let your compassion hurry to meet us
because we’ve been brought so low.
9 God of our salvation, help us
for the glory of your name!
Deliver us and cover our sins
for the sake of your name!
10 Why should the nations say,
“Where’s their God now?”
Let vengeance for the spilled blood of your servants
be known among the nations before our very eyes!
11 Let the prisoners’ groaning reach you.
With your powerful arm
spare those who are destined to die.
12 Pay back our neighbors seven times over,
right where it hurts,
for the insults they used on you, Lord.
13 We are, after all, your people
and the sheep of your very own pasture.
We will give you thanks forever;
we will proclaim your praises
from one generation to the next.
30 I happened upon the field of a lazy person,
by the vineyard of one with no sense.
31 Thorns grew all over it;
weeds covered the ground,
and the stone wall was falling down.
32 I observed this and took it to heart;
I saw it and learned a lesson.
33 “A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little lying down with folded arms”—
34 and poverty will come on you like a prowler,
deprivation like a man with a shield.