Today's Reading

14 September 2017

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Jeremiah 1 

The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests who were inAnathoth in the land of Benjamin, to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month.

The Call of Jeremiah

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”

Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,

“Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
10 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”

11 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond[a] branch.” 12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.”

13 The word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north.” 14 Then the Lordsaid to me, “Out of the north disaster[b] shall be let loose upon all the inhabitants of the land. 15 For behold, I am calling all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north, declares the Lord, and they shall come, and every one shall set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls all around and against all the cities of Judah. 16 And I will declare my judgments against them, for all their evil in forsaking me. They have made offerings to other gods and worshiped the works of their own hands. 17 But you, dress yourself for work;[c] arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. 18 And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land.19 They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.”

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 1:11 Almond sounds like the Hebrew for watching (compare verse 12)
  2. Jeremiah 1:14 The Hebrew word can mean evilharm, or disaster, depending on the context; so throughout Jeremiah
  3. Jeremiah 1:17 Hebrew gird up your loins


Jeremiah 2

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.

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 2:8 Or rulers
  2. Jeremiah 2:16 Hebrew grazed
  3. Jeremiah 2:18 Hebrew the River


Psalm 76

Who Can Stand Before You?

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.

76 In Judah God is known;
    his name is great in Israel.
His abode has been established in Salem,
    his dwelling place in Zion.
There he broke the flashing arrows,
    the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war. Selah

Glorious are you, more majestic
    than the mountains full of prey.
The stouthearted were stripped of their spoil;
    they sank into sleep;
all the men of war
    were unable to use their hands.
At your rebuke, O God of Jacob,
    both rider and horse lay stunned.

But you, you are to be feared!
    Who can stand before you
    when once your anger is roused?
From the heavens you uttered judgment;
    the earth feared and was still,
when God arose to establish judgment,
    to save all the humble of the earth. Selah

10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise you;
    the remnant[a] of wrath you will put on like a belt.
11 Make your vows to the Lord your God and perform them;
    let all around him bring gifts
    to him who is to be feared,
12 who cuts off the spirit of princes,
    who is to be feared by the kings of the earth.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 76:10 Or extremity


Hebrews 10 

Christ's Sacrifice Once for All

10 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Consequently, when Christ[a] came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
    but a body have you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
    as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure insacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that willwe have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ[b] had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
    after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
    and write them on their minds,”

17 then he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

The Full Assurance of Faith

19 Therefore, brothers,[c] since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us throughthe curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you seethe Day drawing near.

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and hasoutraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,

“Yet a little while,
    and the coming one will come and will not delay;
38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
    and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

Footnotes:

  1. Hebrews 10:5 Greek he
  2. Hebrews 10:12 Greek this one
  3. Hebrews 10:19 Or brothers and sisters