My words will be italicized wherever they appear. Should the Bible be italicized near my words, I’ll do something to differentiate them.
People Who Do Only What They Want to Do
1-2 God told me, “Go and buy yourself some linen shorts. Put them on and keep them on. Don’t even take them off to wash them.” So I bought the shorts as God directed and put them on.
3-5 Then God told me, “Take the shorts that you bought and go straight to Perath and hide them there in a crack in the rock.” So I did what God told me and hid them at Perath.
6-7 Next, after quite a long time, God told me, “Go back to Perath and get the linen shorts I told you to hide there.” So I went back to Perath and dug them out of the place where I had hidden them. The shorts by then had rotted and were worthless.
8-11 God explained, “This is the way I am going to ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem—a wicked bunch of people who won’t obey me, who do only what they want to do, who chase after all kinds of no-gods and worship them. They’re going to turn out as rotten as these old shorts. Just as shorts clothe and protect, so I kept the whole family of Israel under my care”—God’s Decree—“so that everyone could see they were my people, a people I could show off to the world and be proud of. But they refused to do a thing I said.
12 “And then tell them this, ‘God’s Message, personal from the God of Israel: Every wine jug should be full of wine.’
“And they’ll say, ‘Of course. We know that. Every wine jug should be full of wine!’
13-14 “Then you’ll say, ‘This is what God says: Watch closely. I’m going to fill every person who lives in this country—the kings who rule from David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, the citizens of Jerusalem—with wine that will make them drunk. And then I’ll smash them, smash the wine-filled jugs—old and young alike. Nothing will stop me. Not an ounce of pity or mercy or compassion will slow me down. Every last drunken jug of them will be smashed!’”
Whoa. My eyebrows can’t go any higher…
The Light You Always Took for Granted
15-17 Then I said, Listen. Listen carefully: Don’t stay stuck in your ways!
It’s God’s Message we’re dealing with here.
Let your lives glow bright before God
before he turns out the lights,
Before you trip and fall
on the dark mountain paths.
The light you always took for granted will go out
and the world will turn black.
If you people won’t listen,
I’ll go off by myself and weep over you,
Weep because of your stubborn arrogance,
bitter, bitter tears,
Rivers of tears from my eyes,
because God’s sheep will end up in exile.
The man is tryin to help the ppl…
18-19 Tell the king and the queen-mother,
“Come down off your high horses.
Your dazzling crowns
will tumble off your heads.”
The villages in the Negev will be surrounded,
And Judah dragged off to exile,
the whole country dragged to oblivion.
20-22 Look, look, Jerusalem!
Look at the enemies coming out of the north!
What will become of your flocks of people,
the beautiful flocks in your care?
How are you going to feel when the people
you’ve played up to, looked up to all these years
Now look down on you? You didn’t expect this?
Surprise! The pain of a woman having a baby!
Do I hear you saying,
“What’s going on here? Why me?”
The answer’s simple: You’re guilty,
Your guilt has your life endangered,
your guilt has you writhing in pain.
23 Can an African change skin?
Can a leopard get rid of its spots?
So what are the odds on you doing good,
you who are so long-practiced in evil?
24-27 “I’ll blow these people away—
like wind-blown leaves.
You have it coming to you.
I’ve measured it out precisely.”
“It’s because you forgot me
and embraced the Big Lie,
that so-called god Baal.
I’m the one who will rip off your clothes,
expose and shame you before the watching world.
Your obsessions with gods, gods, and more gods,
your goddess affairs, your god-adulteries.
Gods on the hills, gods in the fields—
every time I look you’re off with another god.
O Jerusalem, what a sordid life!
Is there any hope for you!”
Smh. No words…….
Time and Again We’ve Betrayed God
1-6 God’s Message that came to Jeremiah regarding the drought:
her cities mourn.
The people fall to the ground, moaning,
while sounds of Jerusalem’s sobs rise up, up.
The rich people sent their servants for water.
They went to the cisterns, but the cisterns were dry.
They came back with empty buckets,
wringing their hands, shaking their heads.
All the farm work has stopped.
Not a drop of rain has fallen.
The farmers don’t know what to do.
They wring their hands, they shake their heads.
Even the doe abandons her fawn in the field
because there is no grass—
Eyes glazed over, on her last legs,
nothing but skin and bones.”
7-9 We know we’re guilty. We’ve lived bad lives—
but do something, God. Do it for your sake!
Time and time again we’ve betrayed you.
No doubt about it—we’ve sinned against you.
Hope of Israel! Our only hope!
Israel’s last chance in this trouble!
Why are you acting like a tourist,
taking in the sights, here today and gone tomorrow?
Why do you just stand there and stare,
like someone who doesn’t know what to do in a crisis?
But God, you are, in fact, here, here with us!
You know who we are—you named us!
Don’t leave us without a leg to stand on.
If you know why keep doing what you shouldn’t?!
10 Then God said of these people:
“Since they loved to wander this way and that,
never giving a thought to where they were going,
I will now have nothing more to do with them—
except to note their guilt and punish their sins.”
Con. Se. Quen. Ces.
The Killing Fields
11-12 God said to me, “Don’t pray that everything will turn out all right for this people. When they skip their meals in order to pray, I won’t listen to a thing they say. When they redouble their prayers, bringing all kinds of offerings from their herds and crops, I’ll not accept them. I’m finishing them off with war and famine and disease.”
Again. Don’t pray for the ppl.
13 I said, “But Master, God! Their preachers have been telling them that everything is going to be all right—no war and no famine—that there’s nothing to worry about.”
14 Then God said, “These preachers are liars, and they use my name to cover their lies. I never sent them, I never commanded them, and I don’t talk with them. The sermons they’ve been handing out are sheer illusion, tissues of lies, whistlings in the dark.
15-16 “So this is my verdict on them: All the preachers who preach using my name as their text, preachers I never sent in the first place, preachers who say, ‘War and famine will never come here’—these preachers will die in war and by starvation. And the people to whom they’ve been preaching will end up as corpses, victims of war and starvation, thrown out in the streets of Jerusalem unburied—no funerals for them or their wives or their children! I’ll make sure they get the full brunt of all their evil.
17-18 “And you, Jeremiah, will say this to them:
“‘My eyes pour out tears.
Day and night, the tears never quit.
My dear, dear people are battered and bruised,
hopelessly and cruelly wounded.
I walk out into the fields,
shocked by the killing fields strewn with corpses.
I walk into the city,
shocked by the sight of starving bodies.
And I watch the preachers and priests
going about their business as if nothing’s happened!’”
19-22 God, have you said your final No to Judah?
Can you simply not stand Zion any longer?
If not, why have you treated us like this,
beaten us nearly to death?
We hoped for peace—
nothing good came from it;
We looked for healing—
and got kicked in the stomach.
We admit, O God, how badly we’ve lived,
and our ancestors, how bad they were.
We’ve sinned, they’ve sinned,
we’ve all sinned against you!
Your reputation is at stake! Don’t quit on us!
Don’t walk out and abandon your glorious Temple!
Remember your covenant.
Don’t break faith with us!
Can the no-gods of the godless nations cause rain?
Can the sky water the earth by itself?
You’re the one, O God, who does this.
So you’re the one for whom we wait.
You made it all,
you do it all.
So they try to turn it on Him? His reputation is at stake?!
My words will be italicized wherever they appear. Should the Bible be italicized near my words, I’ll do something to differentiate them.
The Terms of This Covenant
1 The Message that came to Jeremiah from God:
2-4 “Preach to the people of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem. Tell them this: ‘This is God’s Message, the Message of Israel’s God to you. Anyone who does not keep the terms of this covenant is cursed. The terms are clear. I made them plain to your ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt, out of the iron furnace of suffering.
4-5 “‘Obey what I tell you. Do exactly what I command you. Your obedience will close the deal. You’ll be mine and I’ll be yours. This will provide the conditions in which I will be able to do what I promised your ancestors: to give them a fertile and lush land. And, as you know, that’s what I did.’”
“Yes, God,” I replied. “That’s true.”
6-8 God continued: “Preach all this in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. Say, ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant and carry them out! I warned your ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt and I’ve kept up the warnings. I haven’t quit warning them for a moment. I warned them from morning to night: “Obey me or else!” But they didn’t obey. They paid no attention to me. They did whatever they wanted to do, whenever they wanted to do it, until finally I stepped in and ordered the punishments set out in the covenant, which, despite all my warnings, they had ignored.’”
9-10 Then God said, “There’s a conspiracy among the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. They’ve plotted to reenact the sins of their ancestors—the ones who disobeyed me and decided to go after other gods and worship them. Israel and Judah are in this together, mindlessly breaking the covenant I made with their ancestors.
11-13 “Well, your God has something to say about this: Watch out! I’m about to visit doom on you, and no one will get out of it. You’re going to cry for help but I won’t listen. Then all the people in Judah and Jerusalem will start praying to the gods you’ve been sacrificing to all these years, but it won’t do a bit of good. You’ve got as many gods as you have villages, Judah! And you’ve got enough altars for sacrifices to that impotent sex god Baal to put one on every street corner in Jerusalem!
He CANNOT STAND baal.
14 “And as for you, Jeremiah, I don’t want you praying for this people. Nothing! Not a word of petition. Indeed, I’m not going to listen to a single syllable of their crisis-prayers.”
Again. He tells J not to pray for the ppl…
Promises and Pious Programs
15-16 “What business do the ones I love have figuring out
how to get off the hook? And right in the house of worship!
Do you think making promises and devising pious programs
will save you from doom?
Do you think you can get out of this
by becoming more religious?
A mighty oak tree, majestic and glorious—
that’s how I once described you.
But it will only take a clap of thunder and a bolt of lightning
to leave you a shattered wreck.
17 “I, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who planted you—yes, I have pronounced doom on you. Why? Because of the disastrous life you’ve lived, Israel and Judah alike, goading me to anger with your continuous worship and offerings to that sorry god Baal.”
18-19 God told me what was going on. That’s how I knew.
You, God, opened my eyes to their evil scheming.
I had no idea what was going on—naive as a lamb
being led to slaughter!
I didn’t know they had it in for me,
didn’t know of their behind-the-scenes plots:
“Let’s get rid of the preacher.
That will stop the sermons!
Let’s get rid of him for good.
He won’t be remembered for long.”
20 Then I said, “God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
you’re a fair judge.
You examine and cross-examine
human actions and motives.
I want to see these people shown up and put down!
I’m an open book before you. Clear my name.”
21-23 That sent a signal to God, who spoke up: “Here’s what I’ll do to the men of Anathoth who are trying to murder you, the men who say, ‘Don’t preach to us in God’s name or we’ll kill you.’ Yes, it’s God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaking. Indeed! I’ll call them to account: Their young people will die in battle, their children will die of starvation, and there will be no one left at all, none. I’m visiting the men of Anathoth with doom. Doomsday!”
Vengeance is His (Deuteronomy 32:35). Like some say. God can get then better than I can.
What Makes You Think You Can Race Against Horses?
1-4 You are right, O God, and you set things right.
I can’t argue with that. But I do have some questions:
Why do bad people have it so good?
Why do con artists make it big?
You planted them and they put down roots.
They flourished and produced fruit.
They talk as if they’re old friends with you,
but they couldn’t care less about you.
Meanwhile, you know me inside and out.
You don’t let me get by with a thing!
Make them pay for the way they live,
pay with their lives, like sheep marked for slaughter.
How long do we have to put up with this—
the country depressed, the farms in ruin—
And all because of wickedness, these wicked lives?
Even animals and birds are dying off
Because they’ll have nothing to do with God
and think God has nothing to do with them.
5-6 “So, Jeremiah, if you’re worn out in this footrace with men,
what makes you think you can race against horses?
And if you can’t keep your wits during times of calm,
what’s going to happen when troubles break loose
like the Jordan in flood?
Those closest to you, your own brothers and cousins,
are working against you.
They’re out to get you. They’ll stop at nothing.
Don’t trust them, especially when they’re smiling.
7-11 “I will abandon the House of Israel,
walk away from my beloved people.
I will turn over those I most love
to those who are her enemies.
She’s been, this one I held dear,
like a snarling lion in the jungle,
Growling and baring her teeth at me—
and I can’t take it anymore.
Has this one I hold dear become a preening peacock?
But isn’t she under attack by vultures?
Then invite all the hungry animals at large,
invite them in for a free meal!
Foreign, scavenging shepherds
will loot and trample my fields,
Turn my beautiful, well-cared-for fields
into vacant lots of tin cans and thistles.
They leave them littered with junk—
a ruined land, a land in lament.
The whole countryside is a wasteland,
and no one will really care.
Preening peacock. I can’t. 🤣😂 Whoaaaaaa…
12-13 “The barbarians will invade,
swarm over hills and plains.
The judgment sword of God will take its toll
from one end of the land to the other.
Nothing living will be safe.
They will plant wheat and reap weeds.
Nothing they do will work out.
They will look at their meager crops and wring their hands.
All this the result of God’s fierce anger!”
14-17 God’s Message: “Regarding all the bad neighbors who abused the land I gave to Israel as their inheritance: I’m going to pluck them out of their lands, and then pluck Judah out from among them. Once I’ve pulled the bad neighbors out, I will relent and take them tenderly to my heart and put them back where they belong, put each of them back in their home country, on their family farms. Then if they will get serious about living my way and pray to me as well as they taught my people to pray to that god Baal, everything will go well for them. But if they won’t listen, then I’ll pull them out of their land by the roots and cart them off to the dump. Total destruction!” God’s Decree.
My words will be italicized wherever they appear. Should the Bible be italicized near my words, I’ll do something to differentiate them.
1-2 I wish my head were a well of water
and my eyes fountains of tears
So I could weep day and night
for casualties among my dear, dear people.
At times I wish I had a wilderness hut,
a backwoods cabin,
Where I could get away from my people
and never see them again.
They’re a faithless, feckless bunch,
a congregation of degenerates.
Buddy was sad and ashamed.
3-6 “Their tongues shoot out lies
like a bow shoots arrows—
A mighty army of liars,
the sworn enemies of truth.
They advance from one evil to the next,
ignorant of me.”
“Be wary of even longtime neighbors.
Don’t even trust your grandmother!
Brother schemes against brother,
like old cheating Jacob.
Friend against friend
spreads malicious gossip.
Neighbors gyp neighbors,
never telling the truth.
They’ve trained their tongues to tell lies,
and now they can’t tell the truth.
They pile wrong upon wrong, stack lie upon lie,
and refuse to know me.”
He spent some time with God and was honest bout his ppl. And. Man. The warning...
7-9 Therefore, God-of-the-Angel-Armies says:
“Watch this! I’ll melt them down
and see what they’re made of.
What else can I do
with a people this wicked?
Their tongues are poison arrows!
Deadly lies stream from their mouths.
Neighbor greets neighbor with a smile,
‘Good morning! How’re things?’
while scheming to do away with him.
Do you think I’m going to stand around and do nothing?”
“Don’t you think I’ll take serious measures
against a people like this?
10-11 “I’m lamenting the loss of the mountain pastures.
I’m chanting dirges for the old grazing grounds.
They’ve become deserted wastelands too dangerous for travelers.
No sounds of sheep bleating or cattle mooing.
Birds and wild animals, all gone.
Nothing stirring, no sounds of life.
I’m going to make Jerusalem a pile of rubble,
fit for nothing but stray cats and dogs.
I’m going to reduce Judah’s towns to piles of ruins
where no one lives!”
No sounds. Fit for nothing. Piles of ruins.
12 I asked, “Is there anyone around bright enough to tell us what’s going on here? Anyone who has the inside story from God and can let us in on it?
“Why is the country wasted?
“Why no travelers in this desert?”
13-15 God’s answer: “Because they abandoned my plain teaching. They wouldn’t listen to anything I said, refused to live the way I told them to. Instead they lived any way they wanted and took up with the Baal gods, who they thought would give them what they wanted—following the example of their parents.” And this is the consequence. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so:
“I’ll feed them with pig slop.
Yo. And this reminds me of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).
“I’ll give them poison to drink.
Okay Romeo and Juliet 🤣😂
16 “Then I’ll scatter them far and wide among godless peoples that neither they nor their parents have ever heard of, and I’ll send Death in pursuit until there’s nothing left of them.”
This vengeance. Well deserved. But still.
A Life That Is All Outside but No Inside
17-19 A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
“Look over the trouble we’re in and call for help.
Send for some singers who can help us mourn our loss.
Tell them to hurry—
to help us express our loss and lament,
Help us get our tears flowing,
make tearful music of our crying.
Listen to it!
Listen to that torrent of tears out of Zion:
‘We’re a ruined people,
we’re a shamed people!
We’ve been driven from our homes
and must leave our land!’”
20-21 Mourning women! Oh, listen to God’s Message!
Open your ears. Take in what he says.
Teach your daughters songs for the dead
and your friends the songs of heartbreak.
Death has climbed in through the window,
broken into our bedrooms.
Children on the playgrounds drop dead,
and young men and women collapse at their games.
22 Speak up! “God’s Message:
“‘Dead bodies everywhere, scattered at random
like sheep and goat dung in the fields,
Like wheat cut down by reapers
and left to rot where it falls.’”
23-24 God’s Message:
“Don’t let the wise brag of their wisdom.
Don’t let heroes brag of their exploits.
Don’t let the rich brag of their riches.
If you brag, brag of this and this only:
That you understand and know me.
I’m God, and I act in loyal love.
I do what’s right and set things right and fair,
and delight in those who do the same things.
These are my trademarks.”
25-26 “Stay alert! It won’t be long now”—God’s Decree!—“when I will personally deal with everyone whose life is all outside but no inside: Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab. All these nations are big on performance religion—including Israel, who is no better.”
The Stick Gods
1-5 Listen to the Message that God is sending your way, House of Israel. Listen most carefully:
“Don’t take the godless nations as your models.
Don’t be impressed by their glamour and glitz,
no matter how much they’re impressed.
The religion of these peoples
is nothing but smoke.
An idol is nothing but a tree chopped down,
then shaped by a woodsman’s ax.
They trim it with tinsel and balls,
use hammer and nails to keep it upright.
It’s like a scarecrow in a cabbage patch—can’t talk!
Deadwood that has to be carried—can’t walk!
Don’t be impressed by such stuff.
It’s useless for either good or evil.”
6-9 All this is nothing compared to you, O God.
You’re wondrously great, famously great.
Who can fail to be impressed by you, King of the nations?
It’s your very nature to be worshiped!
Look far and wide among the elite of the nations.
The best they can come up with is nothing compared to you.
Stupidly, they line them up—a lineup of sticks,
good for nothing but making smoke.
Gilded with silver foil from Tarshish,
covered with gold from Uphaz,
Hung with violet and purple fabrics—
no matter how fancy the sticks, they’re still sticks.
10 But God is the real thing—
the living God, the eternal King.
When he’s angry, Earth shakes.
Yes, and the godless nations quake.
11-15 “Tell them this, ‘The stick gods
who made nothing, neither sky nor earth,
Will come to nothing
on the earth and under the sky.’”
But it is God whose power made the earth,
whose wisdom gave shape to the world,
who crafted the cosmos.
He thunders, and rain pours down.
He sends the clouds soaring.
He embellishes the storm with lightnings,
launches wind from his warehouse.
Stick-god worshipers looking mighty foolish,
god-makers embarrassed by their handmade gods!
Their gods are frauds—dead sticks,
deadwood gods, tasteless jokes.
When the fires of judgment come, they’ll be ashes.
Well. Stick gods.
16 But the Portion-of-Jacob is the real thing.
He put the whole universe together
And pays special attention to Israel.
His name? God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
Portion of Jacob. Put the whole universe together.
17-18 Grab your bags,
all you who are under attack.
God has given notice:
“Attention! I’m evicting
Everyone who lives here,
And right now—yes, right now!
I’m going to press them to the limit,
squeeze the life right out of them.”
19-20 But it’s a black day for me!
I said, “Why, oh why
did I think I could bear it?”
My house is ruined—
the roof caved in.
Our children are gone—
we’ll never see them again.
No one left to help in rebuilding,
no one to make a new start!
21 It’s because our leaders are stupid.
They never asked God for counsel,
And so nothing worked right.
The people are scattered all over.
22 But listen! Something’s coming!
A big commotion from the northern borders!
Judah’s towns about to be smashed,
left to all the stray dogs and cats!
23-25 I know, God, that mere mortals
can’t run their own lives,
That men and women
don’t have what it takes to take charge of life.
So correct us, God, as you see best.
Don’t lose your temper. That would be the end of us.
Vent your anger on the godless nations,
who refuse to acknowledge you,
And on the people
who won’t pray to you—
The very ones who’ve made a meal out of Jacob,
yes, made a meal
And devoured him whole,
people and pastures alike.
A prayer for mercy. But didn’t God just say don’t? I 🤔
The Nation That Wouldn’t Obey God
1-2 The Message from God to Jeremiah: “Stand in the gate of God’s Temple and preach this Message.
2-3 “Say, ‘Listen, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship God. God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God, has this to say to you:
3-7 “‘Clean up your act—the way you live, the things you do—so I can make my home with you in this place. Don’t for a minute believe the lies being spoken here—“This is God’s Temple, God’s Temple, God’s Temple!” Total nonsense! Only if you clean up your act (the way you live, the things you do), only if you do a total spring cleaning on the way you live and treat your neighbors, only if you quit exploiting the street people and orphans and widows, no longer taking advantage of innocent people on this very site and no longer destroying your souls by using this Temple as a front for other gods—only then will I move into your neighborhood. Only then will this country I gave your ancestors be my permanent home, my Temple.
8-11 “‘Get smart! Your leaders are handing you a pack of lies, and you’re swallowing them! Use your heads! Do you think you can rob and murder, have sex with the neighborhood wives, tell lies nonstop, worship the local gods, and buy every novel religious commodity on the market—and then march into this Temple, set apart for my worship, and say, “We’re safe!” thinking that the place itself gives you a license to go on with all this outrageous sacrilege? A cave full of criminals! Do you think you can turn this Temple, set apart for my worship, into something like that? Well, think again. I’ve got eyes in my head. I can see what’s going on.’” God’s Decree!
12 “‘Take a trip down to the place that was once in Shiloh, where I met my people in the early days. Take a look at those ruins, what I did to it because of the evil ways of my people Israel.
Not the place of peace?!
13-15 “‘So now, because of the way you have lived and failed to listen, even though time and again I took you aside and talked seriously with you, and because you refused to change when I called you to repent, I’m going to do to this Temple, set aside for my worship, this place you think is going to keep you safe no matter what, this place I gave as a gift to your ancestors and you, the same as I did to Shiloh. And as for you, I’m going to get rid of you, the same as I got rid of those old relatives of yours around Shiloh, your fellow Israelites in that former kingdom to the north.’
16-18 “And you, Jeremiah, don’t waste your time praying for this people. Don’t offer to make petitions or intercessions. Don’t bother me with them. I’m not listening. Can’t you see what they’re doing in all the villages of Judah and in the Jerusalem streets? Why, they’ve got the children gathering wood while the fathers build fires and the mothers make bread to be offered to ‘the Queen of Heaven’! And as if that weren’t bad enough, they go around pouring out libations to any other gods they come across, just to hurt me.
Whoa. Don’t waste your time praying…
19 “But is it me they’re hurting?” God’s Decree! “Aren’t they just hurting themselves? Exposing themselves shamefully? Making themselves ridiculous?
20 “Here’s what the Master God has to say: ‘My white-hot anger is about to descend on this country and everything in it—people and animals, trees in the field and vegetables in the garden—a raging wildfire that no one can put out.’
21-23 “The Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God: ‘Go ahead! Put your burnt offerings with all your other sacrificial offerings and make a good meal for yourselves. I sure don’t want them! When I delivered your ancestors out of Egypt, I never said anything to them about wanting burnt offerings and sacrifices as such. But I did say this, commanded this: “Obey me. Do what I say and I will be your God and you will be my people. Live the way I tell you. Do what I command so that your lives will go well.”
So much here…I never said anything about wanting burnt offerings…
24-26 “‘But do you think they listened? Not a word of it. They did just what they wanted to do, indulged any and every evil whim and got worse day by day. From the time your ancestors left the land of Egypt until now, I’ve supplied a steady stream of my servants the prophets, but do you think the people listened? Not once. Stubborn as mules and worse than their ancestors!’
27-28 “Tell them all this, but don’t expect them to listen. Call out to them, but don’t expect an answer. Tell them, ‘You are the nation that wouldn’t obey God, that refused all discipline. Truth has disappeared. There’s not a trace of it left in your mouths.
29 “‘So shave your heads.
Go bald to the hills and lament,
For God has rejected and left
this generation that has made him so angry.’
30-31 “The people of Judah have lived evil lives while I’ve stood by and watched.” God’s Decree. “In deliberate insult to me, they’ve set up their obscene god-images in the very Temple that was built to honor me. They’ve constructed Topheth altars for burning babies in prominent places all through the valley of Ben-hinnom, altars for burning their sons and daughters alive in the fire—a shocking perversion of all that I am and all I command.
Huh. Years later Jesus went off on the ppl in the temple (Matthew 21:12-13). I wonder how he would feel about some of our churches.
32-34 “But soon, very soon”—God’s Decree!—“the names Topheth and Ben-hinnom will no longer be used. They’ll call the place what it is: Murder Meadow. Corpses will be stacked up in Topheth because there’s no room left to bury them! Corpses abandoned in the open air, fed on by crows and coyotes, who have the run of the place. And I’ll empty both smiles and laughter from the villages of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. No wedding songs, no holiday sounds. Dead silence.”
The size of my eyes at murder meadow. And whoa to the rest. He is BIG mad. But can you blame Him?
1-2 “And when the time comes”—God’s Decree!—“I’ll see to it that they dig up the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of the princes and priests and prophets, and yes, even the bones of the common people. They’ll dig them up and spread them out like a congregation at worship before sun, moon, and stars, all those sky gods they’ve been so infatuated with all these years, following their ‘lucky stars’ in doglike devotion. The bones will be left scattered and exposed, to reenter the soil as fertilizer, like manure.
3 “Everyone left—all from this evil generation unlucky enough to still be alive in whatever godforsaken place I will have driven them to—will wish they were dead.” Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
To Know Everything but God’s Word
4-7 “Tell them this, God’s Message:
“‘Do people fall down and not get up?
Or take the wrong road and then just keep going?
So why does this people go backward,
and just keep on going—backward!
They stubbornly hold on to their illusions,
refuse to change direction.
I listened carefully
but heard not so much as a whisper.
No one expressed one word of regret.
Not a single “I’m sorry” did I hear.
They just kept at it, blindly and stupidly
banging their heads against a brick wall.
Cranes know when it’s time
to move south for winter.
And robins, warblers, and bluebirds
know when it’s time to come back again.
But my people? My people know nothing,
not the first thing of God and his rule.
8-9 “‘How can you say, “We know the score.
We’re the proud owners of God’s revelation”?
Look where it’s gotten you—stuck in illusion.
Your religion experts have taken you for a ride!
Your know-it-alls will be unmasked,
caught and shown up for what they are.
Look at them! They know everything but God’s Word.
Do you call that “knowing”?
Uh. It. Yeah. Relevant…
10-12 “‘So here’s what will happen to the know-it-alls:
I’ll make them wifeless and homeless.
Everyone’s after the dishonest dollar,
little people and big people alike.
Prophets and priests and everyone in between
twist words and doctor truth.
My dear Daughter—my people—broken, shattered,
and yet they put on Band-Aids,
Saying, “It’s not so bad. You’ll be just fine.”
But things are not “just fine”!
Do you suppose they are embarrassed
over this outrage?
Not really. They have no shame.
They don’t even know how to blush.
There’s no hope for them. They’ve hit bottom
and there’s no getting up.
As far as I’m concerned,
they’re finished.’” God has spoken.
13 “‘I went out to see if I could salvage anything’”
“‘but found nothing:
Not a grape, not a fig,
just a few withered leaves.
I’m taking back
everything I gave them.’”
14-16 So why are we sitting here, doing nothing?
Let’s get organized.
Let’s go to the big city
and at least die fighting.
We’ve gotten God’s ultimatum:
We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t—
damned because of our sin against him.
We hoped things would turn out for the best,
but it didn’t happen that way.
We were waiting around for healing—
and terror showed up!
From Dan at the northern borders
we hear the hooves of horses,
Horses galloping, horses neighing.
The ground shudders and quakes.
They’re going to swallow up the whole country.
Towns and people alike—fodder for war.
17 “‘What’s more, I’m dispatching
poisonous snakes among you,
Snakes that can’t be charmed,
snakes that will bite you and kill you.’”
Advancing from One Evil to the Next
18-22 I drown in grief.
Oh, listen! Please listen! It’s the cry of my dear people
reverberating through the country.
Is God no longer in Zion?
Has the King gone away?
Can you tell me why they flaunt their plaything-gods,
their silly, imported no-gods before me?
The crops are in, the summer is over,
but for us nothing’s changed.
We’re still waiting to be rescued.
For my dear broken people, I’m heartbroken.
I weep, seized by grief.
Are there no healing ointments in Gilead?
Isn’t there a doctor in the house?
So why can’t something be done
to heal and save my dear, dear people?
I cannot imagine or fathom being Jeremiah and having to hear this, first of all, and then having to repeat it!
Sins Are Piled Sky-High
1-2 “Patrol Jerusalem’s streets.
Look around. Take note.
Search the market squares.
See if you can find one man, one woman,
A single soul who does what is right
and tries to live a true life.
I want to forgive that person.”
“But if all they do is say, ‘As sure as God lives . . . ’
they’re nothing but a bunch of liars.”
And that’s why Jesus came…
3-6 But you, God,
you have an eye for truth, don’t you?
You hit them hard, but it didn’t faze them.
You disciplined them, but they refused correction.
Hardheaded, harder than rock,
they wouldn’t change.
Then I said to myself, “Well, these are just poor people.
They don’t know any better.
They were never taught anything about God.
They never went to prayer meetings.
I’ll find some people from the best families.
I’ll talk to them.
They’ll know what’s going on, the way God works.
They’ll know the score.”
But they were no better! Rebels all!
Off doing their own thing.
The invaders are ready to pounce and kill,
like a mountain lion, a wilderness wolf,
Panthers on the prowl.
The streets aren’t safe anymore.
And why? Because the people’s sins are piled sky-high;
their betrayals are past counting.
Success or goodness or religion do not prevent ppl from disregarding God…
7-9 “Why should I even bother with you any longer?
Your children wander off, leaving me,
Taking up with gods
that aren’t even gods.
I satisfied their deepest needs, and then they went off with the ‘sacred’ whores,
left me for orgies in sex shrines!
A bunch of well-groomed, lusty stallions,
each one pawing and snorting for his neighbor’s wife.
Do you think I’m going to stand around and do nothing?”
“Don’t you think I’ll take serious measures
against a people like this?
Eyes That Don’t Really Look, Ears That Don’t Really Listen
10-11 “Go down the rows of vineyards and rip out the vines,
but not all of them. Leave a few.
Prune back those vines!
That growth didn’t come from God!
They’ve betrayed me over and over again,
Judah and Israel both.”
I mentioned the vines in Isaiah. A symbol of life that shows up a lot. And the fruit of the vine was involved in the first miracle Jesus performed (John 2:1-11). Here this life was displeasing and not from God. Such a shame.
12-13 “They’ve spread lies about God.
They’ve said, ‘There’s nothing to him.
Nothing bad will happen to us,
neither famine nor war will come our way.
The prophets are all windbags.
They speak nothing but nonsense.’”
Can you imagine? Being the God who made them, delivered them after they got themselves in trouble time and time again, performed miracles for them and their ancestors, and this is what they do?! No wonder there was silence for hundreds of years between the Old and New Testaments…
14 Therefore, this is what God said to me, God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
“Because they have talked this way,
they are going to eat those words.
Watch now! I’m putting my words
as fire in your mouth.
And the people are a pile of kindling
ready to go up in flames.
Fire is a thing too. Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3:2). Shut up in Jeremiah’s bones (Jeremiah 20:9). The way the Holy Ghost sat on those in the upper room (Acts 2:3). And many other instances I can’t recall without a search…
15-17 “Attention! I’m bringing a far-off nation
against you, O house of Israel.”
“A solid nation,
an ancient nation,
A nation that speaks another language.
You won’t understand a word they say.
When they aim their arrows, you’re as good as dead.
They’re a nation of real fighters!
They’ll clean you out of house and home,
rob you of crops and children alike.
They’ll feast on your sheep and cattle,
strip your vines and fig trees.
And the fortresses that made you feel so safe—
leveled with a stroke of the sword!
18-19 “Even then, as bad as it will be”—God’s Decree!—“it will not be the end of the world for you. And when people ask, ‘Why did our God do all this to us?’ you must say to them, ‘This is back on you. Just as you left me and served foreign gods in your own country, so now you must serve foreigners in their own country.’
20-25 “Tell the house of Jacob this,
put out this bulletin in Judah:
Listen to this,
you scatterbrains, airheads,
With eyes that see but don’t really look,
and ears that hear but don’t really listen.
Why don’t you honor me?
Why aren’t you in awe before me?
Yes, me, who made the shorelines
to contain the ocean waters.
I drew a line in the sand
that cannot be crossed.
Waves roll in but cannot get through;
breakers crash but that’s the end of them.
But this people—what a people!
Uncontrollable, untamable runaways.
It never occurs to them to say,
‘How can we honor our God with our lives,
The God who gives rain in both spring and autumn
and maintains the rhythm of the seasons,
Who sets aside time each year for harvest
and keeps everything running smoothly for us?’
Of course you don’t! Your bad behavior blinds you to all this.
Your sins keep my blessings at a distance.
I scoffed. Scatterbrains and airheads…🤦🏾♀️🤣😂 I feel Him. How?
To Stand for Nothing and Stand Up for No One
26-29 “My people are infiltrated by wicked men,
unscrupulous men on the hunt.
They set traps for the unsuspecting.
Their victims are innocent men and women.
Their houses are stuffed with ill-gotten gain,
like a hunter’s bag full of birds.
Pretentious and powerful and rich,
hugely obese, oily with rolls of fat.
Worse, they have no conscience.
Right and wrong mean nothing to them.
They stand for nothing, stand up for no one,
throw orphans to the wolves, exploit the poor.
Do you think I’ll stand by and do nothing about this?”
“Don’t you think I’ll take serious measures
against a people like this?
Lord help this not to be me. Grateful for grace n mercy. Sheesh.
30-31 “Unspeakable! Sickening!
What’s happened in this country?
Prophets preach lies
and priests hire on as their assistants.
And my people love it. They eat it up!
But what will you do when it’s time to pick up the pieces?”
Uh is this BC or 2021 👀👀👀
A City Full of Lies
1-5 “Run for your lives, children of Benjamin!
Get out of Jerusalem, and now!
Give a blast on the ram’s horn in Blastville.
Send up smoke signals from Smoketown.
Doom pours out of the north—
I have likened my dear daughter Zion
to a lovely meadow.
Well, now ‘shepherds’ from the north have discovered her
and brought in their flocks of soldiers.
They’ve pitched camp all around her,
and plan where they’ll ‘graze.’
And then, ‘Prepare to attack! The fight is on!
To arms! We’ll strike at noon!
Oh, it’s too late? Day is dying?
Evening shadows are upon us?
Well, up anyway! We’ll attack by night
and tear apart her defenses stone by stone.’”
They were coming no matter what!
6-8 God-of-the-Angel-Armies gave the orders:
“Chop down her trees.
Build a siege ramp against Jerusalem,
A city full of brutality,
bursting with violence.
Just as a well holds a good supply of water,
she supplies wickedness nonstop.
The streets echo the cries: ‘Violence! Rape!’
Victims, bleeding and moaning, lie all over the place.
You’re in deep trouble, Jerusalem.
You’ve pushed me to the limit.
You’re on the brink of being wiped out,
being turned into a ghost town.”
If you could see my face.
9 More orders from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
“Time’s up! Harvest the grapes for judgment.
Salvage what’s left of Israel.
Go back over the vines.
Pick them clean, every last grape.
Is Anybody Listening?
10-11 “I’ve got something to say. Is anybody listening?
I’ve a warning to post. Will anyone notice?
It’s hopeless! Their ears are stuffed with wax—
deaf as a post, blind as a bat.
It’s hopeless! They’ve tuned out God.
They don’t want to hear from me.
But I’m bursting with the wrath of God.
I can’t hold it in much longer.
Deaf as a post blind as a bat. But how many thought they were hearing and seeing God? How many of us???….
11-12 “So dump it on the children in the streets.
Let it loose on the gangs of youth.
For no one’s exempt: Husbands and wives will be taken,
the old and those ready to die;
Their homes will be given away—
all they own, even their loved ones—
When I give the signal
against all who live in this country.”
Judgment is coming for us too. It’s already arrived for some of us. We have not learned but we call ourselves Bible believing, Bible lead Christians…
13-15 “Everyone’s after the dishonest dollar,
little people and big people alike.
Prophets and priests and everyone in between
twist words and doctor truth.
My people are broken—shattered!—
and they put on Band-Aids,
Saying, ‘It’s not so bad. You’ll be just fine.’
But things are not ‘just fine’!
Do you suppose they are embarrassed
over this outrage?
No, they have no shame.
They don’t even know how to blush.
There’s no hope for them. They’ve hit bottom
and there’s no getting up.
As far as I’m concerned,
God has spoken.
I’ve been talking about greedy, capitalist America a lot lately. Huh. Not here of course. But still… The accuracy of today in this portion
Death Is on the Prowl
16-20 God’s Message yet again:
“Go stand at the crossroads and look around.
Ask for directions to the old road,
The tried-and-true road. Then take it.
Discover the right route for your souls.
But they said, ‘Nothing doing.
We aren’t going that way.’
I even provided watchmen for them
to warn them, to set off the alarm.
But the people said, ‘It’s a false alarm.
It doesn’t concern us.’
And so I’m calling in the nations as witnesses:
‘Watch, witnesses, what happens to them!’
And, ‘Pay attention, Earth!
Don’t miss these bulletins.’
I’m visiting catastrophe on this people, the end result
of the games they’ve been playing with me.
They’ve ignored everything I’ve said,
had nothing but contempt for my teaching.
What would I want with incense brought in from Sheba,
rare spices from exotic places?
Your burnt sacrifices in worship give me no pleasure.
Your religious rituals mean nothing to me.”
21 So listen to this. Here’s God’s verdict on your way of life:
“Watch out! I’m putting roadblocks and barriers
on the road you’re taking.
They’ll send you sprawling,
parents and children, neighbors and friends—
and that will be the end of the lot of you.”
My eyes 👀.
22-23 And listen to this verdict from God:
“Look out! An invasion from the north,
a mighty power on the move from a faraway place:
Armed to the teeth,
vicious and pitiless,
Booming like sea storm and thunder—tramp, tramp, tramp—
riding hard on war horses,
In battle formation
against you, dear Daughter Zion!”
24-25 We’ve heard the news,
and we’re as limp as wet dishrags.
We’re paralyzed with fear.
Terror has a death grip on our throats.
Don’t dare go outdoors!
Don’t leave the house!
Death is on the prowl.
26 “Dear Daughter Zion: Dress in black.
Blacken your face with ashes.
Weep most bitterly,
as for an only child.
The countdown has begun . . .
six, five, four, three . . .
The Terror is on us!”
Yoooo. He was playing no games. And He’s not gonna play any with us when we know better and profess Him without acing like we know Him.
27-30 God gave me this task:
“I have made you the examiner of my people,
to examine and weigh their lives.
They’re a thickheaded, hard-nosed bunch,
rotten to the core, the lot of them.
Refining fires are cranked up to white heat,
but the ore stays a lump, unchanged.
It’s useless to keep trying any longer.
Nothing can refine evil out of them.
Men will give up and call them ‘slag,’
thrown on the slag heap by me, their God.”
Thickheaded, hard-nosed bunch, rotten to the core. His way with words… What a way to end the chapter.
Your Sex-and-Religion Obsessions
God’s Message came to me as follows:
“If a man’s wife
walks out on him
And marries another man,
can he take her back as if nothing had happened?
Wouldn’t that raise a huge stink
in the land?
And isn’t that what you’ve done—
‘whored’ your way with god after god?
And now you want to come back as if nothing had happened.”
2-5 “Look around at the hills.
Where have you not had sex?
You’ve camped out like hunters stalking deer.
You’ve solicited many lover-gods,
Like a streetwalking whore
chasing after other gods.
And so the rain has stopped.
No more rain from the skies!
But it doesn’t even faze you. Brazen as whores,
you carry on as if you’ve done nothing wrong.
Then you have the nerve to call out, ‘My father!
You took care of me when I was a child. Why not now?
Are you going to keep up your anger nonstop?’
That’s your line. Meanwhile you keep sinning nonstop.”
Admit Your God-Defiance
6-10 God spoke to me during the reign of King Josiah: “You have noticed, haven’t you, how fickle Israel has visited every hill and grove of trees as a whore at large? I assumed that after she had gotten it out of her system, she’d come back, but she didn’t. Her flighty sister, Judah, saw what she did. She also saw that because of fickle Israel’s loose morals I threw her out, gave her her walking papers. But that didn’t faze flighty sister Judah. She went out, big as you please, and took up a whore’s life also. She took up cheap sex-and-religion as a sideline diversion, an indulgent recreation, and used anything and anyone, flouting sanity and sanctity alike, stinking up the country. And not once in all this did flighty sister Judah even give me a nod, although she made a show of it from time to time.” God’s Decree.
Man. As you can see I have few words. It speaks for itself.
11-12 Then God told me, “Fickle Israel was a good sight better than flighty Judah. Go and preach this message. Face north toward Israel and say:
12-15 “‘Turn back, fickle Israel.
I’m not just hanging back to punish you.
I’m committed in love to you.
My anger doesn’t seethe nonstop.
Just admit your guilt.
Admit your God-defiance.
Admit to your promiscuous life with casual partners,
pulling strangers into the sex-and-religion groves
While turning a deaf ear to me.’”
“Come back, wandering children!”
“I, yes I, am your true husband.
I’ll pick you out one by one—
This one from the city, these two from the country—
and bring you to Zion.
I’ll give you good shepherd-rulers who rule my way,
who rule you with intelligence and wisdom.
But God is angry, judgmental, and unloving. 🙄 I think that’s just the people who wanna do what they wanna do….
16 “And this is what will happen: You will increase and prosper in the land. The time will come”—God’s Decree!—“when no one will say any longer, ‘Oh, for the good old days! Remember the Ark of the Covenant?’ It won’t even occur to anyone to say it—‘the good old days.’ The so-called good old days of the Ark are gone for good.
17 “Jerusalem will be the new Ark—‘God’s Throne.’ All the godless nations, no longer stuck in the ruts of their evil ways, will gather there to honor God.
18 “At that time, the House of Judah will join up with the House of Israel. Holding hands, they’ll leave the north country and come to the land I willed to your ancestors.
19-20 “I planned what I’d say if you returned to me:
‘Good! I’ll bring you back into the family.
I’ll give you choice land,
land that the godless nations would die for.’
And I imagined that you would say, ‘Dear father!’
and would never again go off and leave me.
But no luck. Like a false-hearted woman walking out on her husband,
you, the whole family of Israel, have proven false to me.”
I’m almost, or maybe I am, sad for God. The grace and mercy and the throwing it in His face. I’m guilty of it too…
21-22 The sound of voices comes drifting out of the hills,
the unhappy sound of Israel’s crying,
Israel lamenting the wasted years,
never once giving her God a thought.
“Come back, wandering children!
I can heal your wanderlust!”
22-25 “We’re here! We’ve come back to you.
You’re our own true God!
All that popular religion was a cheap lie,
duped crowds buying up the latest in gods.
We’re back! Back to our true God,
the salvation of Israel.
The Fraud picked us clean, swindled us
of what our ancestors bequeathed us,
Gypped us out of our inheritance—
God-blessed flocks and God-given children.
We made our bed and now lie in it,
all tangled up in the dirty sheets of dishonor.
All because we sinned against our God,
we and our fathers and mothers.
From the time we took our first steps, said our first words,
we’ve been rebels, disobeying the voice of our God.”
But they left again. And this is why ppl say Jesus was necessary. The law could do little on its own to keep the people in relationship with God. But the new covenant. New Testament. What came by way of, through, and after Jesus that exists today…whole nother ball of wax….
1-2 “If you want to come back, O Israel,
you must really come back to me.
You must get rid of your stinking sin paraphernalia
and not wander away from me anymore.
Then you can say words like, ‘As God lives . . . ’
and have them mean something true and just and right.
And the godless nations will get caught up in the blessing
and find something in Israel to write home about.”
Tuh. Actions aligning with words…. Getting rid of everything that separates them from God.
3-4 Here’s another Message from God
to the people of Judah and Jerusalem:
“Plow your unplowed fields,
but then don’t plant weeds in the soil!
Yes, circumcise your lives for God’s sake.
Plow your unplowed hearts,
all you people of Judah and Jerusalem.
Prevent fire—the fire of my anger—
for once it starts it can’t be put out.
Your wicked ways
are fuel for the fire.
Huh. Don’t plant weeds. Prepare it but don’t fill it with what kills the good that would grow. I’m not touching the rest. Ouch.
God’s Sledgehammer Anger
5-8 “Sound the alarm in Judah,
broadcast the news in Jerusalem.
Say, ‘Blow the ram’s horn trumpet through the land!’
Shout out—a bullhorn bellow!—
Run for your lives to the shelters!’
Send up a flare warning Zion:
‘Not a minute to lose! Don’t sit on your hands!’
Disaster’s descending from the north. I set it off!
When it lands, it will shake the foundations.
Invaders have pounced like a lion from its cover,
ready to rip nations to shreds,
Leaving your land in wrack and ruin,
your cities in rubble, abandoned.
Dress in funereal black.
Weep and wail,
For God’s sledgehammer anger
has slammed into us head-on.
9 “When this happens”
“King and princes will lose heart;
priests will be baffled and prophets stand dumbfounded.”
10 Then I said, “Alas, Master God!
You’ve fed lies to this people, this Jerusalem.
You assured them, ‘All is well, don’t worry,’
at the very moment when the sword was at their throats.”
Whoa. Talk about speaking to God honestly…
11-12 At that time, this people, yes, this very Jerusalem,
will be told in plain words:
“The northern hordes are sweeping in
from the desert steppes—
A wind that’s up to no good, a gale-force wind.
I ordered this wind.
my hurricane judgment on my people.”
Your Evil Life Is Piercing Your Heart
13-14 Look at them! Like banks of storm clouds,
racing, tumbling, their chariots a tornado,
Their horses faster than eagles!
Woe to us! We’re done for!
Jerusalem! Scrub the evil from your lives
so you’ll be fit for salvation.
How much longer will you harbor
devious and malignant designs within you?
15-17 What’s this? A messenger from Dan?
Bad news from Ephraim’s hills!
Make the report public.
Broadcast the news to Jerusalem:
“Invaders from far off are
raising war cries against Judah’s towns.
They’re all over her, like a dog on a bone.
And why? Because she rebelled against me.”
Sheesh. The last two parts in the quote.
18 “It’s the way you’ve lived
that’s brought all this on you.
The bitter taste is from your evil life.
That’s what’s piercing your heart.”
19-21 I’m doubled up with cramps in my belly—
a poker burns in my gut.
My insides are tearing me up,
never a moment’s peace.
The ram’s horn trumpet blast rings in my ears,
the signal for all-out war.
Disaster hard on the heels of disaster,
the whole country in ruins!
In one stroke my home is destroyed,
the walls flattened in the blink of an eye.
How long do I have to look at the warning flares,
listen to the siren of danger?
Experts at Evil
22 “What fools my people are!
They have no idea who I am.
A company of half-wits,
dopes and donkeys all!
Experts at evil
but klutzes at good.”
23-26 I looked at the earth—
it was back to pre-Genesis chaos and emptiness.
I looked at the skies,
and not a star to be seen.
I looked at the mountains—
they were trembling like aspen leaves,
And all the hills
rocking back and forth in the wind.
I looked—what’s this! Not a man or woman in sight,
and not a bird to be seen in the skies.
I looked—this can’t be! Every garden and orchard shriveled up.
All the towns were ghost towns.
And all this because of God,
because of the blazing anger of God.
27-28 Yes, this is God’s Word on the matter:
“The whole country will be laid waste—
still it won’t be the end of the world.
The earth will mourn
and the skies lament
Because I’ve given my word and won’t take it back.
I’ve decided and won’t change my mind.”
You’re Not Going to Seduce Anyone
29 Someone shouts, “Horsemen and archers!”
and everybody runs for cover.
They hide in ditches,
they climb into caves.
The cities are emptied,
not a person left anywhere.
30-31 And you, what do you think you’re up to?
Dressing up in party clothes,
Decking yourselves out in jewelry,
putting on lipstick and rouge and mascara!
Your primping goes for nothing.
You’re not going to seduce anyone. They’re out to kill you!
And what’s that I hear? The cry of a woman in labor,
the screams of a mother giving birth to her firstborn.
It’s the cry of Daughter Zion, gasping for breath,
reaching out for help:
“Help, oh help me! I’m dying!
The killers are on me!”
Yo. This last part…….
Demolish, and Then Start Over
1-4 The Message of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah of the family of priests who lived in Anathoth in the country of Benjamin. God’s Message began to come to him during the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amon reigned over Judah. It continued to come to him during the time Jehoiakim son of Josiah reigned over Judah. And it continued to come to him clear down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah over Judah, the year that Jerusalem was taken into exile. This is what God said:
5 “Before I shaped you in the womb,
I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
I had holy plans for you:
A prophet to the nations—
that’s what I had in mind for you.”
To hear this from God. I can’t imagine being the first. We read it and take heart in it. But. Man.
6 But I said, “Hold it, Master God! Look at me.
I don’t know anything. I’m only a boy!”
So refreshing the lack of pride and honesty about his true place.
7-8 God told me, “Don’t say, ‘I’m only a boy.’
I’ll tell you where to go and you’ll go there.
I’ll tell you what to say and you’ll say it.
Don’t be afraid of a soul.
I’ll be right there, looking after you.”
9-10 God reached out, touched my mouth, and said,
“Look! I’ve just put my words in your mouth—hand-delivered!
See what I’ve done? I’ve given you a job to do
among nations and governments—a red-letter day!
Your job is to pull up and tear down,
take apart and demolish,
And then start over,
building and planting.”
Stand Up and Say Your Piece
11-12 God’s Message came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
I said, “A walking stick—that’s all.”
And God said, “Good eyes! I’m sticking with you.
I’ll make every word I give you come true.”
13-15 God’s Message came again: “So what do you see now?”
I said, “I see a boiling pot, tipped down toward us.”
Then God told me, “Disaster will pour out of the north
on everyone living in this land.
Watch for this: I’m calling all the kings out of the north.”
15-16 “They’ll come and set up headquarters
facing Jerusalem’s gates,
Facing all the city walls,
facing all the villages of Judah.
I’ll pronounce my judgment on the people of Judah
for walking out on me—what a terrible thing to do!—
And courting other gods with their offerings,
worshiping as gods sticks they’d carved, stones they’d painted.
17 “But you—up on your feet and get dressed for work!
Stand up and say your piece. Say exactly what I tell you to say.
Don’t pull your punches
or I’ll pull you out of the lineup.
18-19 “Stand at attention while I prepare you for your work.
I’m making you as impregnable as a castle,
Immovable as a steel post,
solid as a concrete block wall.
You’re a one-man defense system
against this culture,
Against Judah’s kings and princes,
against the priests and local leaders.
They’ll fight you, but they won’t
even scratch you.
I’ll back you up every inch of the way.”
Israel Was God’s Holy Choice
1-3 God’s Message came to me. It went like this:
“Get out in the streets and call to Jerusalem,
I remember your youthful loyalty,
our love as newlyweds.
You stayed with me through the wilderness years,
stuck with me through all the hard places.
Israel was God’s holy choice,
the pick of the crop.
Anyone who laid a hand on her
would soon wish he hadn’t!’”
4-6 Hear God’s Message, House of Jacob!
Yes, you—House of Israel!
God’s Message: “What did your ancestors find fault with in me
that they drifted so far from me,
Took up with Sir Windbag
and turned into windbags themselves?
It never occurred to them to say, ‘Where’s God,
the God who got us out of Egypt,
Who took care of us through thick and thin, those rough-and-tumble
wilderness years of parched deserts and death valleys,
A land that no one who enters comes out of,
a cruel, inhospitable land?’
7-8 “I brought you to a garden land
where you could eat lush fruit.
But you barged in and polluted my land,
trashed and defiled my dear land.
The priests never thought to ask, ‘Where’s God?’
The religion experts knew nothing of me.
The rulers defied me.
The prophets preached god Baal
And chased empty god-dreams and silly god-schemes.
9-11 “Because of all this, I’m bringing charges against you”
“charging you and your children and your grandchildren.
Look around. Have you ever seen anything quite like this?
Sail to the western islands and look.
Travel to the Kedar wilderness and look.
Look closely. Has this ever happened before,
That a nation has traded in its gods
for gods that aren’t even close to gods?
But my people have traded my Glory
for empty god-dreams and silly god-schemes.
12-13 “Stand in shock, heavens, at what you see!
Throw up your hands in disbelief—this can’t be!”
“My people have committed a compound sin:
they’ve walked out on me, the fountain
Of fresh flowing waters, and then dug cisterns—
cisterns that leak, cisterns that are no better than sieves.
14-17 “Isn’t Israel a valued servant,
born into a family with place and position?
So how did she end up a piece of meat
fought over by snarling and roaring lions?
There’s nothing left of her but a few old bones,
her towns trashed and deserted.
Egyptians from the cities of Memphis and Tahpanhes
have broken your skulls.
And why do you think all this has happened?
Isn’t it because you walked out on your God
just as he was beginning to lead you in the right way?
Meat fought over by … lions. God is once again not playin with the people.
18-19 “And now, what do you think you’ll get by going off to Egypt?
Maybe a cool drink of Nile River water?
Or what do you think you’ll get by going off to Assyria?
Maybe a long drink of Euphrates River water?
Your evil ways will get you a sound thrashing, that’s what you’ll get.
You’ll pay dearly for your disloyal ways.
Take a long, hard look at what you’ve done and its bitter results.
Was it worth it to have walked out on your God?”
God’s Decree, Master God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
Addicted to Alien Gods
20-22 “A long time ago you broke out of the harness.
You shook off all restraints.
You said, ‘I will not serve!’
and off you went,
Visiting every sex-and-religion shrine on the way,
like a common whore.
You were a select vine when I planted you
from completely reliable stock.
And look how you’ve turned out—
a tangle of rancid growth, a poor excuse for a vine.
Scrub, using the strongest soaps.
Scour your skin raw.
The sin-grease won’t come out. I can’t stand to even look at you!”
God’s Decree, the Master’s Decree.
23-24 “How dare you tell me, ‘I’m not stained by sin.
I’ve never chased after the Baal sex gods’!
Well, look at the tracks you’ve left behind in the valley.
How do you account for what is written in the desert dust—
Tracks of a camel in heat, running this way and that,
tracks of a wild donkey in rut,
Sniffing the wind for the slightest scent of sex.
Who could possibly corral her!
On the hunt for sex, sex, and more sex—
insatiable, indiscriminate, promiscuous.
25 “Slow down. Take a deep breath. What’s the hurry?
Why wear yourself out? Just what are you after anyway?
But you say, ‘I can’t help it.
I’m addicted to alien gods. I can’t quit.’
26-28 “Just as a thief is chagrined, but only when caught,
so the people of Israel are chagrined,
Caught along with their kings and princes,
their priests and prophets.
They walk up to a tree and say, ‘My father!’
They pick up a stone and say, ‘My mother! You bore me!’
All I ever see of them is their backsides.
They never look me in the face.
But when things go badly, they don’t hesitate to come running,
calling out, ‘Get a move on! Save us!’
Why not go to your handcrafted gods you’re so fond of?
Rouse them. Let them save you from your bad times.
You’ve got more gods, Judah,
than you know what to do with.
Trying Out Another Sin-Project
29-30 “What do you have against me,
running off to assert your ‘independence’?”
“I’ve wasted my time trying to train your children.
They’ve paid no attention to me, ignored my discipline.
And you’ve gotten rid of your God-messengers,
treating them like dirt and sweeping them away.
31-32 “What a generation you turned out to be!
Didn’t I tell you? Didn’t I warn you?
Have I let you down, Israel?
Am I nothing but a dead-end street?
Why do my people say, ‘Good riddance!
From now on we’re on our own’?
Young women don’t forget their jewelry, do they?
Brides don’t show up without their veils, do they?
But my people forget me.
Day after day after day they never give me a thought.
33-35 “What an impressive start you made
to get the most out of life.
You founded schools of sin,
taught graduate courses in evil!
And now you’re sending out graduates, resplendent in cap and gown—
except the gowns are stained with the blood of your victims!
All that blood convicts you.
You cut and hurt a lot of people to get where you are.
And yet you have the nerve to say, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.
God doesn’t mind. He hasn’t punished me, has he?’
Don’t look now, but judgment’s on the way,
aimed at you who say, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.’
36-37 “You think it’s just a small thing, don’t you,
to try out another sin-project when the first one fails?
But Egypt will leave you in the lurch
the same way that Assyria did.
You’re going to walk away from there
wringing your hands.
I, God, have blacklisted those you trusted.
You’ll get not a lick of help from them.”
Whew. Yo! Sheesh. Man! Whoa. All the words. They were trippin and He wasn’t havin it!
God’s Hand Rests on This Mountain
1-5 God, you are my God.
I celebrate you. I praise you.
You’ve done your share of miracle-wonders,
well-thought-out plans, solid and sure.
Here you’ve reduced the city to rubble,
the strong city to a pile of stones.
The enemy Big City is a non-city,
never to be a city again.
Superpowers will see it and honor you,
brutal oppressors bow in worshipful reverence.
They’ll see that you take care of the poor,
that you take care of poor people in trouble,
Provide a warm, dry place in bad weather,
provide a cool place when it’s hot.
Brutal oppressors are like a winter blizzard
and vicious foreigners like high noon in the desert.
But you, shelter from the storm and shade from the sun,
shut the mouths of the big-mouthed bullies.
It’s the worship for me…
6-8 But here on this mountain, God-of-the-Angel-Armies
will throw a feast for all the people of the world,
A feast of the finest foods, a feast with vintage wines,
a feast of seven courses, a feast lavish with gourmet desserts.
And here on this mountain, God will banish
the pall of doom hanging over all peoples,
The shadow of doom darkening all nations.
Yes, he’ll banish death forever.
And God will wipe the tears from every face.
He’ll remove every sign of disgrace
From his people, wherever they are.
Yes! God says so!
The wine again. Lol. At first it made me think of the vineyard he’s talked about. Then it made me think of Jesus. His first miracle was turning water into wine (John 2:1-11). He talked about wine skins (Matthew 9:18). He also talked about being the true vine (John 15:1-6). OMG. THE BLOOOOOOD! Eventually, he used wine as a representation of his blood at the last supper (Mark 14:23-25). Maaaaaan sheesh. I cannot. This is what people mean when they say you can look at something you’ve read before and see it in a whole new way. I felt bad that I was too tired to do this last night after letting the day escape me. I’m glad I went to sleep and got on this first thing. Cuz I probably wouldn’t have ended up where I did…
9-10 Also at that time, people will say,
“Look at what’s happened! This is our God!
We waited for him and he showed up and saved us!
This God, the one we waited for!
Let’s celebrate, sing the joys of his salvation.
God’s hand rests on this mountain!”
Yaaaaaas! Good, good Father!
10-12 As for the Moabites, they’ll be treated like trash,
waste shoveled into a cesspool.
Thrash away as they will,
like swimmers trying to stay afloat,
They’ll sink in the sewage.
Their pride will pull them under.
Their famous fortifications will crumble to nothing,
those mighty walls reduced to dust.
I mean. I know they didn’t do right. But Moab brought us Jesus. Buuuuuut. Just because some good comes out of some stuff doesn’t mean all.of it is good and that it should be kept or looked upon favorably as a whole.
Stretch the Borders of Life
1-6 At that time, this song
will be sung in the country of Judah:
We have a strong city, Salvation City,
built and fortified with salvation.
Throw wide the gates
so good and true people can enter.
People with their minds set on you,
you keep completely whole,
Steady on their feet,
because they keep at it and don’t quit.
Depend on God and keep at it
because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.
Those who lived high and mighty
he knocked off their high horse.
He used the city built on the hill
as fill for the marshes.
All the exploited and outcast peoples
build their lives on the reclaimed land.
I don’t really have the words. God is so good. The knowledge that He is our salvation. If we keep.out minds on Him we are whole. We are steady because we keep at it and don’t quit. We depend on Him and keep going BECAUASE HE IS A SURE THING. I know it is written already. But still. He will never fail us. He will never, truly disappoint us cuz it works out in the end. He will never walk out on us. He will ALWAYS be there for us. In a life filled with the failures of people, I am reminded and grateful for the fact that God has never and will never fail or abandon me.
7-10 The path of right-living people is level.
The Leveler evens the road for the right-living.
We’re in no hurry, God. We’re content to linger
in the path sign-posted with your decisions.
Who you are and what you’ve done
are all we’ll ever want.
Through the night my soul longs for you.
Deep from within me my spirit reaches out to you.
When your decisions are on public display,
everyone learns how to live right.
If the wicked are shown grace,
they don’t seem to get it.
In the land of right living, they persist in wrong living,
blind to the splendor of God.
Come on through with the words Isaiah!
11-15 You hold your hand up high, God,
but they don’t see it.
Open their eyes to what you do,
to see your zealous love for your people.
Shame them. Light a fire under them.
Get the attention of these enemies of yours.
God, order a peaceful and whole life for us
because everything we’ve done, you’ve done for us.
O God, our God, we’ve had other masters rule us,
but you’re the only Master we’ve ever known.
The dead don’t talk,
ghosts don’t walk,
Because you’ve said, “Enough—that’s all for you,”
and wiped them off the books.
But the living you make larger than life.
The more life you give, the more glory you display,
and stretch the borders to accommodate more living!
16-18 O God, they begged you for help when they were in trouble,
when your discipline was so heavy
they could barely whisper a prayer.
Like a woman having a baby,
writhing in distress, screaming her pain
as the baby is being born,
That’s how we were because of you, O God.
We were pregnant full-term.
We writhed in labor but bore no baby.
We gave birth to wind.
Nothing came of our labor.
We produced nothing living.
We couldn’t save the world.
19 But friends, your dead will live,
your corpses will get to their feet.
All you dead and buried,
wake up! Sing!
Your dew is morning dew
catching the first rays of sun,
The earth bursting with life,
giving birth to the dead.
This makes me want to run and holler. Judgment, punishment, and correction are still in order today. But AFTER He has done that He will still keep His promise and allow us to walk out the plan He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11).
20-21 Come, my people, go home
and shut yourselves in.
Go into seclusion for a while
until the punishing wrath is past,
Because God is sure to come from his place
to punish the wrong of the people on earth.
Earth itself will point out the bloodstains;
it will show where the murdered have been hidden away.
When I was a teenager, my grandfather’s wife was our Bible Class for a while. She told us if we could do several things we would be gifted with a Thompson Chain Reference Bible. All I can remember is saying all of the books of the Bible forward and backward and the structure of the Books of the Bible. Here’s how the Bible is structured.
- The Law
- 1 Samuel
- 2 Samuel
- 1 Kings
- 2 Kings
- 1 Chronicles
- 2 Chronicles
- Song of Solomon
- Major Prophets
- Minor Prophets
- Paul’s Letters
- 1 Corinthians
- 2 Corinthians
- 1 Thessalonians
- 2 Thessalonians
- 1 Timothy
- 2 Timothy
- General Letters
- 1 Peter
- 2 Peter
- 1 John
- 2 John
- 3 John
All I had as a draft was the title. Ima see what I come up with.
Words matter. Sentence structure matters. Semantics. The English language is one of the hardest to learn for a person for whom English is not their first language. So many words sound the same but are spelled the same. The silent letters. The rules. Sure, for English speakers, other languages may be difficult. I learned Spanish. Their rules make a lot more sense than some of those I remember from my English classes. There are a multitude, a litany of exceptions for our words. For the most part, Spanish rules are pretty constant.
Lissen. Those last couple of sentences are sending me somewhere I cannot go. Lol. Just ponder them and see what you come up with. 😉
The Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). James 3 is a whole situation about the tongue and our mouths. He talks about how small they are and how much fire they can kindle. The thing that I thought of is his question in verse 11: Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter.
When reading it to put a couple of other things here I was also reminded of verses 9 and 10: Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
God spoke and created the earth. Go catch that first chapter of Genesis. Throughout the ENTIRE Bible, the words, promises of God and His vessels, Jesus shift lives and entire nations. Over and over again.
My thing is this. God breathed His breath into man in Genesis. Jesus promised us power to do greater works he did (John 14:12). He stated that things could be spoken to or spoke to them (fig tree, mountains, demons, wind and sea). So, if God spoke, Jesus spoke and promised us greater works than him, if we speak, we have the ability to have what we say.
It is so very crucial as believers to only speak positively and what God says. When I say what God says, I mean speak His word. The Bible. And, if He speaks to you personally, say that as well. Saying what God says isn’t 100% literal though. We have to speak well of, about, and to each other. With kind words. That is the essence of His Word and those who wrote under His inspiration.
Many of us were called things contrary to the plan of God for our lives. Many of us were called things contrary to who God made us. People didn’t know better or they passed their issues onto us. Some of us began to become what others said we were. Some of us began to call ourselves what others called us.
I thought about that thang one day. And you know what I did? I put the Word on it! I bound it because Jesus said what I bind on earth would be bound in heaven. I loosed what God thinks, what He says because he said what I loose on earth would be loosed in heaven (all bof of em are Matthew 18:18). I cursed it at the root and sent it back to the pit of hell where it belongs (churchy phrase with likely origins to that fig tree mentioned abouve).
I submit to you today, that if you are struggling with your words, study to be quiet (1 Thessalonians 4:11). Study the Word. Say things the way they should be said and say only what should be said. Not idle, wasteful things. I’m working on this myself as I believe I stated elsewhere.
I just had to gather myself.
Someone said I hope everything goes great.
I almost said it’s gonna go.
I course corrected and said it will.
I have to fix my mouth and my attitude.
If God sent me He is going to go before me and make the crooked places straight (Isaiah 45:2).
Life and death are in my tongue (Proverbs 18:21).
Woman’s promised son was dead. She went to the man of God. She didn’t complain. She started off telling people it shall be well. As she got closer to the prophet, she said it is well. Even though her son lay dead, she didn’t speak what she saw. She spoke what she knew to be possible after having a son she never expected to have. (2 Kings 4:8-37)
Just because I know how it has been doesn’t mean I know how it will be.
I have to make God big. Bigger than me. Bigger than my feelings. Bigger than my assumptions. Bigger than my circumstances.
Because nothing is too hard for him (Jeremiah 32:27).
Life isn’t all sunshine and roses despite the beautiful locale and awesome revelation.
I have two specific situations that I am not a fan of. I really wanna give the assignments back to God.
I told Him as much. My relationship with God is truly like some I have with his humans.
I tell him everything. Especially when what’s going on, and at times Him specifically, if I’m honest, is getting on my nerves.
People say He can’t heal what we don’t reveal. I give Him all of it. He already knows. But, He wants me to tell Him and give it to Him.
I’ve run away from one of the situations before. Honestly, if I try and it doesn’t get better, I chuck the deuces. I tried to run away from the other situation after basically being left holding the bag alone.
However, for reasons known and unknown, there’s more for me and those involved in these situations.
The disciples found themselves in at least two storms with Jesus.
He was asleep during one storm (Mark 4:38-40). Jesus questioned their fear because he was on the boat.
In the other storm, the disciples didn’t recognize him at first (Matthew 14:25-32). Then Peter, ever the brave, outspoken, slightly reckless disciple, was the only one willing to engage in the miracle and get out of the boat.
But, he got distracted by the storm. Jesus chastised his doubt. The wind and waves calmed as soon as they got on the boat.
The thing to note is that Jesus was there. He allowed them to experience the wind and waves. Then, he showed them that as long as he is present he has the power to help them through.
He quieted the wind and waves after he awoke from his sleep. He saved Peter after he called to Jesus while he was sinking.
My situations are slightly overwhelming to my feelings, emotions, and carefully cultivated peace.
I’m not a fan of the disruption, wind, and waves they are bringing currently and forecasted for the future. I know the forecast because I know what I have to do. Again, not a fan.
I’m in the boat with Paul-I’d love for Him to remove the thorn. But, now as then, His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). I would love for this cup to pass like Jesus requested before his death (Matthew 26:39). But, my refrain is the same. His will not mine. Ugh.
I know one thing for sure and two things for certain. He is with me. I will make it through. And He will get the glory.
After all, wind and waves are mechanisms to propel boats forward to their destinations. There is just some wind and some waves that are more preferable than others. I would definitely prefer some different ones.
Alas, all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). He has plans to prosper me (Jeremiah 29:11). I can do all things because he strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). I won’t drown (Isaiah 43:2).
*edit* it is JUST like God ro allow a storm today…