Today our passages are Jeremiah 26:1–27:22; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18; Psalm 85:1-13; and Proverbs 25:16. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version. If you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.
Jeremiah 26-27:22 (Contemporary English Version)
Jeremiah's Message in the Temple
(Jeremiah 7.1-15)1Soon after Jehoiakim [a] became king of Judah, the LORD said: 2Jeremiah, I have a message for everyone who comes from the towns of Judah to worship in my temple. Go to the temple courtyard and speak every word that I tell you. 3Maybe the people will listen this time. And if they stop doing wrong, I will change my mind and not punish them for their sins. 4Tell them that I have said: You have refused to listen to me and to obey my laws and teachings. 5Again and again I have sent my servants the prophets to preach to you, but you ignored them as well. Now I am warning you that if you don't start obeying me right away, 6I will destroy this temple, just as I destroyed the town of Shiloh. [b] Then everyone on earth will use the name "Jerusalem" as a curse word.
Jeremiah on Trial7The prophets, the priests, and everyone else in the temple heard what I said, 8-9and as soon as I finished, they all crowded around me and started shouting, "Why did you preach that the LORD will destroy this temple, just as he destroyed Shiloh? Why did you say that Jerusalem will be empty and lie in ruins? You ought to be put to death for saying such things in the LORD's name!" Then they had me arrested. 10The royal officers heard what had happened, and they came from the palace to the new gate of the temple to be the judges at my trial. [c] 11While they listened, the priests and the prophets said to the crowd, "All of you have heard Jeremiah prophesy that Jerusalem will be destroyed. He deserves the death penalty." 12-13Then I told the judges and everyone else:
The LORD himself sent me to tell you about the terrible things he will do to you, to Jerusalem, and to the temple. But if you change your ways and start obeying the LORD, he will change his mind.
14You must decide what to do with me. Just do whatever you think is right. 15But if you put me to death, you and everyone else in Jerusalem will be guilty of murdering an innocent man, because everything I preached came from the LORD.
16The judges and the other people told the priests and prophets, "Since Jeremiah only told us what the LORD our God had said, we don't think he deserves to die."
17Then some of the leaders from other towns stepped forward. They told the crowd that 18years ago when Hezekiah [d] was king of Judah, a prophet named Micah from the town of Moresheth had said: "I, the LORD All-Powerful, say
Jerusalem will be plowed under
and left in ruins.
Thorns will cover the mountain
where the temple
now stands." [e] 19Then the leaders continued:
No one put Micah to death for saying that. Instead, King Hezekiah prayed to the LORD with fear and trembling and asked him to have mercy. Then the LORD decided not to destroy Jerusalem, even though he had already said he would.
People of Judah, if Jeremiah is killed, we will bring a terrible disaster on ourselves.
20-24After these leaders finished speaking, an important man named Ahikam son of Shaphan spoke up for me as well. And so, I wasn't handed over to the crowd to be killed.
While Jehoiakim [f] was still king of Judah, a man named Uriah son of Shemaiah left his hometown of Kiriath-Jearim and came to Jerusalem. Uriah was one of the LORD's prophets, and he was saying the same things about Judah and Jerusalem that I had been saying. And when Jehoiakim and his officials and military officers heard what Uriah said, they tried to arrest him, but he escaped to Egypt. So Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Achbor and some other men after Uriah, and they brought him back. Then Jehoiakim had Uriah killed and his body dumped in a common burial pit.
Uriah the Prophet
Slaves of Nebuchadnezzar1-2Not long after Zedekiah became king of Judah, [g] the LORD told me: Jeremiah, make a wooden yoke [h] with leather straps, and place it on your neck. 3Then send a message to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon. Some officials from these countries are in Jerusalem, meeting with Zedekiah. 4So have them tell their kings that I have said: I am the All-Powerful LORD God of Israel, 5and with my power I created the earth, its people, and all animals. I decide who will rule the earth, 6-7and I have chosen my servant King Nebuchadnezzar [i] of Babylonia to rule all nations, including yours. I will even let him rule the wild animals. All nations will be slaves of Nebuchadnezzar, his son, and his grandson. Then many nations will join together, and their kings will be powerful enough to make slaves of the Babylonians. 8This yoke stands for the power of King Nebuchadnezzar, and I will destroy any nation that refuses to obey him. Nebuchadnezzar will attack, and many will die in battle or from hunger and disease. 9You might have people in your kingdom who claim they can tell the future by magic or by talking with the dead or by dreams or messages from a god. But don't pay attention if any of them tell you not to obey Nebuchadnezzar. 10If you listen to such lies, I will have you dragged far from your country and killed. 11But if you and your nation are willing to obey Nebuchadnezzar, I will let you stay in your country, and your people will continue to live and work on their farms. 12After I had spoken to the officials from the nearby kingdoms, I went to King Zedekiah and told him the same thing. Then I said:
Zedekiah, if you and the people of Judah want to stay alive, you must obey Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians. 13But if you refuse, then you and your people will die from war, hunger, and disease, just as the LORD has warned. 14Your prophets have told you that you don't need to obey Nebuchadnezzar, but don't listen to their lies. 15Those prophets claim to be speaking for the LORD, but he didn't send them. They are lying! If you do what they say, he will have both you and them dragged off to another country and killed. The LORD has spoken.
16When I finished talking to the king, I went to the priests and told them that the LORD had said:
Don't listen to the prophets when they say that very soon the Babylonians will return the things they took from my temple. Those prophets are lying! 17If you choose to obey the king of Babylonia, you will live. But if you listen to those prophets, this whole city will be nothing but a pile of rubble.
18If I really had spoken to those prophets, they would know what I am going to do. Then they would be begging me not to let everything else be taken from the temple and the king's palace and the rest of Jerusalem. 19-21After all, when Nebuchadnezzar took King Jehoiachin [j] to Babylonia as a prisoner, he didn't take everything of value from Jerusalem. He left the bronze pillars, the huge bronze bowl called the Sea, and the movable bronze stands in the temple, and he left a lot of other valuable things in the palace and in the rest of Jerusalem. But now I, the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, say that all these things 22will be taken to Babylonia, where they will remain until I decide to bring them back to Jerusalem. I, the LORD, have spoken.
- Jeremiah 26:1 Jehoiakim: See the note at 1.3.
- Jeremiah 26:6 Shiloh: The sacred tent had once stood at Shiloh.
- Jeremiah 26:10 new gate. . . trial: Public trials were often held in an open area at a gate of a city, palace, or temple.
- Jeremiah 26:18 Hezekiah: Ruled 716-687 B.C.
- Jeremiah 26:18 Jerusalem. . . stands: See Micah 3.12.
- Jeremiah 26:20 Jehoiakim: See the note at 1.3.
- Jeremiah 27:1 Not long after Zedekiah became king of Judah: A few manuscripts and one ancient translation; most Hebrew manuscripts "Not long after Jehoiakim became king of Judah"; most manuscripts of another ancient translation do not have these words. Jehoiakim ruled 609-598 B.C., and Zedekiah ruled 598-586 B.C.
- Jeremiah 27:1 yoke: A wooden collar that fits around the neck of an ox, so the ox can be made to pull a plow or a cart.
- Jeremiah 27:6 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
- Jeremiah 27:19 Jehoiachin: Hebrew "Jeconiah" (see the note at 24.1).
2 Thessalonians 3:1-18 (Contemporary English Version)
2 Thessalonians 3
Pray for Us1Finally, our friends, please pray for us. This will help the message about the Lord to spread quickly, and others will respect it, just as you do. 2Pray that we may be kept safe from worthless and evil people. After all, not everyone has faith. 3But the Lord can be trusted to make you strong and protect you from harm. 4He has made us sure that you are obeying what we taught you and that you will keep on obeying. 5I pray that the Lord will guide you to be as loving as God and as patient as Christ.
Warnings against Laziness6My dear friends, in the name of [a] the Lord Jesus, I beg you not to have anything to do with any of your people who loaf around and refuse to obey the instructions we gave you. 7You surely know that you should follow our example. We didn't waste our time loafing, 8and we didn't accept food from anyone without paying for it. We didn't want to be a burden to any of you, so night and day we worked as hard as we could. 9We had the right not to work, but we wanted to set an example for you. 10We also gave you the rule that if you don't work, you don't eat. 11Now we learn that some of you just loaf around and won't do any work, except the work of a busybody. 12So, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, we ask and beg these people to settle down and start working for a living. 13Dear friends, you must never become tired of doing right. 14Be on your guard against any followers who refuse to obey what we have written in this letter. Put them to shame by not having anything to do with them. 15Don't consider them your enemies, but speak kindly to them as you would to any other follower.
Final Prayer16I pray that the Lord, who gives peace, will always bless you with peace. May the Lord be with all of you. 17I always sign my letters as I am now doing: PAUL.
18I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to all of you.
- 2 Thessalonians 3:6 in the name of: Or "as a follower of."
Proverbs 25:16 (Contemporary English Version)
Thought for the Day
The 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam wrote, “I wonder why some people tend to see science as something which takes man away from God. As I look at it, the path of science can always wind through the heart. For me, science has always been the path to spiritual enrichment and self-realization.”