Today our passages are Jeremiah 28:1–29:32; 1 Timothy 1:1-20; Psalm 86:1-17; and Proverbs 25:17. 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 28-29:32 (Contemporary English Version)
Jeremiah Accuses Hananiah of Being a False Prophet1Later that same year, in the fifth month of the fourth year that Zedekiah [a] was king, [b] the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur from Gibeon came up to me in the temple. And while the priests and others in the temple were listening, 2he told me that the LORD had said: I am the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, and I will smash the yoke [c] that Nebuchadnezzar [d] put on the necks of the nations to make them his slaves. 3And within two years, I will bring back to Jerusalem everything that he took from my temple and carried off to Babylonia. 4King Jehoiachin [e] and the other people who were taken from Judah to Babylonia will be allowed to come back here as well. All this will happen because I will smash the power of the king of Babylonia! 5The priests and the others were still standing there, so I said: 6Hananiah, I hope the LORD will do exactly what you said. I hope he does bring back everything the Babylonians took from the temple, and that our people who were taken to Babylonia will be allowed to return home. 7But let me remind you and everyone else 8that long before we were born, prophets were saying powerful kingdoms would be struck by war, disaster, and disease. 9Now you are saying we will have peace. We will just have to wait and see if that is really what the LORD has said. [f] 10Hananiah grabbed the wooden yoke from my neck and smashed it. 11Then he said, "The LORD says this is the way he will smash the power Nebuchadnezzar has over the nations, and it will happen in less than two years."
I left the temple, 12and a little while later, the LORD told me 13-14to go back and say to Hananiah:
I am the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel. You smashed a wooden yoke, but I will replace it with one made of iron. I will put iron yokes on all the nations, and they will have to do what King Nebuchadnezzar commands. I will even let him rule the wild animals.
15-16Hananiah, I have never sent you to speak for me. And yet you have talked my people into believing your lies and rebelling against me. So now I will send you--I'll send you right off the face of the earth! You will die before this year is over.
17Two months later, Hananiah died.
Jeremiah's Letter to the People of Judah in Babylonia1-2I had been left in Jerusalem when King Nebuchadnezzar [g] took many of the people of Jerusalem and Judah to Babylonia as prisoners, including King Jehoiachin, [h] his mother, his officials, and the metal workers and others in Jerusalem who were skilled in making things. So I wrote a letter to the prophets, the priests, the leaders, and the rest of our people in Babylonia. 3I gave the letter to Elasah and Gemariah, [i] two men that King Zedekiah [j] of Judah was sending to Babylon to talk with Nebuchadnezzar. In the letter, I wrote 4that the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, had said: I had you taken from Jerusalem to Babylonia. Now I tell you 5to settle there and build houses. Plant gardens and eat what you grow in them. 6Get married and have children, then help your sons find wives and help your daughters find husbands, so they can have children as well. I want your numbers to grow, not to get smaller. 7Pray for peace in Babylonia and work hard to make it prosperous. The more successful that nation is, the better off you will be.
8-9Some of your people there in Babylonia are fortunetellers, and you have asked them to tell you what will happen in the future. But they will only lead you astray. And don't let the prophets fool you, either. They speak in my name, but they are liars. I have not spoken to them.
10After Babylonia has been the strongest nation for seventy years, I will be kind and bring you back to Jerusalem, just as I have promised. 11I will bless you with a future filled with hope--a future of success, not of suffering. 12You will turn back to me and ask for help, and I will answer your prayers. 13You will worship me with all your heart, and I will be with you 14and accept your worship. Then I will gather you from all the nations where I scattered you, and you will return to Jerusalem.
15You feel secure, because you think I have sent prophets to speak for me in Babylonia.
16-19But I have been sending prophets to the people of Judah for a long time, and the king from David's family and the people who are left in Jerusalem and Judah still don't obey me. So I, the LORD All-Powerful, will keep attacking them with war and hunger and disease, until they are as useless as rotten figs. I will force them to leave the land, and all nations will be disgusted and shocked at what happens to them. The nations will sneer and make fun of them and use the names "Judah" and "Jerusalem" as curse words.
And you have not obeyed me, even though 20I had you taken from Jerusalem to Babylonia. But you had better listen to me now. 21-23You think Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah are prophets because they claim to speak for me. But they are lying! I haven't told them anything. They are also committing other horrible sins in your community, such as sleeping with the wives of their friends. So I will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar, who will put them to death while the rest of you watch. And in the future, when you want to put a curse on someone, you will say, "I pray that the LORD will kill you in the same way the king of Babylonia burned Zedekiah and Ahab to death!"
A Message for Shemaiah24-25The LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, told me what would happen to Shemaiah, [k] who was one of our people in Babylonia. After my letter reached Babylonia, Shemaiah wrote letters to the people of Jerusalem, including the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, and the other priests. The letter to Zephaniah said: 26After the death of Jehoiada the priest, the LORD chose you to be the priest in charge of the temple security force. You know that anyone who acts crazy and pretends to be a prophet should be arrested and put in chains [l] and iron collars. 27Jeremiah from the town of Anathoth is pretending to be a prophet there in Jerusalem, so why haven't you punished him? 28He even wrote a letter to the people here in Babylonia, saying we would be here a long time. He told us to build homes and to plant gardens and grow our own food. 29When Zephaniah received Shemaiah's letter, he read it to me. 30Then the LORD told me what to write in a second letter 31to the people of Judah who had been taken to Babylonia. In this letter, I wrote that the LORD had said: I, the LORD, have not chosen Shemaiah to be one of my prophets, and he has misled you by telling lies in my name. 32He has even talked you into disobeying me. So I will punish Shemaiah. He and his descendants won't live to see the good things I will do for my people. I, the LORD, have spoken.
- Jeremiah 28:1 Zedekiah: See the note at 1.3.
- Jeremiah 28:1 Later. . . king: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- Jeremiah 28:2 yoke: See the note at 27.1,2.
- Jeremiah 28:2 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
- Jeremiah 28:4 Jehoiachin: Hebrew "Jeconiah" (see the note at 24.1).
- Jeremiah 28:9 We will. . . said: See Deuteronomy 18.21,22.
- Jeremiah 29:1 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
- Jeremiah 29:1 Jehoiachin: Hebrew "Jeconiah" (see the note at 24.1).
- Jeremiah 29:3 Elasah and Gemariah: Hebrew "Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah."
- Jeremiah 29:3 Zedekiah: See the note at 1.3.
- Jeremiah 29:24 Shemaiah: Hebrew "Shemaiah, who came from the town of Nehelam."
- Jeremiah 29:26 in chains: See the note at 20.2.
1 Timothy 1:1-20 (Contemporary English Version)
1 Timothy 11From Paul. God our Savior and Christ Jesus commanded me to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, who gives us hope.
2Timothy, because of our faith, you are like a son to me. I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind and merciful to you. May they bless you with peace!
Warning against False Teaching3When I was leaving for Macedonia, I asked you to stay on in Ephesus and warn certain people there to stop spreading their false teachings. 4You needed to warn them to stop wasting their time on senseless stories and endless lists of ancestors. Such things only cause arguments. They don't help anyone to do God's work that can only be done by faith. 5You must teach people to have genuine love, as well as a good conscience and true faith. 6There are some who have given up these for nothing but empty talk. 7They want to be teachers of the Law of Moses. But they don't know what they are talking about, even though they think they do.
8We know that the Law is good, if it is used in the right way. 9We also understand that it wasn't given to control people who please God, but to control lawbreakers, criminals, godless people, and sinners. It is for wicked and evil people, and for murderers, who would even kill their own parents. 10The Law was written for people who are sexual perverts or who live as homosexuals or are kidnappers or liars or won't tell the truth in court. It is for anything else that opposes the correct teaching 11of the good news that the glorious and wonderful God has given me.
Being Thankful for God's Kindness12I thank Christ Jesus our Lord. He has given me the strength for my work because he knew that he could trust me. 13I used to say terrible and insulting things about him, and I was cruel. But he had mercy on me because I didn't know what I was doing, and I had not yet put my faith in him. 14Christ Jesus our Lord was very kind to me. He has greatly blessed my life with faith and love just like his own. 15"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." This saying is true, and it can be trusted. I was the worst sinner of all! 16But since I was worse than anyone else, God had mercy on me and let me be an example of the endless patience of Christ Jesus. He did this so that others would put their faith in Christ and have eternal life. 17I pray that honor and glory will always be given to the only God, who lives forever and is the invisible and eternal King! Amen.
18Timothy, my son, the instructions I am giving you are based on what some prophets [a] once said about you. If you follow these instructions, you will fight like a good soldier. 19You will be faithful and have a clear conscience. Some people have made a mess of their faith because they didn't listen to their consciences. 20Two of them are Hymenaeus and Alexander. I have given these men over to the power of Satan, so they will learn not to oppose God.
- 1 Timothy 1:18 prophets: Probably the Christian prophets referred to in 4.14.
Psalm 86:1-17 (Contemporary English Version)
(A prayer by David.)
A Prayer for Help1Please listen, LORD, and answer my prayer!
I am poor and helpless.
2Protect me and save me
because you are my God.
I am your faithful servant,
and I trust you.
3Be kind to me!
I pray to you all day.
4Make my heart glad!
I serve you,
and my prayer is sincere.
5You willingly forgive,
and your love is always there
for those who pray to you.
6Please listen, LORD!
Answer my prayer for help.
7When I am in trouble, I pray,
knowing you will listen.
8No other gods are like you;
only you work miracles.
9You created each nation,
and they will all bow down
to worship and honor you.
10You perform great wonders
because you alone are God.
11Teach me to follow you,
and I will obey your truth.
Always keep me faithful.
12With all my heart I thank you.
I praise you, LORD God.
13Your love for me is so great
that you protected me
from death and the grave.
14Proud and violent enemies,
who don't care about you,
have ganged up to attack
and kill me.
15But you, the Lord God,
are kind and merciful.
You don't easily get angry,
and your love
can always be trusted.
16I serve you, LORD,
and I am the child
of one of your servants.
Look on me with kindness.
Make me strong and save me.
17Show that you approve of me!
Then my hateful enemies
will feel like fools,
because you have helped
and comforted me.
Proverbs 25:17 (Contemporary English Version)
Thought for the Day
Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet, Oscar Wilde wrote, “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”