Today our passages are Jeremiah 30:1–31:26; 1 Timothy 2:1-15; Psalm 87:1-7; and Proverbs 25:18-19. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson. If you missed a day, you can find all the readings at our blog, The Bible in a Year. 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 by using the link below.
Jeremiah 30-31:26 (The Message)
Don't Despair, Israel1-2 This is the Message Jeremiah received from God: "God's Message, the God of Israel: 'Write everything I tell you in a book. 3"'Look. The time is coming when I will turn everything around for my people, both Israel and Judah. I, God, say so. I'll bring them back to the land I gave their ancestors, and they'll take up ownership again.'" 4This is the way God put it to Israel and Judah:
"'Cries of panic are being heard.
The peace has been shattered.
Ask around! Look around!
Can men bear babies?
So why do I see all these he-men
holding their bellies like women in labor,
pale as death?
The blackest of days,
no day like it ever!
A time of deep trouble for Jacob—
but he'll come out of it alive.
8-9"'And then I'll enter the darkness.
I'll break the yoke from their necks,
Cut them loose from the harness.
No more slave labor to foreigners!
They'll serve their God
and the David-King I'll establish for them.
10-11"'So fear no more, Jacob, dear servant.
Don't despair, Israel.
Look up! I'll save you out of faraway places,
I'll bring your children back from exile.
Jacob will come back and find life good,
safe and secure.
I'll be with you. I'll save you.
I'll finish off all the godless nations
Among which I've scattered you,
but I won't finish you off.
I'll punish you, but fairly.
I won't send you off with just a slap on the wrist.'
12-15"This is God's Message:
"'You're a burned-out case,
as good as dead.
Everyone has given up on you.
All your fair-weather friends have skipped town
without giving you a second thought.
But I delivered the knockout blow,
a punishment you will never forget,
Because of the enormity of your guilt,
the endless list of your sins.
So why all this self-pity, licking your wounds?
You deserve all this, and more.
Because of the enormity of your guilt,
the endless list of your sins,
I've done all this to you.
16-17"'Everyone who hurt you will be hurt;
your enemies will end up as slaves.
Your plunderers will be plundered;
your looters will become loot.
As for you, I'll come with healing,
curing the incurable,
Because they all gave up on you
and dismissed you as hopeless—
that good-for-nothing Zion.'
18-21"Again, God's Message:
"'I'll turn things around for Jacob.
I'll compassionately come in and rebuild homes.
The town will be rebuilt on its old foundations;
the mansions will be splendid again.
Thanksgivings will pour out of the windows;
laughter will spill through the doors.
Things will get better and better.
Depression days are over.
They'll thrive, they'll flourish.
The days of contempt will be over.
They'll look forward to having children again,
to being a community in which I take pride.
I'll punish anyone who hurts them,
and their prince will come from their own ranks.
One of their own people shall be their leader.
Their ruler will come from their own ranks.
I'll grant him free and easy access to me.
Would anyone dare to do that on his own,
to enter my presence uninvited?' God's Decree.
22"'And that's it: You'll be my very own people,
I'll be your very own God.'"
23-24Look out! God's hurricane is let loose,
his hurricane blast,
Spinning the heads of the wicked like dust devils!
God's raging anger won't let up
Until he's made a clean sweep
completing the job he began.
When the job's done
you'll see it's been well done.
Jeremiah 311 "And when that happens"—God's Decree— "it will be plain as the sun at high noon:
I'll be the God of every man, woman, and child in Israel
and they shall be my very own people." 2-6This is the way God put it:
"They found grace out in the desert,
these people who survived the killing.
Israel, out looking for a place to rest,
met God out looking for them!"
God told them, "I've never quit loving you and never will.
Expect love, love, and more love!
And so now I'll start over with you and build you up again,
dear virgin Israel.
You'll resume your singing,
grabbing tambourines and joining the dance.
You'll go back to your old work of planting vineyards
on the Samaritan hillsides,
And sit back and enjoy the fruit—
oh, how you'll enjoy those harvests!
The time's coming when watchmen will call out
from the hilltops of Ephraim:
'On your feet! Let's go to Zion,
go to meet our God!'"
7Oh yes, God says so:
"Shout for joy at the top of your lungs for Jacob!
Announce the good news to the number-one nation!
Raise cheers! Sing praises. Say,
'God has saved his people,
saved the core of Israel.'
8"Watch what comes next: "I'll bring my people back
from the north country
And gather them up from the ends of the earth,
gather those who've gone blind
And those who are lame and limping,
gather pregnant women,
Even the mothers whose birth pangs have started,
bring them all back, a huge crowd!
9"Watch them come! They'll come weeping for joy
as I take their hands and lead them,
Lead them to fresh flowing brooks,
lead them along smooth, uncluttered paths.
Yes, it's because I'm Israel's Father
and Ephraim's my firstborn son!
10-14"Hear this, nations! God's Message!
Broadcast this all over the world!
Tell them, 'The One who scattered Israel
will gather them together again.
From now on he'll keep a careful eye on them,
like a shepherd with his flock.'
I, God, will pay a stiff ransom price for Jacob;
I'll free him from the grip of the Babylonian bully.
The people will climb up Zion's slopes shouting with joy,
their faces beaming because of God's bounty—
Grain and wine and oil,
flocks of sheep, herds of cattle.
Their lives will be like a well-watered garden,
never again left to dry up.
Young women will dance and be happy,
young men and old men will join in.
I'll convert their weeping into laughter,
lavishing comfort, invading their grief with joy.
I'll make sure that their priests get three square meals a day
and that my people have more than enough.'" God's Decree.
15-17Again, God's Message:
"Listen to this! Laments coming out of Ramah,
wild and bitter weeping.
It's Rachel weeping for her children,
Rachel refusing all solace.
Her children are gone,
gone—long gone into exile."
But God says, "Stop your incessant weeping,
hold back your tears.
Collect wages from your grief work." God's Decree.
"They'll be coming back home!
There's hope for your children." God's Decree.
18-19"I've heard the contrition of Ephraim.
Yes, I've heard it clearly, saying,
'You trained me well.
You broke me, a wild yearling horse, to the saddle.
Now put me, trained and obedient, to use.
You are my God.
After those years of running loose, I repented.
After you trained me to obedience,
I was ashamed of my past, my wild, unruly past.
Humiliated, I beat on my chest.
Will I ever live this down?'
20"Oh! Ephraim is my dear, dear son,
my child in whom I take pleasure!
Every time I mention his name,
my heart bursts with longing for him!
Everything in me cries out for him.
Softly and tenderly I wait for him." God's Decree.
21-22"Set up signposts to mark your trip home.
Get a good map.
Study the road conditions.
The road out is the road back.
Come back, dear virgin Israel,
come back to your hometowns.
How long will you flit here and there, indecisive?
How long before you make up your fickle mind?
God will create a new thing in this land:
A transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!"
23-24A Message from Israel's God-of-the-Angel-Armies: "When I've turned everything around and brought my people back, the old expressions will be heard on the streets: 'God bless you!'...'O True Home!'...'O Holy Mountain!' All Judah's people, whether in town or country, will get along just fine with each other.
25I'll refresh tired bodies;
I'll restore tired souls.
26Just then I woke up and looked around—what a pleasant and satisfying sleep!
1 Timothy 2:1-15 (The Message)
1 Timothy 2
Simple Faith and Plain Truth1-3The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live. 4-7He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we've learned: that there's one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.
8-10Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.
11-15I don't let women take over and tell the men what to do. They should study to be quiet and obedient along with everyone else. Adam was made first, then Eve; woman was deceived first—our pioneer in sin!—with Adam right on her heels. On the other hand, her childbearing brought about salvation, reversing Eve. But this salvation only comes to those who continue in faith, love, and holiness, gathering it all into maturity. You can depend on this.
Psalm 87:1-7 (The Message)
A Korah Psalm1-3 He founded Zion on the Holy Mountain— and oh, how God loves his home!
Loves it far better than all
the homes of Jacob put together!
everyone there is talking about you!
4 I name them off, those among whom I'm famous:
Egypt and Babylon,
even Tyre, along with Cush.
Word's getting around; they point them out:
"This one was born again here!"
5 The word's getting out on Zion:
"Men and women, right and left,
get born again in her!"
6 God registers their names in his book:
"This one, this one, and this one—
born again, right here."
7 Singers and dancers give credit to Zion:
"All my springs are in you!"
Proverbs 25:18-19 (The Message)
18 Anyone who tells lies against the neighbors
in court or on the street is a loose cannon.
19 Trusting a double-crosser when you're in trouble
is like biting down on an abscessed tooth.
Verse of the Day
“Our LORD, you are the friend of your worshipers, and you make an agreement with all of us. I always look to you, because you rescue me from every trap.” - Psalm 25:14-15
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
Thought for the Day
American essayist, lecturer, and poet who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”