Today our passages are Jeremiah 48:1–49:22; 2 Timothy 4:1-22; Psalm 95:1–96:13; and Proverbs 26:9-12. The readings are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson. 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 48-49:22 (The Message)
Get Out While You Can!1-10 The Message on Moab from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel: "Doom to Nebo! Leveled to the ground!
Kiriathaim demeaned and defeated,
The mighty fortress reduced to a molehill,
Moab's glory—dust and ashes.
Conspirators plot Heshbon's doom:
'Come, let's wipe Moab off the map.'
Dungface Dimon will loudly lament,
as killing follows killing.
Listen! A cry out of Horonaim:
'Disaster—doom and more doom!'
Moab will be shattered.
Her cries will be heard clear down in Zoar.
Up the ascent of Luhith
And down the descent from Horonaim,
cries of loss and devastation.
Oh, run for your lives! Get out while you can!
Survive by your wits in the wild!
You trusted in thick walls and big money, yes?
But it won't help you now.
Your big god Chemosh will be hauled off,
his priests and managers with him.
A wrecker will wreck every city.
Not a city will survive.
The valley fields will be ruined,
the plateau pastures destroyed, just as I told you.
Cover the land of Moab with salt.
Make sure nothing ever grows here again.
Her towns will all be ghost towns.
Nobody will ever live here again.
Sloppy work in God's name is cursed,
and cursed all halfhearted use of the sword.
11-17"Moab has always taken it easy—
lazy as a dog in the sun,
Never had to work for a living,
never faced any trouble,
Never had to grow up,
never once worked up a sweat.
But those days are a thing of the past.
I'll put him to work at hard labor.
That will wake him up to the world of hard knocks.
That will smash his illusions.
Moab will be as ashamed of god Chemosh
as Israel was ashamed of her Bethel calf-gods,
the calf-gods she thought were so great.
For how long do you think you'll be saying, 'We're tough.
We can beat anyone anywhere'?
The destruction of Moab has already begun.
Her choice young soldiers are lying dead right now."
The King's Decree—
his full name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
"Yes. Moab's doom is on countdown,
disaster targeted and launched.
Weep for Moab, friends and neighbors,
all who know how famous he's been.
Lament, 'His mighty scepter snapped in two like a toothpick,
that magnificent royal staff!'
18-20"Come down from your high horse, pampered beauty of Dibon.
Sit in dog dung.
The destroyer of Moab will come against you.
He'll wreck your safe, secure houses.
Stand on the roadside,
pampered women of Aroer.
Interview the refugees who are running away.
Ask them, 'What's happened? And why?'
Moab will be an embarrassing memory, nothing left of the place.
Wail and weep your eyes out!
Tell the bad news along the Arnon river.
Tell the world that Moab is no more.
21-24"My judgment will come to the plateau cities: on Holon, Jahzah, and Mephaath; on Dibon, Nebo, and Beth-diblathaim; on Kiriathaim, Beth-gamul, and Beth-meon; on Kerioth, Bozrah, and all the cities of Moab, far and near.
25"Moab's link to power is severed.
Moab's arm is broken." God's Decree.
The Sheer Nothingness of Moab26-27"Turn Moab into a drunken sot, drunk on the wine of my wrath, a dung-faced drunk, filling the country with vomit—Moab a falling-down drunk, a joke in bad taste. Wasn't it you, Moab, who made crude jokes over Israel? And when they were caught in bad company, didn't you cluck and gossip and snicker? 28"Leave town! Leave! Look for a home in the cliffs,
you who grew up in Moab.
Try living like a dove
who nests high in the river gorge.
29-33"We've all heard of Moab's pride,
that legendary pride,
The strutting, bullying, puffed-up pride,
the insufferable arrogance.
I know"—God's Decree—"his rooster-crowing pride,
the inflated claims, the sheer nothingness of Moab.
But I will weep for Moab,
yes, I will mourn for the people of Moab.
I will even mourn for the people of Kir-heres.
I'll weep for the grapevines of Sibmah
and join Jazer in her weeping—
Grapevines that once reached the Dead Sea
with tendrils as far as Jazer.
Your summer fruit and your bursting grapes
will be looted by brutal plunderers,
Lush Moab stripped
of song and laughter.
And yes, I'll shut down the winepresses,
stop all the shouts and hurrahs of harvest.
34"Heshbon and Elealeh will cry out, and the people in Jahaz will hear the cries. They will hear them all the way from Zoar to Horonaim and Eglath-shelishiyah. Even the waters of Nimrim will be dried up.
35"I will put a stop in Moab"—God's Decree—"to all hiking to the high places to offer burnt sacrifices to the gods.
36"My heart moans for Moab, for the men of Kir-heres, like soft flute sounds carried by the wind. They've lost it all. They've got nothing.
37"Everywhere you look are signs of mourning:
heads shaved, beards cut,
Hands scratched and bleeding,
clothes ripped and torn.
38"In every house in Moab there'll be loud lamentation, on every street in Moab, loud lamentation. As with a pottery jug that no one wants, I'll smash Moab to bits." God's Decree.
Moab shamed and ashamed to be seen!
Moab a cruel joke!
The stark horror of Moab!"
40-42God's verdict on Moab. Indeed!
"Look! An eagle is about to swoop down
and spread its wings over Moab.
The towns will be captured,
the fortresses taken.
Brave warriors will double up in pain, helpless to fight,
like a woman giving birth to a baby.
There'll be nothing left of Moab, nothing at all,
because of his defiant arrogance against me.
43-44"Terror and pit and trap
are what you have facing you, Moab." God's Decree.
"A man running in terror
will fall into a trap.
A man climbing out of a pit
will be caught in a trap.
This is my agenda for Moab
on doomsday." God's Decree.
45-47"On the outskirts of Heshbon,
refugees will pull up short, worn out.
Fire will flame high from Heshbon,
a firestorm raging from the capital of Sihon's kingdom.
It will burn off Moab's eyebrows,
will scorch the skull of the braggarts.
That's all for you, Moab!
You worshipers of Chemosh will be finished off!
Your sons will be trucked off to prison camps;
your daughters will be herded into exile.
But yet there's a day that's coming
when I'll put things right in Moab.
"For now, that's the judgment on Moab."
You're a Broken-Down Has-Been1-6 God's Message on the Ammonites: "Doesn't Israel have any children,
no one to step into her inheritance?
So why is the god Milcom taking over Gad's land,
his followers moving into its towns?
But not for long! The time's coming"
"When I'll fill the ears of Rabbah, Ammon's big city,
with battle cries.
She'll end up a pile of rubble,
all her towns burned to the ground.
Then Israel will kick out the invaders.
I, God, say so, and it will be so.
Wail Heshbon, Ai is in ruins.
Villages of Rabbah, wring your hands!
Dress in mourning, weep buckets of tears.
Go into hysterics, run around in circles!
Your god Milcom will be hauled off to exile,
and all his priests and managers right with him.
Why do you brag of your once-famous strength?
You're a broken-down has-been, a castoff
Who fondles his trophies and dreams of glory days
and vainly thinks, 'No one can lay a hand on me.'
Well, think again. I'll face you with terror from all sides."
Word of the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
"You'll be stampeded headlong,
with no one to round up the runaways.
Still, the time will come
when I will make things right with Ammon." God's Decree.
Strutting Across the Stage of History7-11The Message of God-of-the-Angel-Armies on Edom: "Is there nobody wise left in famous Teman?
no one with a sense of reality?
Has their wisdom gone wormy and rotten?
Run for your lives! Get out while you can!
Find a good place to hide,
you who live in Dedan!
I'm bringing doom to Esau.
It's time to settle accounts.
When harvesters work your fields,
don't they leave gleanings?
When burglars break into your house,
don't they take only what they want?
But I'll strip Esau clean.
I'll search out every nook and cranny.
I'll destroy everything connected with him,
children and relatives and neighbors.
There'll be no one left who will be able to say,
'I'll take care of your orphans.
Your widows can depend on me.'"
12-13Indeed. God says, "I tell you, if there are people who have to drink the cup of God's wrath even though they don't deserve it, why would you think you'd get off? You won't get off. You'll drink it. Oh yes, you'll drink every drop. And as for Bozrah, your capital, I swear by all that I am"—God's Decree—"that that city will end up a pile of charred ruins, a stinking garbage dump, an obscenity—and all her daughter-cities with her."
14I've just heard the latest from God.
He's sent an envoy to the nations:
"Muster your troops and attack Edom.
Present arms! Go to war!"
15-16"Ah, Edom, I'm dropping you to last place among nations,
the bottom of the heap, kicked around.
You think you're so great—
strutting across the stage of history,
Living high in the impregnable rocks,
acting like king of the mountain.
You think you're above it all, don't you,
like an eagle in its aerie?
Well, you're headed for a fall.
I'll bring you crashing to the ground." God's Decree.
17-18"Edom will end up trash. Stinking, despicable trash. A wonder of the world in reverse. She'll join Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors in the sewers of history." God says so.
"No one will live there,
no mortal soul move in there.
19"Watch this: Like a lion coming up
from the thick jungle of the Jordan
Looking for prey in the mountain pastures,
I will come upon Edom and pounce.
I'll take my pick of the flock—and who's to stop me?
The shepherds of Edom are helpless before me."
20-22So, listen to this plan that God has worked out against Edom, the blueprint of what he's prepared for those who live in Teman:
"Believe it or not, the young, the vulnerable—
mere lambs and kids—will be dragged off.
Believe it or not, the flock
in shock, helpless to help, will watch it happen.
The very earth will shudder because of their cries,
cries of anguish heard at the distant Red Sea.
Look! An eagle soars, swoops down,
spreads its wings over Bozrah.
Brave warriors will double up in pain, helpless to fight,
like a woman giving birth to a baby."
2 Timothy 4:1-22 (The Message)
2 Timothy 41-2I can't impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don't ever quit. Just keep it simple. 3-5You're going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They'll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you're doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God's servant.
6-8You take over. I'm about to die, my life an offering on God's altar. This is the only race worth running. I've run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that's left now is the shouting—God's applause! Depend on it, he's an honest judge. He'll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.
9-13Get here as fast as you can. Demas, chasing fads, went off to Thessalonica and left me here. Crescens is in Galatia province, Titus in Dalmatia. Luke is the only one here with me. Bring Mark with you; he'll be my right-hand man since I'm sending Tychicus to Ephesus. Bring the winter coat I left in Troas with Carpus; also the books and parchment notebooks.
14-15Watch out for Alexander the coppersmith. Fiercely opposed to our Message, he caused no end of trouble. God will give him what he's got coming.
16-18At my preliminary hearing no one stood by me. They all ran like scared rabbits. But it doesn't matter—the Master stood by me and helped me spread the Message loud and clear to those who had never heard it. I was snatched from the jaws of the lion! God's looking after me, keeping me safe in the kingdom of heaven. All praise to him, praise forever! Oh, yes!
19-20Say hello to Priscilla and Aquila; also, the family of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed behind in Corinth. I had to leave Trophimus sick in Miletus.
21Try hard to get here before winter.
Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all your friends here send greetings.
22God be with you. Grace be with you.
Psalm 95-96:13 (The Message)
Let's march into his presence singing praises,
lifting the rafters with our hymns!
3-5 And why? Because God is the best,
High King over all the gods.
In one hand he holds deep caves and caverns,
in the other hand grasps the high mountains.
He made Ocean—he owns it!
His hands sculpted Earth!
6-7 So come, let us worship: bow before him,
on your knees before God, who made us!
Oh yes, he's our God,
and we're the people he pastures, the flock he feeds.
7-11 Drop everything and listen, listen as he speaks:
"Don't turn a deaf ear as in the Bitter Uprising,
As on the day of the Wilderness Test,
when your ancestors turned and put me to the test.
For forty years they watched me at work among them,
as over and over they tried my patience.
And I was provoked—oh, was I provoked!
'Can't they keep their minds on God for five minutes?
Do they simply refuse to walk down my road?'
Exasperated, I exploded,
'They'll never get where they're headed,
never be able to sit down and rest.'"
Sing to God—worship God!
2-3 Shout the news of his victory from sea to sea,
Take the news of his glory to the lost,
News of his wonders to one and all!
4-5 For God is great, and worth a thousand Hallelujahs.
His terrible beauty makes the gods look cheap;
Pagan gods are mere tatters and rags.
5-6 God made the heavens—
Royal splendor radiates from him,
A powerful beauty sets him apart.
7 Bravo, God, Bravo!
Everyone join in the great shout: Encore!
In awe before the beauty, in awe before the might.
8-9 Bring gifts and celebrate,
Bow before the beauty of God,
Then to your knees—everyone worship!
10 Get out the message—God Rules!
He put the world on a firm foundation;
He treats everyone fair and square.
11 Let's hear it from Sky,
With Earth joining in,
And a huge round of applause from Sea.
12 Let Wilderness turn cartwheels,
Animals, come dance,
Put every tree of the forest in the choir—
13 An extravaganza before God as he comes,
As he comes to set everything right on earth,
Set everything right, treat everyone fair.
Proverbs 26:9-12 (The Message)
9 To ask a moron to quote a proverb
is like putting a scalpel in the hands of a drunk.
10 Hire a fool or a drunk
and you shoot yourself in the foot.
11 As a dog eats its own vomit,
so fools recycle silliness.
12 See that man who thinks he's so smart?
You can expect far more from a fool than from him.
Verse of the Day
“When you meet together, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, as you praise the Lord with all your heart. Always use the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to thank God the Father for everything.” - Ephesians 5:19-20
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.
Thought for the Day
British historian and Whig politician, Thomas Babington Macaulay wrote, “The highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without abusing it.”