July 17 - Jeremiah 31.15-26

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The LORD Offers Hope

15In Ramah a voice is heard, crying and weeping loudly.
Rachel mourns for her children
and refuses to be comforted, because they are dead.
*16But I, the LORD, say to dry your tears.
Someday your children will come home
from the enemy's land.
Then all you have done for them will be greatly rewarded.
17So don't lose hope.
I, the LORD, have spoken.

18The people of Israel moan and say to me,
"We were like wild bulls, but you, LORD, broke us,
and we learned to obey.
You are our God-- please let us come home.
19When we were young, we strayed and sinned,
but then we realized what we had done.
We are ashamed and disgraced and want to return to you."

20People of Israel, you are my own dear children.
Don't I love you best of all?
Though I often make threats, I want you to be near me,
so I will have mercy on you.
I, the LORD, have spoken.

21With rock piles and signposts, mark the way home,
my dear people.
It is the same road by which you left.
22Will you ever decide to be faithful?
I will make sure that someday things will be different,
as different as a woman protecting a man.

The LORD Will Bring Judah Home

23The LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, said:
I promise to set the people of Judah free and to lead them back to their hometowns. And when I do, they will once again say,
"We pray that the LORD will bless his home,
the sacred hill in Jerusalem where his temple stands."
24The people will live in Jerusalem and in the towns of Judah. Some will be farmers, and others will be shepherds. 25Those who feel tired and worn out will find new life and energy, 26and when they sleep, they will wake up refreshed.

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American Bible Society, 1995.

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