November 8 - 2 Timothy 4, Jeremiah 11-12 and Psalm 124
2 Timothy 4 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and because he is coming to rule as King, I solemnly urge you 2to preach the message, to insist upon proclaiming it (whether the time is right or not), to convince, reproach, and encourage, as you teach with all patience. 3The time will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine, but will follow their own desires and will collect for themselves more and more teachers who will tell them what they are itching to hear. 4They will turn away from listening to the truth and give their attention to legends. 5But you must keep control of yourself in all circumstances; endure suffering, do the work of a preacher of the Good News, and perform your whole duty as a servant of God.
6As for me, the hour has come for me to be sacrificed; the time is here for me to leave this life. 7I have done my best in the race, I have run the full distance, and I have kept the faith. 8And now there is waiting for me the victory prize of being put right with God, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that Day--and not only to me, but to all those who wait with love for him to appear.
Personal Words9Do your best to come to me soon. 10Demas fell in love with this present world and has deserted me, going off to Thessalonica. Crescens went to Galatia, and 2 Timothy to Dalmatia. 11Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he can help me in the work. 12I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13When you come, bring my coat that I left in Troas with Carpus; bring the books too, and especially the ones made of parchment.
14Alexander the metalworker did me great harm; the Lord will reward him according to what he has done. 15Be on your guard against him yourself, because he was violently opposed to our message.
16No one stood by me the first time I defended myself; all deserted me. May God not count it against them! 17But the Lord stayed with me and gave me strength, so that I was able to proclaim the full message for all the Gentiles to hear; and I was rescued from being sentenced to death. 18And the Lord will rescue me from all evil and take me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.
Final Greetings19I send greetings to Priscilla and Aquila and to the family of Onesiphorus. 20Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus in Miletus, because he was sick. 21Do your best to come before winter.
Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, and Claudia send their greetings, and so do all the other Christians.
22The Lord be with your spirit.
God's grace be with you all.
Jeremiah and the CovenantJeremiah 11 The LORD said to me, 2"Listen to the terms of the covenant. Tell the people of Judah and of Jerusalem 3that I, the LORD God of Israel, have placed a curse on everyone who does not obey the terms of this covenant. 4It is the covenant I made with their ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, the land that was like a blazing furnace to them. I told them to obey me and to do everything that I had commanded. I told them that if they obeyed, they would be my people and I would be their God. 5Then I would keep the promise I made to their ancestors that I would give them the rich and fertile land which they now have."
I said, "Yes, LORD."
6Then the LORD said to me, "Go to the cities of Judah and to the streets of Jerusalem. Proclaim my message there and tell the people to listen to the terms of the covenant and to obey them. 7When I brought their ancestors out of Egypt, I solemnly warned them to obey me, and I have kept on warning the people until this day. 8But they did not listen or obey. Instead, everyone continued to be as stubborn and evil as ever. I had commanded them to keep the covenant, but they refused. So I brought on them all the punishments described in it."
9Then the LORD said to me, "The people of Judah and of Jerusalem are plotting against me. 10They have gone back to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to do what I said; they have worshiped other gods. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant that I made with their ancestors. 11So now I, the LORD, warn them that I am going to bring destruction on them, and they will not escape. And when they cry out to me for help, I will not listen to them. 12Then the people of Judah and of Jerusalem will go to the gods to whom they offer sacrifices and will cry out to them for help. But those gods will not be able to save them when this destruction comes. 13The people of Judah have as many gods as they have cities, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem have set up as many altars for sacrifices to that disgusting god Baal as there are streets in the city. 14Jeremiah, don't pray to me or plead with me on behalf of these people. When they are in trouble and call to me for help, I will not listen to them."
15The LORD says, "The people I love are doing evil things. What right do they have to be in my Temple? Do they think they can prevent disaster by making promises and by offering animal sacrifices? Will they then rejoice? 16I once called them a leafy olive tree, full of beautiful fruit; but now, with a roar like thunder I will set its leaves on fire and break its branches.
17"I, the LORD Almighty, planted Israel and Judah; but now I threaten them with disaster. They have brought this on themselves because they have done wrong; they have made me angry by offering sacrifices to Baal."
A Plot against Jeremiah's Life18The LORD informed me of the plots that my enemies were making against me. 19I was like a trusting lamb taken out to be killed, and I did not know that it was against me that they were planning evil things. They were saying, "Let's chop down the tree while it is still healthy; let's kill him so that no one will remember him any more."
20Then I prayed, "Almighty LORD, you are a just judge; you test people's thoughts and feelings. I have placed my cause in your hands; so let me watch you take revenge on these people."
21The people of Anathoth wanted me killed, and they told me that they would kill me if I kept on proclaiming the LORD's message. 22So the LORD Almighty said, "I will punish them! Their young men will be killed in war; their children will die of starvation. 23I have set a time for bringing disaster on the people of Anathoth, and when that time comes, none of them will survive."
Jeremiah Questions the LORDJeremiah 12 "LORD, if I argued my case with you,
you would prove to be right.
Yet I must question you about matters of justice.
Why are the wicked so prosperous?
Why do dishonest people succeed?
2You plant them, and they take root;
they grow and bear fruit.
They always speak well of you,
yet they do not really care about you.
3But, LORD, you know me;
you see what I do
and how I love you.
Drag these evil people away like sheep to be butchered;
guard them until it is time for them to be slaughtered.
4How long will our land be dry,
and the grass in every field be withered?
Animals and birds are dying
because of the wickedness of our people,
people who say, 'God doesn't see what we are doing.'"
5The LORD said,
"Jeremiah, if you get tired racing against people,
how can you race against horses?
If you can't even stand up in open country,
how will you manage in the jungle by the Jordan?
6Even your relatives, members of your own family, have betrayed you;
they join in the attacks against you.
Do not trust them, even though they speak friendly words."
The LORD's Sorrow because of His People7The LORD says,
"I have abandoned Israel;
I have rejected my chosen nation.
I have given the people I love
into the power of their enemies.
8My chosen people have turned against me;
like a lion in the forest
they have roared at me,
and so I hate them.
9My chosen people are like a bird
attacked from all sides by hawks.
Call the wild animals
to come and join in the feast!
10Many foreign rulers have destroyed my vineyard;
they have trampled down my fields;
they have turned my lovely land into a desert.
11They have made it a wasteland;
it lies desolate before me.
The whole land has become a desert,
and no one cares.
12Across all the desert highlands
people have come to plunder.
I have sent war to destroy the entire land;
no one can live in peace.
13My people planted wheat, but gathered weeds;
they have worked hard, but got nothing for it.
Because of my fierce anger
their crops have failed."
The LORD's Promise to Israel's Neighbors14The LORD says, "I have something to say about Israel's neighbors who have ruined the land I gave to my people Israel. I will take those wicked people away from their countries like an uprooted plant, and I will rescue Judah from them. 15But after I have taken them away, I will have mercy on them; I will bring each nation back to its own land and to its own country. 16If with all their hearts they will accept the religion of my people and will swear, 'As the LORD lives'--as they once taught my people to swear by Baal--then they will also be a part of my people and will prosper. 17But if any nation will not obey, then I will completely uproot it and destroy it. I, the LORD, have spoken."
God the Protector of His PeoplePsalm 124 What if the LORD had not been on our side?
Answer, O Israel!
2"If the LORD had not been on our side
when our enemies attacked us,
3then they would have swallowed us alive
in their furious anger against us;
4then the flood would have carried us away,
the water would have covered us,
5the raging torrent would have drowned us."
6Let us thank the LORD,
who has not let our enemies destroy us.
7We have escaped like a bird from a hunter's trap;
the trap is broken, and we are free!
8Our help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
This reading is from The Holy
Bible, Today's English Version, Second Edition copyright © American
Bible Society, 1992;
Old Testament copyright © American Bible Society, 1976, 1992; New Testament © American Bible Society, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992.
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