Daily reading for Friday, October 4, 2013

Reading Plan:

Jeremiah 2:31-4:18; Colossians 1:1-17; Psalms 76:1-12; Proverbs 24:21-22 (Contemporary English Version)

Jeremiah 2:31-4:18

31 Now listen to what I say!
Did I abandon you in the desert
    or surround you with darkness?
You are my people,
    yet you have told me,
“We’ll do what we want,
and we refuse
    to worship you!”
32 A bride could not forget
to wear her jewelry
    to her wedding,
but you have forgotten me
    day after day.
33 You are so clever
    at finding lovers
that you could give lessons
    to a prostitute.
34 You killed innocent people
    for no reason at all.
And even though their blood
    can be seen on your clothes,
35 you claim to be innocent,
and you want me to stop
    being angry with you.
So I’ll take you to court,
    and we’ll see who is right.

36 When Assyria let you down,
    you ran to Egypt,
but you’ll find no help there,
37 and you will leave
    in great sadness.[a]
I won’t let you find help
    from those you trust.

Sin and Shame

The Lord said to the people of Israel:

If a divorced woman marries,
can her first husband
    ever marry her again?
No, because this
    would pollute the land.
But you have more gods
than a prostitute has lovers.
    Why should I take you back?
Just try to find one hilltop
    where you haven’t gone
to worship other gods
    by having sex.[b]
You sat beside the road
    like a robber in ambush,
except you offered yourself
    to every passerby.
Your sins of unfaithfulness
    have polluted the land.
So I, the Lord, refused
    to let the spring rains fall.
But just like a prostitute,
you still have no shame
    for what you have done.
You call me your father
    or your long-lost friend;
you beg me to stop being angry,
    but you won’t stop sinning.

The Lord Asks Israel To Come Back to Him

When Josiah[c] was king, the Lord said:

Jeremiah, the kingdom of Israel[d] was like an unfaithful wife who became a prostitute on the hilltops and in the shade of large trees.[e] 7-8 I knew that the kingdom of Israel had been unfaithful and committed many sins, yet I still hoped she might come back to me. But she didn’t, so I divorced her and sent her away.

Her sister, the kingdom of Judah, saw what happened, but she wasn’t worried in the least, and I watched her become unfaithful like her sister. The kingdom of Judah wasn’t sorry for being a prostitute, and she didn’t care that she had made both herself and the land unclean by worshiping idols of stone and wood. 10 And worst of all, the people of Judah pretended to come back to me. 11 Even the people of Israel were honest enough not to pretend.

12 Jeremiah, shout toward the north:

Israel, I am your Lord
    come back to me!
You were unfaithful
    and made me furious,
but I am merciful,
    and so I will forgive you.
13 Just admit that you rebelled
and worshiped foreign gods
    under large trees everywhere.
14 You are unfaithful children,
but you belong to me.
    Come home!
I’ll take one or two of you
from each town and clan
    and bring you to Zion.
15 Then I’ll appoint wise rulers
    who will obey me,
and they will care for you
    like shepherds.

16 You will increase in numbers,
    and there will be no need
to remember the sacred chest
    or to make a new one.[f]
17 The whole city of Jerusalem
    will be my throne.[g]
All nations will come here
    to worship me,
and they will no longer follow
    their stubborn, evil hearts.
18 Then, in countries to the north,
you people of Judah and Israel
    will be reunited,
and you will return to the land
    I gave your ancestors.
19 I have always wanted
    to treat you as my children
and give you the best land,
    the most beautiful on earth.
I wanted you to call me “Father”
    and not turn from me.
20 But instead, you are like a wife
    who broke her wedding vows.
You have been unfaithful to me.
    I, the Lord, have spoken.

The People Confess Their Sins

The Lord said:

21 Listen to the noise
    on the hilltops!
It’s the people of Israel,
weeping and begging me
    to answer their prayers.
They forgot about me
    and chose the wrong path.
22 I will tell them, “Come back,
and I will cure you
    of your unfaithfulness.”

They will answer,
“We will come back, because you
    are the Lord our God.
23 On hilltops, we worshiped idols
    and made loud noises,
but it was all for nothing—
    only you can save us.
24 Since the days of our ancestors
    when our nation was young,
that shameful god Baal[h] has taken
    our crops and livestock,
    our sons and daughters.
25 We have rebelled against you
    just like our ancestors,
and we are ashamed of our sins.”

How Israel Can Return to the Lord

The Lord said:

Israel, if you really want
to come back to me,
get rid
    of those disgusting idols.
Make promises only in my name,
    and do what you promise!
Then all nations will praise me,
    and I will bless them.
People of Jerusalem and Judah,
    don’t be so stubborn!
Your hearts have become hard,
like unplowed ground
    where thornbushes grow.
With all your hearts,
keep the agreement
    I made with you.
But if you are stubborn
    and keep on sinning,
my anger will burn like a fire
    that cannot be put out.

Disaster Is Coming

The Lord said:

“Sound the trumpets, my people.
Warn the people of Judah,[i]
    ‘Run for your lives!
Head for Jerusalem
    or another walled town!'

“Jeremiah, tell them I’m sending
    disaster from the north.
An army will come out,
    like a lion from its den.
It will destroy nations
and leave your towns empty
    and in ruins.”

Then I said
    to the people of Israel,
“Put on sackcloth![j]
    Mourn and cry out,
‘The Lord is still angry
    with us.’”

The Lord said,

“When all this happens,
    the king and his officials,
the prophets and the priests
    will be shocked and terrified.”

10 I said, “You are the Lord God. So why have you fooled everyone, especially the people of Jerusalem? Why did you promise peace, when a knife is at our throats?”

The Coming Disaster

11-12 When disaster comes, the Lord will tell you people of Jerusalem,

“I am sending a windstorm
from the desert—
    not a welcome breeze.[k]
And it will sweep you away
    as punishment for your sins.
13 Look! The enemy army
    swoops down like an eagle;
their cavalry and chariots
race faster
than storm clouds
    blown by the wind.”

Then you will answer,
    “We are doomed!”

14 But Jerusalem, there is still time
    for you to be saved.
Wash the evil from your hearts
    and stop making sinful plans,
15 before a message of disaster
from the hills of Ephraim
    and the town of Dan.[l]

16-17 The Lord said,

“Tell the nations that my people
    have rebelled against me.
And so an army will come
    from far away
to surround Jerusalem
    and the towns of Judah.
I, the Lord, have spoken.

18 “People of Judah,
    your hearts will be in pain,
but it’s your own fault
    that you will be punished.”


  1. 2.37 in great sadness: Or “as prisoners.”
  2. 3.2 hilltop. . . sex: See the note at 2.20.
  3. 3.6 Josiah: Ruled 640-609 B.C.
  4. 3.6 Israel: The northern kingdom (see the note at 2.4).
  5. 3.6 prostitute. . . trees: See the note at 2.20.
  6. 3.16 make a new one: The sacred chest was probably destroyed or taken away by the Babylonians when they captured Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
  7. 3.16,17 sacred chest. . . throne: The sacred chest was thought to be God’s throne on earth.
  8. 3.24 that shameful god Baal: The Hebrew text has “The Shame,” which was sometimes used as a way of making fun of the Canaanite god Baal.
  9. 4.5 Judah: Hebrew “Judah and Jerusalem.”
  10. 4.8 sackcloth: A rough, dark-colored cloth made from goat or camel hair and used to make grain sacks. It was worn in times of trouble or sorrow.
  11. 4.11,12 a welcome breeze: Hebrew “a wind to blow away the husks.” Farmers used a special shovel to pitch grain and husks into the air. Wind would blow away the light husks, and the grain would fall back to the ground, where it could be gathered up.
  12. 4.15 Ephraim. . . Dan: The hills of Ephraim were to the north of Jerusalem, and Dan was even farther north. They would be reached by the invading army first.

Colossians 1:1-17

From Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from Timothy, who is also a follower.

To God’s people who live in Colossae and are faithful followers of Christ.

I pray that God our Father will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!

A Prayer of Thanks

Each time we pray for you, we thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have heard of your faith in Christ and of your love for all of God’s people, because what you hope for is kept safe for you in heaven. You first heard about this hope when you believed the true message, which is the good news.

The good news is spreading all over the world with great success. It has spread in that same way among you, ever since the first day you learned the truth about God’s wonderful kindness from our good friend Epaphras. He works together with us for Christ and is a faithful worker for you.[a] He is also the one who told us about the love that God’s Spirit has given you.

The Person and Work of Christ

We have not stopped praying for you since the first day we heard about you. In fact, we always pray that God will show you everything he wants you to do and that you may have all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives. 10 Then you will live a life that honors the Lord, and you will always please him by doing good deeds. You will come to know God even better. 11 His glorious power will make you patient and strong enough to endure anything, and you will be truly happy.

12 I pray that you will be grateful to God for letting you[b] have part in what he has promised his people in the kingdom of light. 13 God rescued us from the dark power of Satan and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who forgives our sins and sets us free.

15 Christ is exactly like God,
    who cannot be seen.
He is the first-born Son,
    superior to all creation.
16 Everything was created by him,
everything in heaven
    and on earth,
everything seen and unseen,
including all forces
    and powers,
and all rulers
    and authorities.
All things were created
    by God’s Son,
and everything was made
    for him.

17 God’s Son was before all else,
and by him everything
    is held together.


  1. 1.7,12 you: Some manuscripts have “us.”
  2. 1.7,12 you: Some manuscripts have “us.”

Psalm 76

(A song and a psalm for the music leader. Use stringed instruments.)

God Always Wins

76 You, our God,
are famous in Judah
    and honored in Israel.
Your home is on Mount Zion
    in the city of peace.
There you destroyed
fiery arrows, shields, swords,
    and all the other weapons.

You are more glorious than
    the eternal mountains.[a]
Brave warriors were robbed
    of what they had taken,
    and now they lie dead,
    unable to lift an arm.
God of Jacob, when you roar,
    enemy chariots and horses
    drop dead in their tracks.

Our God, you are fearsome,
    and no one can oppose you
    when you are angry.
From heaven you announced
    your decisions as judge!
And all who live on this earth
    were terrified and silent
    when you took over as judge,
    ready to rescue
    everyone in need.
10 Even the most angry people
will praise you
    when you are furious.[b]

11 Everyone, make your promises
to the Lord your God
    and do what you promise.
The Lord is fearsome,
    and all of his servants
    should bring him gifts.
12 God destroys the courage
of rulers and kings
    and makes cowards of them.


  1. 76.4 the eternal mountains: One ancient translation; Hebrew “the mountains of victims (of wild animals).”
  2. 76.10 furious: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 10.

Proverbs 24:21-22


21 My children, you must respect
    the Lord and the king,
and you must not make friends
with anyone
    who rebels
    against either of them.
22 Who knows what sudden disaster
    the Lord or a ruler
    might bring?

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