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Jeremiah 23:21-25:38; 2 Thessalonians 2; Psalm 84; Proverbs 25:15 (Contemporary English Version)

Jeremiah 23:21-25:38

21 I did not send these prophets
    or speak to them,
but they ran to find you
    and to preach their message.
22 If they had been in a meeting
    of my council in heaven,
they would have told
    you people of Judah
to give up your sins
    and come back to me.

23 I am everywhere—
both near and far,
24     in heaven and on earth.
There are no secret places
    where you can hide from me.

25 These unfaithful prophets claim that I have given them a dream or a vision, and then they tell lies in my name. 26 But everything they say comes from their own twisted minds. How long can this go on? 27 They tell each other their dreams and try to get my people to reject me, just as their ancestors left me and worshiped Baal. 28 Their dreams and my truth are as different as straw and wheat. But when prophets speak for me, they must say only what I have told them. 29 My words are a powerful fire; they are a hammer that shatters rocks.

30-32 These unfaithful prophets claim I give them their dreams, but it isn’t true. I didn’t choose them to be my prophets, and yet they babble on and on, speaking in my name, while stealing words from each other. And when my people hear these liars, they are led astray instead of being helped. So I warn you that I am now the enemy of these prophets. I, the Lord, have spoken.

News and Nuisance

The Lord said to me:

33 Jeremiah, when a prophet or a priest or anyone else comes to you and asks, “Does the Lord have news for us?” tell them, “You people are a nuisance[a] to the Lord, and he[b] will get rid of you.”

34 If any of you say, “Here is news from the Lord,” I will punish you and your families, even if you are a prophet or a priest. 35 Instead, you must ask your friends and relatives, “What answer did the Lord give?” or “What has the Lord said?” 36 It seems that you each have your own news! So if you say, “Here is news from the Lord,” you are twisting my words into a lie. Remember that I am your God, the Lord All-Powerful.

37 If you go to a prophet, it’s all right to ask, “What answer did the Lord give to my question?” or “What has the Lord said?” 38 But if you disobey me and say, “Here is news from the Lord,” 39 I will pick you up[c] and throw you far away. And I will abandon this city of Jerusalem that I gave to your ancestors. 40 You will never be free from your shame and disgrace.

Jeremiah Has a Vision of Two Baskets of Figs

24 The Lord spoke to me in a vision after King Nebuchadnezzar[d] of Babylonia had come to Judah and taken King Jehoiachin,[e] his officials, and all the skilled workers back to Babylonia. In this vision I saw two baskets of figs in front of the Lord’s temple. One basket was full of very good figs that ripened early, and the other was full of rotten figs that were not fit to eat.

“Jeremiah,” the Lord asked, “what do you see?”

“Figs,” I said. “Some are very good, but the others are too rotten to eat.”

Then the Lord told me to say:

People of Judah, the good figs stand for those of you I sent away as exiles to Babylonia, where I am watching over them. Then someday I will bring them back to this land. I will plant them, instead of uprooting them, and I will build them up, rather than tearing them down. I will give them a desire to know me and to be my people. They will want me to be their God, and they will turn back to me with all their heart.

The rotten figs stand for King Zedekiah[f] of Judah, his officials, and all the others who were not taken away to Babylonia, whether they stayed here in Judah or went to live in Egypt. I will punish them with a terrible disaster, and everyone on earth will tremble when they hear about it. I will force the people of Judah to go to foreign countries, where they will be cursed and insulted. 10 War and hunger and disease will strike them, until they finally disappear from the land that I gave them and their ancestors.

Seventy Years of Exile

25 1-2 In the fourth year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah,[g] which was the first year that Nebuchadnezzar[h] was king of Babylonia, the Lord told me to speak to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. So I told them:

For twenty-three years now, ever since the thirteenth year that Josiah[i] was king, I have been telling you what the Lord has told me. But you have not listened.

The Lord has sent prophets to you time after time, but you refused to listen. They told you that the Lord had said:

Change your ways! If you stop doing evil, I will let you stay forever in this land that I gave your ancestors. I don’t want to harm you. So don’t make me angry by worshiping idols and other gods.

But you refused to listen to my prophets. So I, the Lord, say that you have made me angry by worshiping idols, and you are the ones who were hurt by what you did. You refused to listen to me, and now I will let you be attacked by nations from the north, and especially by my servant, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia. You and other nearby nations will be destroyed and left in ruins forever. Everyone who sees what has happened will be shocked, but they will still make fun of you. 10 I will put an end to your parties and wedding celebrations; no one will grind grain or be here to light the lamps at night. 11 This country will be as empty as a desert, because I will make all of you the slaves of the king of Babylonia for seventy years.

12 When that time is up, I will punish the king of Babylonia and his people for everything they have done wrong, and I will turn that country into a wasteland forever. 13 My servant Jeremiah has told you what I said I will do to Babylonia and to the other nations, and he wrote it all down in this book. I will do everything I threatened. 14 I will pay back the Babylonians for every wrong they have done. Great kings from many other nations will conquer the Babylonians and force them to be slaves.

The Cup Full of God’s Anger

15 The Lord God of Israel showed me a vision in which he said, “Jeremiah, here is a cup filled with the wine of my anger. Take it and make every nation drink some. 16 They will vomit and act crazy, because of the war this cup of anger will bring to them.”

17 I took the cup from the Lord’s hand, and I went to the kings of the nations and made each of them drink some. 18 I started with Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, and the king and his officials were removed from power in disgrace. Everyone still makes insulting jokes about them and uses their names as curse words. 19 The second place I went was Egypt, where everyone had to drink from the cup, including the king and his officials, the other government workers, the rest of the Egyptians, 20 and all the foreigners who lived in the country.

Next I went to the king of Uz, and then to the four kings of Philistia, who ruled from Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and what was left of Ashdod.[j] 21 Then I went to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, 22 and to the kings of Tyre, Sidon, and their colonies across the sea. 23-24 After this, I went to the kings of Dedan, Tema, Buz, the tribes of the Arabian Desert,[k] 25 Zimri, Elam, Media, 26 and the countries in the north, both near and far.

I went to all the countries on earth, one after another, and finally to Babylonia.[l]

27 The Lord had said to tell each king, “The Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, commands you to drink from this cup that is full of the wine of his anger. It will make you so drunk that you will vomit. And when the Lord sends war against the nations, you will be completely defeated.”

28 The Lord told me that if any of them refused to drink from the cup, I must tell them that he had said, “I, the Lord All-Powerful, command you to drink. 29 Starting with my own city of Jerusalem, everyone on earth will suffer from war. So there is no way I will let you escape unharmed.”

30 The Lord told me to say:

From my sacred temple
    I will roar like thunder,
while I trample my people
and everyone else
    as though they were grapes.
31 My voice will be heard
    everywhere on earth,
accusing nations of their crimes
and sentencing the guilty
    to death.

Disaster Is Coming

32 The Lord All-Powerful says:

You can see disaster spreading
    from far across the earth,
from nation to nation
    like a horrible storm.

33 When it strikes, I will kill so many people that their bodies will cover the ground like manure. No one will be left to bury them or to mourn.

The Leaders of Judah Will Be Punished

34 The Lord’s people are his flock,
and you leaders
    were the shepherds.
But now it’s your turn
    to be butchered like sheep.
You’ll shatter like fine pottery
    dropped on the floor.[m]
So roll on the ground,
    crying and mourning.
35 You have nowhere to run,
    nowhere to hide.

36 Listen to the cries
    of the shepherds,
37 as the Lord’s burning anger
turns[n] peaceful meadows
    into barren deserts.
38 The Lord has abandoned
his people[o]
    like a lion leaving its den.

Footnotes:

  1. 23.33 news. . . nuisance: The Hebrew word for “news” in verses 33-38 is the same as “nuisance” and is related to “pick up” in verse 39.
  2. 23.33 You people are a nuisance to the Lord, and he: Two ancient translations; Hebrew “Does the Lord have news for us? He.”
  3. 23.39 pick you up: A few Hebrew manuscripts and three ancient translations; most Hebrew manuscripts “forget you completely.”
  4. 24.1 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
  5. 24.1 Jehoiachin: The Hebrew text has “Jeconiah,” another form of Jehoiachin’s name; he ruled for three months in 598 B.C.
  6. 24.8 Zedekiah: Ruled 598-586 B.C.
  7. 25.1,2 Jehoiakim. . . Judah: See the note at 1.3.
  8. 25.1,2 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
  9. 25.3 Josiah: Hebrew “Josiah son of Amon”; Josiah ruled 640-609 B.C.
  10. 25.20 what was left of Ashdod: It was defeated by the king of Egypt after being surrounded for twenty-nine years.
  11. 25.23,24 the tribes of the Arabian Desert: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  12. 25.26 Babylonia: The Hebrew text has “Sheshach,” a secret way of writing “Babylonia.”
  13. 25.34 You’ll shatter. . . floor: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  14. 25.37 anger turns: Or “anger and enemy armies turn.”
  15. 25.38 The Lord has. . . people: Or “And his people leave their homes.”
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2 Thessalonians 2

The Lord’s Return

When our Lord Jesus returns, we will be gathered up to meet him. So I ask you, my friends, not to be easily upset or disturbed by people who claim that the Lord[a] has already come. They may say that they heard this directly from the Holy Spirit, or from someone else, or even that they read it in one of our letters. But don’t be fooled! People will rebel against God. Then before the Lord returns, the wicked[b] one who is doomed to be destroyed will appear. He will brag and oppose everything that is holy or sacred. He will even sit in God’s temple and claim to be God. Don’t you remember that I told you this while I was still with you?

You already know what is holding this wicked one back until it is time for him to come. His mysterious power is already at work, but someone is holding him back. And the wicked one won’t appear until that someone is out of the way. Then he will appear, but the Lord Jesus will kill him simply by breathing on him. He will be completely destroyed by the Lord’s glorious return.

When the wicked one appears, Satan will pretend to work all kinds of miracles, wonders, and signs. 10 Lost people will be fooled by his evil deeds. They could be saved, but they will refuse to love the truth and accept it. 11 So God will make sure that they are fooled into believing a lie. 12 All of them will be punished, because they would rather do evil than believe the truth.

Be Faithful

13 My friends, the Lord loves you, and it is only natural for us to thank God for you. God chose you to be the first ones to be saved.[c] His Spirit made you holy, and you put your faith in the truth. 14 God used our preaching as his way of inviting you to share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 My friends, that’s why you must remain faithful and follow closely what we taught you in person and by our letters.

16 God our Father loves us. He is kind and has given us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope. We pray that our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father 17 will encourage you and help you always to do and say the right thing.

Footnotes:

  1. 2.2 Lord: The Greek text has “day of the Lord.”
  2. 2.3 wicked: Some manuscripts have “sinful.”
  3. 2.13 God chose you to be the first ones to be saved: Some manuscripts have “From the beginning God chose you to be saved.”
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Psalm 84

(For the music leader.[a] A psalm for the people of Korah.)

The Joy of Worship

84 Lord God All-Powerful,
    your temple is so lovely!
Deep in my heart I long
    for your temple,
    and with all that I am
    I sing joyful songs to you.

Lord God All-Powerful,
    my King and my God,
sparrows find a home
    near your altars;
    swallows build nests there
    to raise their young.

You bless everyone
who lives in your house,
    and they sing your praises.
You bless all who depend
    on you for their strength
    and all who deeply desire
    to visit your temple.
When they reach Dry Valley,[b]
    springs start flowing,
    and the autumn rain fills it
    with pools of water.[c]
Your people grow stronger,
    and you, the God of gods,
    will be seen in Zion.

Lord God All-Powerful,
the God of Jacob,
    please answer my prayer!
You are the shield
    that protects your people,
    and I am your chosen one.
    Won’t you smile on me?

10 One day in your temple
is better
    than a thousand
    anywhere else.
I would rather serve
    in your house,
    than live in the homes
    of the wicked.

11 Our Lord and our God,
you are like the sun
    and also like a shield.
You treat us with kindness
    and with honor,
    never denying any good thing
    to those who live right.

12 Lord God All-Powerful,
    you bless everyone
    who trusts you.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 84 leader: See the note at Psalm 8.
  2. 84.6 Dry Valley: Or “Balsam Tree Valley.” The exact location is not known.
  3. 84.6 and. . . water: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
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Proverbs 25:15

15 Patience and gentle talk
can convince a ruler
    and overcome any problem.

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