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Jeremiah 31:27-32:44

Jeremiah receives God’s messages in a variety of ways. In this dream-vision, he sees the future for his people. This is a sweet comfort and a welcomed contrast to other messages of doom and judgment. But as Jeremiah will see, God’s message of consolation is not only a hope of restoration for one rebellious nation, but a promise for all people. Jeremiah is perhaps best known as the prophet of the “new covenant.” According to the prophet, God is about to establish a new relationship with a new people. It will be unlike any earlier agreement. It will not be written on stone tablets that can be broken or on scrolls that can be lost or forgotten or even burned (36:23). No, this covenant between God and humanity is so intimate that it is to be written on the heart.

Eternal One: 27 Look! the days are coming when I will plant anew the house of Israel and the house of Judah. I will repopulate the land with people and animals. 28 Just as I watched over them in order to uproot and stamp out, to upend and destroy, and to bring disaster from the north, so now I will watch over them as I rebuild and replant them. This is what I, the Eternal One, declare. 29 In those coming days, people will no longer speak the proverb,

Fathers have eaten sour grapes,
and their children’s teeth are set on edge.

30 No, now it will be that each one will die for his own sins. If you eat sour grapes, then it is your own teeth that will be set on edge.

31 Look, the days are coming when I will bring about a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors long ago when I took them by the hand and led them out of slavery in Egypt. They did not remain faithful to that covenant—even though I loved and cared for them as a husband. 33 This is the kind of new covenant I will make with the people of Israel when those days are over. I will put My law within them. I will write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. 34 No longer will people have to teach each other or encourage their family members and say, “You must know the Eternal.” For all of them will know Me intimately themselves—from the least to the greatest of society. I will be merciful when they fail and forgive their wrongs. I will never call to mind or mention their sins again.

35 These are the words of the Eternal,

The One who orders the sun to give light to the day,
the One who directs the moon and the stars to light the night,
The One who stirs up the sea so its waves churn and roar.
The Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, is His name.

36 Eternal One: Only if the natural order disintegrates before Me
will the people of Israel cease to be a nation in covenant with Me.

37 This is what the Eternal says:

Eternal One: If the heavens above could ever be measured,
or the depths below be fully explored,
Only then would I disown the children of Israel
because of everything they have done.

So says the Eternal.

Even as words of hope and consolation are offered, the stark reality of the present looms large. The Babylonian army is near. The siege of Jerusalem is now under way. It is a dark time in the land; there is much fear, and many have questions as the capture of the capital city is now a certainty. Again, Jeremiah must live out his faith in front of a people who have abandoned God. He is under arrest and being questioned by King Zedekiah. Though the details surrounding his imprisonment come in chapter 37, once again it is an unpopular message that makes Jeremiah a most unpopular prophet. But he willingly lives out his faith in an attempt to offer an unreceptive audience hope.

As strange as the other assignments given to Jeremiah may seem, this one may be the most difficult to understand. A rotting linen belt (chapter 13) and a shattered clay jar (chapter 19)—these were at least vivid pictures of the people’s rebellion and God’s judgment. But now, in the face of certain captivity and ruin, Jeremiah is instructed to do a most absurd thing: he is to purchase a piece of property with his money. Given its location, this plot of ground may even be under Babylon’s control. Why this apparent waste of money? To show the people that one day this land of promise will again be theirs.

Eternal One: 38 Look! The days are coming when I will rebuild Jerusalem for My own purpose and glory—from the tower of Hananel to the corner gate. 39 A measuring line will stretch out to the hill of Gareb and then sweep across to Goah. 40 The valley of Ben-hinnom where the dead bodies and ashes from the sacrifices were thrown, and all the terraced fields leading out to the Kidron Valley, and as far east as the corner of the horse gate—all of these most defiled and polluted areas will again be made holy to the Eternal. The city will never again be uprooted or destroyed.

32 The Eternal spoke again to Jeremiah in the 10th year of Zedekiah’s reign as king of Judah. This was also the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign as king of Babylon. At this time, Jerusalem was under siege by the Babylonian army, and Jeremiah the prophet was being held in the court of the guard in the royal palace of Judah. Zedekiah king of Judah had ordered him held there and leveled this charge against him:

Zedekiah: Why do you continue to prophesy such things? You tell us the Eternal says, “Look! I am going to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will capture it. King Zedekiah of Judah will not escape from the Chaldean forces. He will be turned over to the king of Babylon and have to stand eye-to-eye before this powerful ruler. Nebuchadnezzar will order Zedekiah to be taken to Babylon, where he will stay until I am ready to visit him. This is what I, the Eternal One promise: if you try to fight the Chaldeans, you will fail.”

Jeremiah (to Zedekiah): The message of the Eternal came to me through my cousin: “Look! Hanamel (son of Shallum, your uncle), is going to come to you and say, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth; as my nearest relative, it is your right to buy it before I offer it to anyone else.[a] It is also your duty to keep it in the family.’” And just as He had predicted, my cousin Hanamel came to me while I was being held in the court of the guard. He said, “Jeremiah, buy my field in your hometown of Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin. It’s your right to buy and redeem it so that it stays in our family.” Then I realized this message was from the Eternal.

So I bought the field in Anathoth from Hanamel my cousin for seven ounces of silver. 10 I signed and sealed the deed in front of witnesses; after weighing out the silver on the scales, I paid Hanamel. 11 Two copies of the deed were made. I took the sealed copy along with the terms and conditions of the purchase and the unsealed copy and 12 handed them to my trusted friend and confidant, Baruch (son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah). I did all of this in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed, and all of the people of Judea who were there that day in the court of the guard. 13 In the presence of all those people, I directed Baruch: 14 “The Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies and God of Israel, says: ‘Take both the sealed deed and the unsealed deed and place them in a clay jar to preserve them. I want this deed of sale to last for a long time.’ 15 For this is what the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies and the God of Israel, promises: ‘The day will come when My people will buy houses and vineyards and fields again in this land.’”

16 After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch (son of Neriah), I prayed to the Eternal: 17 “Eternal Lord, with Your outstretched arm and Your enormous power You created the heavens and the earth. Nothing is too difficult for You. 18 You show loyal love and endless mercy to thousands. But You also allow the damaging effects of the parents’ sins to fall into the laps of their children. You are the great and powerful God; the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, is Your solemn name. 19 Your instructions are great, and Your actions are too wondrous for words. You see all that happens on this earth; You know what everyone does, and You deal with each fairly. 20 What miraculous signs and wonders You did in the land of Egypt! You continue to perform them for Israel and the rest of humanity to this day! You have made a great name for yourself among the nations, and we still remember Your great works today. 21 You rescued Your people Israel out of Egypt with miraculous signs and wonders—with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a power too terrible for words. 22 But You did not stop there, O gracious God. Then You gave them this land, the very land You had promised to their ancestors, an abundant land flowing with milk and honey. 23 They entered this land and conquered it as You led them. But even as they settled in, they refused to listen to Your voice and live as You instructed. They rebelled against Your entire law. So You caused these disastrous consequences to fall on them. 24 Look! The siege ramps are built against the walls of the city. Soon the Chaldeans will begin the assault. Because of war, famine, and disease, the enemy will soon have control of the city. It is all happening as You said it would. 25 But You, Eternal Lord, tell me, “Buy Hanamel’s field with your own money in the presence of witnesses”—even as You hand over the city of Jerusalem to the Chaldeans.

For almost two years the Babylonians have tightened their grip: food supplies are dwindling, disease is rampant, and there is little hope supplies or relief might get through to besieged Jerusalem.

26 Then the Eternal spoke to Jeremiah.

Eternal One: 27 Look! I am the Eternal, the God of all living things. Is anything too difficult for Me? 28 I tell you this: I am about to hand this city over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his Chaldean army, and they will conquer it. 29 The Chaldeans who are now assaulting the city will enter and set everything on fire. They will set houses ablaze where people set up shrines on roofs to burn incense to Baal and pour out drink offerings to other gods. Their offerings have ignited My anger. 30 The people of Israel and Judah have done nothing but evil in My sight since their early days. They have done nothing except kindle My anger with their handmade idols and the way they live their lives. 31 From the day Jerusalem was built until this very moment, the people have stirred My anger and provoked My wrath; so now I am forced to remove this city completely from My sight. 32 The people of Israel and Judah have angered Me with their wickedness—from their kings and their officials to their priests and prophets, from the people of Judah to the citizens of Jerusalem. 33 They have all turned their backs to Me instead of their faces. They have refused to listen and learn from My instruction, even though I tried to teach them again and again. 34 They even put up their detestable idols in My temple, defiling the very place that is supposed to honor Me! 35 They built altars to another master[b] in the valley of Ben-hinnom so they’d have a place to sacrifice their own children to Molech! I never demanded they do such a thing—it never even crossed My mind that they would do such a disgusting evil or that Judah would sin like that.

36 Jeremiah, listen to what the Eternal God of Israel has to say about Jerusalem: you say that by war, famine, and disease this city will fall to the king of Babylon, and you are right. 37 Look! I will gather My people from all the countries where I scattered them in My righteous anger, in My great wrath and fury. I will bring them back to this place, Jerusalem, and let them live here safely under My protection. 38 They will be My people, and I will be their God. 39 I will unite them behind a single desire and purpose: to revere and worship Me forever for their own good and for the good of all who will come after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop blessing them with good things, and I will put in them a fear and respect of Me so they will not turn their backs to Me again. 41 It will be My great joy to do good things for them, and you can be sure that I will devote Myself completely to planting them anew in this land.

42 This is what I, the Eternal, declare: Just as I brought this great disaster upon My people, so will I do all these good things I have promised to them. 43 Property will be bought and sold once again in this land about which you say, “This land is a wasteland—not fit for man or beast—for it has been handed over to the Chaldeans.” 44 Property will be bought and sold once again for silver—deals will be made and deeds signed in the presence of witnesses—in the territory of Benjamin, in the vicinity of Jerusalem, in the villages of Judah and the hill country, in the villages of the western hills, and in the cities of the Negev. In all these places I will restore them from their exile.

So says the Eternal.


  1. 32:7 Leviticus 25:23–28
  2. 32:35 Hebrew, the baal
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The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

1 Timothy 3

People are more concerned about their outward appearance than their inner beauty. Paul wants women to pursue the right kind of beauty, the beauty of an inner life fashioned after godliness. That includes proper respect for their husbands, a willingness to learn the truth, and—unlike Eve—avoiding enticing claims. Paul then turns to childbirth. Childbirth is a particularly precarious time in the life of a woman; in that day, many women died trying to deliver their babies. While Paul is not promising lack of pain or assurance of safety in childbirth, he is speaking of God’s faithfulness and spiritual rewards to those women who live in faith, love, and holiness, supporting the family and the church in which God places them.

Here’s another statement you may trust: if anyone is seeking a position as overseer in the church, he desires an honorable and important work. Here are the qualifications to look for in an overseer: a spotless reputation, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, sensible, respectable, welcoming to strangers (allowing them into his home), and gifted to teach. Disqualify any drunk or violent man. Look for a gentle man; no belligerent fellow can follow this calling. And he should be free from money lust. He should exert good control over his own household, and his children should obey and honor him. (If someone can’t manage his own household, then how can he take care of God’s family?) He mustn’t be someone recently converted; otherwise, he may become arrogant and fall into the devil’s condemnation. He should also be respected for his character and known as an honorable person by people outside of the church so as to avoid the trips, traps, and pitfalls of the devil.

The same standards apply to deacons: they should be dignified. Double-talking hypocrites, heavy drinkers, and those greedy for ill-gotten gain should not be considered. They should be people who hold tight to the great mystery of faith with a clear conscience. 10 Put these deacon-candidates to the test first; and if they come through without stumbling, then send them out to serve.

11 Again the same applies to women in key positions; they should also be dignified, not backstabbing gossips but self-controlled and faithful to the core.

12 Now deacons should live faithfully as the husband of one wife and be in control of their households, including their children. 13 Those deacons who serve well will achieve a good standing for themselves in the community and have great confidence to walk in the faith that is in Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King.

If the church lacks qualified, positive leaders, then it will not succeed in its mission. Paul never provides a job description for “overseers” and “deacons.” What he does offer is a list of character traits or qualifications that challenge even the most outstanding disciple. Essentially they are servant-leaders of the church. They give themselves to the church’s well-being by teaching the truth, living a life in imitation of Jesus, and defending the church from false teaching. Paul knows firsthand how important it is to discover, train, and empower capable leaders. Everywhere he goes, he invests a lot of himself in coworkers like Timothy. Now it is Timothy’s turn to train the next generation.

14 I am writing all this to you, hoping I can come to you before too long; 15 but in case I am delayed, you will know how one ought to behave as a member of God’s family—the assembly of the living God, the pillar and foundation that support the truth— 16 and I think you will agree that the mystery of godliness is great:

He[a] was revealed in the flesh,
proven right in the Spirit;
He was seen by the heavenly messengers,
preached to outsider nations.
He was believed in the world,
taken up to the heavens in glory.


  1. 3:16 Some manuscripts read “God.”
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The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Psalm 88

Psalm 88

For the worship leader. A song of the sons of Korah accompanied by dance.[a] A contemplative song[b] of Heman the Ezrahite.

This individual lament was composed by someone afflicted with a grave illness, feeling lonely and abandoned by God. This song is reminiscent of Job’s sufferings.

O Eternal One! O True God my Savior!
I cry out to You all the time, under the sun and the moon.
Let my voice reach You!
Please listen to my prayers!

My soul is deeply troubled,
and my heart can’t bear the weight of this sorrow. I feel so close to death.
I’m like the poor and helpless who die alone,
left for dead, as good as the unknowable sea of souls lying under our feet,
5-6 Forsaken by Him and cut off from His hand,
abandoned among the dead who rest in their graves.
And You have sent me to be forgotten with them,
in the lowest pits of the earth,
in the darkest canyons of the ocean.
You crush me with Your anger.
You crash against me like the relentless, angry sea.


Those whom I have known, who have been with me,
You have gathered like sheaves and cast to the four winds.
They can’t bear to look me in the eye, and they are horrified when they think of me.
I am in a trap and cannot be free.
My eyes grow dim, weakened by this sickness;
it is taking my strength from me.
Like a worn cloth, my hands are unfolded before You daily, O Eternal One.
10 Are You the miracle-worker for the dead?
Will they rise from the dark shadows to worship You again?


11 Will Your great love be proclaimed in the grave
or Your faithfulness be remembered in whispers like mists throughout the place of ruin?[d]
12 Are Your wonders known in the dominion of darkness,
or is Your righteousness recognized in a land where all is forgotten?

13 But I am calling out to You, Eternal One.
My prayers rise before You with every new sun!
14 Why do You turn Your head
and brush me aside, O Eternal One?
Why are You avoiding me?
15 Since the days of my youth, I have been sick and close to death.
My helpless soul has suffered Your silent horrors;
now I am desperate.
16 Your rage spills over me like rivers of fire;
Your assaults have all but destroyed me.
17 They surround me like a flood, rising throughout the day,
closing in from every direction.
18 You have taken from me the one I love and my friend;
even the light of my acquaintances are darkness.


  1. 88:title Hebrew, mahalath leanoth, meaning is uncertain. Only use of this phrase in the Old Testament.
  2. 88:title Hebrew, maskil
  3. 88:7 Literally, selah, likely a musical direction from a Hebrew root meaning “to lift up”
  4. 88:11 Hebrew, Abaddon
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The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Proverbs 25:20-22

20 Like a man who undresses in winter
or a woman who pours vinegar on a wound,[a]
So is anyone who tries to sing happy songs
to a sorrowful heart.

21 If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink,
22 For your kind treatment will be like heaping hot coals on his head,[b]
it may cause a change in heart,
and the Eternal will repay you.


  1. 25:20 Hebrew text is uncertain, literally “soda”; Greek, “wound.”
  2. 25:22 Romans 12:20
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The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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