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Jeremiah 33-34

The Lord Will Restore and Heal Judah

33 While Jeremiah was still being held in the courtyard of the prison, the Lord spoke his word to him a second time. The Lord said, “I made the earth, formed it, and set it in place. My name is the Lord. This is what the Lord says: Call to me, and I will answer you. I will tell you great and mysterious things that you do not know. The houses in this city and the palaces of the kings of Judah have been torn down to be used against the dirt ramps and weapons of the Babylonians. This is what the Lord God of Israel says about this: The people of Israel fought the Babylonians. Now their houses are filled with the bodies of their own people I killed in my anger and my fury. I will hide my face from this city because of its wickedness.

“But I will heal this city and restore it to health. I will heal its people, and I will give them peace and security. I will restore Judah and Israel and rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sins that they have committed against me. I will forgive them for all the sins that they have committed against me and for rebelling against me. Then Jerusalem will be my source of joy, praise, and honor. All the nations on earth will hear about all the blessings that I will give to Jerusalem. They will be afraid and tremble because of all the prosperity that I will provide for it.

10 “This is what the Lord says: You have said that this place is ruined and that no people or animals live in it. It’s true! The cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem are deserted. No people or animals live there. But once again you will hear 11 the sounds of joy and happiness and the sounds of brides and grooms. You will hear those who bring thank offerings to the Lord’s temple say,

‘Give thanks to the Lord of Armies because the Lord is good,
    because his mercy endures forever.’

I will restore the fortunes of the land to what they were before,” says the Lord.

12 “This is what the Lord of Armies says: In this deserted place, where no people or animals live, and in all its cities, there will once again be pastures where shepherds can rest their flocks. 13 In the cities on the mountains, in the foothills, in the Negev, in the territory of Benjamin, in the area around Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shepherds will once again count their sheep,” says the Lord.

14 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will keep the promise that I made to Israel and Judah. 15 In those days and at that time, I will cause a righteous branch to spring up for David. He will do what is fair and right in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live securely. Jerusalem will be called The Lord Our Righteousness.

17 “This what the Lord says: David will never fail to have a descendant sitting on the throne of Israel. 18 The Levitical priests will never fail to have a descendant in my presence to sacrifice burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to prepare daily sacrifices.”

19 The Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah. He said, 20 “This is what the Lord says: Suppose you could break my arrangement[a] with day and night so that they wouldn’t come at their proper time. 21 Then my arrangement with my servant David could be broken, and he would not have a descendant to rule on his throne. The arrangement with my servants the Levitical priests could also be broken. 22 I will multiply the descendants of my servant David and the Levites who serve me like the stars of heaven that cannot be counted and the sand on the seashore that cannot be measured.”

23 Then the Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah. He said, 24 “Haven’t you noticed what these people have said? They have said that the Lord has rejected the two families he has chosen. They despise my people, and they no longer consider them a nation.

25 “This is what the Lord says: Suppose I hadn’t made an arrangement with day and night or made laws for heaven and earth. 26 Then I would reject the descendants of Jacob and of my servant David. I would not let any of David’s descendants rule the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. However, I will restore their fortunes and love them.”

King Zedekiah and the People Break Their Promise

34 The Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, his entire army, and all the kingdoms and people that he ruled were attacking Jerusalem and all its cities. He said, “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: Go to King Zedekiah of Judah, and tell him, ‘The Lord says: I’m going to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. You will not escape from him. You will certainly be captured and handed over to him. You will see the king of Babylon with your own eyes, and he will talk to you face to face. Then you will go to Babylon.

“‘Listen to the Lord’s word, King Zedekiah of Judah. This is what the Lord says about you: You will not die in war. You will die peacefully. People will burn funeral fires for you as they did for your ancestors, the kings who lived before you. They will say, “Oh, master,” as they mourn for you. I have spoken my word, declares the Lord.’”

The prophet Jeremiah told all these things to King Zedekiah of Judah in Jerusalem. He did this when the army of the king of Babylon was attacking Jerusalem and the cities of Lachish and Azekah. These were the only fortified cities of Judah that were left.

The Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah after King Zedekiah and all the people in Jerusalem promised to free their slaves. Everyone was supposed to free his Hebrew slaves, both male and female. No one was supposed to keep another Jew as a slave. 10 All the officials and all the people agreed and promised to free their male and female slaves and not to keep them as slaves anymore. So they set them free. 11 But afterwards, they changed their minds and took back the men and women they had freed and made them their slaves again.

12 The Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah. He said, 13 “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: I put a condition on the promise[b] I made to your ancestors when I brought them from Egypt, where they were slaves. I said, 14 ‘Every seven years each of you must free any Hebrews who sold themselves to you. When they have served you for six years, you must set them free.’ But your ancestors refused to obey me or listen to me. 15 Recently, you changed and did what I consider right. You agreed to free your neighbors, and you made a promise in my presence, in the temple that is called by my name. 16 Now you have changed again and dishonored me. You brought back the male and female slaves that you had set free to live their own lives. You have forced them to be your male and female slaves again.

17 “This is what the Lord says: You didn’t obey me. You haven’t freed your relatives and neighbors. Now I am going to free you,” declares the Lord. “I will free you to die in wars, plagues, and famines. I will make all the kingdoms of the world horrified at the thought of you. 18 I will hand over the people who have rejected my promise. They have not kept the terms of the promise which they made in my presence when they cut a calf in two and passed between its pieces. 19 I will hand over the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the palace officials, the priests, and all the common people who passed between the pieces of the calf. 20 I will hand them over to their enemies who want to kill them, and their corpses will be food for birds and wild animals. 21 I will hand King Zedekiah of Judah and his officials over to their enemies who want to kill them and to the army of the king of Babylon, the army that has withdrawn from you. 22 I am going to give a command,” declares the Lord. “I will bring that army back to this city to attack it, capture it, and burn it down. I will destroy the cities of Judah so that no one will live there.”

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 33:20 Or “covenant.”
  2. Jeremiah 34:13 Or “covenant.”
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1 Timothy 4

A Prophecy about the Last Times

The Spirit says clearly that in later times some believers will desert the Christian faith. They will follow spirits that deceive, and they will believe the teachings of demons. These people will speak lies disguised as truth. Their consciences have been scarred as if branded by a red-hot iron. They will try to stop others from getting married and from eating certain foods. God created food to be received with prayers of thanks by those who believe and know the truth. Everything God created is good. Nothing should be rejected if it is received with prayers of thanks. God’s word and prayer set it apart as holy.

Guidelines for Serving Christ

You are a good servant of Christ Jesus when you point these things out to our brothers and sisters. Then you will be nourished by the words of the Christian faith and the excellent teachings which you have followed closely. Don’t have anything to do with godless myths that old women like to tell. Rather, train yourself to live a godly life. Training the body helps a little, but godly living helps in every way. Godly living has the promise of life now and in the world to come. This is a statement that can be trusted and deserves complete acceptance. 10 Certainly, we work hard and struggle to live a godly life, because we place our confidence in the living God. He is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

11 Insist on these things and teach them. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you for being young. Instead, make your speech, behavior, love, faith, and purity an example for other believers. 13 Until I get there, concentrate on reading Scripture in worship, giving encouraging messages, and teaching people. 14 Don’t neglect the gift which you received through prophecy when the spiritual leaders[a] placed their hands on you to ordain you. 15 Practice these things. Devote your life to them so that everyone can see your progress. 16 Focus on your life and your teaching. Continue to do what I’ve told you. If you do this, you will save yourself and those who hear you.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Timothy 4:14 Or “pastors,” or “elders.”
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Psalm 89:1-13

I will sing forever about the evidence of your mercy, O Lord.
I will tell about your faithfulness to every generation.
I said, “Your mercy will last forever.
    Your faithfulness stands firm in the heavens.”

You said, “I have made a promise[a] to my chosen one.
    I swore this oath to my servant David:
        ‘I will make your dynasty continue forever.
        I built your throne to last throughout every generation.’” Selah

O Lord, the heavens praise your miracles
    and your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.
Who in the skies can compare with the Lord?
Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord?
God is terrifying in the council of the holy ones.
He is greater and more awe-inspiring than those who surround him.
O Lord God of Armies, who is like you?
Mighty Lord, even your faithfulness surrounds you.
    You rule the raging sea.
        When its waves rise, you quiet them.
10     You crushed Rahab;[b] it was like a corpse.
    With your strong arm you scattered your enemies.
11 The heavens are yours.
The earth is also yours.
You made the world and everything in it.
12     You created north and south.
        Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon sing your name joyfully.
13     Your arm is mighty.
    Your hand is strong.
    Your right hand is lifted high.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 89:3 Or “covenant.”
  2. Psalm 89:10 Rahab is the name of a demonic creature who opposes God.
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Proverbs 25:23-24

23 As the north wind brings rain,
    so a whispering tongue brings angry looks.
24 Better to live on a corner of a roof
    than to share a home with a quarreling woman.

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GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group

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