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Jeremiah 51:1-53; Titus 2:1-15; Psalms 99:1-9; Proverbs 26:17 (The Voice)

Jeremiah 51:1-53

51 The Eternal has this to say regarding Babylon:

Eternal One: Watch as I stir up a destroying wind
        against Babylon and the people of Chaldea.[a]
    I will send outsiders to sift through this nation,
        separating the wheat from the chaff, laying waste this land.
    They will fight her from every side
        on that fateful day of Babylon’s reckoning.
    Do not let the archers draw back their bows.
        Do not let them put on their armor!
    Do not spare the life of one young soldier.
        Destroy her army completely.
    They will all fall dead in the land of the Chaldeans;
        her streets will be full of the dead and dying.

For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken
    by their God, the Eternal One, Commander of heavenly armies,
Even though their land is awash with the guilt of their sins
    against the Holy One of Israel.
Get out of Babylon! Escape with your lives!
    Do not be caught up in Babylon’s punishment,
For this is the time for the Eternal to avenge His people.
    He will pay Babylon what she deserves.
Babylon has been a golden cup in the Eternal’s hand,
    intoxicating the whole earth.
Yes, the nations drank her wine,
    which is why they went mad.
But now Babylon—cup of God’s wrath—has fallen and shattered.
    Weep for her, if you can!
Give her something for her pain;
    perhaps she may still be healed.

Exiles: We would like to have healed Babylon,
        but she was beyond our help.
    It is time to leave her and go home before it is too late,
        before we get caught in her coming judgment.
    Look, even now it fills the skies, rising up to the clouds.
10     The Eternal has vindicated us;
        come, we must tell those in Jerusalem
    What the Eternal our God has done!

11 Enemies of Babylon, sharpen your arrows
    and fill your quivers. Get ready to attack!
For the Eternal has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes
    to accomplish His purpose against Babylon.
He will exact His vengeance for what the Chaldeans did to His temple.
12 Raise up the battle flags around the walls of Babylon!
    Reinforce the guard. Station watchmen along the way.
Prepare to make a surprise attack, for the Eternal will see His plan carried through
    against the people of Babylon.
13 You who live by the great river
    with the comforts of your abundant treasure,
The end has come, and you will lose it all.
    Your time has run out.
14 The Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, has sworn by Himself.

Eternal One: I will cover your land with enemy troops
        the way a swarm of locusts covers a field.
    And they will shout victory over you.

15 God alone is powerful enough to create the earth.
    He alone is wise enough to put the world together.
    He alone understands enough to stretch out the heavens.
16 His voice thunders through the heavens, and the waters gush from the sky.
    He summons the clouds to build up over the earth.
As the rain falls, the lightning flashes at His command;
    the wind rushes in from where He alone can store it.
17 All of humanity is stupid and bankrupt of knowledge.
    Those who make idols are shamed by their creations.
What they fashion out of gold are imposters—breathless, lifeless frauds.
18 Their idols are worthless, the work of their hands an embarrassing mockery.
    They are doomed to perish under God’s judgment.
19 The portion of Jacob is not like any of these.
    He was not fashioned by human hands.
Instead, it was He who made all things and appointed Israel to inherit it all.
    His name is the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies.

20 Eternal One: You are My war club—My weapon for battle;
        with you I shatter nations;
        with you I destroy kingdoms;
21     With you I shatter the horse and its rider;
        with you I shatter the chariot and its driver;
22     With you I shatter men and women;
        with you I shatter both young and old;
        with you I shatter the young man and the maiden;
23     With you I shatter the shepherd and his flock;
        with you I shatter the farmer and his oxen;
        with you I shatter governors and leaders.

24 But now, before your very eyes, I will repay Babylon and the people of Chaldea for all the harm they have done in Zion.

25     I have turned against you, O mountain of destruction, you destroyer of the earth.
        So now I will raise My hand against you;
    I will roll you down from the lofty rocks where you offered sacrifices
        and turn you into a mountain of ashes.
26     When I am finished with you,
        there will be no stones to salvage—
    No cornerstones, no foundation stones;
        you will be desolate forever.

27     Lift up a battle flag; let it wave in the land!
        Sound the trumpet—call the nations together!
    Prepare the forces for battle against her;
        summon the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz.
    Assign a commander to lead the troops against her.
        Send in the war horses, seething like bristly locusts.
28     Prepare the nations for battle against her—the kings of the Medes,
        their governors and leaders, and the lands they rule.
29     As the battle rages, the land trembles and writhes,
        for the Eternal is accomplishing His purposes against Babylon.
    He will lay waste her land
        and leave it completely empty.
30     Babylon’s mighty warriors have stopped fighting;
        they stay inside their fortresses, afraid.
    Their strength is gone; they have become as weak as women.
        The houses of Babylon are burning, the bars of her city gates broken.
31     The news travels fast—a runner races to meet another;
        the word goes from messenger to messenger
    Until it reaches the king of Babylon:
        His entire city has been captured.
32     The river crossings have been taken,
        the marshlands have been set ablaze,
        and the soldiers are terrified.

33 This, then, is what the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies and God of Israel, says:

Eternal One: The people of Babylon are like wheat ready to be threshed,
        spread out on the floor waiting to be trampled.
    A little while longer and the time for her harvest will come.

34 Citizens of Jerusalem (crying out to God): Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, has devoured us.
        He has squeezed the life out of us and left us an empty jar.
    Like a monster from the sea, he swallowed us
        and gorged himself on the richness of Israel
    Only to cough us up and throw us out.
35     “May the violence done to our people be repaid to Babylon,”
        we the people of Zion pray.
    “May our blood be upon those who live in Chaldea,”
        so Jerusalem prays.

36 Eternal One: Watch now as I defend your case
        and avenge what was done to you.
    I will expose this monster and dry up her sea.
        I will deplete her wellsprings.
37     Babylon will be reduced to a heap of rubble,
        the haunt of jackals,
    An object of horror and hissing scorn,
        a place where no one lives.
38     O how this nation roars! Like a pack of young lions,
        like lion cubs, they growl.
39     And once they are stirred up,
        I will lay out a feast and make them all drunk
        until they laugh and feel happy.
    But when they fall asleep, they will sleep forever.
        This is what I, the Eternal One, promise you.
40     I will bring these proud lions down like lambs going to their own slaughter.
        Like rams and goats they will be humbled.

Prophets see things not as they are but as they will be. Babylon is still powerful, but her end is coming. Jeremiah sees her fall as an accomplished fact.

41     How Babylon[b] has been captured!
        Babylon, the pride of all the earth, has fallen!
    How mighty Babylon has become an object of horror
        among all the nations that once feared and admired her.
42     The rising tide of the sea has flooded Babylon.
        She disappears beneath its raging waves.
43     Her cities have become an object of horror.
        Her fruitful land has been left parched, like a desert,
        a wilderness where no one lives, where no wants to go.
44     I will punish Bel, the false god of Babylon;
        I will make him cough up all he has swallowed.
    The nations will no longer make their way to worship him
        because even the great walls of Babylon have fallen.

45     Get out of Babylon, My people, before it is too late!
        Run! Save yourselves!
    Run! Do not get caught up in the destruction
        caused by My fierce anger.
46     Do not lose heart or give in to fear and panic
        when the rumors start to fly in the land.
    Year after year, the rumors will come—rumors of violence
        and reports of one ruler warring against another.
47     So, look! the days are coming
        when I will punish Babylon’s idols.
    Her whole land will suffer humiliation,
        and her dead will lie unburied within her borders.
48     Then the heavens and the earth and all that is within them
        will shout for joy over the disaster that comes upon Babylon,
    For the destroying armies will march against Babylon from out of the north.

49     As the slain of Israel fell, so must Babylon fall.
        As the slain of all the earth fell, so must Babylon fall.
50     You who escape the blade of the sword
        must get out now. Don’t delay!
    Remember Me in that distant land;
        remember the Eternal, and think fondly of Jerusalem.
51     In that bittersweet moment,
        the remnant of My people will say,
    “We are ashamed—we have been insulted by invaders,
        and disgrace covers our faces
    When we think of foreigners entering the holy places of the Eternal’s temple
        and defiling it by their presence.”

52     But I, the Eternal One, declare that the day will come
        when I will punish Babylon’s images and idols;
        and the groans of her dying will echo through the land.
53     No matter how high she reaches or how strong her defenses,
        I will send enemies to destroy her.

So says the Eternal.


  1. 51:1 Hebrew, Leb-kamai, which means “heart of those who rise against,” a cryptic name for Chaldea.
  2. 51:41 Hebrew, Sheshak
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Titus 2

As to you, Titus: talk to them; give them a good, healthy diet of solid teaching so they will know the right way to live.

Here’s what I want you to teach the older men: enjoy everything in moderation, respect yourselves and others, be sensible, and dedicate yourselves to living an unbroken faith demonstrated by your love and perseverance.

And here’s what I want you to teach the older women: Be respectful. Steer clear of gossip or drinking too much so that you can teach what is good to young women. Be a positive example, showing them what it is to love their husbands and children, and teaching them to control themselves in every way and to be pure. Train them to manage the household, to be kind, and to be submissive to their husbands, all of which honor the word of God.

Encourage the young men in the same way: in every situation, they should learn to control themselves.

7-8 Titus, you have to set a good example for everyone. Go out of your way to do what is right, speak the truth with the weight and authority that come from an honest and pure life. No one can argue with that. Then your enemies will cower in shame because they have nothing bad to say against us.

Advise all the servants: Work hard for your masters, and be loyal to them. Strive to please. Don’t be rude or sarcastic. 10 Don’t steal or embezzle your masters’ property. Show them you are trustworthy, and all the credit will go to the teaching of God our Savior.

11 We have cause to celebrate because the grace of God has appeared, offering the gift of salvation to all people. 12 Grace arrives with its own instruction: run away from anything that leads us away from God; abandon the lusts and passions of this world; live life now in this age with awareness and self-control, doing the right thing and keeping yourselves holy. 13 Watch for His return; expect the blessed hope we all will share when our great God and Savior, Jesus the Anointed, appears again. 14 He gave His body for our sakes and will not only break us free from the chains of wickedness, but He will also prepare a community uncorrupted by the world that He would call His own—people who are passionate about doing the right thing.

At times Paul can be unrelenting. As he challenged Timothy in the two letters he addressed to him, Paul also challenges Titus to live the truth he teaches. People are drawn toward God, not through bold arguments, but by passionate godliness. We must be passionate about doing the right thing. Our actions tell the story. Our lives are living parables, shouting the mystery of godliness. Paul tells Titus to be bold, to teach with authority, and not to let anyone belittle him. We get a clear picture of a strong, courageous giant of a man. Titus is sent to the people of Crete—a people short on virtue and long on vice—to fashion a church of loving disciples.

15 So, Titus, tell them all these things. Encourage and teach them with all authority—and rebuke them with the same. You are a man called to serve, so don’t let anyone belittle you.

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Psalm 99

Psalm 99

The Eternal is the king ruling over all;
    let all people shake in fear.
    He sits on His throne, settled between winged guardians;[a]
    let the planet tremble.
The Eternal is great in the hearts of His people;
    He has made Zion His sacred mountain,
    and He reigns majestic over all people.
Let them express praise and gratitude to Your amazing and awesome name—
    because He is holy, perfect and exalted in His power.
The King who rules with strength also treasures justice.
    You created order and established what is right.
You have carried out justice
    and done what is right to the people of Jacob.
Lift up the Eternal our God in your heart;
    bow down to the earth where He rests His feet.
    He is holy, perfect and exalted in His power.

Moses and Aaron were two of His priests;
    Samuel was among those who called out to Him.
    They asked the Eternal for help, and He answered them.
He answered them from a column of cloud;
    they heeded His testimonies
    and lived by the laws He gave them.

You answered them, Eternal our God;
    You were, to them, a God who forgives,
    yet You did not ignore what they did wrong
    and punished them fairly as well.
Lift up the Eternal our God in your hearts,
    and celebrate His goodness at His holy mountain,
    for the Eternal our God is holy, perfect and exalted in His power.


  1. 99:1 Literally, cherubim
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Proverbs 26:17

17 Like a man who seizes a wild dog by the ears,
    so is anyone who walks by and meddles in someone else’s argument.

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The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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