Bible Society of South Africa

Bible Reading Plan – Day 203

Bible text(s)

Hope for the Future

1How terrible will be the LORD's judgement on those rulers who destroy and scatter his people! 2This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says about the rulers who were supposed to take care of his people: “You have not taken care of my people; you have scattered them and driven them away. Now I am going to punish you for the evil you have done. 3I will gather the rest of my people from the countries where I have scattered them, and I will bring them back to their homeland. They will have many children and increase in number. 4I will appoint rulers to take care of them. My people will no longer be afraid or terrified, and I will not punish them again. I, the LORD, have spoken.”

5The LORD says, “The time is coming when I will choose as king a righteous descendant of David. That king will rule wisely and do what is right and just throughout the land. 6When he is king, the people of Judah will be safe, and the people of Israel will live in peace. He will be called ‘The LORD Our Salvation’.

7“The time is coming,” says the LORD, “when people will no longer swear by me as the living God who brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt. 8Instead, they will swear by me as the living God who brought the people of Israel out of a northern land and out of all the other countries where I had scattered them. Then they will live in their own land.”

Jeremiah's Message about the Prophets

9My heart is crushed,

and I am trembling.

Because of the LORD,

because of his holy words,

I am like a man who is drunk,

a man who has had too much wine.

10The land is full of people unfaithful to the LORD;

they live wicked lives and misuse their power.

Because of the LORD's curse the land mourns

and the pastures are dry.

11The LORD says,

“The prophets and the priests are godless;

I have caught them doing evil in the Temple itself.

12The paths they follow will be slippery and dark;

I will make them stumble and fall.

I am going to bring disaster on them;

the time of their punishment is coming.

I, the LORD, have spoken.

13I have seen the sin of Samaria's prophets:

they have spoken in the name of Baal

and have led my people astray.

14But I have seen the prophets in Jerusalem do even worse:

they commit adultery and tell lies;

they help people to do wrong,

so that no one stops doing what is evil.

To me, they are all as bad

as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.

15“So then, this is what I, the LORD Almighty, say about the prophets of Jerusalem:

I will give them bitter plants to eat

and poison to drink,

because they have spread ungodliness throughout the land.”

16The LORD Almighty said to the people of Jerusalem, “Do not listen to what the prophets say; they are filling you with false hopes. They tell you what they have imagined and not what I have said. 17To the people who refuse to listen to what I have said, they keep saying that all will go well with them. And they tell everyone who is stubborn that disaster will never touch him.”

18I said, “None of these prophets has ever known the LORD's secret thoughts. None of them has ever heard or understood his message, or ever listened or paid attention to what he said. 19His anger is a storm, a furious wind that will rage over the heads of the wicked, 20and it will not end until he has done everything he intends to do. In days to come his people will understand this clearly.”

21The LORD said, “I did not send these prophets, but even so they went. I did not give them any message, but still they spoke in my name. 22If they had known my secret thoughts, then they could have proclaimed my message to my people and could have made them give up the evil lives they live and the wicked things they do.

23“I am a God who is everywhere and not in one place only. 24No one can hide where I cannot see him. Do you not know that I am everywhere in heaven and on earth? 25I know what those prophets have said who speak lies in my name and claim that I have given them my messages in their dreams. 26How much longer will those prophets mislead my people with the lies they have invented? 27They think that the dreams they tell will make my people forget me, just as their ancestors forgot me and turned to Baal. 28The prophet who has had a dream should say it is only a dream, but the prophet who has heard my message should proclaim that message faithfully. What good is straw compared with wheat? 29My message is like a fire, and like a hammer that breaks rocks in pieces. 30I am against those prophets who take each other's words and proclaim them as my message. 31I am also against those prophets who speak their own words and claim they came from me. 32Listen to what I, the LORD, say! I am against the prophets who tell their dreams that are full of lies. They tell these dreams and lead my people astray with their lies and their boasting. I did not send them or order them to go, and they are of no help at all to the people. I, the LORD, have spoken.”

The LORD's Burden

33The LORD said to me, “Jeremiah, when one of my people or a prophet or a priest asks you, ‘What is the LORD's message?’ you are to tell him, ‘You are a burden to the LORD, and he is going to get rid of you.’ 34If any of my people or a prophet or a priest even uses the words ‘the LORD's burden’, I will punish them and their families. 35Instead, they should each ask their friends and relatives, ‘What answer has the LORD given? What has the LORD said?’ 36So they must no longer use the words ‘the LORD's burden’, because if anyone does, I will make my message a real burden to him. The people have perverted the words of their God, the living God, the LORD Almighty. 37Jeremiah, ask the prophets, ‘What answer did the LORD give you? What did the LORD say?’ 38And if they disobey my command and use the words ‘the LORD's burden’, then tell them that 39I will certainly pick them up and throw them far away from me, both them and the city that I gave to them and their ancestors. 40I will bring on them everlasting shame and disgrace that will never be forgotten.”

Two Baskets of Figs

1The LORD showed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the Temple. (This was after King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia had taken away Jehoiakim's son, King Jehoiachin of Judah, as a prisoner from Jerusalem to Babylonia, together with the leaders of Judah, the craftsmen, and the skilled workers.) 2The first basket contained good figs, those that ripen early; the other one contained bad figs, too bad to eat. 3Then the LORD said to me, “Jeremiah, what do you see?”

I answered, “Figs. The good ones are very good, and the bad ones are very bad, too bad to eat.”

4So the LORD said to me, 5“I, the LORD, the God of Israel, consider that the people who were taken away to Babylonia are like these good figs, and I will treat them with kindness. 6I will watch over them and bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not pull them up. 7I will give them the desire to know that I am the LORD. Then they will be my people, and I will be their God, because they will return to me with all their heart.

8“As for King Zedekiah of Judah, the politicians round him, and the rest of the people of Jerusalem who have stayed in this land or moved to Egypt — I, the LORD, will treat them all like these figs that are too bad to be eaten. 9I will bring such a disaster on them that all the nations of the world will be terrified. People will mock them, make jokes about them, ridicule them, and use their name as a curse everywhere I scatter them. 10I will bring war, starvation, and disease on them until there is not one of them left in the land that I gave to them and their ancestors.”

The Enemy from the North

1In the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah, I received a message from the LORD concerning all the people of Judah. (This was the first year that Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylonia.) 2I said to all the people of Judah and of Jerusalem, 3“For 23 years, from the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah until this very day, the LORD has spoken to me, and I have never failed to tell you what he said. But you have paid no attention. 4You would not listen or pay attention, even though the LORD has continued to send you his servants the prophets. 5They told you to turn from your wicked way of life and from the evil things you are doing, so that you could go on living in the land that the LORD gave you and your ancestors as a permanent possession. 6They told you not to worship and serve other gods and not to make the LORD angry by worshipping the idols you had made. If you had obeyed the LORD, then he would not have punished you. 7But the LORD himself says that you refused to listen to him. Instead, you made him angry with your idols and have brought his punishment on yourselves.

8“So then, because you would not listen to him, the LORD Almighty says, 9‘I am going to send for all the peoples from the north and for my servant, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia. I am going to bring them to fight against Judah and its inhabitants and against all the neighbouring nations. I am going to destroy this nation and its neighbours and leave them in ruins for ever, a terrible and shocking sight. I, the LORD, have spoken. 10I will silence their shouts of joy and gladness and the happy sounds of wedding feasts. They will have no oil for their lamps, and there will be no more corn. 11This whole land will be left in ruins and will be a shocking sight, and the neighbouring nations will serve the king of Babylonia for seventy years. 12After that I will punish Babylonia and its king for their sin. I will destroy that country and leave it in ruins for ever. 13I will punish Babylonia with all the disasters that I threatened to bring on the nations when I spoke through Jeremiah — all the disasters recorded in this book. 14I will pay the Babylonians back for what they have done, and many nations and great kings will make slaves of them.’ ”

Jeremiah 23:1-25:14GNBOpen in Bible reader
Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.14
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