Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

Cursed is the one who trusts in man, but blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. These are lifetime statements that give a broad overview of the difference between two directions in life.

The first statement depicts people who continually look to others to solve their problems. Getting help from others is not wrong, but the Lord says, "Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans and turn their hearts away from the Lord. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, on the salty flats where no one lives" (Jeremiah 17:5). To such people, trusting in God and His Word is foolishness. They feel their best option in any circumstance is to follow the way of the world.

The second statement describes those who trust in the Lord. In every circumstance, they know they are planted beside a continual stream of refreshment under which their roots lie. Though drought, famine, and heat may sear everything around them, their roots draw strength from the unchangeable nature of God. People expect them to wither, dry up, and crack, but those who trust in the Lord remain ever green and fruitful through all circumstances.

Trust God. He will "subdue [your] enemies" and "feed you with the best of foods" (Psalm 81:14, 16)!

Jeremiah 16:16-18:23

16 “But now I will send for many fishermen,” declares the Lord, “and they will catch them.Am 4:2; Hab 1:14-15 After that I will send for many hunters, and they will huntAm 9:3; Mic 7:2 them down on every mountain and hill and from the crevices of the rocks.S 1Sa 26:2017 My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hiddenS Ge 3:8; S Ecc 12:14; S Mk 4:22; 1Co 4:5; S Heb 4:13 from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes.S Ps 51:9; Pr 15:3; Zep 1:1218 I will repayS Isa 65:6 them doubleS Isa 40:2; S Jer 12:3; Rev 18:6 for their wickedness and their sin, because they have defiled my landNu 35:34; Jer 2:7 with the lifeless forms of their vile imagesS Ps 101:3 and have filled my inheritance with their detestable idols.S 1Ki 14:24S Jer 2:7; S 4:1; Eze 5:11; 8:10

19 Lord, my strength and my fortress,

my refugeS 2Sa 22:3; S Ps 46:1 in time of distress,

to you the nations will comeS Isa 2:2; Jer 3:17

from the ends of the earth and say,

“Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods,S Ps 4:2

worthless idolsS Dt 32:21; S 1Sa 12:21 that did them no good.S Isa 40:19; S Jer 14:22

20 Do people make their own gods?

Yes, but they are not gods!”Ps 115:4-7; S Jer 2:11; Ro 1:23

21 “Therefore I will teach them—

this time I will teach them

my power and might.

Then they will know

that my nameS Ex 3:15 is the Lord.

17 “Judah’s sin is engraved with an iron tool,Job 19:24

inscribed with a flint point,

on the tablets of their heartsS Dt 6:6; S 2Co 3:3

and on the hornsS Ex 27:2 of their altars.

Even their children remember

their altars and Asherah polesThat is, wooden symbols of the goddess AsherahS 2Ch 24:18

beside the spreading trees

and on the high hills.S Jer 2:20

My mountain in the land

and yourOr hills / and the mountains of the land. / Your wealth and all your treasures

I will give away as plunder,S 2Ki 24:13

together with your high places,Jer 26:18; Mic 3:12

because of sin throughout your country.Jer 15:13

Through your own fault you will lose

the inheritanceLa 5:2 I gave you.

I will enslave you to your enemiesDt 28:48; S Jer 12:7

in a landJer 16:13; 22:28 you do not know,

for you have kindled my anger,

and it will burnS Jer 7:20 forever.”

This is what the Lord says:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,S Ps 108:12; S Isa 2:22

who draws strength from mere flesh

and whose heart turns away from the Lord.2Co 1:9

That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;

they will not see prosperity when it comes.

They will dwell in the parched placesJob 30:3 of the desert,

in a saltDt 29:23; S Job 39:6; Ps 107:34; Jer 48:9 land where no one lives.

“But blessedS Ps 146:5 is the one who trustsS Ps 26:1; 34:8; 40:4; Pr 16:20; Jer 39:18 in the Lord,

whose confidence is in him.

They will be like a tree planted by the water

that sends out its roots by the stream.S Job 14:9

It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of droughtJer 14:1-6

and never fails to bear fruit.”Ps 1:3; 92:12-14; Eze 19:10; 47:12

The heartS Ecc 9:3; Mt 13:15; Mk 7:21-22 is deceitful above all things

and beyond cure.

Who can understand it?

10 “I the Lord search the heartS Jos 22:22; S 2Ch 6:30; S Rev 2:23

and examine the mind,Ps 17:3; 139:23; Jer 11:20; 20:12; Eze 11:5; 38:10

to rewardS Lev 26:28; Ps 62:12; Jer 32:19; S Mt 16:27 each person according to their conduct,

according to what their deeds deserve.”Jer 12:13; 14:16; 21:14; 32:19

11 Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay

are those who gain riches by unjust means.

When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them,

and in the end they will prove to be fools.Lk 12:20

12 A glorious throne,S Jer 3:17 exalted from the beginning,

is the place of our sanctuary.

13 Lord, you are the hopePs 71:5; Jer 14:8 of Israel;

all who forsakeS Jer 2:17 you will be put to shame.

Those who turn away from you will be written in the dustS Ps 69:28; 87:6; Eze 13:9; Da 12:1

because they have forsaken the Lord,

the spring of living water.S Isa 12:3; Jn 4:10

14 Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed;S Isa 30:26; Jer 15:18

saveS Ps 119:94 me and I will be saved,

for you are the one I praise.S Ex 15:2; S Ps 109:1

15 They keep saying to me,

“Where is the word of the Lord?

Let it now be fulfilled!”S Isa 5:19; 2Pe 3:4

16 I have not run away from being your shepherd;

you know I have not desired the day of despair.

What passes my lipsPs 139:4 is open before you.

17 Do not be a terrorPs 88:15-16 to me;

you are my refugeS Ps 46:1; Jer 16:19; Na 1:7 in the day of disaster.S Ps 18:18

18 Let my persecutors be put to shame,

but keep me from shame;

let them be terrified,

but keep me from terror.

Bring on them the day of disaster;

destroy them with double destruction.Ps 35:1-8; S Isa 40:2; S Jer 12:3

Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy

19 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and stand at the Gate of the People,Or Army through which the kings of Judah go in and out; stand also at all the other gates of Jerusalem.Jer 7:2; 26:220 Say to them, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah and all people of Judah and everyone living in JerusalemJer 19:3 who come through these gates.Jer 22:221 This is what the Lord says: Be careful not to carry a load on the SabbathNu 15:32-36; S Dt 5:14; Ne 13:15-21; Jn 5:10 day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem.22 Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors.S Ge 2:3; S Ex 20:8; Isa 56:2-623 Yet they did not listen or pay attention;Jer 7:26 they were stiff-neckedJer 19:15 and would not listen or respond to discipline.S 2Ch 28:22; S Jer 7:28; Zec 7:1124 But if you are careful to obey me, declares the Lord, and bring no load through the gates of this city on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holyver 22 by not doing any work on it,25 then kings who sit on David’s throneS 2Sa 7:13; Isa 9:7; Jer 22:2, 4; Lk 1:32 will come through the gates of this city with their officials. They and their officials will come riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by the men of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, and this city will be inhabited forever.Jer 30:10; 33:16; Eze 28:2626 People will come from the towns of Judah and the villages around Jerusalem, from the territory of Benjamin and the western foothills, from the hill country and the Negev,Jer 32:44; 33:13; Zec 7:7 bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, and bringing thank offerings to the house of the Lord.27 But if you do not obeyS 1Ki 9:6; Jer 22:5 me to keep the SabbathS Ne 10:31 day holy by not carrying any load as you come through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle an unquenchable fireS Jer 7:20 in the gates of Jerusalem that will consume her fortresses.’”S 2Ki 25:9; Hos 8:14; Am 2:5

At the Potter’s House

18 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:“Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.”So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel.But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

Then the word of the Lord came to me.He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clayS Isa 29:16; 45:9; Ro 9:20-21 in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand,S Ge 2:7 Israel.If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted,Jer 1:10 torn down and destroyed,and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relentS Ex 32:14; Ps 25:11; Jer 26:13; 36:3; Jnh 3:8-10 and not inflict on it the disasterJer 31:28; 42:10; Da 9:14; Hos 11:8-9; Joel 2:13; Jnh 4:2 I had planned.And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be builtJer 1:10; 31:28 up and planted,10 and if it does evilEze 33:18 in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider1Sa 2:29-30; 13:13 the good I had intended to do for it.S Jer 1:10

11 “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disasterS 2Ki 22:16; S Jer 4:6 for you and devising a planver 18 against you. So turnS Dt 4:30; S 2Ki 17:13; Isa 1:16-19 from your evil ways,S Jer 7:3 each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’S Job 16:1712 But they will reply, ‘It’s no use.S Isa 57:10 We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.S Jer 3:17’”

13 Therefore this is what the Lord says:

“Inquire among the nations:

Who has ever heard anything like this?S Isa 66:8

A most horribleS Jer 5:30 thing has been done

by VirginS 2Ki 19:21 Israel.

14 Does the snow of Lebanon

ever vanish from its rocky slopes?

Do its cool waters from distant sources

ever stop flowing?The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain.

15 Yet my people have forgottenS Isa 17:10 me;

they burn incenseS Isa 1:13; Jer 44:15, 19 to worthless idols,Jer 10:15; 51:18; Hos 11:2

which made them stumbleEze 44:12; Mal 2:8 in their ways,

in the ancient paths.Jer 6:16

They made them walk in byways,

on roads not built up.S Isa 57:14; 62:10

16 Their land will be an object of horrorS Dt 28:37; Jer 25:9; Eze 33:28-29

and of lasting scorn;Jer 19:8; 42:18

all who pass by will be appalledS Lev 26:32

and will shake their heads.S 2Ki 19:21; S Job 16:4; Ps 22:7; La 1:12

17 Like a windS Job 7:10; Jer 13:24 from the east,

I will scatter them before their enemies;

I will show them my back and not my faceS 2Ch 29:6; S Jer 2:27

in the day of their disaster.”

18 They said, “Come, let’s make plansver 11; Jer 11:19 against Jeremiah; for the teaching of the law by the priestJer 2:8; Hag 2:11; Mal 2:7 will not cease, nor will counsel from the wise,S Job 5:13; Eze 7:26 nor the word from the prophets.Jer 5:13 So come, let’s attack him with our tonguesPs 52:2; 64:2-8; S Jer 9:3 and pay no attention to anything he says.”

19 Listen to me, Lord;

hear what my accusersPs 71:13 are saying!

20 Should good be repaid with evil?S Ge 44:4

Yet they have dug a pitPs 35:7; 57:6; S 119:85 for me.

Remember that I stoodJer 15:1 before you

and spoke in their behalfS Ge 20:7; S Dt 9:19; Ps 106:23; Jer 14:7-9

to turn your wrath away from them.

21 So give their children over to famine;Jer 11:22; 14:16

hand them over to the power of the sword.S Ps 63:10

Let their wives be made childless and widows;S 1Sa 15:33; Ps 109:9; S Isa 47:9; La 5:3

let their men be put to death,

their young menS Isa 9:17 slain by the sword in battle.

22 Let a cryS Jer 6:26 be heard from their houses

when you suddenly bring invaders against them,

for they have dug a pitS Ps 119:85 to capture me

and have hidden snaresPs 35:15; 140:5; Jer 5:26; 20:10 for my feet.

23 But you, Lord, know

all their plots to killS Jer 11:21; 37:15 me.

Do not forgiveS Ne 4:5 their crimes

or blot out their sins from your sight.

Let them be overthrown before you;

deal with them in the time of your anger.Ps 59:5; S Jer 10:24

16 “But now I am sending for many fishermen who will catch them,” says the Lord. “I am sending for hunters who will hunt them down in the mountains, hills, and caves.17 I am watching them closely, and I see every sin. They cannot hope to hide from me.18 I will double their punishment for all their sins, because they have defiled my land with lifeless images of their detestable gods and have filled my territory with their evil deeds.”

Jeremiah’s Prayer of Confidence

19 Lord, you are my strength and fortress,

my refuge in the day of trouble!

Nations from around the world

will come to you and say,

“Our ancestors left us a foolish heritage,

for they worshiped worthless idols.

20 Can people make their own gods?

These are not real gods at all!”

21 The Lord says,

“Now I will show them my power;

now I will show them my might.

At last they will know and understand

that I am the Lord.

Judah’s Sin and Punishment

17 “The sin of Judah

is inscribed with an iron chisel—

engraved with a diamond point on their stony hearts

and on the corners of their altars.

Even their children go to worship

at their pagan altars and Asherah poles,

beneath every green tree

and on every high hill.

So I will hand over my holy mountain—

along with all your wealth and treasures

and your pagan shrines—

as plunder to your enemies,

for sin runs rampant in your land.

The wonderful possession I have reserved for you

will slip from your hands.

I will tell your enemies to take you

as captives to a foreign land.

For my anger blazes like a fire

that will burn forever.”

Wisdom from the Lord

This is what the Lord says:

“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,

who rely on human strength

and turn their hearts away from the Lord.

They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,

with no hope for the future.

They will live in the barren wilderness,

in an uninhabited salty land.

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord

and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.

They are like trees planted along a riverbank,

with roots that reach deep into the water.

Such trees are not bothered by the heat

or worried by long months of drought.

Their leaves stay green,

and they never stop producing fruit.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,

and desperately wicked.

Who really knows how bad it is?

10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts

and examine secret motives.

I give all people their due rewards,

according to what their actions deserve.”

Jeremiah’s Trust in the Lord

11 Like a partridge that hatches eggs she has not laid,

so are those who get their wealth by unjust means.

At midlife they will lose their riches;

in the end, they will become poor old fools.

12 But we worship at your throne—

eternal, high, and glorious!

13 O Lord, the hope of Israel,

all who turn away from you will be disgraced.

They will be buried in the dust of the earth,

for they have abandoned the Lord, the fountain of living water.

14 O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed;

if you save me, I will be truly saved.

My praises are for you alone!

15 People scoff at me and say,

“What is this ‘message from the Lord’ you talk about?

Why don’t your predictions come true?”

16 Lord, I have not abandoned my job

as a shepherd for your people.

I have not urged you to send disaster.

You have heard everything I’ve said.

17 Lord, don’t terrorize me!

You alone are my hope in the day of disaster.

18 Bring shame and dismay on all who persecute me,

but don’t let me experience shame and dismay.

Bring a day of terror on them.

Yes, bring double destruction upon them!

Observing the Sabbath

19 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and stand in the gates of Jerusalem, first in the gate where the king goes in and out, and then in each of the other gates.20 Say to all the people, ‘Listen to this message from the Lord, you kings of Judah and all you people of Judah and everyone living in Jerusalem.21 This is what the Lord says: Listen to my warning! Stop carrying on your trade at Jerusalem’s gates on the Sabbath day.22 Do not do your work on the Sabbath, but make it a holy day. I gave this command to your ancestors,23 but they did not listen or obey. They stubbornly refused to pay attention or accept my discipline.

24 “‘But if you obey me, says the Lord, and do not carry on your trade at the gates or work on the Sabbath day, and if you keep it holy,25 then kings and their officials will go in and out of these gates forever. There will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. Kings and their officials will always ride in and out among the people of Judah in chariots and on horses, and this city will remain forever.26 And from all around Jerusalem, from the towns of Judah and Benjamin, from the western foothillsHebrew the Shephelah. and the hill country and the Negev, the people will come with their burnt offerings and sacrifices. They will bring their grain offerings, frankincense, and thanksgiving offerings to the Lord’s Temple.

27 “‘But if you do not listen to me and refuse to keep the Sabbath holy, and if on the Sabbath day you bring loads of merchandise through the gates of Jerusalem just as on other days, then I will set fire to these gates. The fire will spread to the palaces, and no one will be able to put out the roaring flames.’”

The Potter and the Clay

18 The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said,“Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.”So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel.But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.

Then the Lord gave me this message:“O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed,but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned.And if I announce that I will plant and build up a certain nation or kingdom,10 but then that nation turns to evil and refuses to obey me, I will not bless it as I said I would.

11 “Therefore, Jeremiah, go and warn all Judah and Jerusalem. Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am planning disaster for you instead of good. So turn from your evil ways, each of you, and do what is right.’”

12 But the people replied, “Don’t waste your breath. We will continue to live as we want to, stubbornly following our own evil desires.”

13 So this is what the Lord says:

“Has anyone ever heard of such a thing,

even among the pagan nations?

My virgin daughter Israel

has done something terrible!

14 Does the snow ever disappear from the mountaintops of Lebanon?

Do the cold streams flowing from those distant mountains ever run dry?

15 But my people are not so reliable, for they have deserted me;

they burn incense to worthless idols.

They have stumbled off the ancient highways

and walk in muddy paths.

16 Therefore, their land will become desolate,

a monument to their stupidity.

All who pass by will be astonished

and will shake their heads in amazement.

17 I will scatter my people before their enemies

as the east wind scatters dust.

And in all their trouble I will turn my back on them

and refuse to notice their distress.”

A Plot against Jeremiah

18 Then the people said, “Come on, let’s plot a way to stop Jeremiah. We have plenty of priests and wise men and prophets. We don’t need him to teach the word and give us advice and prophecies. Let’s spread rumors about him and ignore what he says.”

19 Lord, hear me and help me!

Listen to what my enemies are saying.

20 Should they repay evil for good?

They have dug a pit to kill me,

though I pleaded for them

and tried to protect them from your anger.

21 So let their children starve!

Let them die by the sword!

Let their wives become childless widows.

Let their old men die in a plague,

and let their young men be killed in battle!

22 Let screaming be heard from their homes

as warriors come suddenly upon them.

For they have dug a pit for me

and have hidden traps along my path.

23 Lord, you know all about their murderous plots against me.

Don’t forgive their crimes and blot out their sins.

Let them die before you.

Deal with them in your anger.

16 Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.

17 For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes.

18 And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the carcases of their detestable and abominable things.

19 O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.

20 Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?

21 Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The Lord.

17 The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars;

Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills.

O my mountain in the field, I will give thy substance and all thy treasures to the spoil, and thy high places for sin, throughout all thy borders.

And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.

Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.

For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.

For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

11 As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.

12 A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.

13 O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters.

14 Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.

15 Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the Lord? let it come now.

16 As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee.

17 Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil.

18 Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.

19 Thus said the Lord unto me; Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, whereby the kings of Judah come in, and by the which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem;

20 And say unto them, Hear ye the word of the Lord, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that enter in by these gates:

21 Thus saith the Lord; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;

22 Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.

23 But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.

24 And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein;

25 Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.

26 And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the Lord.

27 But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.

18 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,

Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.

Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.

And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;

If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;

10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

11 Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.

12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.

13 Therefore thus saith the Lord; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing.

14 Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken?

15 Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up;

16 To make their land desolate, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head.

17 I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.

18 Then said they, Come and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.

19 Give heed to me, O Lord, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me.

20 Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away thy wrath from them.

21 Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and pour out their blood by the force of the sword; and let their wives be bereaved of their children, and be widows; and let their men be put to death; let their young men be slain by the sword in battle.

22 Let a cry be heard from their houses, when thou shalt bring a troop suddenly upon them: for they have digged a pit to take me, and hid snares for my feet.

23 Yet, Lord, thou knowest all their counsel against me to slay me: forgive not their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from thy sight, but let them be overthrown before thee; deal thus with them in the time of thine anger.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-5:3

Living to Please God

As for other matters, brothers and sisters,2Co 13:11; 2Th 3:1 we instructed you how to liveS Eph 4:1 in order to please God,S 2Co 5:9 as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.

It is God’s willS Eph 5:17 that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;S 1Co 6:18that each of you should learn to control your own bodyOr learn to live with your own wife; or learn to acquire a wife1Co 7:2, 9 in a way that is holy and honorable,not in passionate lustRo 1:26 like the pagans,Eph 4:17 who do not know God;S Gal 4:8and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.The Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos) refers here to a believer, whether man or woman, as part of God’s family.Lev 25:17; 1Co 6:8 The Lord will punishDt 32:35; Ps 94:1; Ro 2:5-11; 12:19; Heb 10:30, 31 all those who commit such sins,Heb 13:4 as we told you and warned you before.For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.Lev 11:44; 1Pe 1:15Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.Eze 36:27; Ro 5:5; 2Co 1:22; Gal 4:6; 1Jn 3:24

Now about your love for one anotherS Ro 12:10 we do not need to write to you,1Th 5:1 for you yourselves have been taught by GodS Jn 6:45 to love each other.S Jn 13:3410 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia.S Ac 16:9 Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more,S 1Th 3:1211 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands,Eph 4:28; 2Th 3:10-12 just as we told you,12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsidersS Mk 4:11 and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

Believers Who Have Died

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformedS Ro 11:25 about those who sleep in death,S Mt 9:24 so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.Eph 2:1214 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again,Ro 14:9; 1Co 15:3, 4; 2Co 5:15 and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.1Co 15:1815 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord,S 1Co 1:7 will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.1Co 15:5216 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven,S Mt 16:27 with a loud command, with the voice of the archangelJude 9 and with the trumpet call of God,S Mt 24:31 and the dead in Christ will rise first.1Co 15:23; 2Th 2:1; Rev 14:1317 After that, we who are still alive and are left1Co 15:52 will be caught up together with them in the cloudsAc 1:9; S Ac 8:39; S Rev 1:7; 11:12 to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the LordS Jn 12:26 forever.18 Therefore encourage one another1Th 5:11 with these words.

The Day of the Lord

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and datesAc 1:7 we do not need to write to you,1Th 4:9for you know very well that the day of the LordS 1Co 1:8 will come like a thief in the night.S Lk 12:39While people are saying, “Peace and safety,”Jer 4:10; 6:14; Eze 13:10 destruction will come on them suddenly,Job 15:21; Ps 35:8; 55:15; Isa 29:5; 47:9, 11 as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.2Th 1:9

Live to Please God

Finally, dear brothers and sisters,Greek brothers; also in 4:10, 13. we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.

God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.Then each of you will control his own bodyOr will know how to take a wife for himself; or will learn to live with his own wife; Greek reads will know how to possess his own vessel. and live in holiness and honor—not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife,Greek Never harm or cheat a brother in this matter. for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before.God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other,Greek about brotherly love. for God himself has taught you to love one another.10 Indeed, you already show your love for all the believersGreek the brothers. throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more.

11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.12 Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.

The Hope of the Resurrection

13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have diedGreek those who have fallen asleep; also in 4:14. so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.

15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.Greek those who have fallen asleep.16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have diedGreek the dead in Christ. will rise from their graves.17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.18 So encourage each other with these words.

Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters,Greek brothers; also in 5:4, 12, 14, 25, 26, 27. we don’t really need to write you.For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:

That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.

For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

10 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;

11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

Psalm 81:1-16

Psalm 81In Hebrew texts 81:1-16 is numbered 81:2-17.

For the director of music. According to gittith.Title: Probably a musical term Of Asaph.

Sing for joy to God our strength;

shout aloud to the God of Jacob!S Ps 66:1

Begin the music, strike the timbrel,S Ex 15:20

play the melodious harpPs 92:3 and lyre.S Job 21:12

Sound the ram’s hornS Ex 19:13 at the New Moon,S Ne 10:33

and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival;

this is a decree for Israel,

an ordinance of the God of Jacob.ver 1

When God went out against Egypt,S Ex 11:4

he established it as a statute for Joseph.

I heard an unknown voice say:Ps 114:1

“I removed the burdenS Ex 1:14 from their shoulders;Isa 9:4; 52:2

their hands were set free from the basket.

In your distress you calledS Ex 2:23 and I rescued you,

I answeredEx 19:19 you out of a thundercloud;

I tested you at the waters of Meribah.The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here.S Ex 17:7; S Dt 33:8

Hear me, my people,Ps 50:7; 78:1 and I will warn you—

if you would only listen to me, Israel!

You shall have no foreign godS Ex 20:3 among you;

you shall not worship any god other than me.

10 I am the Lord your God,

who brought you up out of Egypt.S Ex 6:6; S 13:3; S 29:46

OpenEze 2:8 wide your mouth and I will fillPs 107:9 it.

11 “But my people would not listen to me;

Israel would not submit to me.Ex 32:1-6

12 So I gave them overEze 20:25; Ac 7:42; Ro 1:24 to their stubborn hearts

to follow their own devices.

13 “If my people would only listen to me,S Dt 5:29

if Israel would only follow my ways,

14 how quickly I would subduePs 47:3 their enemies

and turn my hand againstAm 1:8 their foes!

15 Those who hate the Lord would cringeS 2Sa 22:45 before him,

and their punishment would last forever.

16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;S Dt 32:14

with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Psalm 81

For the choir director: A psalm of Asaph, to be accompanied by a stringed instrument.Hebrew according to the gittith.

Sing praises to God, our strength.

Sing to the God of Jacob.

Sing! Beat the tambourine.

Play the sweet lyre and the harp.

Blow the ram’s horn at new moon,

and again at full moon to call a festival!

For this is required by the decrees of Israel;

it is a regulation of the God of Jacob.

He made it a law for IsraelHebrew for Joseph.

when he attacked Egypt to set us free.

I heard an unknown voice say,

“Now I will take the load from your shoulders;

I will free your hands from their heavy tasks.

You cried to me in trouble, and I saved you;

I answered out of the thundercloud

and tested your faith when there was no water at Meribah. Interlude

“Listen to me, O my people, while I give you stern warnings.

O Israel, if you would only listen to me!

You must never have a foreign god;

you must not bow down before a false god.

10 For it was I, the Lord your God,

who rescued you from the land of Egypt.

Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.

11 “But no, my people wouldn’t listen.

Israel did not want me around.

12 So I let them follow their own stubborn desires,

living according to their own ideas.

13 Oh, that my people would listen to me!

Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths!

14 How quickly I would then subdue their enemies!

How soon my hands would be upon their foes!

15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him;

they would be doomed forever.

16 But I would feed you with the finest wheat.

I would satisfy you with wild honey from the rock.”

81 Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.

Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.

Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.

For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob.

This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt: where I heard a language that I understood not.

I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots.

Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah.

Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me;

There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.

10 I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

11 But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.

12 So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels.

13 Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!

14 I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries.

15 The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever.

16 He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

Proverbs 25:6-8

Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence,

and do not claim a place among his great men;

it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,”Lk 14:7-10

than for him to humiliate you before his nobles.

What you have seen with your eyes

do not bringOr nobles / on whom you had set your eyes. / Do not go hastily to court,

for what will you do in the end

if your neighbor puts you to shame?Mt 5:25-26

Don’t demand an audience with the king

or push for a place among the great.

It’s better to wait for an invitation to the head table

than to be sent away in public disgrace.

Just because you’ve seen something,

don’t be in a hurry to go to court.

For what will you do in the end

if your neighbor deals you a shameful defeat?

Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men:

For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.

Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame.

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