Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

Can you race on foot against horsemen? Jeremiah asks a pointed question about our level of commitment. The obvious implication is that if we grow tired and give up when dealing with relatively inconsequential problems, we will never be able to handle major problems. If we have problems dealing with grocery money, how will we be able to manage Kingdom finances? If we cannot keep our own house in order, how will we rule nations?

Sometimes we twenty-first-century Christians feel as though we have it rough. The early Church, however, had it much rougher. They were indeed running with the horsemen! Paul commended the Thessalonians' faith and perseverance, saying, "You received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you" (1 Thessalonians 1:6).

The presence of greater challenges in our lives doesn't mean that God has left us, but it does mean He trusts our ability to run with the horses. With the help of God, you can outrun any challenge in your life, as Elijah did when he outran Ahab's horses all the way to Jezreel (1 Kings 18:46).

Get ready for a new level of commitment. The foot race is over- the horses are coming!

Jeremiah 12:1-14:10

Jeremiah’s Complaint

12 You are always righteous,S Ezr 9:15; Job 8:3; Da 9:14 Lord,

when I bring a caseS Job 5:8 before you.

Yet I would speak with you about your justice:Eze 18:25

Why does the way of the wicked prosper?S Job 21:7, 13; Ps 37:7; Jer 5:27-28

Why do all the faithless live at ease?

You have plantedS Jer 11:17 them, and they have taken root;

they grow and bear fruit.S Job 5:3

You are always on their lips

but far from their hearts.S Isa 29:13; S Jer 3:10; S Eze 22:27; Mt 15:8; Mk 7:6; Tit 1:16

Yet you know me, Lord;

you see me and testPs 7:9; 11:5; 139:1-4 my thoughts about you.

Drag them off like sheepS Ps 44:11 to be butchered!

Set them apart for the day of slaughter!Jer 16:18; 17:18; 20:11

How long will the land lie parchedS Jer 4:28

and the grass in every field be withered?S ver 11; S Jer 4:26; Joel 1:10-12; Am 1:2

Because those who live in it are wicked,

the animals and birds have perished.Dt 28:15-18; S Jer 4:25; S 9:10

Moreover, the people are saying,

“He will not see what happens to us.”

God’s Answer

“If you have raced with men on foot

and they have worn you out,

how can you compete with horses?

If you stumbleOr you feel secure only in safe country,

how will you manage in the thicketsJer 49:19; 50:44 byOr the flooding of the Jordan?

Your relatives, members of your own family—

even they have betrayed you;

they have raised a loud cry against you.S Pr 26:24-25; Jer 9:4

Do not trust them,

though they speak well of you.Ps 12:2

“I will forsakeS 2Ki 21:14 my house,

abandonS Jer 7:29 my inheritance;

I will give the one I loveIsa 5:1

into the hands of her enemies.Jer 17:4

My inheritance has become to me

like a lionS Ps 17:12 in the forest.

She roars at me;

therefore I hate her.Ps 5:5; Hos 9:15; Am 6:8

Has not my inheritance become to me

like a speckled bird of prey

that other birds of prey surround and attack?

Go and gather all the wild beasts;

bring them to devour.S Dt 28:26; Isa 56:9; Jer 15:3; Eze 23:25; 39:17-20

10 Many shepherdsJer 23:1; 25:34; Eze 34:2-10 will ruin my vineyard

and trample down my field;

they will turn my pleasant field

into a desolate wasteland.Isa 5:1-7; Jer 9:10; 25:11

11 It will be made a wasteland,S Isa 5:6; S 24:4

parched and desolate before me;ver 4; Jer 9:12; 14:4; 23:10

the whole land will be laid waste

because there is no one who cares.

12 Over all the barren heights in the desert

destroyers will swarm,

for the swordEze 21:3-4 of the LordS Dt 32:41; Isa 31:8; Jer 46:10; 47:6; Eze 14:17; 21:28; 33:2 will devourS Dt 32:42

from one end of the land to the other;Jer 3:2

no one will be safe.Jer 7:10

13 They will sow wheat but reap thorns;

they will wear themselves out but gain nothing.S Lev 26:20; S Dt 28:38

They will bear the shame of their harvest

because of the Lord’s fierce anger.”S Ex 15:7; S Jer 4:26

14 This is what the Lord says: “As for all my wicked neighbors who seize the inheritanceS Dt 29:28; S 2Ch 7:20 I gave my people Israel, I will uprootS Ps 9:6; Zec 2:7-9 them from their lands and I will uprootS Dt 28:63 the people of Judah from among them.15 But after I uproot them, I will again have compassionS Ps 6:2 and will bringS Dt 30:3; Am 9:14-15 each of them back to their own inheritance and their own country.16 And if they learnJer 18:8 well the ways of my people and swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives’S Jer 4:2—even as they once taught my people to swear by BaalS Jos 23:7—then they will be established among my people.S Isa 26:18; 49:6; Jer 3:1717 But if any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroyS Ge 27:29 it,” declares the Lord.

A Linen Belt

13 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water.”So I bought a belt, as the Lord directed, and put it around my waist.

Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time:Jer 33:1“Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go now to PerathOr possibly to the Euphrates; similarly in verses 5-7S Ge 2:14 and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks.”So I went and hid it at Perath, as the Lord told me.Ex 40:16

Many days later the Lord said to me, “Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there.”So I went to Perath and dug up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless.

Then the word of the Lord came to me:“This is what the Lord says: ‘In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great prideS Lev 26:19; S Mt 23:12; S Lk 1:51 of Jerusalem.10 These wicked people, who refuse to listenJer 22:21 to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their heartsS Ecc 9:3; S Jer 3:17 and go after other godsS Dt 8:19; Jer 9:14 to serve and worship them,S Jdg 10:13 will be like this belt—completely useless!Eze 15:311 For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,’ declares the Lord, ‘to be my people for my renownIsa 63:12; Jer 32:20 and praise and honor.Ex 19:5-6; Isa 43:21; S Jer 3:17 But they have not listened.’S Isa 65:12; S Jer 7:26


12 “Say to them: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Every wineskin should be filled with wine.’ And if they say to you, ‘Don’t we know that every wineskin should be filled with wine?’13 then tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to fill with drunkennessPs 60:3; 75:8; S Isa 29:9; Jer 25:18; 51:57 all who live in this land, including the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets and all those living in Jerusalem.14 I will smash them one against the other, parents and children alike, declares the Lord. I will allow no pityEze 7:4; 8:18; 9:5, 10; 24:14; Zec 11:6 or mercy or compassionS Isa 9:17; Jer 16:5 to keep me from destroyingDt 29:20; Isa 9:19-21; S Jer 7:20; 49:32, 36; La 2:21; Eze 5:10 them.’”

Threat of Captivity

15 Hear and pay attention,

do not be arrogant,

for the Lord has spoken.S Ex 23:21; Ps 95:7-8

16 Give gloryS Jos 7:19 to the Lord your God

before he brings the darkness,

before your feet stumbleS Lev 26:37; S Job 3:23; Isa 51:17; Jer 23:12

on the darkening hills.

You hope for light,

but he will turn it to utter darkness

and change it to deep gloom.S 1Sa 2:9; S Job 3:5; S Ps 82:5

17 If you do not listen,Mal 2:2

I will weep in secret

because of your pride;

my eyes will weep bitterly,

overflowing with tears,S Jer 9:1

because the Lord’s flockPs 80:1; Jer 23:1 will be taken captive.Jer 14:18; 29:1

18 Say to the kingJer 21:11; 22:1 and to the queen mother,S 1Ki 2:19; S 2Ki 24:8; S Isa 22:17

“Come down from your thrones,

for your glorious crownsS 2Sa 12:30; La 5:16; Eze 16:12; 21:26

will fall from your heads.”

19 The cities in the Negev will be shut up,

and there will be no one to open them.

All JudahJer 20:4; 52:30; La 1:3 will be carried into exile,

carried completely away.

20 Look up and see

those who are coming from the north.Jer 6:22; Hab 1:6

Where is the flockJer 23:2 that was entrusted to you,

the sheep of which you boasted?

21 What will you say when the Lord sets over you

those you cultivated as your special allies?S Ps 41:9; Jer 4:30; 20:10; 38:22; Ob 1:7

Will not pain grip you

like that of a woman in labor?S Jer 4:31

22 And if you ask yourself,

“Why has this happened to me?”S 1Ki 9:9

it is because of your many sinsJer 9:2-6; 16:10-12

that your skirts have been torn offS Isa 20:4

and your body mistreated.La 1:8; Eze 16:37; 23:26; Na 3:5-6

23 Can an EthiopianHebrew Cushite (probably a person from the upper Nile region) change his skin

or a leopard its spots?

Neither can you do good

who are accustomed to doing evil.S 2Ch 6:36

24 “I will scatter you like chaffS Ps 1:4

driven by the desert wind.S Lev 26:33; S Job 1:19; S 27:21

25 This is your lot,

the portionS Job 20:29; Mt 24:51 I have decreed for you,”

declares the Lord,

“because you have forgottenS Isa 17:10 me

and trusted in false gods.S Dt 31:20; S Ps 4:2; 106:19-21

26 I will pull up your skirts over your face

that your shame may be seenLa 1:8; Eze 16:37; Na 3:5

27 your adulteries and lustful neighings,

your shameless prostitution!Eze 23:29

I have seen your detestable acts

on the hills and in the fields.S Isa 57:7; Eze 6:13

Woe to you, Jerusalem!

How long will you be unclean?”Hos 8:5

Drought, Famine, Sword

14 This is the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:S Dt 28:22; S Isa 5:6

“Judah mourns,S Isa 3:26

her cities languish;

they wail for the land,

and a cry goes up from Jerusalem.

The nobles send their servants for water;

they go to the cisterns

but find no water.S Dt 28:48; S 2Ki 18:31; Job 6:19-20

They return with their jars unfilled;

dismayed and despairing,

they cover their heads.S Est 6:12

The ground is cracked

because there is no rain in the land;S Jer 3:3; S 12:11; Am 4:8; Zec 14:17

the farmers are dismayed

and cover their heads.

Even the doe in the field

deserts her newborn fawn

because there is no grass.Isa 15:6

Wild donkeys stand on the barren heightsS Job 39:5-6; S Ps 104:11; S Jer 2:24

and pant like jackals;

their eyes fail

for lack of food.”S Ge 47:4

Although our sins testifyS Isa 3:9; Hos 5:5 against us,

do something, Lord, for the sake of your name.S 1Sa 12:22; S Ps 79:9

For we have often rebelled;S Jer 2:19; 5:6

we have sinnedS Jer 8:14 against you.

You who are the hopeS Ps 9:18; Jer 17:13; 50:7 of Israel,

its SaviorPs 18:46; S Isa 25:9 in times of distress,Ps 46:1

why are you like a stranger in the land,

like a traveler who stays only a night?

Why are you like a man taken by surprise,

like a warrior powerless to save?S Isa 50:2

You are amongS Ge 17:7; Jer 8:19 us, Lord,

and we bear your name;Isa 63:19; Jer 15:16

do not forsakeS Ps 27:9 us!

10 This is what the Lord says about this people:

“They greatly love to wander;

they do not restrain their feet.Ps 119:101; Jer 2:25

So the Lord does not acceptJer 6:20; Am 5:22 them;

he will now rememberHos 7:2; 9:9; Am 8:7 their wickedness

and punish them for their sins.”Jer 44:21-23; Hos 8:13; Am 3:2

Jeremiah Questions the Lord’s Justice

12 Lord, you always give me justice

when I bring a case before you.

So let me bring you this complaint:

Why are the wicked so prosperous?

Why are evil people so happy?

You have planted them,

and they have taken root and prospered.

Your name is on their lips,

but you are far from their hearts.

But as for me, Lord, you know my heart.

You see me and test my thoughts.

Drag these people away like sheep to be butchered!

Set them aside to be slaughtered!

How long must this land mourn?

Even the grass in the fields has withered.

The wild animals and birds have disappeared

because of the evil in the land.

For the people have said,

“The Lord doesn’t see what’s ahead for us!”

The Lord’s Reply to Jeremiah

“If racing against mere men makes you tired,

how will you race against horses?

If you stumble and fall on open ground,

what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan?

Even your brothers, members of your own family,

have turned against you.

They plot and raise complaints against you.

Do not trust them,

no matter how pleasantly they speak.

“I have abandoned my people, my special possession.

I have surrendered my dearest ones to their enemies.

My chosen people have roared at me like a lion of the forest,

so I have treated them with contempt.

My chosen people act like speckled vultures,Or speckled hyenas.

but they themselves are surrounded by vultures.

Bring on the wild animals to pick their corpses clean!

10 “Many rulers have ravaged my vineyard,

trampling down the vines

and turning all its beauty into a barren wilderness.

11 They have made it an empty wasteland;

I hear its mournful cry.

The whole land is desolate,

and no one even cares.

12 On all the bare hilltops,

destroying armies can be seen.

The sword of the Lord devours people

from one end of the nation to the other.

No one will escape!

13 My people have planted wheat

but are harvesting thorns.

They have worn themselves out,

but it has done them no good.

They will harvest a crop of shame

because of the fierce anger of the Lord.”

A Message for Israel’s Neighbors

14 Now this is what the Lord says: “I will uproot from their land all the evil nations reaching out for the possession I gave my people Israel. And I will uproot Judah from among them.15 But afterward I will return and have compassion on all of them. I will bring them home to their own lands again, each nation to its own possession.16 And if these nations truly learn the ways of my people, and if they learn to swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives’ (just as they taught my people to swear by the name of Baal), then they will be given a place among my people.17 But any nation who refuses to obey me will be uprooted and destroyed. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Jeremiah’s Linen Loincloth

13 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy a linen loincloth and put it on, but do not wash it.”So I bought the loincloth as the Lord directed me, and I put it on.

Then the Lord gave me another message:“Take the linen loincloth you are wearing, and go to the Euphrates River.Hebrew Perath; also in 13:5, 6, 7. Hide it there in a hole in the rocks.”So I went and hid it by the Euphrates as the Lord had instructed me.

A long time afterward the Lord said to me, “Go back to the Euphrates and get the loincloth I told you to hide there.”So I went to the Euphrates and dug it out of the hole where I had hidden it. But now it was rotting and falling apart. The loincloth was good for nothing.

Then I received this message from the Lord:“This is what the Lord says: This shows how I will rot away the pride of Judah and Jerusalem.10 These wicked people refuse to listen to me. They stubbornly follow their own desires and worship other gods. Therefore, they will become like this loincloth—good for nothing!11 As a loincloth clings to a man’s waist, so I created Judah and Israel to cling to me, says the Lord. They were to be my people, my pride, my glory—an honor to my name. But they would not listen to me.

12 “So tell them, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: May all your jars be filled with wine.’ And they will reply, ‘Of course! Jars are made to be filled with wine!’

13 “Then tell them, ‘No, this is what the Lord means: I will fill everyone in this land with drunkenness—from the king sitting on David’s throne to the priests and the prophets, right down to the common people of Jerusalem.14 I will smash them against each other, even parents against children, says the Lord. I will not let my pity or mercy or compassion keep me from destroying them.’”

A Warning against Pride

15 Listen and pay attention!

Do not be arrogant, for the Lord has spoken.

16 Give glory to the Lord your God

before it is too late.

Acknowledge him before he brings darkness upon you,

causing you to stumble and fall on the darkening mountains.

For then, when you look for light,

you will find only terrible darkness and gloom.

17 And if you still refuse to listen,

I will weep alone because of your pride.

My eyes will overflow with tears,

because the Lord’s flock will be led away into exile.

18 Say to the king and his mother,

“Come down from your thrones

and sit in the dust,

for your glorious crowns

will soon be snatched from your heads.”

19 The towns of the Negev will close their gates,

and no one will be able to open them.

The people of Judah will be taken away as captives.

All will be carried into exile.

20 Open up your eyes and see

the armies marching down from the north!

Where is your flock—

your beautiful flock—

that he gave you to care for?

21 What will you say when the Lord takes the allies you have cultivated

and appoints them as your rulers?

Pangs of anguish will grip you,

like those of a woman in labor!

22 You may ask yourself,

“Why is all this happening to me?”

It is because of your many sins!

That is why you have been stripped

and raped by invading armies.

23 Can an EthiopianHebrew a Cushite. change the color of his skin?

Can a leopard take away its spots?

Neither can you start doing good,

for you have always done evil.

24 “I will scatter you like chaff

that is blown away by the desert winds.

25 This is your allotment,

the portion I have assigned to you,”

says the Lord,

“for you have forgotten me,

putting your trust in false gods.

26 I myself will strip you

and expose you to shame.

27 I have seen your adultery and lust,

and your disgusting idol worship out in the fields and on the hills.

What sorrow awaits you, Jerusalem!

How long before you are pure?”

Judah’s Terrible Drought

14 This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord, explaining why he was holding back the rain:

“Judah wilts;

commerce at the city gates grinds to a halt.

All the people sit on the ground in mourning,

and a great cry rises from Jerusalem.

The nobles send servants to get water,

but all the wells are dry.

The servants return with empty pitchers,

confused and desperate,

covering their heads in grief.

The ground is parched

and cracked for lack of rain.

The farmers are deeply troubled;

they, too, cover their heads.

Even the doe abandons her newborn fawn

because there is no grass in the field.

The wild donkeys stand on the bare hills

panting like thirsty jackals.

They strain their eyes looking for grass,

but there is none to be found.”

The people say, “Our wickedness has caught up with us, Lord,

but help us for the sake of your own reputation.

We have turned away from you

and sinned against you again and again.

O Hope of Israel, our Savior in times of trouble,

why are you like a stranger to us?

Why are you like a traveler passing through the land,

stopping only for the night?

Are you also confused?

Is our champion helpless to save us?

You are right here among us, Lord.

We are known as your people.

Please don’t abandon us now!”

10 So this is what the Lord says to his people:

“You love to wander far from me

and do not restrain yourselves.

Therefore, I will no longer accept you as my people.

Now I will remember all your wickedness

and will punish you for your sins.”

12 Righteous art thou, O Lord, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?

Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.

But thou, O Lord, knowest me: thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward thee: pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter.

How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? the beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our last end.

If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?

For even thy brethren, and the house of thy father, even they have dealt treacherously with thee; yea, they have called a multitude after thee: believe them not, though they speak fair words unto thee.

I have forsaken mine house, I have left mine heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies.

Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest; it crieth out against me: therefore have I hated it.

Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour.

10 Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.

11 They have made it desolate, and being desolate it mourneth unto me; the whole land is made desolate, because no man layeth it to heart.

12 The spoilers are come upon all high places through the wilderness: for the sword of the Lord shall devour from the one end of the land even to the other end of the land: no flesh shall have peace.

13 They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns: they have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit: and they shall be ashamed of your revenues because of the fierce anger of the Lord.

14 Thus saith the Lord against all mine evil neighbours, that touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit; Behold, I will pluck them out of their land, and pluck out the house of Judah from among them.

15 And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land.

16 And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, The Lord liveth; as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built in the midst of my people.

17 But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the Lord.

13 Thus saith the Lord unto me, Go and get thee a linen girdle, and put it upon thy loins, and put it not in water.

So I got a girdle according to the word of the Lord, and put it on my loins.

And the word of the Lord came unto me the second time, saying,

Take the girdle that thou hast got, which is upon thy loins, and arise, go to Euphrates, and hide it there in a hole of the rock.

So I went, and hid it by Euphrates, as the Lord commanded me.

And it came to pass after many days, that the Lord said unto me, Arise, go to Euphrates, and take the girdle from thence, which I commanded thee to hide there.

Then I went to Euphrates, and digged, and took the girdle from the place where I had hid it: and, behold, the girdle was marred, it was profitable for nothing.

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

Thus saith the Lord, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem.

10 This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing.

11 For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the Lord; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear.

12 Therefore thou shalt speak unto them this word; Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine: and they shall say unto thee, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine?

13 Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings that sit upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness.

14 And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the Lord: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.

15 Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken.

16 Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.

17 But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the Lord's flock is carried away captive.

18 Say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory.

19 The cities of the south shall be shut up, and none shall open them: Judah shall be carried away captive all of it, it shall be wholly carried away captive.

20 Lift up your eyes, and behold them that come from the north: where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?

21 What wilt thou say when he shall punish thee? for thou hast taught them to be captains, and as chief over thee: shall not sorrows take thee, as a woman in travail?

22 And if thou say in thine heart, Wherefore come these things upon me? For the greatness of thine iniquity are thy skirts discovered, and thy heels made bare.

23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

24 Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness.

25 This is thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the Lord; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood.

26 Therefore will I discover thy skirts upon thy face, that thy shame may appear.

27 I have seen thine adulteries, and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredom, and thine abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it once be?

14 The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth.

Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up.

And their nobles have sent their little ones to the waters: they came to the pits, and found no water; they returned with their vessels empty; they were ashamed and confounded, and covered their heads.

Because the ground is chapt, for there was no rain in the earth, the plowmen were ashamed, they covered their heads.

Yea, the hind also calved in the field, and forsook it, because there was no grass.

And the wild asses did stand in the high places, they snuffed up the wind like dragons; their eyes did fail, because there was no grass.

O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name's sake: for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee.

O the hope of Israel, the saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night?

Why shouldest thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man that cannot save? yet thou, O Lord, art in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name; leave us not.

10 Thus saith the Lord unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the Lord doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.

1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:8

Paul, SilasGreek Silvanus, a variant of SilasS Ac 15:22 and Timothy,S Ac 16:1; 2Th 1:1

To the church of the ThessaloniansS Ac 17:1 in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace and peace to you.S Ro 1:7

Thanksgiving for the Thessalonians’ Faith

We always thank God for all of youS Ro 1:8; Eph 5:20 and continually mention you in our prayers.S Ro 1:10We remember before our God and FatherS Php 4:20 your work produced by faith,Gal 5:6; 2Th 1:11; Jas 2:14-26 your labor prompted by love,1Th 3:6; 2Th 1:3; S 1Co 13:13 and your endurance inspired by hopeRo 8:25 in our Lord Jesus Christ.

For we know, brothers and sistersThe Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in 2:1, 9, 14, 17; 3:7; 4:1, 10, 13; 5:1, 4, 12, 14, 25, 27. loved by God,Col 3:12; 2Th 2:13 that he has chosen you,because our gospelS 2Co 2:12; 2Th 2:14 came to you not simply with words but also with power,Ro 1:16; S Ro 15:13 with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know1Th 2:10 how we lived among you for your sake.You became imitators of usS 1Co 4:16 and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe sufferingAc 17:5-10 with the joyS 2Co 6:10 given by the Holy Spirit.Ac 13:52And so you became a modelS 1Ti 4:12 to all the believers in MacedoniaS Ac 16:9 and Achaia.S Ac 18:12The Lord’s message2Th 3:1 rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere.Ro 1:8 Therefore we do not need to say anything about it,for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turnedAc 14:15 to God from idols1Co 12:2; Gal 4:8 to serve the living and true God,S Mt 16:1610 and to wait for his Son from heaven,S 1Co 1:7 whom he raised from the deadS Ac 2:24—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.S Ro 1:18

Paul’s Ministry in Thessalonica

You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you1Th 1:5, 9 was not without results.2Th 1:10We had previously sufferedAc 14:19; 16:22; Php 1:30 and been treated outrageously in Philippi,S Ac 16:12 as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.Ac 17:1-9For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives,2Co 2:17 nor are we trying to trick you.2Co 4:2On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.Gal 2:7; 1Ti 1:11 We are not trying to please peopleS Ro 2:29 but God, who tests our hearts.S Rev 2:23You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greedS Ac 20:33—God is our witness.ver 10; S Ro 1:9We were not looking for praise from people,Jn 5:41, 44 not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles1Co 9:1, 2 of Christ we could have asserted our authority.2Co 11:7-11Instead, we were like young childrenSome manuscripts were gentle among you.

Just as a nursing mother cares for her children,S ver 11so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of GodS Ro 1:1 but our lives as well.2Co 12:15; 1Jn 3:16

Greetings from Paul

This letter is from Paul, Silas,Greek Silvanus, the Greek form of the name. and Timothy.

We are writing to the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

May God give you grace and peace.

The Faith of the Thessalonian Believers

We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly.As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We know, dear brothers and sisters,Greek brothers. that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people.For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assuranceOr with the power of the Holy Spirit, so you can have full assurance. that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you.So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord.As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Greece—throughout both Macedonia and Achaia.Macedonia and Achaia were the northern and southern regions of Greece.

And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it,for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God.10 And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment.

Paul Remembers His Visit

You yourselves know, dear brothers and sisters,Greek brothers; also in 2:9, 14, 17. that our visit to you was not a failure.You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi just before we came to you and how much we suffered there. Yet our God gave us the courage to declare his Good News to you boldly, in spite of great opposition.So you can see we were not preaching with any deceit or impure motives or trickery.

For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you well know. And God is our witness that we were not pretending to be your friends just to get your money!As for human praise, we have never sought it from you or anyone else.

As apostles of Christ we certainly had a right to make some demands of you, but instead we were like childrenSome manuscripts read we were gentle. among you. Or we were like a mother feeding and caring for her own children.We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.

Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;

Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.

So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.

For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.

For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain:

But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.

For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:

But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.

For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:

Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.

But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:

So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.

Psalm 79:1-13

Psalm 79

A psalm of Asaph.

O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance;S Ex 34:9

they have defiledS Lev 20:3 your holy temple,

they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble.S 2Ki 25:9; S Ne 4:2; S Isa 6:11

They have left the dead bodies of your servants

as food for the birds of the sky,Rev 19:17-18

the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild.S Dt 28:26; Jer 7:33

They have poured out blood like water

all around Jerusalem,

and there is no one to buryJer 25:33; Rev 11:9 the dead.Jer 16:4

We are objects of contempt to our neighbors,

of scornS Ps 39:8; S Eze 5:14 and derision to those around us.Ps 44:13; 80:6

How long,S Ps 74:10 Lord? Will you be angryPs 74:1; 85:5 forever?

How long will your jealousy burn like fire?S Dt 29:20; Ps 89:46; Zep 3:8

Pour out your wrathS Ps 2:5; 69:24; 110:5; Rev 16:1 on the nations

that do not acknowledgePs 147:20; Jer 10:25 you,

on the kingdoms

that do not call on your name;S Ps 14:4

for they have devouredIsa 9:12; Jer 10:25 Jacob

and devastated his homeland.

Do not hold against us the sins of past generations;S Ge 9:25; Jer 44:21

may your mercy come quickly to meet us,

for we are in desperate need.Ps 116:6; 142:6

Help us,S 2Ch 14:11 God our Savior,

for the glory of your name;

deliver us and forgive our sins

for your name’s sake.Ps 25:11; 31:3; Jer 14:7

10 Why should the nations say,

“Where is their God?”S Ps 42:3

Before our eyes, make known among the nations

that you avengePs 94:1; S Rev 6:10 the outpoured bloodver 3 of your servants.

11 May the groans of the prisoners come before you;

with your strong arm preserve those condemned to die.

12 Pay back into the lapsIsa 65:6; Jer 32:18 of our neighbors seven timesS Ge 4:15

the contempt they have hurled at you, Lord.

13 Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture,S Ps 74:1

will praise you forever;Ps 44:8

from generation to generation

we will proclaim your praise.

Psalm 79

A psalm of Asaph.

O God, pagan nations have conquered your land,

your special possession.

They have defiled your holy Temple

and made Jerusalem a heap of ruins.

They have left the bodies of your servants

as food for the birds of heaven.

The flesh of your godly ones

has become food for the wild animals.

Blood has flowed like water all around Jerusalem;

no one is left to bury the dead.

We are mocked by our neighbors,

an object of scorn and derision to those around us.

O Lord, how long will you be angry with us? Forever?

How long will your jealousy burn like fire?

Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to acknowledge you—

on kingdoms that do not call upon your name.

For they have devoured your people Israel,Hebrew devoured Jacob. See note on 44:4.

making the land a desolate wilderness.

Do not hold us guilty for the sins of our ancestors!

Let your compassion quickly meet our needs,

for we are on the brink of despair.

Help us, O God of our salvation!

Help us for the glory of your name.

Save us and forgive our sins

for the honor of your name.

10 Why should pagan nations be allowed to scoff,

asking, “Where is their God?”

Show us your vengeance against the nations,

for they have spilled the blood of your servants.

11 Listen to the moaning of the prisoners.

Demonstrate your great power by saving those condemned to die.

12 O Lord, pay back our neighbors seven times

for the scorn they have hurled at you.

13 Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture,

will thank you forever and ever,

praising your greatness from generation to generation.

79 O god, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.

The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth.

Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them.

We are become a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us.

How long, Lord? wilt thou be angry for ever? shall thy jealousy burn like fire?

Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name.

For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place.

O remember not against us former iniquities: let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low.

Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake.

10 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? let him be known among the heathen in our sight by the revenging of the blood of thy servants which is shed.

11 Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee; according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die;

12 And render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached thee, O Lord.

13 So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.

Proverbs 24:30-34

30 I went past the field of a sluggard,Pr 6:6-11; 26:13-16

past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;

31 thorns had come up everywhere,

the ground was covered with weeds,

and the stone wall was in ruins.

32 I applied my heart to what I observed

and learned a lesson from what I saw:

33 A little sleep, a little slumber,

a little folding of the hands to restS Pr 6:10

34 and poverty will come on you like a thief

and scarcity like an armed man.S Pr 10:4; Ecc 10:18

30 I walked by the field of a lazy person,

the vineyard of one with no common sense.

31 I saw that it was overgrown with nettles.

It was covered with weeds,

and its walls were broken down.

32 Then, as I looked and thought about it,

I learned this lesson:

33 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,

a little folding of the hands to rest—

34 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;

scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.

30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;

31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.

32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.

33 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

34 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.

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