Last Words

Genesis 49

These blessings show the ongoing reality and consequences of sin in the lives of God’s people…but where sin abounds, grace superabounds (Levi) – God is able to redeem evil and bring good from it. All the brothers are incorporated into the line of promise. The twelve tribes of Israel are not necessarily made up of the best and brightest…only one Joseph. And we are reminded that God doesn’t often call the best and the brightest…no offense. He calls the broken, the discarded, the mess-ups, the failures… Jesus said, “I came to seek and save the lost.” It’s all of God from start to finish…the faithfulness of God in redeeming evil circumstances.

Last week I mentioned the power of a father’s words…words that can bless or curse, words that can uplift or squash down. And while that is especially true for father’s, it is also true for all of us who are influencers in another’s life. What kind of words are you speaking? It’s ok to speak words of warning…we are all on a trajectory…but what is the motivation behind your words? Is it to bless? Is it the other’s good? Or is it reactionary and mean-spirited?

For some of us, we long for words of blessing from our earthly fathers…but those words don’t come. But we have a heavenly Father who has and who longs to speak blessing over us (that’s why we have an event like Father’s Eyes). A God who wants to sing and dance over us, to rescue us and restore us, to take us in His arms. God speaks words of blessing over His creation in Genesis 1, blessing over the people He created, a blessing lost through the fall. The story of Genesis and Jacob’s blessing on his sons pictures the promise of God’s blessing being restored and partially received, the picture of a Conquering King who would crush His enemies, destroying sin and death, trampling the serpent under His feet, leading us back to the garden and restoring our relationship with our Heavenly Father, Creator God. Blessing is about hope. And we as believers in Jesus are beneficiaries of that blessing.

But maybe you don’t know this God who blesses today…the God who wants to redeem your evil, the Shepherd, the ever-present God…Today could be the day.

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Genesis series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster

Weekend Passage – March 7

Genesis 49

Israel’s Prophecy concerning His Sons

49 Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, “Assemble yourselves that I may tell you what will befall you in the days to come.

“Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob;
And listen to Israel your father.

“Reuben, you are my firstborn;
My might and the beginning of my strength,
Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
“Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence,
Because you went up to your father’s bed;
Then you defiled it—he went up to my couch.

“Simeon and Levi are brothers;
Their swords are implements of violence.
“Let my soul not enter into their council;
Let not my glory be united with their assembly;
Because in their anger they slew men,
And in their self-will they lamed oxen.
“Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce;
And their wrath, for it is cruel.
I will disperse them in Jacob,
And scatter them in Israel.

“Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father’s sons shall bow down to you.
“Judah is a lion’s whelp;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He couches, he lies down as a lion,
And as a lion, who dares rouse him up?
10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11 “He ties his foal to the vine,
And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine;
He washes his garments in wine,
And his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 “His eyes are dull from wine,
And his teeth white from milk.

13 “Zebulun will dwell at the seashore;
And he shall be a haven for ships,
And his flank shall be toward Sidon.

14 “Issachar is a strong donkey,
Lying down between the sheepfolds.
15 “When he saw that a resting place was good
And that the land was pleasant,
He bowed his shoulder to bear burdens,
And became a slave at forced labor.

16 “Dan shall judge his people,
As one of the tribes of Israel.
17 “Dan shall be a serpent in the way,
A horned snake in the path,
That bites the horse’s heels,
So that his rider falls backward.
18 “For Your salvation I wait, O Lord.

19 “As for Gad, raiders shall raid him,
But he will raid at their heels.

20 “As for Asher, his food shall be rich,
And he will yield royal dainties.

21 “Naphtali is a doe let loose,
He gives beautiful words.

22 “Joseph is a fruitful bough,
A fruitful bough by a spring;
Its branches run over a wall.
23 “The archers bitterly attacked him,
And shot at him and harassed him;
24 But his bow remained firm,
And his arms were agile,
From the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob
(From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
25 From the God of your father who helps you,
And by the Almighty who blesses you
With blessings of heaven above,
Blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 “The blessings of your father
Have surpassed the blessings of my ancestors
Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills;
May they be on the head of Joseph,
And on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers.

27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;
In the morning he devours the prey,
And in the evening he divides the spoil.”

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them. He blessed them, every one with the blessing appropriate to him. 29 Then he charged them and said to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a burial site. 31 There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and there I buried Leah— 32 the field and the cave that is in it, purchased from the sons of Heth.” 33 When Jacob finished charging his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

Weekend Passage – February 28

Genesis 48

Israel’s Last Days

Now it came about after these things that Joseph was told, “Behold, your father is sick.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim with him.When it was told to Jacob, “Behold, your son Joseph has come to you,”  his strength and sat up in the bed. Then Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and He said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and numerous, and I will make you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your descendants after you for an everlasting possession.’ Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are. But your offspring thathave been born after them shall be yours; they shall be called by the names of their brothers in their inheritance. Now as for me, when I came from Paddan,Rachel died, to my sorrow, in the land of Canaan on the journey, when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).”

When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, “Who are these?” Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me here.” So he said, “Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.” 10 Now the eyes of Israel were sodim from age that he could not see. Then Joseph brought them close to him, and he kissed them and embraced them. 11 Israel said to Joseph, “I neverexpected to see your face, and behold, God has let me see your children as well.” 12 Then Joseph took them from his knees, and bowed with his face to the ground. 13 Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right, and brought them close to him. 14 But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands, although Manasseh was the firstborn. 15 He blessed Joseph, and said,

“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,
16 The angel who has redeemed me from all evil,
Bless the lads;
And may my name live on in them,
And the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
And may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”

17 When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head, it displeased him; and he grasped his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn. Place your right hand on his head.” 19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know; he also will become a people and he also will be great. However, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” 20 He blessed them that day, saying,

“By you Israel will pronounce blessing, saying,
‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh!’”

Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh. 21 Then Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you, and bring you back to the land of your fathers. 22 I give you one portion more than your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow.”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

February 7 – Weekend Passage

Genesis 46

Jacob Moves to Egypt

46 So Israel set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” 3 He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. 4 I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes.”

Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob and their little ones and their wives in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 6 They took their livestock and their property, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and came to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants with him: his sons and his grandsons with him, his daughters and his granddaughters, and all his descendants he brought with him to Egypt.

Those Who Came to Egypt

8 Now these are the names of the sons of Israel, Jacob and his sons, who went to Egypt: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn. The sons of Reuben: Hanoch and Pallu and Hezron and Carmi.10 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel and Jamin and Ohad and Jachin and Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman. 11 The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 12 The sons of Judah: Er and Onan and Shelah and Perez and Zerah (but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan). And the sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul. 13 The sons of Issachar: Tola and Puvvah and Iob and Shimron. 14 The sons of Zebulun: Sered and Elon and Jahleel.15 These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram, with his daughter Dinah; all his sons and his daughters numbered thirty-three. 16 The sons of Gad: Ziphion and Haggi, Shuni and Ezbon, Eri and Arodi and Areli. 17 The sons of Asher: Imnah and Ishvah and Ishvi and Beriah and their sister Serah. And the sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel. 18 These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to his daughter Leah; and she bore to Jacob these sixteen persons. 19 The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. 20 Now to Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him. 21 The sons of Benjamin: Bela and Becher and Ashbel, Gera and Naaman, Ehi and Rosh, Muppim and Huppim and Ard.22 These are the sons of Rachel, who were born to Jacob; there were fourteen persons in all.23 The sons of Dan: Hushim. 24 The sons of Naphtali: Jahzeel and Guni and Jezer and Shillem. 25 These are the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to his daughter Rachel, and she bore these to Jacob; there were seven persons in all. 26 All the persons belonging to Jacob, who came to Egypt, his direct descendants, not including the wives of Jacob’s sons, were sixty-six persons in all, 27 and the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt were two;all the persons of the house of Jacob, who came to Egypt, were seventy.

28 Now he sent Judah before him to Joseph, to point out the way before him to Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen. 29 Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel; as soon as he appeared before him, he fell on his neck and wept on his neck a long time. 30 Then Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive.” 31 Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me; 32 and the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock; and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.’ 33 When Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34 you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,’ that you may live in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is loathsome to the Egyptians.”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

Blessed Are the Faithful

Thoughts About What We’re Reading!

This week, we turn our attention to the book of Ezra

As we start to come to the close of our Old Testament reading, it is important to note the last few books cover a relatively short time span in the history of Israel. 

As we read through Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, it is better to read them with the understanding of how they work together. We know from these books there were at least three returns from Babylon to the land of Israel.

In the book of Ezra, the first six chapters tell the story of the first return of the Jews from captivity led by Zerubbabel – with the primary focus on the rebuilding of the temple.

Ezra chapters 7-10, record events 60 years later when Ezra leads a second group of exiles back to Jerusalem. 

The book of Esther takes place in the period between chapters 6 and 7 of Ezra.

The third return from Babylon is recorded in the book of Nehemiah.

I will write something on the books of Esther and Nehemiah in the weeks to come. 

The events described in Ezra are set in Jerusalem and the nearby surrounding area. This reminds us that the returning exiles were only able to populate a tiny portion of their former homeland. 

The mighty, independent nation of Israel was no more.

In Ezra, we witness the rebuilding of the temple, and see how the returning tribes worked together, sharing common struggles. 

Sixty years go by, spiritual apathy sets in, and it seems we have a stop work order (my words) on the surrounding walls of Jerusalem. Ezra returns a second time with two thousand folks to infuse some energy and we have a spiritual revival!

By the end of the book, we find that Israel has renewed its covenant with God and is acting accordingly.

The Gospel Transformation Bible has this to say about the Book Of Ezra: 

“God’s redemptive plan looms large here, as we see him preserving the people to whom he has given his covenant promises—through Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3) and David (2 Sam. 7:12–17). Those promises were carried through generations of Abraham’s seed and channeled through the tribe of Judah (see Ezra 1:5) until they ultimately culminated in Christ. Ezra shows the merciful continuity of God’s covenant, even for a sinful people punished by exile for their ugly rebellion against God. God’s promises will not fail; they are even more solid and beautiful than all the gold and silver vessels produced here as glorious evidence.”

Once more we are reminded that God keeps His promises and continues to bless those who are faithful to Him. 

Until next time… keep reading!

Jim

November 28 – OT Reading

Ezekiel 37-39

Ezekiel 37

Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones

37 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.”’” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

The Vision Explained

11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people.14 I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,” declares the Lord.’”

Reunion of Judah and Israel

15 The word of the Lord came again to me saying, 16 “And you, son of man, take for yourself one stick and write on it, ‘For Judah and for the sons of Israel, his companions’; then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions.’ 17 Then join them for yourself one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand. 18 When the sons of your people speak to you saying, ‘Will you not declare to us what you mean by these?’ 19 say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will put them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”’ 20 The sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes. 21 Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms. 23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God.

The Davidic Kingdom

24 “My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. 25 They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. 27 My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 28 And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.”’”

 

Ezekiel 38

Prophecy about Gog and Future Invasion of Israel

38 And the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords; Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops—many peoples with you.

“Be prepared, and prepare yourself, you and all your companies that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them. After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them. You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you.”

10 ‘Thus says the Lord God, “It will come about on that day, that thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan, 11 and you will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates, 12 to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.’ 13 Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish with all its villages will say to you, ‘Have you come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil?’”’

14 “Therefore prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “On that day when My people Israel are living securely, will you not know it15 You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army; 16 and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog.”

17 ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Are you the one of whom I spoke in former days through My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days for many years that I would bring you against them?18 It will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” declares the Lord God, “that My fury will mount up in My anger. 19 In My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence; the mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will call for a sword against him on all My mountains,” declares the Lord God. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 With pestilence and with blood I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire and brimstone. 23 I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the Lord.”’

 

Ezekiel 39

Prophecy against Gog—Invaders Destroyed

39 “And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal; and I will turn you around, drive you on, take you up from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel. I will strike your bow from your left hand and dash down your arrows from your right hand. You will fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you as food to every kind of predatory bird and beast of the field. You will fall on the open field; for it is I who have spoken,” declares the Lord God. “And I will send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coastlands in safety; and they will know that I am the Lord.

“My holy name I will make known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not let My holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it is coming and it shall be done,” declares the Lord God. “That is the day of which I have spoken.

“Then those who inhabit the cities of Israel will go out and make fires with the weapons and burn them, both shields and bucklers, bows and arrows, war clubs and spears, and for seven years they will make fires of them. 10 They will not take wood from the field or gather firewood from the forests, for they will make fires with the weapons; and they will take the spoil of those who despoiled them and seize the plunder of those who plundered them,” declares the Lord God.

11 “On that day I will give Gog a burial ground there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea, and it will block off those who would pass by. So they will bury Gog there with all his horde, and they will call it the valley of Hamon-gog. 12 For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them in order to cleanse the land. 13 Even all the people of the land will bury them; and it will be to their renown on the day that I glorify Myself,” declares the Lord God. 14 “They will set apart men who will constantly pass through the land, burying those who were passing through, even those left on the surface of the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search. 15 As those who pass through the land pass through and anyone sees a man’s bone, then he will set up a marker by it until the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamon-gog. 16 And even the name of the city will be Hamonah. So they will cleanse the land.”’

17 “As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord God, ‘Speak to every kind of bird and to every beast of the field, “Assemble and come, gather from every side to My sacrifice which I am going to sacrifice for you, as a great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood. 18 You will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, as though they were rams, lambs, goats and bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan. 19 So you will eat fat until you are glutted, and drink blood until you are drunk, from My sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. 20 You will be glutted at My table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all the men of war,” declares the Lord God.

21 “And I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them. 22 And the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God from that day onward. 23 The nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me, and I hid My face from them; so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and all of them fell by the sword. 24 According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I dealt with them, and I hid My face from them.”’”

Israel Restored

25 Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name. 26 They will forget their disgrace and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me, when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid. 27 When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations. 28 Then they will know that I am the Lord their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer. 29 I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord God.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

November 27 – OT Reading

Ezekiel 34-36

Ezekiel 34

Prophecy against the Shepherds of Israel

34 Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered. My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them.”’”

Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: “As I live,” declares the Lord God, “surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock; therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them.”’”

The Restoration of Israel

11 For thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. 13 I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. 14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord God.16 “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.

17 “As for you, My flock, thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I will judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats. 18 Is it too slight a thing for you that you should feed in the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pastures? Or that you should drink of the clear waters, that you must foul the rest with your feet? 19 As for My flock, they must eat what you tread down with your feet and drink what you foul with your feet!’”

20 Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them, “Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you push with side and with shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns until you have scattered them abroad, 22 therefore, I will deliver My flock, and they will no longer be a prey; and I will judge between one sheep and another.

23 “Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the Lord have spoken.

25 “I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 I will make them and the places around My hill a blessing. And I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing. 27 Also the tree of the field will yield its fruit and the earth will yield its increase, and they will be secure on their land. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bars of their yoke and have delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 28 They will no longer be a prey to the nations, and the beasts of the earth will not devour them; but they will live securely, and no one will make them afraid. 29 I will establish for them a renowned planting place, and they will not again be victims of famine in the land, and they will not endure the insults of the nations anymore. 30 Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are My people,” declares the Lord God. 31 “As for you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, you are men, and I am your God,” declares the Lord God.

 

Ezekiel 35

Prophecy against Mount Seir

35 Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, set your face against Mount Seir, and prophesy against it and say to it, ‘Thus says the Lord God,

“Behold, I am against you, Mount Seir, And I will stretch out My hand against you And make you a desolation and a waste. “I will lay waste your cities And you will become a desolation. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

Because you have had everlasting enmity and have delivered the sons of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of the punishment of the end, therefore as I live,” declares the Lord God, “I will give you over to bloodshed, and bloodshed will pursue you; since you have not hated bloodshed, therefore bloodshed will pursue you. I will make Mount Seir a waste and a desolation and I will cut off from it the one who passes through and returns. I will fill its mountains with its slain; on your hills and in your valleys and in all your ravines those slain by the sword will fall. I will make you an everlasting desolation and your cities will not be inhabited. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

10 “Because you have said, ‘These two nations and these two lands will be mine, and we will possess them,’ although the Lord was there, 11 therefore as I live,” declares the Lord God, “I will deal with you according to your anger and according to your envy which you showed because of your hatred against them; so I will make Myself known among them when I judge you. 12 Then you will know that I, the Lord, have heard all your revilings which you have spoken against the mountains of Israel saying, ‘They are laid desolate; they are given to us for food.’ 13 And you have spoken arrogantly against Me and have multiplied your words against Me; I have heard it.” 14 Thus says the Lord God, “As all the earth rejoices, I will make you a desolation. 15 As you rejoiced over the inheritance of the house of Israel because it was desolate, so I will do to you. You will be a desolation, O Mount Seir, and all Edom, all of it. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”’

 

Ezekiel 36

The Mountains of Israel to Be Blessed

36 “And you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel and say, ‘O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God, “Because the enemy has spoken against you, ‘Aha!’ and, ‘The everlasting heights have become our possession,’ therefore prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “For good reason they have made you desolate and crushed you from every side, that you would become a possession of the rest of the nations and you have been taken up in the talk and the whispering of the people.”’” Therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God. Thus says the Lord God to the mountains and to the hills, to the ravines and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes and to the forsaken cities which have become a prey and a derision to the rest of the nations which are round about, therefore thus says the Lord God, “Surely in the fire of My jealousy I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, who appropriated My land for themselves as a possession with wholehearted joy and with scorn of soul, to drive it out for a prey.” Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel and say to the mountains and to the hills, to the ravines and to the valleys, “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I have spoken in My jealousy and in My wrath because you have endured the insults of the nations.’ Therefore thus says the Lord God, ‘I have sworn that surely the nations which are around you will themselves endure their insults. But you, O mountains of Israel, you will put forth your branches and bear your fruit for My people Israel; for they will soon come. For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you will be cultivated and sown. 10 I will multiply men on you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities will be inhabited and the waste places will be rebuilt. 11 I will multiply on you man and beast; and they will increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited as you were formerly and will treat you better than at the first. Thus you will know that I am the Lord. 12 Yes, I will cause men—My people Israel—to walk on you and possess you, so that you will become their inheritance and never again bereave them of children.’

13 “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Because they say to you, “You are a devourer of men and have bereaved your nation of children,” 14 therefore you will no longer devour men and no longer bereave your nation of children,’ declares the Lord God. 15 “I will not let you hear insults from the nations anymore, nor will you bear disgrace from the peoples any longer, nor will you cause your nation to stumble any longer,” declares the Lord God.’”

16 Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 17 “Son of man, when the house of Israel was living in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds; their way before Me was like the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity. 18 Therefore I poured out My wrath on them for the blood which they had shed on the land, because they had defiled it with their idols. 19 Also I scattered them among the nations and they were dispersed throughout the lands. According to their ways and their deeds I judged them. 20 When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord; yet they have come out of His land.’ 21 But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations where they went.

Israel to Be Renewed for His Name’s Sake

22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. 23 I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. 24 For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. 28 You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God. 29 Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not bring a famine on you. 30 I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that you will not receive again the disgrace of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and your abominations. 32 I am not doing this for your sake,” declares the Lord God, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel!”

33 ‘Thus says the Lord God, “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by. 35 They will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’ 36 Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the Lord, have spoken and will do it.”

37 ‘Thus says the Lord God, “This also I will let the house of Israel ask Me to do for them: I will increase their men like a flock. 38 Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so will the waste cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”’”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

November 12 – OT Reading

Lamentations 1 – 3:36

Lamentations 1

The Sorrows of Zion

1 How lonely sits the city That was full of people! She has become like a widow Who was once great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces Has become a forced laborer! She weeps bitterly in the night And her tears are on her cheeks; She has none to comfort her Among all her lovers. All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; They have become her enemies. Judah has gone into exile under affliction And under harsh servitude; She dwells among the nations, But she has found no rest; All her pursuers have overtaken her In the midst of distress. The roads of Zion are in mourning Because no one comes to the appointed feasts. All her gates are desolate; Her priests are groaning, Her virgins are afflicted, And she herself is bitter. Her adversaries have become her masters, Her enemies prosper; For the Lord has caused her grief Because of the multitude of her transgressions; Her little ones have gone away As captives before the adversary. All her majesty Has departed from the daughter of Zion; Her princes have become like deer That have found no pasture; And they have fled without strength Before the pursuer. In the days of her affliction and homelessness Jerusalem remembers all her precious things That were from the days of old, When her people fell into the hand of the adversary And no one helped her. The adversaries saw her, They mocked at her ruin. Jerusalem sinned greatly, Therefore she has become an unclean thing. All who honored her despise her Because they have seen her nakedness; Even she herself groans and turns away. Her uncleanness was in her skirts; She did not consider her future. Therefore she has fallen astonishingly; She has no comforter. “See, O Lord, my affliction, For the enemy has magnified himself!” 10 The adversary has stretched out his hand Over all her precious things, For she has seen the nations enter her sanctuary, The ones whom You commanded That they should not enter into Your congregation. 11 All her people groan seeking bread; They have given their precious things for food To restore their lives themselves. “See, O Lord, and look, For I am despised.” 12 “Is it nothing to all you who pass this way? Look and see if there is any pain like my pain Which was severely dealt out to me, Which the Lord inflicted on the day of His fierce anger. 13 “From on high He sent fire into my bones, And it prevailed over them. He has spread a net for my feet; He has turned me back; He has made me desolate, Faint all day long. 14 “The yoke of my transgressions is bound; By His hand they are knit together. They have come upon my neck; He has made my strength fail. The Lord has given me into the hands Of those against whom I am not able to stand. 15 “The Lord has rejected all my strong men In my midst; He has called an appointed time against me To crush my young men; The Lord has trodden as in a wine press The virgin daughter of Judah. 16 “For these things I weep; My eyes run down with water; Because far from me is a comforter, One who restores my soul. My children are desolate Because the enemy has prevailed.” 17 Zion stretches out her hands; There is no one to comfort her; The Lord has commanded concerning Jacob That the ones round about him should be his adversaries; Jerusalem has become an unclean thing among them. 18 “The Lord is righteous; For I have rebelled against His command; Hear now, all peoples, And behold my pain; My virgins and my young men Have gone into captivity. 19 “I called to my lovers, but they deceived me; My priests and my elders perished in the city While they sought food to restore their strength themselves. 20 “See, O Lord, for I am in distress; My spirit is greatly troubled; My heart is overturned within me, For I have been very rebellious. In the street the sword slays; In the house it is like death. 21 “They have heard that I groan; There is no one to comfort me; All my enemies have heard of my calamity; They are glad that You have done it. Oh, that You would bring the day which You have proclaimed, That they may become like me. 22 “Let all their wickedness come before You; And deal with them as You have dealt with me For all my transgressions; For my groans are many and my heart is faint.”

 

Lamentations 2

God’s Anger over Israel

2 How the Lord has covered the daughter of Zion With a cloud in His anger! He has cast from heaven to earth The glory of Israel, And has not remembered His footstool In the day of His anger. The Lord has swallowed up; He has not spared All the habitations of Jacob. In His wrath He has thrown down The strongholds of the daughter of Judah; He has brought them down to the ground; He has profaned the kingdom and its princes. In fierce anger He has cut off All the strength of Israel; He has drawn back His right hand From before the enemy. And He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire Consuming round about. He has bent His bow like an enemy; He has set His right hand like an adversary And slain all that were pleasant to the eye; In the tent of the daughter of Zion He has poured out His wrath like fire. The Lord has become like an enemy. He has swallowed up Israel; He has swallowed up all its palaces, He has destroyed its strongholds And multiplied in the daughter of Judah Mourning and moaning. And He has violently treated His tabernacle like a garden booth; He has destroyed His appointed meeting place. The Lord has caused to be forgotten The appointed feast and sabbath in Zion, And He has despised king and priest In the indignation of His anger. The Lord has rejected His altar, He has abandoned His sanctuary; He has delivered into the hand of the enemy The walls of her palaces. They have made a noise in the house of the Lord As in the day of an appointed feast. The Lord determined to destroy The wall of the daughter of Zion. He has stretched out a line, He has not restrained His hand from destroying, And He has caused rampart and wall to lament; They have languished together. Her gates have sunk into the ground, He has destroyed and broken her bars. Her king and her princes are among the nations; The law is no more. Also, her prophets find No vision from the Lord. 10 The elders of the daughter of Zion Sit on the ground, they are silent. They have thrown dust on their heads; They have girded themselves with sackcloth. The virgins of Jerusalem Have bowed their heads to the ground. 11 My eyes fail because of tears, My spirit is greatly troubled; My heart is poured out on the earth Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, When little ones and infants faint In the streets of the city. 12 They say to their mothers, “Where is grain and wine?” As they faint like a wounded man In the streets of the city, As their life is poured out On their mothers’ bosom. 13 How shall I admonish you? To what shall I compare you, O daughter of Jerusalem? To what shall I liken you as I comfort you, O virgin daughter of Zion? For your ruin is as vast as the sea; Who can heal you? 14 Your prophets have seen for you False and foolish visions; And they have not exposed your iniquity So as to restore you from captivity, But they have seen for you false and misleading oracles. 15 All who pass along the way Clap their hands in derision at you; They hiss and shake their heads At the daughter of Jerusalem, “Is this the city of which they said, ‘The perfection of beauty, A joy to all the earth’?” 16 All your enemies Have opened their mouths wide against you; They hiss and gnash their teeth. They say, “We have swallowed her up! Surely this is the day for which we waited; We have reached it, we have seen it.” 17 The Lord has done what He purposed; He has accomplished His word Which He commanded from days of old. He has thrown down without sparing, And He has caused the enemy to rejoice over you; He has exalted the might of your adversaries. 18 Their heart cried out to the Lord, “O wall of the daughter of Zion, Let your tears run down like a river day and night; Give yourself no relief, Let your eyes have no rest. 19 “Arise, cry aloud in the night At the beginning of the night watches; Pour out your heart like water Before the presence of the Lord; Lift up your hands to Him For the life of your little ones Who are faint because of hunger At the head of every street.” 20 See, O Lord, and look! With whom have You dealt thus? Should women eat their offspring, The little ones who were born healthy? Should priest and prophet be slain In the sanctuary of the Lord? 21 On the ground in the streets Lie young and old; My virgins and my young men Have fallen by the sword. You have slain them in the day of Your anger, You have slaughtered, not sparing. 22 You called as in the day of an appointed feast My terrors on every side; And there was no one who escaped or survived In the day of the Lord’s anger. Those whom I bore and reared, My enemy annihilated them.

 

Lamentations 3

Jeremiah Shares Israel’s Affliction

3 I am the man who has seen affliction Because of the rod of His wrath. He has driven me and made me walk In darkness and not in light. Surely against me He has turned His hand Repeatedly all the day. He has caused my flesh and my skin to waste away, He has broken my bones. He has besieged and encompassed me with bitterness and hardship. In dark places He has made me dwell, Like those who have long been dead. He has walled me in so that I cannot go out; He has made my chain heavy. Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer. He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked. 10 He is to me like a bear lying in wait, Like a lion in secret places. 11 He has turned aside my ways and torn me to pieces; He has made me desolate. 12 He bent His bow And set me as a target for the arrow. 13 He made the arrows of His quiver To enter into my inward parts. 14 I have become a laughingstock to all my people, Their mocking song all the day. 15 He has filled me with bitterness, He has made me drunk with wormwood. 16 He has broken my teeth with gravel; He has made me cower in the dust. 17 My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness. 18 So I say, “My strength has perished, And so has my hope from the Lord.”

Hope of Relief in God’s Mercy

19 Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. 20 Surely my soul remembers And is bowed down within me. 21 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. 22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. 26 It is good that he waits silently For the salvation of the Lord. 27 It is good for a man that he should bear The yoke in his youth. 28 Let him sit alone and be silent Since He has laid it on him. 29 Let him put his mouth in the dust, Perhaps there is hope. 30 Let him give his cheek to the smiter, Let him be filled with reproach. 31 For the Lord will not reject forever, 32 For if He causes grief, Then He will have compassion According to His abundant lovingkindness. 33 For He does not afflict willingly Or grieve the sons of men. 34 To crush under His feet All the prisoners of the land, 35 To deprive a man of justice In the presence of the Most High, 36 To defraud a man in his lawsuit— Of these things the Lord does not approve.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

November 11 – OT Reading

Jeremiah 51-52

Jeremiah 51

Babylon Judged for Sins against Israel

51 Thus says the Lord:

“Behold, I am going to arouse against Babylon And against the inhabitants of Leb-kamai The spirit of a destroyer. “I will dispatch foreigners to Babylon that they may winnow her And may devastate her land; For on every side they will be opposed to her In the day of her calamity. “Let not him who bends his bow bend it, Nor let him rise up in his scale-armor; So do not spare her young men; Devote all her army to destruction. “They will fall down slain in the land of the Chaldeans, And pierced through in their streets.”

For neither Israel nor Judah has been forsaken By his God, the Lord of hosts, Although their land is full of guilt Before the Holy One of Israel. Flee from the midst of Babylon, And each of you save his life! Do not be destroyed in her punishment, For this is the Lord’s time of vengeance; He is going to render recompense to her. Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of the Lord, Intoxicating all the earth. The nations have drunk of her wine; Therefore the nations are going mad. Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken; Wail over her! Bring balm for her pain; Perhaps she may be healed. We applied healing to Babylon, but she was not healed; Forsake her and let us each go to his own country, For her judgment has reached to heaven And towers up to the very skies. 10 The Lord has brought about our vindication; Come and let us recount in Zion The work of the Lord our God!

11 Sharpen the arrows, fill the quivers! The Lord has aroused the spirit of the kings of the Medes, Because His purpose is against Babylon to destroy it; For it is the vengeance of the Lord, vengeance for His temple. 12 Lift up a signal against the walls of Babylon; Post a strong guard, Station sentries, Place men in ambush! For the Lord has both purposed and performed What He spoke concerning the inhabitants of Babylon. 13 O you who dwell by many waters, Abundant in treasures, Your end has come, The measure of your end. 14 The Lord of hosts has sworn by Himself: “Surely I will fill you with a population like locusts, And they will cry out with shouts of victory over you.”

15 It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom, And by His understanding He stretched out the heavens. 16 When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, And He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain And brings forth the wind from His storehouses. 17 All mankind is stupid, devoid of knowledge; Every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, For his molten images are deceitful, And there is no breath in them. 18 They are worthless, a work of mockery; In the time of their punishment they will perish. 19 The portion of Jacob is not like these; For the Maker of all is He, And of the tribe of His inheritance; The Lord of hosts is His name. 20 He says, “You are My war-club, My weapon of war; And with you I shatter nations, And with you I destroy kingdoms. 21 “With you I shatter the horse and his rider, And with you I shatter the chariot and its rider, 22 And with you I shatter man and woman, And with you I shatter old man and youth, And with you I shatter young man and virgin, 23 And with you I shatter the shepherd and his flock, And with you I shatter the farmer and his team, And with you I shatter governors and prefects.

24 “But I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all their evil that they have done in Zion before your eyes,” declares the Lord.

25 “Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, Who destroys the whole earth,” declares the Lord, “And I will stretch out My hand against you, And roll you down from the crags, And I will make you a burnt out mountain. 26 “They will not take from you even a stone for a corner Nor a stone for foundations, But you will be desolate forever,” declares the Lord.

27 Lift up a signal in the land, Blow a trumpet among the nations! Consecrate the nations against her, Summon against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz; Appoint a marshal against her, Bring up the horses like bristly locusts. 28 Consecrate the nations against her, The kings of the Medes, Their governors and all their prefects, And every land of their dominion. 29 So the land quakes and writhes, For the purposes of the Lord against Babylon stand, To make the land of Babylon A desolation without inhabitants. 30 The mighty men of Babylon have ceased fighting, They stay in the strongholds; Their strength is exhausted, They are becoming like women; Their dwelling places are set on fire, The bars of her gates are broken. 31 One courier runs to meet another, And one messenger to meet another, To tell the king of Babylon That his city has been captured from end to end; 32 The fords also have been seized, And they have burned the marshes with fire, And the men of war are terrified.

33 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:

“The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor At the time it is stamped firm; Yet in a little while the time of harvest will come for her.”

34 “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has devoured me and crushed me, He has set me down like an empty vessel; He has swallowed me like a monster, He has filled his stomach with my delicacies; He has washed me away. 35 “May the violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon,” The inhabitant of Zion will say; And, “May my blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,” Jerusalem will say.

36 Therefore thus says the Lord,

“Behold, I am going to plead your case And exact full vengeance for you; And I will dry up her sea And make her fountain dry. 37 “Babylon will become a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals, An object of horror and hissing, without inhabitants. 38 “They will roar together like young lions, They will growl like lions’ cubs. 39 “When they become heated up, I will serve them their banquet And make them drunk, that they may become jubilant And may sleep a perpetual sleep And not wake up,” declares the Lord. 40 “I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, Like rams together with male goats.

41 “How Sheshak has been captured, And the praise of the whole earth been seized! How Babylon has become an object of horror among the nations! 42 “The sea has come up over Babylon; She has been engulfed with its tumultuous waves. 43 “Her cities have become an object of horror, A parched land and a desert, A land in which no man lives And through which no son of man passes. 44 “I will punish Bel in Babylon, And I will make what he has swallowed come out of his mouth; And the nations will no longer stream to him. Even the wall of Babylon has fallen down!

45 “Come forth from her midst, My people, And each of you save yourselves From the fierce anger of the Lord. 46 “Now so that your heart does not grow faint, And you are not afraid at the report that will be heard in the land— For the report will come one year, And after that another report in another year, And violence will be in the land With ruler against ruler— 47 Therefore behold, days are coming When I will punish the idols of Babylon; And her whole land will be put to shame And all her slain will fall in her midst. 48 “Then heaven and earth and all that is in them Will shout for joy over Babylon, For the destroyers will come to her from the north,” Declares the Lord.

49 Indeed Babylon is to fall for the slain of Israel, As also for Babylon the slain of all the earth have fallen. 50 You who have escaped the sword, Depart! Do not stay! Remember the Lord from afar, And let Jerusalem come to your mind. 51 We are ashamed because we have heard reproach; Disgrace has covered our faces, For aliens have entered The holy places of the Lord’s house.

52 “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “When I will punish her idols, And the mortally wounded will groan throughout her land. 53 “Though Babylon should ascend to the heavens, And though she should fortify her lofty stronghold, From Me destroyers will come to her,” declares the Lord.

54 The sound of an outcry from Babylon, And of great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans! 55 For the Lord is going to destroy Babylon, And He will make her loud noise vanish from her. And their waves will roar like many waters; The tumult of their voices sounds forth. 56 For the destroyer is coming against her, against Babylon, And her mighty men will be captured, Their bows are shattered; For the Lord is a God of recompense, He will fully repay. 57 “I will make her princes and her wise men drunk, Her governors, her prefects and her mighty men, That they may sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake up,” Declares the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts.

58 Thus says the Lord of hosts,

“The broad wall of Babylon will be completely razed And her high gates will be set on fire; So the peoples will toil for nothing, And the nations become exhausted only for fire.”

59 The message which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the grandson of Mahseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah to Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. (Now Seraiah was quartermaster.) 60 So Jeremiah wrote in a single scroll all the calamity which would come upon Babylon, that is, all these words which have been written concerning Babylon. 61 Then Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “As soon as you come to Babylon, then see that you read all these words aloud, 62 and say, ‘You, O Lord, have promised concerning this place to cut it off, so that there will be nothing dwelling in it, whether man or beast, but it will be a perpetual desolation.’ 63 And as soon as you finish reading this scroll, you will tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates, 64 and say, ‘Just so shall Babylon sink down and not rise again because of the calamity that I am going to bring upon her; and they will become exhausted.’” Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.

 

Jeremiah 52

The Fall of Jerusalem

52 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. He did evil in the sight of the Lord like all that Jehoiakim had done. For through the anger of the Lord this came about in Jerusalem and Judah until He cast them out from His presence. And Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. Now it came about in the ninth year of his reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, camped against it and built a siege wall all around it. So the city was under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. Then the city was broken into, and all the men of war fled and went forth from the city at night by way of the gate between the two walls which was by the king’s garden, though the Chaldeans were all around the city. And they went by way of the Arabah. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho, and all his army was scattered from him. Then they captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, and he passed sentence on him. 10 The king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and he also slaughtered all the princes of Judah in Riblah. 11 Then he blinded the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him with bronze fetters and brought him to Babylon and put him in prison until the day of his death.

12 Now on the tenth day of the fifth month, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, who was in the service of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 13 He burned the house of the Lord, the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every large house he burned with fire. 14 So all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down all the walls around Jerusalem. 15 Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away into exile some of the poorest of the people, the rest of the people who were left in the city, the deserters who had deserted to the king of Babylon and the rest of the artisans. 16 But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and plowmen.

17 Now the bronze pillars which belonged to the house of the Lord and the stands and the bronze sea, which were in the house of the Lord, the Chaldeans broke in pieces and carried all their bronze to Babylon. 18 They also took away the pots, the shovels, the snuffers, the basins, the pans and all the bronze vessels which were used in temple service. 19 The captain of the guard also took away the bowls, the firepans, the basins, the pots, the lampstands, the pans and the drink offering bowls, what was fine gold and what was fine silver. 20 The two pillars, the one sea, and the twelve bronze bulls that were under the sea, and the stands, which King Solomon had made for the house of the Lord—the bronze of all these vessels was beyond weight. 21 As for the pillars, the height of each pillar was eighteen cubits, and it was twelve cubits in circumference and four fingers in thickness, and hollow. 22 Now a capital of bronze was on it; and the height of each capital was five cubits, with network and pomegranates upon the capital all around, all of bronze. And the second pillar was like these, including pomegranates. 23 There were ninety-six exposed pomegranates; all the pomegranates numbered a hundred on the network all around.

24 Then the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest and Zephaniah the second priest, with the three officers of the temple. 25 He also took from the city one official who was overseer of the men of war, and seven of the king’s advisers who were found in the city, and the scribe of the commander of the army who mustered the people of the land, and sixty men of the people of the land who were found in the midst of the city. 26 Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27 Then the king of Babylon struck them down and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was led away into exile from its land.

28 These are the people whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away into exile: in the seventh year 3,023 Jews; 29 in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar 832 persons from Jerusalem; 30 in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried into exile 745 Jewish people; there were 4,600 persons in all.

31 Now it came about in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth of the month, that Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, showed favor to Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison. 32 Then he spoke kindly to him and set his throne above the thrones of the kings who were with him in Babylon. 33 So Jehoiachin changed his prison clothes, and had his meals in the king’s presence regularly all the days of his life. 34 For his allowance, a regular allowance was given him by the king of Babylon, a daily portion all the days of his life until the day of his death.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

October 30 – OT Reading

Jeremiah 30-31

Jeremiah 30

Deliverance from Captivity Promised

30 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book. For behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah.’ The Lord says, ‘I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it.’”

Now these are the words which the Lord spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah:

“For thus says the Lord,

‘I have heard a sound of terror, Of dread, and there is no peace. ‘Ask now, and see If a male can give birth. Why do I see every man With his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale? ‘Alas! for that day is great, There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s distress, But he will be saved from it.

‘It shall come about on that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘that I will break his yoke from off their neck and will tear off their bonds; and strangers will no longer make them their slaves. But they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.

10 ‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant,’ declares the Lord, ‘And do not be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar And your offspring from the land of their captivity. And Jacob will return and will be quiet and at ease, And no one will make him afraid. 11 ‘For I am with you,’ declares the Lord, ‘to save you; For I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you, Only I will not destroy you completely. But I will chasten you justly And will by no means leave you unpunished.’

12 “For thus says the Lord, ‘Your wound is incurable And your injury is serious. 13 ‘There is no one to plead your cause; No healing for your sore, No recovery for you. 14 ‘All your lovers have forgotten you, They do not seek you; For I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, With the punishment of a cruel one, Because your iniquity is great And your sins are numerous. 15 ‘Why do you cry out over your injury? Your pain is incurable. Because your iniquity is great And your sins are numerous, I have done these things to you. 16 ‘Therefore all who devour you will be devoured; And all your adversaries, every one of them, will go into captivity; And those who plunder you will be for plunder, And all who prey upon you I will give for prey. 17 ‘For I will restore you to health And I will heal you of your wounds,’ declares the Lord, ‘Because they have called you an outcast, saying: “It is Zion; no one cares for her.”’

Restoration of Jacob

18 “Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob And have compassion on his dwelling places; And the city will be rebuilt on its ruin, And the palace will stand on its rightful place. 19 ‘From them will proceed thanksgiving And the voice of those who celebrate; And I will multiply them and they will not be diminished; I will also honor them and they will not be insignificant. 20 ‘Their children also will be as formerly, And their congregation shall be established before Me; And I will punish all their oppressors. 21 ‘Their leader shall be one of them, And their ruler shall come forth from their midst; And I will bring him near and he shall approach Me; For who would dare to risk his life to approach Me?’ declares the Lord. 22 ‘You shall be My people, And I will be your God.’”

23 Behold, the tempest of the Lord! Wrath has gone forth, A sweeping tempest; It will burst on the head of the wicked. 24 The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back Until He has performed and until He has accomplished The intent of His heart; In the latter days you will understand this.

 

Jeremiah 31

Israel’s Mourning Turned to Joy

31 “At that time,” declares the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.”

Thus says the Lord, “The people who survived the sword Found grace in the wilderness— Israel, when it went to find its rest.” The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. “Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! Again you will take up your tambourines, And go forth to the dances of the merrymakers. “Again you will plant vineyards On the hills of Samaria; The planters will plant And will enjoy them. “For there will be a day when watchmen On the hills of Ephraim call out, ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, To the Lord our God.’”

For thus says the Lord, “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, And shout among the chief of the nations; Proclaim, give praise and say, ‘O Lord, save Your people, The remnant of Israel.’ “Behold, I am bringing them from the north country, And I will gather them from the remote parts of the earth, Among them the blind and the lame, The woman with child and she who is in labor with child, together; A great company, they will return here. “With weeping they will come, And by supplication I will lead them; I will make them walk by streams of waters, On a straight path in which they will not stumble; For I am a father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn.”

10 Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, And declare in the coastlands afar off, And say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him And keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.” 11 For the Lord has ransomed Jacob And redeemed him from the hand of him who was stronger than he. 12 “They will come and shout for joy on the height of Zion, And they will be radiant over the bounty of the Lord— Over the grain and the new wine and the oil, And over the young of the flock and the herd; And their life will be like a watered garden, And they will never languish again. 13 “Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance, And the young men and the old, together, For I will turn their mourning into joy And will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow. 14 “I will fill the soul of the priests with abundance, And My people will be satisfied with My goodness,” declares the Lord.

15 Thus says the Lord, “A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.”

16 Thus says the Lord,

“Restrain your voice from weeping And your eyes from tears; For your work will be rewarded,” declares the Lord, “And they will return from the land of the enemy. 17 “There is hope for your future,” declares the Lord, “And your children will return to their own territory. 18 “I have surely heard Ephraim grieving, ‘You have chastised me, and I was chastised, Like an untrained calf; Bring me back that I may be restored, For You are the Lord my God. 19 ‘For after I turned back, I repented; And after I was instructed, I smote on my thigh; I was ashamed and also humiliated Because I bore the reproach of my youth.’ 20 “Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a delightful child? Indeed, as often as I have spoken against him, I certainly still remember him; Therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him,” declares the Lord.

21 “Set up for yourself roadmarks, Place for yourself guideposts; Direct your mind to the highway, The way by which you went. Return, O virgin of Israel, Return to these your cities. 22 “How long will you go here and there, O faithless daughter? For the Lord has created a new thing in the earth— A woman will encompass a man.”

23 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Once again they will speak this word in the land of Judah and in its cities when I restore their fortunes,

‘The Lord bless you, O abode of righteousness, O holy hill!’

24 Judah and all its cities will dwell together in it, the farmer and they who go about with flocks. 25 For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.” 26 At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me.

A New Covenant

27 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and with the seed of beast. 28 As I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to overthrow, to destroy and to bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the Lord.

29 “In those days they will not say again, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge.’

30 But everyone will die for his own iniquity; each man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge.

31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

35 Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The Lord of hosts is His name: 36 “If this fixed order departs From before Me,” declares the Lord, “Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever.”

37 Thus says the Lord,

“If the heavens above can be measured And the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done,” declares the Lord.

38 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when the city will be rebuilt for the Lord from theTower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 The measuring line will go out farther straight ahead to the hill Gareb; then it will turn to Goah. 40 And the whole valley of the dead bodies and of the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be holy to the Lord; it will not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)