Ready or Not

Luke 3.1-14

John’s goal is to prepare a people ready for God’s salvation that comes through Jesus. His message is hope for the spiritually hungry, but a stern warning for the unrepentant. With the day of hope, comes the day of judgment as well…with the opportunity of promise comes the risk of rejecting the promise.

Just like John’s audience, we too need to be prepared. What needs to change? What then shall we do? For some of us, there are some barriers to faith that need to be removed…some things that we need to turn from or let go of so that we can lay hold of God. Judgment is coming…and it will be a day of wrath for those who are God’s enemies. The only One who can rescue is Jesus, but you have to have a personal encounter with Him. Your friends’ faith, your parents’ faith, your spouse’s faith…none of that can save you. There are no +1’s in the kingdom. But you may be saying, “You don’t know where I’ve been or what I’ve done”…there ain’t no mountain high enough, there ain’t no valley low enough, there ain’t no road too crooked, no heart to wicked that Jesus can’t save… But you have to choose to believe that Jesus, the eternal Son of God, came to earth and lived a perfect life, the one we were supposed to have lived, He died a sacrificial death in our place, He was resurrected on the 3rd day conquering both sin and death, and that He is now at the right hand of God the Father. By believing that, the Bible says that you are saved.

For some of us, we may say we’ve believed, but there has been no real change in our lives. If so, there’s a problem…because Jesus changes everything. Paul says you’ve passed from death to life. You are a new creation. You’ve been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of the beloved Son. If nothing’s changed… Things won’t likely change all at once, but you should see some kind of growth in your desire for God and the things of God. You should see some change in character (fruits of the Spirit…love, joy, peace, patience, etc.). Either you haven’t truly believed, or like the weeds in the parable of the soils, the cares of this world are choking out the fruit. I would challenge you to take some time today to examine your life. Ask the Spirit to bring to light what needs to change…what’s keeping you from Jesus?

For some of us, we’ve believed and we’ve seen some changes…some fruit but we want to see more. Continue to pursue your relationship with Jesus. Last week we talked about Grow and discipleship. Join a community group or another group where you can study the Word together, pray together, encourage and challenge each other, where you can make much of Jesus. Find a place to serve. Prepare the way for others. Your impact list is a great place to start. What can you do to bring those around you one step closer to Jesus?

Ready or not, Jesus is coming.

Until next time…stay salty.

The psalmist challenges us…“Search me of God and know my heart, try me and know my anxious thoughts and see if there be any hurtful way within me and lead me in the everlasting way.” Ask God to search you and reveal anything that might be keeping you from Him.

This post is based on a sermon from our Luke series, Redefining the Family. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @ccclancaster

November 6 – OT Reading

Jeremiah 41-45

Jeremiah 41

Gedaliah Is Murdered

41 In the seventh month Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the royal family and one of the chief officers of the king, along with ten men, came to Mizpah to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam. While they were eating bread together there in Mizpah, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him arose and struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, with the sword and put to death the one whom the king of Babylon had appointed over the land. Ishmael also struck down all the Jews who were with him, that is with Gedaliah at Mizpah, and the Chaldeans who were found there, the men of war.

Now it happened on the next day after the killing of Gedaliah, when no one knew about itthat eighty men came from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria with their beards shaved off and their clothes torn and their bodies gashed, having grain offerings and incense in their hands to bring to the house of the Lord. Then Ishmael the son of Nethaniah went out from Mizpah to meet them, weeping as he went; and as he met them, he said to them, “Come to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam!” Yet it turned out that as soon as they came inside the city, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and the men that were with him slaughtered them and cast them into the cistern. But ten men who were found among them said to Ishmael, “Do not put us to death; for we have stores of wheat, barley, oil and honey hidden in the field.” So he refrained and did not put them to death along with their companions.

Now as for the cistern where Ishmael had cast all the corpses of the men whom he had struck down because of Gedaliah, it was the one that King Asa had made on account of Baasha, king of Israel; Ishmael the son of Nethaniah filled it with the slain. 10 Then Ishmael took captive all the remnant of the people who were in Mizpah, the king’s daughters and all the people who were left in Mizpah, whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard had put under the charge of Gedaliah the son of Ahikam; thus Ishmael the son of Nethaniah took them captive and proceeded to cross over to the sons of Ammon.

Johanan Rescues the People

11 But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him heard of all the evil that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had done. 12 So they took all the men and went to fight with Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and they found him by the great pool that is in Gibeon. 13 Now as soon as all the people who were with Ishmael saw Johanan the son of Kareah and the commanders of the forces that were with him, they were glad. 14 So all the people whom Ishmael had taken captive from Mizpah turned around and came back, and went to Johanan the son of Kareah. 15 But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men and went to the sons of Ammon. 16 Then Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him took from Mizpah all the remnant of the people whom he had recovered from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, after he had struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, that is, the men who were soldiers, the women, the children, and the eunuchs, whom he had brought back from Gibeon. 17 And they went and stayed in Geruth Chimham, which is beside Bethlehem, in order to proceed into Egypt 18 because of the Chaldeans; for they were afraid of them, since Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had appointed over the land.


Jeremiah 42

Warning against Going to Egypt

42 Then all the commanders of the forces, Johanan the son of Kareah, Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people both small and great approached and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Please let our petition come before you, and pray for us to the Lord your God, that is for all this remnant; because we are left but a few out of many, as your own eyes now see us, that the Lord your God may tell us the way in which we should walk and the thing that we should do.” Then Jeremiah the prophet said to them, “I have heard you. Behold, I am going to pray to the Lord your God in accordance with your words; and I will tell you the whole message which the Lord will answer you. I will not keep back a word from you.” Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with the whole message with which the Lord your God will send you to us. Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, so that it may go well with us when we listen to the voice of the Lord our God.”

Now at the end of ten days the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah. Then he called for Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces that were with him, and for all the people both small and great, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition before Him: 10 ‘If you will indeed stay in this land, then I will build you up and not tear you down, and I will plant you and not uproot you; for I will relent concerning the calamity that I have inflicted on you. 11 Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you are now fearing; do not be afraid of him,’ declares the Lord, ‘for I am with you to save you and deliver you from his hand. 12 I will also show you compassion, so that he will have compassion on you and restore you to your own soil.13 But if you are going to say, “We will not stay in this land,” so as not to listen to the voice of the Lord your God, 14 saying, “No, but we will go to the land of Egypt, where we will not see war or hear the sound of a trumpet or hunger for bread, and we will stay there”; 15 then in that case listen to the word of the Lord, O remnant of Judah. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “If you really set your mind to enter Egypt and go in to reside there, 16 then the sword, which you are afraid of, will overtake you there in the land of Egypt; and the famine, about which you are anxious, will follow closely after you there in Egypt, and you will die there. 17 So all the men who set their mind to go to Egypt to reside there will die by the sword, by famine and by pestilence; and they will have no survivors or refugees from the calamity that I am going to bring on them.”’”

18 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “As My anger and wrath have been poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so My wrath will be poured out on you when you enter Egypt. And you will become a curse, an object of horror, an imprecation and a reproach; and you will see this place no more.” 19 The Lord has spoken to you, O remnant of Judah, “Do not go into Egypt!” You should clearly understand that today I have testified against you. 20 For you have only deceived yourselves; for it is you who sent me to the Lord your God, saying, “Pray for us to the Lord our God; and whatever the Lord our God says, tell us so, and we will do it.” 21 So I have told you today, but you have not obeyed the Lord your God, even in whatever He has sent me to tell you. 22 Therefore you should now clearly understand that you will die by the sword, by famine and by pestilence, in the place where you wish to go to reside.


Jeremiah 43

In Egypt Jeremiah Warns of Judgment

43 But as soon as Jeremiah, whom the Lord their God had sent, had finished telling all the people all the words of the Lord their God—that is, all these words— Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, “You are telling a lie! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, ‘You are not to enter Egypt to reside there’; but Baruch the son of Neriah is inciting you against us to give us over into the hand of the Chaldeans, so they will put us to death or exile us to Babylon.” So Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces, and all the people, did not obey the voice of the Lord to stay in the land of Judah. But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces took the entire remnant of Judah who had returned from all the nations to which they had been driven away, in order to reside in the land of Judah— the men, the women, the children, the king’s daughters and every person that Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, together with Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch the son of Neriah— and they entered the land of Egypt (for they did not obey the voice of the Lord) and went in as far as Tahpanhes.

Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, “Take some large stones in your hands and hide them in the mortar in the brick terrace which is at the entrance of Pharaoh’s palace in Tahpanhes, in the sight of some of the Jews; 10 and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I am going to send and get Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and I am going to set his throne right over these stones that I have hidden; and he will spread his canopy over them. 11 He will also come and strike the land of Egypt; those who are meant for death will be given over to death, and those for captivity to captivity, and those for the sword to the sword. 12 And I shall set fire to the temples of the gods of Egypt, and he will burn them and take them captive. So he will wrap himself with the land of Egypt as a shepherd wraps himself with his garment, and he will depart from there safely. 13 He will also shatter the obelisks of Heliopolis, which is in the land of Egypt; and the temples of the gods of Egypt he will burn with fire.”’”


Jeremiah 44

Conquest of Egypt Predicted

44 The word that came to Jeremiah for all the Jews living in the land of Egypt, those who were living in Migdol, Tahpanhes, Memphis, and the land of Pathros, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘You yourselves have seen all the calamity that I have brought on Jerusalem and all the cities of Judah; and behold, this day they are in ruins and no one lives in them, because of their wickedness which they committed so as to provoke Me to anger by continuing to burn sacrifices and to serve other gods whom they had not known, neither they, you, nor your fathers. Yet I sent you all My servants the prophets, again and again, saying, “Oh, do not do this abominable thing which I hate.” But they did not listen or incline their ears to turn from their wickedness, so as not to burn sacrifices to other gods. Therefore My wrath and My anger were poured out and burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, so they have become a ruin and a desolation as it is this day. Now then thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, “Why are you doing great harm to yourselves, so as to cut off from you man and woman, child and infant, from among Judah, leaving yourselves without remnant, provoking Me to anger with the works of your hands, burning sacrifices to other gods in the land of Egypt, where you are entering to reside, so that you might be cut off and become a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth? Have you forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, the wickedness of the kings of Judah, and the wickedness of their wives, your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 10 But they have not become contrite even to this day, nor have they feared nor walked in My law or My statutes, which I have set before you and before your fathers.”’

11 “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am going to set My face against you for woe, even to cut off all Judah. 12 And I will take away the remnant of Judah who have set their mind on entering the land of Egypt to reside there, and they will all meet their end in the land of Egypt; they will fall by the sword and meet their end by famine. Both small and great will die by the sword and famine; and they will become a curse, an object of horror, an imprecation and a reproach. 13 And I will punish those who live in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, with the sword, with famine and with pestilence. 14 So there will be no refugees or survivors for the remnant of Judah who have entered the land of Egypt to reside there and then to return to the land of Judah, to which they are longing to return and live; for none will return except a few refugees.’”

15 Then all the men who were aware that their wives were burning sacrifices to other gods, along with all the women who were standing by, as a large assembly, including all the people who were living in Pathros in the land of Egypt, responded to Jeremiah, saying, 16 “As for the message that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you! 17 But rather we will certainly carry out every word that has proceeded from our mouths, by burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, just as we ourselves, our forefathers, our kings and our princes did in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for then we had plenty of food and were well off and saw no misfortune. 18 But since we stopped burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have met our end by the sword and by famine.” 19 “And,” said the women, “when we were burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and were pouring out drink offerings to her, was it without our husbands that we made for her sacrificial cakes in her image and poured out drink offerings to her?”

Calamity for the Jews

20 Then Jeremiah said to all the people, to the men and women—even to all the people who were giving him such an answer—saying, 21 “As for the smoking sacrifices that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your forefathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the Lord remember them and did not all this come into His mind? 22 So the Lord was no longer able to endure it, because of the evil of your deeds, because of the abominations which you have committed; thus your land has become a ruin, an object of horror and a curse, without an inhabitant, as it is this day. 23 Because you have burned sacrifices and have sinned against the Lord and not obeyed the voice of the Lord or walked in His law, His statutes or His testimonies, therefore this calamity has befallen you, as it has this day.”

24 Then Jeremiah said to all the people, including all the women, “Hear the word of the Lord, all Judah who are in the land of Egypt, 25 thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, as follows: ‘As for you and your wives, you have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled it with your hands, saying, “We will certainly perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her.” Go ahead and confirm your vows, and certainly perform your vows!’26 Nevertheless hear the word of the Lord, all Judah who are living in the land of Egypt, ‘Behold, I have sworn by My great name,’ says the Lord, ‘never shall My name be invoked again by the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, “As the Lord God lives.” 27 Behold, I am watching over them for harm and not for good, and all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt will meet their end by the sword and by famine until they are completely gone. 28 Those who escape the sword will return out of the land of Egypt to the land of Judah few in number. Then all the remnant of Judah who have gone to the land of Egypt to reside there will know whose word will stand, Mine or theirs. 29 This will be the sign to you,’ declares the Lord, ‘that I am going to punish you in this place, so that you may know that My words will surely stand against you for harm.’ 30 Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I am going to give over Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt to the hand of his enemies, to the hand of those who seek his life, just as I gave over Zedekiah king of Judah to the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who was his enemy and was seeking his life.’”


Jeremiah 45

Message to Baruch

45 This is the message which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written down these words in a book at Jeremiah’s dictation, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying: “Thus says the Lord the God of Israel to you, O Baruch: ‘You said, “Ah, woe is me! For the Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning and have found no rest.”’ Thus you are to say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, what I have built I am about to tear down, and what I have planted I am about to uproot, that is, the whole land.” But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I am going to bring disaster on all flesh,’ declares the Lord, ‘but I will give your life to you as booty in all the places where you may go.’”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (

October 27 – OT Reading

Jeremiah 18-22

Jeremiah 18

The Potter and the Clay

18 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.

Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy itif that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it10 if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it. 11 So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds.”’ 12 But they will say, ‘It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’

13 “Therefore thus says the Lord, ‘Ask now among the nations, Who ever heard the like of this? The virgin of Israel Has done a most appalling thing. 14 ‘Does the snow of Lebanon forsake the rock of the open country? Or is the cold flowing water from a foreign land ever snatched away? 15 ‘For My people have forgotten Me, They burn incense to worthless gods And they have stumbled from their ways, From the ancient paths, To walk in bypaths, Not on a highway, 16 To make their land a desolation, An object of perpetual hissing; Everyone who passes by it will be astonished And shake his head. 17 ‘Like an east wind I will scatter them Before the enemy; I will show them My back and not My face In the day of their calamity.’”

18 Then they said, “Come and let us devise plans against Jeremiah. Surely the law is not going to be lost to the priest, nor counsel to the sage, nor the divine word to the prophet! Come on and let us strike at him with our tongue, and let us give no heed to any of his words.”

19 Do give heed to me, O Lord, And listen to what my opponents are saying! 20 Should good be repaid with evil? For they have dug a pit for me. Remember how I stood before You To speak good on their behalf, So as to turn away Your wrath from them. 21 Therefore, give their children over to famine And deliver them up to the power of the sword; And let their wives become childless and widowed. Let their men also be smitten to death, Their young men struck down by the sword in battle. 22 May an outcry be heard from their houses, When You suddenly bring raiders upon them; For they have dug a pit to capture me And hidden snares for my feet. 23 Yet You, O Lord, know All their deadly designs against me; Do not forgive their iniquity Or blot out their sin from Your sight. But may they be overthrown before You; Deal with them in the time of Your anger!


Jeremiah 19

The Broken Jar

19 Thus says the Lord, “Go and buy a potter’s earthenware jar, and take some of the elders of the people and some of the senior priests. Then go out to the valley of Ben-hinnom, which is by the entrance of the potsherd gate, and proclaim there the words that I tell you, and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold I am about to bring a calamity upon this place, at which the ears of everyone that hears of it will tingle. Because they have forsaken Me and have made this an alien place and have burned sacrifices in it to other gods, that neither they nor their forefathers nor the kings of Judah had ever known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind; therefore, behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-hinnom, but rather the valley of Slaughter. I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place, and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and by the hand of those who seek their life; and I will give over their carcasses as food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth. I will also make this city a desolation and an object of hissing; everyone who passes by it will be astonished and hiss because of all its disasters. I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they will eat one another’s flesh in the siege and in the distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life will distress them.”’

10 “Then you are to break the jar in the sight of the men who accompany you 11 and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Just so will I break this people and this city, even as one breaks a potter’s vessel, which cannot again be repaired; and they will bury in Topheth because there is no other place for burial. 12 This is how I will treat this place and its inhabitants,” declares the Lord, “so as to make this city like Topheth. 13 The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will be defiled like the place Topheth, because of all the houses on whose rooftops they burned sacrifices to all the heavenly host and poured out drink offerings to other gods.”’”

14 Then Jeremiah came from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of the Lord’s house and said to all the people: 15 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am about to bring on this city and all its towns the entire calamity that I have declared against it, because they have stiffened their necks so as not to heed My words.’”


Jeremiah 20

Pashhur Persecutes Jeremiah

20 When Pashhur the priest, the son of Immer, who was chief officer in the house of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things, Pashhur had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put him in the stocks that were at the upper Benjamin Gate, which was by the house of the Lord. On the next day, when Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “Pashhur is not the name the Lord has called you, but rather Magor-missabib. For thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I am going to make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; and while your eyes look on, they will fall by the sword of their enemies. So I will give over all Judah to the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will carry them away as exiles to Babylon and will slay them with the sword. I will also give over all the wealth of this city, all its produce and all its costly things; even all the treasures of the kings of Judah I will give over to the hand of their enemies, and they will plunder them, take them away and bring them to Babylon.And you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house will go into captivity; and you will enter Babylon, and there you will die and there you will be buried, you and all your friends to whom you have falsely prophesied.’”

Jeremiah’s Complaint

O Lord, You have deceived me and I was deceived; You have overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone mocks me. For each time I speak, I cry aloud; I proclaim violence and destruction, Because for me the word of the Lord has resulted In reproach and derision all day long. But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,” Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it. 10 For I have heard the whispering of many, “Terror on every side! Denounce him; yes, let us denounce him!” All my trusted friends, Watching for my fall, say: “Perhaps he will be deceived, so that we may prevail against him And take our revenge on him.” 11 But the Lord is with me like a dread champion; Therefore my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will be utterly ashamed, because they have failed, With an everlasting disgrace that will not be forgotten. 12 Yet, O Lord of hosts, You who test the righteous, Who see the mind and the heart; Let me see Your vengeance on them; For to You I have set forth my cause. 13 Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord! For He has delivered the soul of the needy one From the hand of evildoers.

14 Cursed be the day when I was born; Let the day not be blessed when my mother bore me! 15 Cursed be the man who brought the news To my father, saying, “A baby boy has been born to you!” And made him very happy. 16 But let that man be like the cities Which the Lord overthrew without relenting, And let him hear an outcry in the morning And a shout of alarm at noon; 17 Because he did not kill me before birth, So that my mother would have been my grave, And her womb ever pregnant. 18 Why did I ever come forth from the womb To look on trouble and sorrow, So that my days have been spent in shame?


Jeremiah 21

Jeremiah’s Message for Zedekiah

21 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur the son of Malchijah, and Zephaniah the priest, the son of Maaseiah, saying, “Please inquire of the Lord on our behalf, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is warring against us; perhaps the Lord will deal with us according to all His wonderful acts, so that the enemy will withdraw from us.”

Then Jeremiah said to them, “You shall say to Zedekiah as follows: ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel, “Behold, I am about to turn back the weapons of war which are in your hands, with which you are warring against the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans who are besieging you outside the wall; and I will gather them into the center of this city. I Myself will war against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm, even in anger and wrath and great indignation. I will also strike down the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast; they will die of a great pestilence. Then afterwards,” declares the Lord, “I will give over Zedekiah king of Judah and his servants and the people, even those who survive in this city from the pestilence, the sword and the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their foes and into the hand of those who seek their lives; and he will strike them down with the edge of the sword. He will not spare them nor have pity nor compassion.”’

“You shall also say to this people, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. He who dwells in this city will die by the sword and by famine and by pestilence; but he who goes out and falls away to the Chaldeans who are besieging you will live, and he will have his own life as booty. 10 For I have set My face against this city for harm and not for good,” declares the Lord. “It will be given into the hand of the king of Babylon and he will burn it with fire.”’

11 “Then say to the household of the king of Judah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, 12 O house of David, thus says the Lord:

“Administer justice every morning; And deliver the person who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor, That My wrath may not go forth like fire And burn with none to extinguish it, Because of the evil of their deeds.

13 “Behold, I am against you, O valley dweller, O rocky plain,” declares the Lord, “You men who say, ‘Who will come down against us? Or who will enter into our habitations?’ 14 “But I will punish you according to the results of your deeds,” declares the Lord, “And I will kindle a fire in its forest That it may devour all its environs.”’”


Jeremiah 22

Warning of Jerusalem’s Fall

22 Thus says the Lord, “Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and there speak this word and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah, who sits on David’s throne, you and your servants and your people who enter these gates. Thus says the Lord, “Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place. For if you men will indeed perform this thing, then kings will enter the gates of this house, sitting in David’s place on his throne, riding in chariots and on horses, even the king himself and his servants and his people. But if you will not obey these words, I swear by Myself,” declares the Lord, “that this house will become a desolation.”’” For thus says the Lord concerning the house of the king of Judah:

“You are like Gilead to Me, Like the summit of Lebanon; Yet most assuredly I will make you like a wilderness, Like cities which are not inhabited. “For I will set apart destroyers against you, Each with his weapons; And they will cut down your choicest cedars And throw them on the fire.

“Many nations will pass by this city; and they will say to one another, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this great city?’ Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the covenant of the Lord their God and bowed down to other gods and served them.’”

10 Do not weep for the dead or mourn for him, But weep continually for the one who goes away; For he will never return Or see his native land.

11 For thus says the Lord in regard to Shallum the son of Josiah, king of Judah, who became king in the place of Josiah his father, who went forth from this place, “He will never return there; 12 but in the place where they led him captive, there he will die and not see this land again.

Messages about the Kings

13 “Woe to him who builds his house without righteousness And his upper rooms without justice, Who uses his neighbor’s services without pay And does not give him his wages, 14 Who says, ‘I will build myself a roomy house With spacious upper rooms, And cut out its windows, Paneling it with cedar and painting it bright red.’ 15 “Do you become a king because you are competing in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink And do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. 16 “He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy; Then it was well. Is not that what it means to know Me?” Declares the Lord. 17 “But your eyes and your heart Are intent only upon your own dishonest gain, And on shedding innocent blood And on practicing oppression and extortion.”

18 Therefore thus says the Lord in regard to Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah,

“They will not lament for him: ‘Alas, my brother!’ or, ‘Alas, sister!’ They will not lament for him: ‘Alas for the master!’ or, ‘Alas for his splendor!’ 19 “He will be buried with a donkey’s burial, Dragged off and thrown out beyond the gates of Jerusalem. 20 “Go up to Lebanon and cry out, And lift up your voice in Bashan; Cry out also from Abarim, For all your lovers have been crushed. 21 “I spoke to you in your prosperity; But you said, ‘I will not listen!’ This has been your practice from your youth, That you have not obeyed My voice. 22 “The wind will sweep away all your shepherds, And your lovers will go into captivity; Then you will surely be ashamed and humiliated Because of all your wickedness. 23 “You who dwell in Lebanon, Nested in the cedars, How you will groan when pangs come upon you, Pain like a woman in childbirth!

24 “As I live,” declares the Lord, “even though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were a signet ring on My right hand, yet I would pull you off; 25 and I will give you over into the hand of those who are seeking your life, yes, into the hand of those whom you dread, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of the Chaldeans. 26 I will hurl you and your mother who bore you into another country where you were not born, and there you will die. 27 But as for the land to which they desire to return, they will not return to it.

28 “Is this man Coniah a despised, shattered jar? Or is he an undesirable vessel? Why have he and his descendants been hurled out And cast into a land that they had not known? 29 “O land, land, land, Hear the word of the Lord!

30 “Thus says the Lord,

‘Write this man down childless, A man who will not prosper in his days; For no man of his descendants will prosper Sitting on the throne of David Or ruling again in Judah.’”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (

September 18 – OT Reading

Amos 6-9, 2 Chronicles 27

Amos 6

“Those at Ease in Zion”

6 Woe to those who are at ease in Zion And to those who feel secure in the mountain of Samaria, The distinguished men of the foremost of nations, To whom the house of Israel comes. Go over to Calneh and look, And go from there to Hamath the great, Then go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are they better than these kingdoms, Or is their territory greater than yours? Do you put off the day of calamity, And would you bring near the seat of violence?

Those who recline on beds of ivory And sprawl on their couches, And eat lambs from the flock And calves from the midst of the stall, Who improvise to the sound of the harp, And like David have composed songs for themselves, Who drink wine from sacrificial bowls While they anoint themselves with the finest of oils, Yet they have not grieved over the ruin of Joseph. Therefore, they will now go into exile at the head of the exiles, And the sprawlers’ banqueting will pass away.

The Lord God has sworn by Himself, the Lord God of hosts has declared: “I loathe the arrogance of Jacob, And detest his citadels; Therefore I will deliver up the city and all it contains.”

And it will be, if ten men are left in one house, they will die. 10 Then one’s uncle, or his undertaker, will lift him up to carry out his bones from the house, and he will say to the one who is in the innermost part of the house, “Is anyone else with you?” And that one will say, “No one.” Then he will answer, “Keep quiet. For the name of the Lord is not to be mentioned.” 11 For behold, the Lord is going to command that the great house be smashed to pieces and the small house to fragments.

12 Do horses run on rocks? Or does one plow them with oxen? Yet you have turned justice into poison And the fruit of righteousness into wormwood, 13 You who rejoice in Lodebar, And say, “Have we not by our own strength taken Karnaim for ourselves?” 14 “For behold, I am going to raise up a nation against you, O house of Israel,” declares the Lord God of hosts, “And they will afflict you from the entrance of Hamath To the brook of the Arabah.”


Amos 7

Warning Through Visions

7 Thus the Lord God showed me, and behold, He was forming a locust-swarm when the spring crop began to sprout. And behold, the spring crop was after the king’s mowing. And it came about, when it had finished eating the vegetation of the land, that I said,

“Lord God, please pardon! How can Jacob stand, For he is small?” The Lord changed His mind about this. “It shall not be,” said the Lord.

Thus the Lord God showed me, and behold, the Lord God was calling to contend with them by fire, and it consumed the great deep and began to consume the farm land. Then I said,

“Lord God, please stop! How can Jacob stand, for he is small?” The Lord changed His mind about this. “This too shall not be,” said the Lord God.

Thus He showed me, and behold, the Lord was standing by a vertical wall with a plumb line in His hand. The Lord said to me, “What do you see, Amos?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said,

“Behold I am about to put a plumb line In the midst of My people Israel. I will spare them no longer. “The high places of Isaac will be desolated And the sanctuaries of Israel laid waste. Then I will rise up against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”

Amos Accused, Answers

10 Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent word to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel; the land is unable to endure all his words.11 For thus Amos says, ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword and Israel will certainly go from its land into exile.’” 12 Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Go, you seer, flee away to the land of Judah and there eat bread and there do your prophesying! 13 But no longer prophesy at Bethel, for it is a sanctuary of the king and a royal residence.”

14 Then Amos replied to Amaziah, “I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet; for I am a herdsman and a grower of sycamore figs. 15 But the Lord took me from following the flock and theLord said to me, ‘Go prophesy to My people Israel.’ 16 Now hear the word of the Lord: you are saying, ‘You shall not prophesy against Israel nor shall you speak against the house of Isaac.’ 17 Therefore, thus says the Lord, ‘Your wife will become a harlot in the city, your sons and your daughters will fall by the sword, your land will be parceled up by a measuring line and you yourself will die upon unclean soil. Moreover, Israel will certainly go from its land into exile.’”


Amos 8

Basket of Fruit and Israel’s Captivity

8 Thus the Lord God showed me, and behold, there was a basket of summer fruit. He said, “What do you see, Amos?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the Lord said to me, “The end has come for My people Israel. I will spare them no longer. The songs of the palace will turn to wailing in that day,” declares the Lord God. “Many will be the corpses; in every place they will cast them forth in silence.”

Hear this, you who trample the needy, to do away with the humble of the land, saying,

“When will the new moon be over, So that we may sell grain, And the sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, To make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, And to cheat with dishonest scales, So as to buy the helpless for money And the needy for a pair of sandals, And that we may sell the refuse of the wheat?”

The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob, “Indeed, I will never forget any of their deeds. “Because of this will not the land quake And everyone who dwells in it mourn? Indeed, all of it will rise up like the Nile, And it will be tossed about And subside like the Nile of Egypt. “It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord God, “That I will make the sun go down at noon And make the earth dark in broad daylight. 10 “Then I will turn your festivals into mourning And all your songs into lamentation; And I will bring sackcloth on everyone’s loins And baldness on every head. And I will make it like a time of mourning for an only son, And the end of it will be like a bitter day.

11 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the Lord. 12 “People will stagger from sea to sea And from the north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, But they will not find it. 13 “In that day the beautiful virgins And the young men will faint from thirst. 14 As for those who swear by the guilt of Samaria, Who say, ‘As your god lives, O Dan,’ And, ‘As the way of Beersheba lives,’ They will fall and not rise again.”


Amos 9

God’s Judgment Unavoidable

9 I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and He said,

“Smite the capitals so that the thresholds will shake, And break them on the heads of them all! Then I will slay the rest of them with the sword; They will not have a fugitive who will flee, Or a refugee who will escape. “Though they dig into Sheol, From there will My hand take them; And though they ascend to heaven, From there will I bring them down. “Though they hide on the summit of Carmel, I will search them out and take them from there; And though they conceal themselves from My sight on the floor of the sea, From there I will command the serpent and it will bite them. “And though they go into captivity before their enemies, From there I will command the sword that it slay them, And I will set My eyes against them for evil and not for good.”

The Lord God of hosts, The One who touches the land so that it melts, And all those who dwell in it mourn, And all of it rises up like the Nile And subsides like the Nile of Egypt; The One who builds His upper chambers in the heavens And has founded His vaulted dome over the earth, He who calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the face of the earth, The Lord is His name.

“Are you not as the sons of Ethiopia to Me, O sons of Israel?” declares the Lord. “Have I not brought up Israel from the land of Egypt, And the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir? “Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are on the sinful kingdom, And I will destroy it from the face of the earth; Nevertheless, I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob,” Declares the Lord. “For behold, I am commanding, And I will shake the house of Israel among all nations As grain is shaken in a sieve, But not a kernel will fall to the ground. 10 “All the sinners of My people will die by the sword, Those who say, ‘The calamity will not overtake or confront us.’

The Restoration of Israel

11 “In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, And wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins And rebuild it as in the days of old; 12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom And all the nations who are called by My name,” Declares the Lord who does this.

13 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “When the plowman will overtake the reaper And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; When the mountains will drip sweet wine And all the hills will be dissolved. 14 “Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, And they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them; They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, And make gardens and eat their fruit. 15 “I will also plant them on their land, And they will not again be rooted out from their land Which I have given them,” Says the Lord your God.


2 Chronicles 27

Jotham Succeeds Uzziah in Judah

27 Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jerushah the daughter of Zadok. He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Uzziah had done; however he did not enter the temple of the Lord. But the people continued acting corruptly. He built the upper gate of the house of the Lord, and he built extensively the wall of Ophel. Moreover, he built cities in the hill country of Judah, and he built fortresses and towers on the wooded hillsHe fought also with the king of the Ammonites and prevailed over them so that the Ammonites gave him during that year one hundred talents of silver, ten thousand kors of wheat and ten thousand of barley. The Ammonites also paid him this amount in the second and in the third year. So Jotham became mighty because he ordered his ways before the Lord his God. Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, even all his wars and his acts, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And Jotham slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David; and Ahaz his son became king in his place.


Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (