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Jeremiah’s Prayer12:1 Righteous are You, O LORD, that I would plead my case with You; Indeed I would discuss matters of justice with You: Why has the way of the wicked prospered? Why are all those who deal in treachery at ease?
2 You have planted them, they have also taken root; They grow, they have even produced fruit. You are near to their lips But far from their mind.
3 But You know me, O LORD; You see me; And You examine my heart’s attitude toward You. Drag them off like sheep for the slaughter And set them apart for a day of carnage!
4 How long is the land to mourn And the vegetation of the countryside to wither? For the wickedness of those who dwell in it, Animals and birds have been snatched away, Because men have said, “He will not see our latter ending.”
5 “If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, Then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, How will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?
6 “For even your brothers and the household of your father, Even they have dealt treacherously with you, Even they have cried aloud after you. Do not believe them, although they may say nice things to you.”
God’s Answer7 “I have forsaken My house, I have abandoned My inheritance; I have given the beloved of My soul Into the hand of her enemies.
8 “My inheritance has become to Me Like a lion in the forest; She has roared against Me; Therefore I have come to hate her.
9 “Is My inheritance like a speckled bird of prey to Me? Are the birds of prey against her on every side? Go, gather all the beasts of the field, Bring them to devour!
10 “Many shepherds have ruined My vineyard, They have trampled down My field; They have made My pleasant field A desolate wilderness.
11 “It has been made a desolation, Desolate, it mourns before Me; The whole land has been made desolate, Because no man lays it to heart.
12 “On all the bare heights in the wilderness Destroyers have come, For a sword of the LORD is devouring From one end of the land even to the other; There is no peace for anyone.
13 “They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns, They have strained themselves to no profit. But be ashamed of your harvest Because of the fierce anger of the LORD.”
14 Thus says the LORD concerning all My wicked neighbors who strike at the inheritance with which I have endowed My people Israel, “Behold I am about to uproot them from their land and will uproot the house of Judah from among them.
15 And it will come about that after I have uprooted them, I will again have compassion on them; and I will bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land.
16 Then if they will really learn the ways of My people, to swear by My name, ‘As the LORD lives,’ even as they taught My people to swear by Baal, they will be built up in the midst of My people.
17 But if they will not listen, then I will uproot that nation, uproot and destroy it,” declares the LORD.
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The Ruined Waistband 13:1 Thus the LORD said to me, “Go and buy yourself a linen waistband and put it around your waist, but do not put it in water.”
2 So I bought the waistband in accordance with the word of the LORD and put it around my waist.
3 Then the word of the LORD came to me a second time, saying,
4 “Take the waistband that you have bought, which is around your waist, and arise, go to the Euphrates and hide it there in a crevice of the rock.”
5 So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as the LORD had commanded me.
6 After many days the LORD said to me, “Arise, go to the Euphrates and take from there the waistband which I commanded you to hide there.”
7 Then I went to the Euphrates and dug, and I took the waistband from the place where I had hidden it; and lo, the waistband was ruined, it was totally worthless.
8 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
9 “Thus says the LORD, ‘Just so will I destroy the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem.
10 This wicked people, who refuse to listen to My words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts and have gone after other gods to serve them and to bow down to them, let them be just like this waistband which is totally worthless.
11 For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me,’ declares the LORD, ‘that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise and for glory; but they did not listen.’
Captivity Threatened 12 “Therefore you are to speak this word to them, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, “Every jug is to be filled with wine.”’ And when they say to you, ‘Do we not very well know that every jug is to be filled with wine?’
13 then say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Behold I am about to fill all the inhabitants of this land--the kings that sit for David on his throne, the priests, the prophets and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem--with drunkenness!
14 I will dash them against each other, both the fathers and the sons together,” declares the LORD. “I will not show pity nor be sorry nor have compassion so as not to destroy them.”’”
15 Listen and give heed, do not be haughty, For the LORD has spoken.
16 Give glory to the LORD your God, Before He brings darkness And before your feet stumble On the dusky mountains, And while you are hoping for light He makes it into deep darkness, And turns it into gloom.
17 But if you will not listen to it, My soul will sob in secret for such pride; And my eyes will bitterly weep And flow down with tears, Because the flock of the LORD has been taken captive.
18 Say to the king and the queen mother, “Take a lowly seat, For your beautiful crown Has come down from your head.”
19 The cities of the Negev have been locked up, And there is no one to open them; All Judah has been carried into exile, Wholly carried into exile.
20 “Lift up your eyes and see Those coming from the north. Where is the flock that was given you, Your beautiful sheep?
21 “What will you say when He appoints over you-- And you yourself had taught them-- Former companions to be head over you? Will not pangs take hold of you Like a woman in childbirth?
22 “If you say in your heart, ‘Why have these things happened to me?’ Because of the magnitude of your iniquity Your skirts have been removed And your heels have been exposed.
23 “Can the Ethiopian change his skin Or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good Who are accustomed to doing evil.
24 “Therefore I will scatter them like drifting straw To the desert wind.
25 “This is your lot, the portion measured to you From Me,” declares the LORD, “Because you have forgotten Me And trusted in falsehood.
26 “So I Myself have also stripped your skirts off over your face, That your shame may be seen.
27 “As for your adulteries and your lustful neighings, The lewdness of your prostitution On the hills in the field, I have seen your abominations. Woe to you, O Jerusalem! How long will you remain unclean?”
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The Commendation of Wisdom8:1 Does not wisdom call, And understanding lift up her voice?
2 On top of the heights beside the way, Where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
3 Beside the gates, at the opening to the city, At the entrance of the doors, she cries out:
4 “To you, O men, I call, And my voice is to the sons of men.
5 “O naive ones, understand prudence; And, O fools, understand wisdom.
6 “Listen, for I will speak noble things; And the opening of my lips will reveal right things.
7 “For my mouth will utter truth; And wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
8 “All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; There is nothing crooked or perverted in them.
9 “They are all straightforward to him who understands, And right to those who find knowledge.
10 “Take my instruction and not silver, And knowledge rather than choicest gold.
11 “For wisdom is better than jewels; And all desirable things cannot compare with her.
12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And I find knowledge and discretion.
13 “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate.
14 “Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power is mine.
15 “By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice.
16 “By me princes rule, and nobles, All who judge rightly.
17 “I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.
18 “Riches and honor are with me, Enduring wealth and righteousness.
19 “My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold, And my yield better than choicest silver.
20 “I walk in the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice,
21 To endow those who love me with wealth, That I may fill their treasuries.
22 “The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old.
23 “From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth.
24 “When there were no depths I was brought forth, When there were no springs abounding with water.
25 “Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills I was brought forth;
26 While He had not yet made the earth and the fields, Nor the first dust of the world.
27 “When He established the heavens, I was there, When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep,
28 When He made firm the skies above, When the springs of the deep became fixed,
29 When He set for the sea its boundary So that the water would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth;
30 Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him,
31 Rejoicing in the world, His earth, And having my delight in the sons of men.
32 “Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, For blessed are they who keep my ways.
33 “Heed instruction and be wise, And do not neglect it.
34 “Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts.
35 “For he who finds me finds life And obtains favor from the LORD.
36 “But he who sins against me injures himself; All those who hate me love death.”
1 PETER 4
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Keep Fervent in Your Love 4:1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.
4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you;
5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.
7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.
8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint.
10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Share the Sufferings of Christ 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;
13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.
14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler;
16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.
17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
18 AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?
19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
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