Lamentations 2:5-6; 3:22-23

2:5 The Lord, like an enemy, destroyed Israel. He destroyed all her palaces;
he ruined her fortified cities. He made everyone in Daughter Judah mourn and lament.
2:6 He destroyed his temple as if it were a vineyard; he destroyed his appointed meeting place. The Lord has made those in Zion forget both the festivals and the Sabbaths. In his fierce anger he has spurned both king and priest.

3:22 The Lord’s loyal kindness never ceases; his compassions never end.
3:23 They are fresh every morning; your faithfulness is abundant!

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

Lamentations 3:1-30

UnderPressure16_blog_synopsis

Lamentations describes the funeral of a city. It is a tearstained portrait of the once-proud Jerusalem, now reduced to rubble by the invading Babylonian hordes. In a five-poem dirge, Jeremiah exposes his emotions. A death has occurred; Jerusalem lies barren.

Jeremiah writes his lament in acrostic or alphabetical fashion. Beginning each chapter with the first letter A (aleph), he progresses verse by verse through the Hebrew alphabet, literally weeping from A to Z. And then, in the midst of this terrible holocaust, Jeremiah triumphantly cries out, “Great is Your faithfulness” (3:23). In the face of death and destruction, with life coming apart at the seams, Jeremiah turns tragedy into a triumph of faith. God has never failed him in the past. God has promised to remain faithful in the future. In the light of the God he knows and loves, Jeremiah finds hope and comfort.[1]

TODAY’S READING

The Prophet Speaks:

3:1 I am the man who has experienced affliction from the rod of his wrath.
3:2 He drove me into captivity and made me walk in darkness and not light.
3:3 He repeatedly attacks me, he turns his hand against me all day long.
3:4 He has made my mortal skin waste away; he has broken my bones.
3:5 He has besieged and surrounded me with bitter hardship.
3:6 He has made me reside in deepest darkness like those who died long ago.
3:7 He has walled me in so that I cannot get out; he has weighted me down with heavy prison chains.
3:8 Also, when I cry out desperately for help, he has shut out my prayer.
3:9 He has blocked every road I take with a wall of hewn stones; he has made every path impassable.
3:10 To me he is like a bear lying in ambush, like a hidden lion stalking its prey.
3:11 He has obstructed my paths and torn me to pieces; he has made me desolate.
3:12 He drew his bow and made me the target for his arrow.
3:13 He shot his arrows into my heart.
3:14 I have become the laughingstock of all people, their mocking song all day long.
3:15 He has given me my fill of bitter herbs and made me drunk with bitterness.
3:16 He ground my teeth in gravel; he trampled me in the dust.
3:17 I am deprived of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is.
3:18 So I said, “My endurance has expired; I have lost all hope of deliverance from the Lord.”
3:19 Remember my impoverished and homeless condition, which is a bitter poison. 3:20 I continually think about this, and I am depressed.
3:21 But this I call to mind; therefore I have hope:
3:22 The Lord’s loyal kindness never ceases; his compassions never end.
3:23 They are fresh every morning; your faithfulness is abundant!
3:24 “My portion is the Lord,” I have said to myself, so I will put my hope in him.
3:25 The Lord is good to those who trust in him, to the one who seeks him.
3:26 It is good to wait patiently for deliverance from the Lord.
3:27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.
3:28 Let a person sit alone in silence, when the Lord is disciplining him.
3:29 Let him bury his face in the dust; perhaps there is hope.
3:30 Let him offer his cheek to the one who hits him; let him have his fill of insults.

[1] Wilkinson, B., & Boa, K. (1983). Talk thru the Bible (pp. 206–210). Nashville: T. Nelson.

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

Lamentations 2

UnderPressure16_blog_synopsis

Lamentations describes the funeral of a city. It is a tearstained portrait of the once-proud Jerusalem, now reduced to rubble by the invading Babylonian hordes. In a five-poem dirge, Jeremiah exposes his emotions. A death has occurred; Jerusalem lies barren.

Jeremiah writes his lament in acrostic or alphabetical fashion. Beginning each chapter with the first letter A (aleph), he progresses verse by verse through the Hebrew alphabet, literally weeping from A to Z. And then, in the midst of this terrible holocaust, Jeremiah triumphantly cries out, “Great is Your faithfulness” (3:23). In the face of death and destruction, with life coming apart at the seams, Jeremiah turns tragedy into a triumph of faith. God has never failed him in the past. God has promised to remain faithful in the future. In the light of the God he knows and loves, Jeremiah finds hope and comfort.[1]

TODAY’S READING

The Prophet Speaks:

2:1 Alas! The Lord has covered Daughter Zion with his anger.
He has thrown down the splendor of Israel from heaven to earth;
he did not protect his temple when he displayed his anger.
2:2 The Lord destroyed mercilessly all the homes of Jacob’s descendants.
In his anger he tore down the fortified cities of Daughter Judah.
He knocked to the ground and humiliated the kingdom and its rulers.
2:3 In fierce anger he destroyed the whole army of Israel.
He withdrew his right hand as the enemy attacked.
He was like a raging fire in the land of Jacob; it consumed everything around it.
2:4 He prepared his bow like an enemy; his right hand was ready to shoot.
Like a foe he killed everyone, even our strong young men;
he has poured out his anger like fire on the tent of Daughter Zion.
2:5 The Lord, like an enemy, destroyed Israel.
He destroyed all her palaces; he ruined her fortified cities.
He made everyone in Daughter Judah mourn and lament.
2:6 He destroyed his temple as if it were a vineyard;
he destroyed his appointed meeting place.
The Lord has made those in Zion forget both the festivals and the Sabbaths.
In his fierce anger he has spurned both king and priest.
2:7 The Lord rejected his altar and abhorred his temple.
He handed over to the enemy her palace walls;
the enemy shouted in the Lord’s temple as if it were a feast day.
2:8 The Lord was determined to tear down
Daughter Zion’s wall. He prepared to knock it down;
he did not withdraw his hand from destroying.
He made the ramparts and fortified walls lament;
together they mourned their ruin.
2:9 Her city gates have fallen to the ground;
he smashed to bits the bars that lock her gates.
Her king and princes were taken into exile;
there is no more guidance available.
As for her prophets, they no longer receive a vision from the Lord.
2:10 The elders of Daughter Zion
sit on the ground in silence.
They have thrown dirt on their heads;
They have dressed in sackcloth.
Jerusalem’s young women stare down at the ground.
2:11 My eyes are worn out from weeping;
my stomach is in knots. My heart is poured out on the ground
due to the destruction of my helpless people;
children and infants faint in the town squares.
2:12 Children say to their mothers,
“Where are food and drink?”
They faint like a wounded warrior
in the city squares. They die slowly
in their mothers’ arms.
2:13 With what can I equate you?
To what can I compare you, O Daughter Jerusalem?
To what can I liken you
so that I might comfort you, O Virgin Daughter Zion?
Your wound is as deep as the sea.
Who can heal you?
2:14 Your prophets saw visions for you
that were worthless lies. They failed to expose your sin
so as to restore your fortunes. They saw oracles for you
that were worthless lies. 2:15 All who passed by on the road
clapped their hands to mock you.
They sneered and shook their heads
at Daughter Jerusalem.
“Ha! Is this the city they called
‘The perfection of beauty,
the source of joy of the whole earth!’?”
2:16 All your enemies gloated over you.
They sneered and gnashed their teeth;
they said, “We have destroyed her!
Ha! We have waited a long time for this day.
We have lived to see it!”
2:17 The Lord has done what he planned;
he has fulfilled his promise that he threatened long ago:
He has overthrown you without mercy
and has enabled the enemy to gloat over you;
he has exalted your adversaries’ power.
2:18 Cry out from your heart to the Lord,
O wall of Daughter Zion!
Make your tears flow like a river
all day and all night long!
Do not rest; do not let your tears stop!
2:19 Get up! Cry out in the night
when the night watches start!
Pour out your heart like water
before the face of the Lord! Lift up your hands to him
for your children’s lives; they are fainting at every street corner.

Jerusalem Speaks:

2:20 Look, O Lord! Consider!
Whom have you ever afflicted like this?
Should women eat their offspring,
their healthy infants? Should priest and prophet
be killed in the Lord’s sanctuary?
2:21 The young boys and old men lie dead on the ground in the streets.
My young women and my young men have fallen by the sword.
You killed them when you were angry; you slaughtered them without mercy.
2:22 As if it were a feast day, you call enemies to terrify me on every side.
On the day of the Lord’s anger no one escaped or survived.
My enemy has finished off those healthy infants whom I bore and raised.

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

[1] Wilkinson, B., & Boa, K. (1983). Talk thru the Bible (pp. 206–210). Nashville: T. Nelson.

Lamentations 1

UnderPressure16_blog_synopsis

Lamentations describes the funeral of a city. It is a tearstained portrait of the once-proud Jerusalem, now reduced to rubble by the invading Babylonian hordes. In a five-poem dirge, Jeremiah exposes his emotions. A death has occurred; Jerusalem lies barren.

Jeremiah writes his lament in acrostic or alphabetical fashion. Beginning each chapter with the first letter A (aleph), he progresses verse by verse through the Hebrew alphabet, literally weeping from A to Z. And then, in the midst of this terrible holocaust, Jeremiah triumphantly cries out, “Great is Your faithfulness” (3:23). In the face of death and destruction, with life coming apart at the seams, Jeremiah turns tragedy into a triumph of faith. God has never failed him in the past. God has promised to remain faithful in the future. In the light of the God he knows and loves, Jeremiah finds hope and comfort.[1]

TODAY’S READING

The Prophet Speaks:

1:1 Alas! The city once full of people now sits all alone! The prominent lady among the nations has become a widow! The princess who once ruled the provinces has become a forced laborer! 1:2 She weeps bitterly at night; tears stream down her cheeks. She has no one to comfort her among all her lovers. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies. 1:3 Judah has departed into exile under affliction and harsh oppression. She lives among the nations; she has found no resting place. All who pursued her overtook her in narrow straits. 1:4 The roads to Zion mourn because no one travels to the festivals. All her city gates are deserted; her priests groan. Her virgins grieve; she is in bitter anguish! 1:5 Her foes subjugated her; her enemies are at ease. For the Lord afflicted her because of her many acts of rebellion. Her children went away captive before the enemy.

1:6 All of Daughter Zion’s splendor has departed. Her leaders became like deer; they found no pasture, so they were too exhausted to escape from the hunter. 1:7 Jerusalem remembers, when she became a poor homeless person, all her treasures that she owned in days of old. When her people fell into an enemy’s grip, none of her allies came to her rescue. Her enemies gloated over her; they sneered at her downfall. 1:8 Jerusalem committed terrible sin; therefore she became an object of scorn. All who admired her have despised her because they have seen her nakedness. She groans aloud and turns away in shame. 1:9 Her menstrual flow has soiled her clothing; she did not consider the consequences of her sin. Her demise was astonishing, and there was no one to comfort her. She cried, “Look, O Lord, on my affliction because my enemy boasts!”

1:10 An enemy grabbed all her valuables. Indeed she watched in horror as Gentiles invaded her holy temple – those whom you had commanded: “They must not enter your assembly place.” 1:11 All her people groaned as they searched for a morsel of bread. They exchanged their valuables for just enough food to stay alive.

Jerusalem Speaks:

“Look, O Lord! Consider that I have become worthless!” 1:12 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by on the road? Look and see! Is there any pain like mine? The Lord has afflicted me, he has inflicted it on me when he burned with anger. 1:13 He sent down fire into my bones, and it overcame them. He spread out a trapper’s net for my feet; he made me turn back. He has made me desolate; I am faint all day long.

1:14 My sins are bound around my neck like a yoke; they are fastened together by his hand. He has placed his yoke on my neck; he has sapped my strength. The Lord has handed me over to those whom I cannot resist. 1:15 He rounded up all my mighty ones; The Lord did this in my midst. He summoned an assembly against me to shatter my young men. The Lord has stomped like grapes the virgin daughter, Judah. 1:16 I weep because of these things; my eyes flow with tears. For there is no one in sight who can comfort me or encourage me. My children are desolated because an enemy has prevailed.

The Prophet Speaks:

1:17 Zion spread out her hands, but there is no one to comfort her. The Lord has issued a decree against Jacob; his neighbors have become his enemies. Jerusalem has become like filthy garbage in their midst.

Jerusalem Speaks:

1:18 The Lord is right to judge me! Yes, I rebelled against his commands. Please listen, all you nations, and look at my suffering! My young women and men have gone into exile. 1:19 I called for my lovers, but they had deceived me. My priests and my elders perished in the city. Truly they had searched for food to keep themselves alive. 1:20 Look, O Lord! I am distressed; my stomach is in knots! My heart is pounding inside me. Yes, I was terribly rebellious! Out in the street the sword bereaves a mother of her children; Inside the house death is present. 1:21 They have heard that I groan, yet there is no one to comfort me. All my enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that you have brought it about. Bring about the day of judgment that you promised so that they may end up like me! 1:22 Let all their wickedness come before you; afflict them just as you have afflicted me because of all my acts of rebellion. For my groans are many, and my heart is sick with sorrow.

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

[1] Wilkinson, B., & Boa, K. (1983). Talk thru the Bible (pp. 206–210). Nashville: T. Nelson.

Jeremiah 34:1-7

The Lord Makes an Ominous Promise to Zedekiah

34:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah while King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was attacking Jerusalem and the towns around it with a large army. This army consisted of troops from his own army and from the kingdoms and peoples of the lands under his dominion. 34:2 The Lord God of Israel told Jeremiah to go and give King Zedekiah of Judah a message. He told Jeremiah to tell him, “The Lord says, ‘I am going to hand this city over to the king of Babylon and he will burn it down. 34:3 You yourself will not escape his clutches, but will certainly be captured and handed over to him. You must confront the king of Babylon face to face and answer to him personally. Then you must go to Babylon. 34:4 However, listen to what I, the Lord, promise you, King Zedekiah of Judah. I, the Lord, promise that you will not die in battle or be executed. 34:5 You will die a peaceful death. They will burn incense at your burial just as they did at the burial of your ancestors, the former kings who preceded you. They will mourn for you, saying, “Poor, poor master!” Indeed, you have my own word on this. I, the Lord, affirm it!’”

34:6 The prophet Jeremiah told all this to King Zedekiah of Judah in Jerusalem. 34:7 He did this while the army of the king of Babylon was attacking Jerusalem and the cities of Lachish and Azekah. He was attacking these cities because they were the only fortified cities of Judah which were still holding out.

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

Jeremiah 33:1-26

The Lord Promises a Second Time to Restore Israel and Judah

33:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah a second time while he was still confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse. 33:2 “I, the Lord, do these things. I, the Lord, form the plan to bring them about. I am known as the Lord. I say to you, 33:3 ‘Call on me in prayer and I will answer you. I will show you great and mysterious things which you still do not know about.’ 33:4 For I, the Lord God of Israel, have something more to say about the houses in this city and the royal buildings which have been torn down for defenses against the siege ramps and military incursions of the Babylonians: 33:5 ‘The defenders of the city will go out and fight with the Babylonians. But they will only fill those houses and buildings with the dead bodies of the people that I will kill in my anger and my wrath. That will happen because I have decided to turn my back on this city on account of the wicked things they have done. 33:6 But I will most surely heal the wounds of this city and restore it and its people to health. I will show them abundant peace and security. 33:7 I will restore Judah and Israel and will rebuild them as they were in days of old. 33:8 I will purify them from all the sin that they committed against me. I will forgive all their sins which they committed in rebelling against me. 33:9 All the nations will hear about all the good things which I will do to them. This city will bring me fame, honor, and praise before them for the joy that I bring it. The nations will tremble in awe at all the peace and prosperity that I will provide for it.’

33:10 “I, the Lord, say: ‘You and your people are saying about this place, “It lies in ruins. There are no people or animals in it.” That is true. The towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem will soon be desolate, uninhabited either by people or by animals. But happy sounds will again be heard in these places. 33:11 Once again there will be sounds of joy and gladness and the glad celebrations of brides and grooms. Once again people will bring their thank offerings to the temple of the Lord and will say, “Give thanks to the Lord who rules over all. For the Lord is good and his unfailing love lasts forever.” For I, the Lord, affirm that I will restore the land to what it was in days of old.’

33:12 “I, the Lord who rules over all, say: ‘This place will indeed lie in ruins. There will be no people or animals in it. But there will again be in it and in its towns sheepfolds where shepherds can rest their sheep. 33:13 I, the Lord, say that shepherds will once again count their sheep as they pass into the fold. They will do this in all the towns in the southern hill country, the western foothills, the southern hill country, the territory of Benjamin, the villages surrounding Jerusalem, and the towns of Judah.’

The Lord Reaffirms His Covenant with David, Israel, and Levi

33:14 “I, the Lord, affirm: ‘The time will certainly come when I will fulfill my gracious promise concerning the nations of Israel and Judah. 33:15 In those days and at that time I will raise up for them a righteous descendant of David.

“‘He will do what is just and right in the land. 33:16 Under his rule Judah will enjoy safety and Jerusalem will live in security. At that time Jerusalem will be called “The Lord has provided us with justice.” 33:17 For I, the Lord, promise: “David will never lack a successor to occupy the throne over the nation of Israel. 33:18 Nor will the Levitical priests ever lack someone to stand before me and continually offer up burnt offerings, sacrifice cereal offerings, and offer the other sacrifices.”’”

33:19 The Lord spoke further to Jeremiah. 33:20 “I, Lord, make the following promise: ‘I have made a covenant with the day and with the night that they will always come at their proper times. Only if you people could break that covenant 33:21 could my covenant with my servant David and my covenant with the Levites ever be broken. So David will by all means always have a descendant to occupy his throne as king and the Levites will by all means always have priests who will minister before me. 33:22 I will make the children who follow one another in the line of my servant David very numerous. I will also make the Levites who minister before me very numerous. I will make them all as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sands which are on the seashore.’”

33:23 The Lord spoke still further to Jeremiah. 33:24 “You have surely noticed what these people are saying, haven’t you? They are saying, ‘The Lord has rejected the two families of Israel and Judah that he chose.’ So they have little regard that my people will ever again be a nation. 33:25 But I, the Lord, make the following promise: I have made a covenant governing the coming of day and night. I have established the fixed laws governing heaven and earth. 33:26 Just as surely as I have done this, so surely will I never reject the descendants of Jacob. Nor will I ever refuse to choose one of my servant David’s descendants to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Indeed, I will restore them and show mercy to them.”

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

Jeremiah 33:1-26

The Lord Promises a Second Time to Restore Israel and Judah

33:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah a second time while he was still confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse. 33:2 “I, the Lord, do these things. I, the Lord, form the plan to bring them about. I am known as the Lord. I say to you, 33:3 ‘Call on me in prayer and I will answer you. I will show you great and mysterious things which you still do not know about.’ 33:4 For I, the Lord God of Israel, have something more to say about the houses in this city and the royal buildings which have been torn down for defenses against the siege ramps and military incursions of the Babylonians: 33:5 ‘The defenders of the city will go out and fight with the Babylonians. But they will only fill those houses and buildings with the dead bodies of the people that I will kill in my anger and my wrath. That will happen because I have decided to turn my back on this city on account of the wicked things they have done. 33:6 But I will most surely heal the wounds of this city and restore it and its people to health. I will show them abundant peace and security. 33:7 I will restore Judah and Israel and will rebuild them as they were in days of old. 33:8 I will purify them from all the sin that they committed against me. I will forgive all their sins which they committed in rebelling against me. 33:9 All the nations will hear about all the good things which I will do to them. This city will bring me fame, honor, and praise before them for the joy that I bring it. The nations will tremble in awe at all the peace and prosperity that I will provide for it.’

33:10 “I, the Lord, say: ‘You and your people are saying about this place, “It lies in ruins. There are no people or animals in it.” That is true. The towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem will soon be desolate, uninhabited either by people or by animals. But happy sounds will again be heard in these places. 33:11 Once again there will be sounds of joy and gladness and the glad celebrations of brides and grooms. Once again people will bring their thank offerings to the temple of the Lord and will say, “Give thanks to the Lord who rules over all. For the Lord is good and his unfailing love lasts forever.” For I, the Lord, affirm that I will restore the land to what it was in days of old.’

33:12 “I, the Lord who rules over all, say: ‘This place will indeed lie in ruins. There will be no people or animals in it. But there will again be in it and in its towns sheepfolds where shepherds can rest their sheep. 33:13 I, the Lord, say that shepherds will once again count their sheep as they pass into the fold. They will do this in all the towns in the southern hill country, the western foothills, the southern hill country, the territory of Benjamin, the villages surrounding Jerusalem, and the towns of Judah.’

The Lord Reaffirms His Covenant with David, Israel, and Levi

33:14 “I, the Lord, affirm: ‘The time will certainly come when I will fulfill my gracious promise concerning the nations of Israel and Judah. 33:15 In those days and at that time I will raise up for them a righteous descendant of David.

“‘He will do what is just and right in the land. 33:16 Under his rule Judah will enjoy safety and Jerusalem will live in security. At that time Jerusalem will be called “The Lord has provided us with justice.” 33:17 For I, the Lord, promise: “David will never lack a successor to occupy the throne over the nation of Israel. 33:18 Nor will the Levitical priests ever lack someone to stand before me and continually offer up burnt offerings, sacrifice cereal offerings, and offer the other sacrifices.”’”

33:19 The Lord spoke further to Jeremiah. 33:20 “I, Lord, make the following promise: ‘I have made a covenant with the day and with the night that they will always come at their proper times. Only if you people could break that covenant 33:21 could my covenant with my servant David and my covenant with the Levites ever be broken. So David will by all means always have a descendant to occupy his throne as king and the Levites will by all means always have priests who will minister before me. 33:22 I will make the children who follow one another in the line of my servant David very numerous. I will also make the Levites who minister before me very numerous. I will make them all as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sands which are on the seashore.’”

33:23 The Lord spoke still further to Jeremiah. 33:24 “You have surely noticed what these people are saying, haven’t you? They are saying, ‘The Lord has rejected the two families of Israel and Judah that he chose.’ So they have little regard that my people will ever again be a nation. 33:25 But I, the Lord, make the following promise: I have made a covenant governing the coming of day and night. I have established the fixed laws governing heaven and earth. 33:26 Just as surely as I have done this, so surely will I never reject the descendants of Jacob. Nor will I ever refuse to choose one of my servant David’s descendants to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Indeed, I will restore them and show mercy to them.”

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org