The Severe Drought
14 That which came as the word of Yahweh to Jeremiah concerning the matter of the severe drought.
2 “Judah mourns, and her gates languish,
they are in mourning on the ground,
and the cry of lament of Jerusalem goes up.
3 And their nobles send their servants for water.
They come to the pits, they find no water.
They return with their vessels empty.
They are ashamed, and they are confounded,
and they cover their heads.
4 Because of the ground, which is cracked
because there was no rain on the ground.
The farmers are ashamed,
they cover their heads.
5 For even the doe in the field gives birth and forsakes her young,
because there is no green growth.
6 And wild asses stand on the barren heights,
they gasp for breath like the jackals.
Their eyes fail
because there is no vegetation.”
7 Although our iniquities testify against us, O Yahweh,
act for the sake of your name.
Yes, our apostasies are many;
we have sinned against you.
8 You are the hope of Israel,
its savior in time of distress.
Why should you be like an alien in the land,
or like a traveler who spreads out his tent to spend the night?
9 Why should you be like a confused man,
like a warrior who is not able to help?
Yet you are in our midst, O Yahweh,
and your name is called upon us.
You must not leave us!
10 Thus says Yahweh concerning this people:
“They have loved so much to wander,
they have not spared their feet.
Therefore Yahweh is not favorable to them,
now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.”
11 So Yahweh said to me, “You must not pray for this people, for their happiness. 12 Although they fast, I am not listening to their cry of entreaty. And although they present burnt offering and grain offering, I am not favorable to them. But by the sword, and by the famine, and by the plague, I am about to destroy them.” 13 Then I said, “Ah, Lord Yahweh, look, the prophets are saying to them, ‘You will not see the sword, and famine will not be yours, but reliable peace I will give to you in this place.’ ” 14 And Yahweh said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them, and I have not commanded them, and I have not spoken to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, and a divination, worthless, and the deceitfulness of their minds.” 15 Therefore thus says Yahweh concerning the prophets who prophecy in my name though I have not sent them, yet they are saying, “Sword and famine will not be in this land.” “By the sword and by the famine those prophets will perish. 16 And the people to whom they are prophesying will be cast out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword. And there will be no one who buries them, their wives, or their sons, or their daughters. And I will pour out on them their wickedness.
The Nation Hopes in Yahweh
17 “And you shall say to them this word,
‘Let my eyes melt with tears night and day,
and let them not cease,
for with a great wound the virgin daughter of my people is broken,
with a very incurable wound.
18 If I go out into the field,
then look, those slain by the sword.
And if I enter the city,
then look, the sickness of the famine.
For both prophet and priest wander around through the land,
they do not know what is going on.’ ”
19 Have you completely rejected Judah?
Or has your soul loathed Zion?
Why have you struck us
so that there is no healing for us?
We hope for peace, but there is no good,
and for a time of healing, but look, there is terror.
20 We know, O Yahweh, our wickedness,
the iniquity of our ancestors,
for we have sinned against you.
21 You must not spurn us for the sake of your name,
you must not dishonor your glorious throne.
You must not break your covenant with us.
22 Are there any among the idols of the nation who cause rain to pour?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Is it not you, O Yahweh our God?
Therefore, we hope in you, for you do all these things.
Four Types of Calamity
15 Then Yahweh said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me, my heart would not be to this people. Send them away from my sight, and let them go out. 2 And then if they say to you, ‘Where shall we go?’ Then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says Yahweh,
“Those who are destined for the plague, to the plague,
and those who are destined for the sword, to the sword,
and those who are destined for the famine, to the famine,
and those who are destined for the captivity, to the captivity.” ’
3 “And I will summon over them four types of calamity,” declares Yahweh, “the sword to kill, and the dogs to drag away, and the birds of the air and the wild animals of the earth to devour and to destroy. 4 And I will make them a terror to all of the kingdoms of the earth because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, the king of Judah, because of what he did in Jerusalem.
5 “For who will have compassion on you, O Jerusalem,
or who will show sympathy to you,
or who will turn aside to ask about your welfare?
6 You have forsaken me,” declares Yahweh.
“You go backward, so I have stretched my hand against you,
and I have destroyed you.
I am tired of becoming remorseful.
7 And I have winnowed them with a winnowing fork in the gates of the land.
I am bereaved.
I have destroyed my people.
They did not turn back from their ways.
8 Their widows will be more numerous before me than the sand of the seas.
I have brought to them, against the mothers of young men,
a destroyer at noon.
I will suddenly drop on her anguish and horror.
9 She who gave birth to seven has withered away.
She gasps her breath.
Her sun set while still day.
She has been put to shame and disgraced.
And the remainder of them I will give to the sword
before their enemies,” declares Yahweh.
Jeremiah’s Lament and Yahweh’s Response
10 Woe to me, O my mother, that you gave birth to me,
a man of contention and quarreling to the whole land.
I have not lent out and I have not borrowed.
All of them are cursing me.
11 Yahweh said,
“Surely I will set you free to be good for you,
surely I will cause the enemy to intercede with you
in a time of trouble,
and in a time of distress.
12 Can anyone break iron,
iron from the north, or bronze?
13 I will give your wealth and your treasures
as plunder without price,
even because of all your sins,
and throughout all your territories.
14 And I will make you serve your enemies
in a land that you do not know,
for a fire will kindle in my anger.
Upon you it will be kindled.”
15 You who know, O Yahweh, remember me, and attend to me,
and take revenge for me against my persecutors in your forbearance.
You must take me away.
Know that I am carrying disgrace because of you.
16 Your words were found and I ate them,
and your words became to me as jubilation,
even as the joy of my heart,
for your name is called on me, O Yahweh God of hosts.
17 I sat not in the assembly of jokers,
nor did I exult.
Because of the presence of your hand I sat alone,
for you filled me with indignation.
18 Why is my pain endless, and my wound incurable?
It refuses to become healed.
Truly you are to me like a deceitful brook,
waters that are not trustworthy.
19 Therefore thus says Yahweh,
“If you turn back, then I will take you back.
You will stand before me.
And if you utter what is precious and not what is worthless,
you will be as my mouth.
They will turn back to you,
and you will not turn back to them.
20 And I will make you to this people
a wall of fortified bronze,
and they will fight against you,
but they will not prevail over you,
for I am with you, to save you,
and to deliver you,” declares Yahweh.
21 “And I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked,
and I will redeem you from the hand of the tyrant.”
1 Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was born a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared Son of God in power according to the Holy Spirit by the resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship for the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles on behalf of his name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ. 7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God, called to be saints. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul Wants to Visit Rome
8 First, I give thanks to my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being proclaimed in the whole world. 9 For God, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, is my witness, how constantly I make mention of you, 10 always asking in my prayers if somehow now at last I may succeed to come to you in the will of God. 11 For I desire to see you, in order that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, in order to strengthen you, 12 that is, to be encouraged together with you through our mutual faith, both yours and mine. 13 Now I do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, that often I intended to come to you, and was prevented until now, in order that I might have some fruit among you also, just as also among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 Thus I am eager to proclaim the gospel also to you who are in Rome.
The Gospel’s Power for Salvation
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For the righteousness of God is revealed in it from faith to faith, just as it is written, “But the one who is righteous by faith will live.”
A soft answer will turn away wrath,
but a word of trouble will stir anger.
2 The tongue of the wise will dispense knowledge,
but the mouth of fools will pour out folly.
3 In every place, the eyes of Yahweh
keep watch over the evil and the good.
4 Gentleness of tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it causes a break in spirit.
5 A fool will despise the instruction of his father,
but he who guards reproof is prudent.
6 In the house of the righteous there is much treasure,
but the income of the wicked brings trouble.
7 The lips of the wise will spread knowledge,
but the heart of fools, not so.
8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination of Yahweh,
but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
9 An abomination of Yahweh is the way of the wicked,
but he who pursues righteousness he will love.
10 Severe discipline belongs to him who forsakes the way;
he who hates a rebuke will die.
11 Sheol and Abaddon are before Yahweh,
how much more the hearts of the children of men!
12 A scoffer does not like his rebuke;
to the wise he will not go.
13 A heart of gladness will make good countenance,
but in sorrow of heart a spirit is broken.
14 The heart of him who understands will seek knowledge,
but the faces of fools, they will feed on folly.
15 All the days of the poor are hard,
but goodness of heart is a continuous feast.
16 Better is little with the fear of Yahweh
than great treasure and trouble with it.
17 Better is a dinner of vegetables when love is there
than a fattened ox and hatred with it.
18 A man who is hot-tempered will stir up strife,
but he who is slow to anger, he will calm contention.
19 The way of the lazy is like a hedge of thorns,
but the path of the upright is a highway.
20 A child of wisdom will make a father glad,
but a foolish person, he despises his mother.
21 Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense,
and a person of understanding will walk upright.
22 Plans go wrong when there is no counsel,
but with many advisors it will succeed.
23 Joy belongs to a man with answers in his mouth,
and a word in its time, how good it is!
24 The path of life leads upward for him who has insight,
in order to turn away from Sheol below.
25 The house of the proud, Yahweh will tear it down,
but he will maintain the property line of the widow.
26 Plans of evil are an abomination of Yahweh,
but gracious words are pure.
27 He who makes trouble for his house is he who is greedy for unjust gain,
but he who hates bribes will live.
28 A heart of righteousness will ponder the answer,
but a mouth of wickedness will pour out deceit.
29 Yahweh is far from the wicked,
but the prayers of the righteous he will hear.
30 From the light of the eyes, the heart will rejoice,
and good news will enliven the bones.
31 The ear of him who listens to admonitions of life,
in the midst of the wise it will lodge.
32 He who ignores instruction despises himself,
but he who hears admonition gains heart.
33 Fear of Yahweh is the instruction of the wise,
and before honor comes humility.
Although God has granted us complete access to Him through Christ, we struggle at times to live this reality (John 17:15–17). The stale or frightening depictions of God in stained glass and Renaissance paintings have convinced us that He is distant, quick to anger, or disinterested. Nothing could be further from the truth; the Psalms remind us that He is caring, close, and listening (e.g., Pss 22; 23; 26), and He yearns for a relationship with us.
Sometimes it helps to hear the words of others who have struggled with the same thing. Jeremiah provides us with such an example. He remarks, “You will be in the right, O Yahweh, when I complain to you. Even so, let me speak my claims with you. Why does the way of the wicked succeed? All those who deal treacherously with treachery are at ease” (Jer 12:1). Jeremiah knows that Yahweh is right in all He does, but this does not prevent him from freely expressing his concerns.
If we really look into our hearts, we may find that fear is preventing us from entering into an intimate relationship with Him. We’re afraid of what He will say; we’re concerned that He may rebuke us. Indeed, this is what He does when Jeremiah speaks to Him: “If you run with foot soldiers and they have made you weary, then how will you compete with horses? If you have fallen in a peaceful land, then how will you do in the thickets of the Jordan? For even your relatives, and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you, even they call loudly after you. You must not trust in them, though they speak kindly to you” (Jer 12:5–6). Yet within this rebuke, we also find advice—and the advice is comforting. By openly communicating his concerns to God, Jeremiah now knows what he must do. He knows how he must act.
There is joy to be found in knowing that we have a God who listens—a God who is not offended when we speak to Him but is eager for our company. What are we afraid of? After all, He already knows what’s on our minds. We need to grasp the idea that God is all about relationship.
What would change about your life if you went deeper into your relationship with Christ? What should you be asking God right now?
Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord
Publisher: Lexham Press
Publication Date: 2012
This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.