Hear the word that Yahweh speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2 Thus says Yahweh:
“You must not learn the way of the nations,
and you must not be dismayed by the signs of the heavens,
for the nations are dismayed by them.
3 For the statutes of the peoples are vanity,
for it is a tree cut down from the forest,
the work of the hands of a craftsman with the tool.
4 He decorates it with silver and gold,
they strengthen it with nails and hammers,
so that it does not stagger.
5 They are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,
they cannot speak.
Indeed, they must be carried,
for they cannot march.
You must not be afraid of them,
for they cannot do evil;
furthermore, to do good is not in them.”
6 There is none like you, O Yahweh,
you are great and your name is great in might.
7 Who would not revere you, O king of the nations?
For you it is fitting.
For among all the wise men of the nations,
and in all their kingdoms,
there is none like you.
8 At the same time they are stupid and foolish,
in the instruction of idols, it is wood.
9 Silver beaten from Tarshish is brought,
and gold from Uphaz,
the work of the craftsman and the hands of the goldsmith.
Blue and purple are their clothing,
all of them are the work of skillful people.
10 But Yahweh is the true God,
he is the living God,
and an everlasting king.
Because of his wrath the earth quakes,
and the nations cannot endure his anger.
11 “Thus you shall say to them,
‘Gods who did not make the heavens and the earth
will perish from the earth and from under these heavens.
12 He is the maker of the earth by his power,
who created the world by his wisdom,
and by his understanding he stretched out heaven.
13 When he utters his voice there is a noise of water in the heavens,
and he causes the mist to rise from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain,
and he causes the wind to go out from his storehouses.
14 Everyone is stupid, without knowledge,
every goldsmith is ashamed by his divine image,
for his cast image is an illusion,
and there is no breath in them.
15 They are vanity, a work of mockery,
at the time of their punishment, they will perish.
16 The portion of Jacob is not like these,
for he is the creator of everything,
and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance,
Yahweh of hosts is his name.
17 Gather your bundle from the ground,
you who live under the siege.’ ”
18 For thus says Yahweh,
“Look, I am about to sling out the inhabitants of the land at this time,
and I will bring distress to them, so that they may feel it.”
The Nation Accepts Its Judgment
19 Woe to me, because of my wound.
My wound is incurable.
But I said, “Surely this is my sickness,
and I must bear it.”
20 My tent is devastated,
and all my tent cords are torn.
My children have gone out from me,
and they are not.
There is no one who pitches my tent again,
or one who puts up my tent curtains.
21 For the shepherds have become stupid,
they do not seek Yahweh.
Therefore they do not have insight,
and all of their flock are scattered.
22 Listen, news:
Look, it is coming,
a great roar from the land of the north,
to make the cities of Judah a desolation,
a lair of jackals.
23 I know, O Yahweh, that to the human is not his own way,
nor to a person is the walking and the directing of his own step.
24 Chastise me, O Yahweh, but in moderation,
not in your anger, lest you eradicate me.
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not know you,
and on the peoples that do not call on your name,
for they have devoured Jacob,
they have devoured and consumed him,
and they have caused his settlement to be desolate.
The Broken Covenant
11 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying, 2 “Hear the words of this covenant, and speak to the people of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, 3 and say to them, ‘Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel: “The man is cursed who does not obey the words of this covenant, 4 which I commanded your ancestors in the day of my bringing them from the land of Egypt, from the furnace of iron, saying, ‘Listen to my voice and do according to all that I command you, so will you be my people, and I will be your God.’ 5 in order to keep the oath that I swore to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day.” ’ ” Then I answered and said, “Let it be so, O Yahweh.”
6 And Yahweh said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Hear the words of this covenant and do them, 7 for I solemnly admonished your ancestors in the day of my leading them out from the land of Egypt and up to this day, admonishing persistently, saying, “Obey my voice.” 8 But they did not obey and they did not incline their ear. Instead each one walked in the stubbornness of his evil heart. Therefore, I brought on them all the words of this covenant which I commanded them to do, and they did not do it.’ ”
9 And Yahweh said to me, “A conspiracy is found among the people of Judah and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10 They have turned back to the iniquities of their former ancestors, who refused to obey my words, and they have gone after other gods, to serve them. The house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant that I made with their ancestors.”
11 Therefore thus says Yahweh, “I am about to bring on them disaster from which they will not be able to escape. Though they cry out to me, yet I will not listen to them. 12 Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they are making smoke offerings, but they will certainly not save them in the time of their trouble. 13 For the number of your towns are your gods, O Judah, and the number of the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to the shameful things, to make smoke offerings to Baal. 14 Therefore you must not pray for this people, and you must not lift up for them a cry of entreaty, or a prayer, for I will not listen in the time of their calling to me, in the time of their trouble.
15 What rights has my beloved in my house
when she has done many wicked things?
Can the flesh of holiness pass over you?
For you engage in your wickedness, then you exult.
16 Yahweh called your name, ‘A leafy olive tree, beautiful with fine fruit.’
With the sound of a great storm he will set fire to it,
and its branches will be good for nothing.
17 And Yahweh of hosts, the one who planted you,
has spoken evil against you,
because of the evil of the house of Israel and the house of Judah,
that they have done to themselves,
to provoke me to anger by making smoke offerings to Baal.”
A Warning for the People of Anathoth
18 Moreover, Yahweh let it be made known to me, and I knew.
Then you showed me their deeds.
19 And I was like a gentle ram-lamb that is brought to slaughter,
and I did not know that they planned plans against me, saying,
“Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
and let us cut him off from the land of the living,
so that his name will no longer be remembered.”
20 But O Yahweh of hosts, who judges in righteousness,
who tests the inmost being, and the mind,
let me see your retribution upon them,
for to you I have revealed my legal case.
21 Therefore thus says Yahweh concerning the people of Anathoth who seek your life, saying, “You shall not prophesy in the name of Yahweh or you will die by our hand.” 22 Therefore thus says Yahweh of hosts: “Look, I am about to punish them. The young men will die by the sword. Their sons and their daughters will die by the famine. 23 And a remnant will not be left for them, for I will bring disaster to the people of Anathoth, the year of their punishment.”
1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon, our dear friend and fellow worker, 2 and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house. 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer for Philemon
4 I thank my God, always making mention of you in my prayers, 5 because I hear about your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints. 6 I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective in the knowledge of every good thing that is in us for Christ. 7 For I have great joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.
The wisest of women builds her house,
but the foolish tears it down with her hands.
2 He who walks in uprightness fears Yahweh,
but he who is devious in his ways displeases him.
3 In the mouth of a fool is the rod of pride,
but the lips of the wise preserve them.
4 When there are no oxen the manger is empty,
but an abundance of crops comes by the strength of an ox.
5 A faithful witness does not lie,
but he who breathes out falsehood is a witness of deceit.
6 A scoffer seeks wisdom, but there is none,
but knowledge comes easily to him who understands.
7 Leave the presence of a foolish man,
for you will not come to know words of knowledge.
8 The wisdom of the clever is understanding his ways,
but the folly of fools is deceit.
9 Fools mock the guilt offering,
but among the upright, it is favorable.
10 The heart knows the bitterness of its soul,
but in its joy, it will not share itself with a stranger.
11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed,
but the tent of the upright will flourish.
12 There is a way that seems upright to a man,
but its end is the way of death.
13 Even in laughter, a heart may be sad,
and the end of joy may be grief.
14 From his ways, the perverse of heart will be satisfied,
and from his own, so shall a good man.
There is a certain amount of freedom in being foolish. Foolish people don’t stop to reflect on their actions. Characteristically unimaginative, foolish people don’t stop to consider how their words and actions affect others. The scary effect of foolishness is that it’s contagious: “Leave the presence of a foolish man, for you will not come to know words of knowledge. The wisdom of the clever is understanding his ways, but the folly of fools is deceit” (Prov 14:7).
There is an ease in self-deception because it’s our natural state. “There is a way that seems upright to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov 14:12). But the right way is not simply a more reflective, thoughtful life. We need a new way of life that can only be brought about in Christ—the one who reversed the power of death. Following the right way doesn’t mean relying on our own ability to be righteous through thoughtful actions. Rather, it means understanding our need for His righteousness. It’s God’s work in us, recreating us. It’s His Spirit, directing our ways and making us new in Him.
The fool does have influence, but a life transformed has far-reaching influence because it’s not our own work—it’s God’s. This is the calling of which Paul reminds Philemon. Paul tells Philemon that he has “great joy and encouragement” because of Philemon’s love. Because of his love, “the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you brother” (Phlm 7). For this reason, Paul also holds Philemon to a high standard. Because of his great influence, he needs to be intentional about how he treats Onesimus, the redeemed slave who had wronged him.
Pray for a transformed life, and pray for the work of the Spirit in your life, dividing the light from the darkness and the foolish, deceitful parts from the wise. He will help you understand His ways if you ask Him. He will make the darkness evident, and He will show you the way of wisdom—a life that reflects Christ.
How are you praying for the Spirit’s ongoing work in your life, dividing the foolish ways from the wise?
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.