Select: First Reading Second Reading Bible Background
First Reading: Jeremiah Chapter 44 and 45 and 46
1 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which dwell in the land of Egypt, which dwell at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros, saying,
2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Ye have seen all the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, and upon all the cities of Judah; and, behold, this day they are a desolation, and no man dwelleth therein,
3 Because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke me to anger, in that they went to burn incense, and to serve other gods, whom they knew not, neither they, ye, nor your fathers.
4 Howbeit I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate.
5 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense unto other gods.
6 Wherefore my fury and mine anger was poured forth, and was kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as at this day.
7 Therefore now thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; Wherefore commit ye this great evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and woman, child and suckling, out of Judah, to leave you none to remain;
8 In that ye provoke me unto wrath with the works of your hands, burning incense unto other gods in the land of Egypt, whither ye be gone to dwell, that ye might cut yourselves off, and that ye might be a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth?
9 Have ye forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, and the wickedness of the kings of Judah, and the wickedness of their wives, and your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which they have committed in the land of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem?
10 They are not humbled even unto this day, neither have they feared, nor walked in my law, nor in my statutes, that I set before you and before your fathers.
11 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah.
12 And I will take the remnant of Judah, that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed, and fall in the land of Egypt; they shall even be consumed by the sword and by the famine: they shall die, from the least even unto the greatest, by the sword and by the famine: and they shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach.
13 For I will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence:
14 So that none of the remnant of Judah, which are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape or remain, that they should return into the land of Judah, to the which they have a desire to return to dwell there: for none shall return but such as shall escape.
15 Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,
16 As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.
17 But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.
18 But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.
19 And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?
20 Then Jeremiah said unto all the people, to the men, and to the women, and to all the people which had given him that answer, saying,
21 The incense that ye burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and came it not into his mind?
22 So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day.
23 Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day.
24 Moreover Jeremiah said unto all the people, and to all the women, Hear the word of the LORD, all Judah that are in the land of Egypt:
25 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows.
26 Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith the LORD, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD liveth.
27 Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them.
28 Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah, and all the remnant of Judah, that are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words shall stand, mine, or their's.
29 And this shall be a sign unto you, saith the LORD, that I will punish you in this place, that ye may know that my words shall surely stand against you for evil:
30 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give Pharaohhophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life.
1 The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying,
2 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch:
3 Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest.
4 Thus shalt thou say unto him, The LORD saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land.
5 And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.
1 The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles;
2 Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaohnecho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah.
3 Order ye the buckler and shield, and draw near to battle.
4 Harness the horses; and get up, ye horsemen, and stand forth with your helmets; furbish the spears, and put on the brigandines.
5 Wherefore have I seen them dismayed and turned away back? and their mighty ones are beaten down, and are fled apace, and look not back: for fear was round about, saith the LORD.
6 Let not the swift flee away, nor the mighty man escape; they shall stumble, and fall toward the north by the river Euphrates.
7 Who is this that cometh up as a flood, whose waters are moved as the rivers?
8 Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers; and he saith, I will go up, and will cover the earth; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof.
9 Come up, ye horses; and rage, ye chariots; and let the mighty men come forth; the Ethiopians and the Libyans, that handle the shield; and the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow.
10 For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates.
11 Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin, the daughter of Egypt: in vain shalt thou use many medicines; for thou shalt not be cured.
12 The nations have heard of thy shame, and thy cry hath filled the land: for the mighty man hath stumbled against the mighty, and they are fallen both together.
13 The word that the LORD spake to Jeremiah the prophet, how Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon should come and smite the land of Egypt.
14 Declare ye in Egypt, and publish in Migdol, and publish in Noph and in Tahpanhes: say ye, Stand fast, and prepare thee; for the sword shall devour round about thee.
15 Why are thy valiant men swept away? they stood not, because the LORD did drive them.
16 He made many to fall, yea, one fell upon another: and they said, Arise, and let us go again to our own people, and to the land of our nativity, from the oppressing sword.
17 They did cry there, Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a noise; he hath passed the time appointed.
18 As I live, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts, Surely as Tabor is among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea, so shall he come.
19 O thou daughter dwelling in Egypt, furnish thyself to go into captivity: for Noph shall be waste and desolate without an inhabitant.
20 Egypt is like a very fair heifer, but destruction cometh; it cometh out of the north.
21 Also her hired men are in the midst of her like fatted bullocks; for they also are turned back, and are fled away together: they did not stand, because the day of their calamity was come upon them, and the time of their visitation.
22 The voice thereof shall go like a serpent; for they shall march with an army, and come against her with axes, as hewers of wood.
23 They shall cut down her forest, saith the LORD, though it cannot be searched; because they are more than the grasshoppers, and are innumerable.
24 The daughter of Egypt shall be confounded; she shall be delivered into the hand of the people of the north.
25 The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saith; Behold, I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods, and their kings; even Pharaoh, and all them that trust in him:
26 And I will deliver them into the hand of those that seek their lives, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of his servants: and afterward it shall be inhabited, as in the days of old, saith the LORD.
27 But fear not thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid.
28 Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.
Second Reading: Psalms Chapter 124 and 125
1 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say;
2 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:
3 Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:
4 Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:
5 Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.
6 Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.
7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
1 They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.
2 As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.
3 For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.
4 Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.
5 As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel.
CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
JESUS CHRIST THE FOUNDATION STONE
Part 3 of 4
SECTION III - HISTORY OF ISRAEL'S FAILURE
After Solomon died, his son Rehoboam became king. If you follow the history you find that the Nation of Israel never again became the world power it was under Solomon. Ten of the tribes rebelled against Rehoboam and followed a man named Jeroboam, son of Nebat. Jeroboam, in order to strengthen his throne, made two idols, golden calves, and set one at the southern border in Bethel and the other at the northern border in Dan and proclaimed: "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt."
The history of the northern ten tribes follows the lead of Jeroboam. None of the kings that followed served the living God even though prophets such as Elijah, Elisha, Amos, and Hosea were sent by God in warning of coming destruction. Probably the most notorious of the Israeli kings was Ahab.
Ahab reigned for 22 years and it is recorded that "Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him." He married Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians. It was during this time that Elijah had the showdown with the 450 prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. Even though God demonstrated his power and the priests of Baal were slain, Elijah had to run for his life from Jezebel.
Finally, in 722 B.C., 200 years after the time of Solomon, the northern kingdom was subdued and taken captive by the Assyrians. Chapter 17 of II Kings details the final captivity of this people.
The southern kingdom of Judah followed the line of Rehoboam. It lasted another 140 years. During this period of 340 years from Rehoboam to Zedekiah there were kings that worshipped and obeyed God but many that did not.
Some of the more notable kings of Judah included:
Asa reigned 41 years and because of his reforms and reliance on God, brought peace during his time.
Joash reigned 40 years and was only seven years old when he began to reign. Jehoiada the priest was his adviser and as long as Jehoiada lived Joash served the LORD. The temple was restored for it had fallen into disrepair. After Jehoiada died, Joash abandoned the temple and worshipped idols.
Hezekiah reigned 29 years. He brought in reforms again and had the temple purified and celebrated the Passover again. He was king in Judah at the time that the northern kingdom was taken into captivity. The city of Jerusalem was surrounded by the Assyrian army. Hezekiah prayed to the LORD and defied the Assyrians and the records report that 185,000 Assyrians died in the Assyrian camp in one night.
Manasseh reigned 55 years. He was the son of Hezekiah but totally opposite. He rebuilt the high places that Hezekiah had destroyed and erected altars to Baal and "to all the starry hosts." He sacrificed his sons in the fire and practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft. He took a carved image he had made and placed it in God's temple.
Manasseh was taken prisoner by the King of Assyria and in his distress he finally turned to God. God heard his pleas and restored him to his kingdom. Manasseh broke down the idols and high places and removed the graven image from God's temple.
Prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah were sent to warn the Kingdom of Judah of coming destruction. The history of Judah is up and down with one king following idols and the next bringing reforms. Finally, in 586 B.C. Judah was taken into captivity by the Babylonians.
"By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion!' How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?" Psalm 137
"And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown; this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.'"
Select: First Reading Second Reading Bible Background