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First Reading: Jeremiah Chapter 47 and 48

Jeremiah 47

47:1 This is the word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the Philistines before Pharaoh attacked Gaza:
2 This is what the LORD says:
"See how the waters are rising in the north;they will become an overflowing torrent.They will overflow the land and everything in it,the towns and those who live in them.The people will cry out;all who dwell in the land will wail 3 at the sound of the hoofs of galloping steeds,at the noise of enemy chariots and the rumble of their wheels.Fathers will not turn to help their children;their hands will hang limp. 4 For the day has come to destroy all the Philistines and to cut off all survivors who could help Tyre and Sidon.The LORD is about to destroy the Philistines,the remnant from the coasts of Caphtor. 5 Gaza will shave her head in mourning;Ashkelon will be silenced.O remnant on the plain,how long will you cut yourselves?
6 "'Ah, sword of the LORD,' [ you cry,]'how long till you rest?Return to your scabbard;cease and be still.' 7 But how can it rest when the LORD has commanded it,when he has ordered it to attack Ashkelon and the coast?"

Jeremiah 48

48:1 Concerning Moab:
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says:
"Woe to Nebo, for it will be ruined.Kiriathaim will be disgraced and captured;the stronghold will be disgraced and shattered. 2 Moab will be praised no more;in Heshbon men will plot her downfall:'Come, let us put an end to that nation.'You too, O Madmen, will be silenced;the sword will pursue you. 3 Listen to the cries from Horonaim,cries of great havoc and destruction. 4 Moab will be broken;her little ones will cry out. 5 They go up the way to Luhith,weeping bitterly as they go;on the road down to Horonaim anguished cries over the destruction are heard. 6 Flee! Run for your lives;become like a bush in the desert. 7 Since you trust in your deeds and riches,you too will be taken captive,and Chemosh will go into exile,together with his priests and officials. 8 The destroyer will come against every town,and not a town will escape.The valley will be ruined and the plateau destroyed,because the LORD has spoken. 9 Put salt on Moab,for she will be laid waste;her towns will become desolate,with no one to live in them.
10 "A curse on him who is lax in doing the LORD's work!A curse on him who keeps his sword from bloodshed!
11 "Moab has been at rest from youth,like wine left on its dregs,not poured from one jar to another — she has not gone into exile.So she tastes as she did,and her aroma is unchanged. 12 But days are coming,"declares the LORD,"when I will send men who pour from jars,and they will pour her out;they will empty her jars and smash her jugs. 13 Then Moab will be ashamed of Chemosh,as the house of Israel was ashamed when they trusted in Bethel.
14 "How can you say, 'We are warriors,men valiant in battle'? 15 Moab will be destroyed and her towns invaded;her finest young men will go down in the slaughter,"declares the King, whose name is the LORD Almighty. 16 "The fall of Moab is at hand;her calamity will come quickly. 17 Mourn for her, all who live around her,all who know her fame;say, 'How broken is the mighty scepter,how broken the glorious staff!'
18 "Come down from your glory and sit on the parched ground,O inhabitants of the Daughter of Dibon,for he who destroys Moab will come up against you and ruin your fortified cities. 19 Stand by the road and watch,you who live in Aroer.Ask the man fleeing and the woman escaping,ask them, 'What has happened?' 20 Moab is disgraced, for she is shattered.Wail and cry out!Announce by the Arnon that Moab is destroyed. 21 Judgment has come to the plateau — to Holon, Jahzah and Mephaath, 22 to Dibon, Nebo and Beth Diblathaim, 23 to Kiriathaim, Beth Gamul and Beth Meon, 24 to Kerioth and Bozrah — to all the towns of Moab, far and near. 25 Moab's horn is cut off;her arm is broken," declares the LORD.
26 "Make her drunk,for she has defied the LORD.Let Moab wallow in her vomit;let her be an object of ridicule. 27 Was not Israel the object of your ridicule?Was she caught among thieves,that you shake your head in scorn whenever you speak of her? 28 Abandon your towns and dwell among the rocks,you who live in Moab.Be like a dove that makes its nest at the mouth of a cave.
29 "We have heard of Moab's pride — her overweening pride and conceit,her pride and arrogance and the haughtiness of her heart. 30 I know her insolence but it is futile," declares the LORD,"and her boasts accomplish nothing. 31 Therefore I wail over Moab,for all Moab I cry out,I moan for the men of Kir Hareseth. 32 I weep for you, as Jazer weeps,O vines of Sibmah.Your branches spread as far as the sea;they reached as far as the sea of Jazer.The destroyer has fallen on your ripened fruit and grapes. 33 Joy and gladness are gone from the orchards and fields of Moab.I have stopped the flow of wine from the presses;no one treads them with shouts of joy.Although there are shouts,they are not shouts of joy.
34 "The sound of their cry rises from Heshbon to Elealeh and Jahaz,from Zoar as far as Horonaim and Eglath Shelishiyah,for even the waters of Nimrim are dried up. 35 In Moab I will put an end to those who make offerings on the high places and burn incense to their gods," declares the LORD. 36 "So my heart laments for Moab like a flute;it laments like a flute for the men of Kir Hareseth.The wealth they acquired is gone. 37 Every head is shaved and every beard cut off;every hand is slashed and every waist is covered with sackcloth. 38 On all the roofs in Moab and in the public squares there is nothing but mourning,for I have broken Moab like a jar that no one wants," declares the LORD. 39 "How shattered she is! How they wail!How Moab turns her back in shame!Moab has become an object of ridicule,an object of horror to all those around her."
40 This is what the LORD says:
"Look! An eagle is swooping down,spreading its wings over Moab. 41 Kerioth will be captured and the strongholds taken.In that day the hearts of Moab's warriors will be like the heart of a woman in labor. 42 Moab will be destroyed as a nation because she defied the LORD. 43 Terror and pit and snare await you,O people of Moab," declares the LORD. 44 "Whoever flees from the terror will fall into a pit,whoever climbs out of the pit will be caught in a snare;for I will bring upon Moab the year of her punishment," declares the LORD.
45 "In the shadow of Heshbon the fugitives stand helpless,for a fire has gone out from Heshbon,a blaze from the midst of Sihon;it burns the foreheads of Moab,the skulls of the noisy boasters. 46 Woe to you, O Moab!The people of Chemosh are destroyed;your sons are taken into exile and your daughters into captivity.
47 "Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab in days to come," declares the LORD.
Here ends the judgment on Moab.

Second Reading: 2 Peter Chapter 1

2 Peter 1

1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.
16 We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
19 And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Bible Background



Part 4 of 4


When reading the New Testament it is impossible to miss the constant references to the nation of Israel. Just before Jesus ascended into heaven the disciples asked: "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" Peter in Chapter 3 of Acts stated that Jesus must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. Paul, towards the end of his life, in the last chapter of Acts states that it is because of the hope of Israel that he is bound with a chain.

God's promises to the patriarchs and his working with the nation of Israel did not end with their disobedience. The work that Jesus did 2000 years ago was the beginning. He offered the sacrifice of himself and opened the way through that curtain to the Most Holy Place. He is the sacrifice and the High Priest. Ephesians 2 tells us that through the blood of Christ we have been brought near, no longer excluded from citizenship in Israel nor foreigners to the covenants of the promise. Now we are members of God's household. The apostles and prophets are the foundations of God's house and Jesus is its chief cornerstone. "In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."


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