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First Reading: Jeremiah Chapter 49 and 50

Jeremiah 49

49:1 Concerning the Ammonites:
This is what the LORD says:
"Has Israel no sons?Has she no heirs?Why then has Molech taken possession of Gad?Why do his people live in its towns? 2 But the days are coming,"declares the LORD,"when I will sound the battle cry against Rabbah of the Ammonites;it will become a mound of ruins,and its surrounding villages will be set on fire.Then Israel will drive out those who drove her out," says the LORD. 3 "Wail, O Heshbon, for Ai is destroyed!Cry out, O inhabitants of Rabbah!Put on sackcloth and mourn;rush here and there inside the walls,for Molech will go into exile,together with his priests and officials. 4 Why do you boast of your valleys,boast of your valleys so fruitful?O unfaithful daughter,you trust in your riches and say,'Who will attack me?' 5 I will bring terror on you from all those around you," declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty."Every one of you will be driven away,and no one will gather the fugitives.
6 "Yet afterward, I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites," declares the LORD.
7 Concerning Edom:
This is what the LORD Almighty says:
"Is there no longer wisdom in Teman?Has counsel perished from the prudent?Has their wisdom decayed? 8 Turn and flee, hide in deep caves,you who live in Dedan,for I will bring disaster on Esau at the time I punish him. 9 If grape pickers came to you,would they not leave a few grapes?If thieves came during the night,would they not steal only as much as they wanted? 10 But I will strip Esau bare;I will uncover his hiding places,so that he cannot conceal himself.His children, relatives and neighbors will perish,and he will be no more. 11 Leave your orphans; I will protect their lives.Your widows too can trust in me."
12 This is what the LORD says: "If those who do not deserve to drink the cup must drink it, why should you go unpunished? You will not go unpunished, but must drink it. 13 I swear by myself," declares the LORD, "that Bozrah will become a ruin and an object of horror, of reproach and of cursing; and all its towns will be in ruins forever."
14 I have heard a message from the LORD:An envoy was sent to the nations to say,"Assemble yourselves to attack it!Rise up for battle!"
15 "Now I will make you small among the nations,despised among men. 16 The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived you,you who live in the clefts of the rocks,who occupy the heights of the hill.Though you build your nest as high as the eagle's,from there I will bring you down," declares the LORD. 17 "Edom will become an object of horror;all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff because of all its wounds. 18 As Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown,along with their neighboring towns," says the LORD,"so no one will live there;no man will dwell in it.
19 "Like a lion coming up from Jordan's thickets to a rich pastureland,I will chase Edom from its land in an instant.Who is the chosen one I will appoint for this?Who is like me and who can challenge me?And what shepherd can stand against me?" 20 Therefore, hear what the LORD has planned against Edom,what he has purposed against those who live in Teman:The young of the flock will be dragged away;he will completely destroy their pasture because of them. 21 At the sound of their fall the earth will tremble;their cry will resound to the Red Sea. 22 Look! An eagle will soar and swoop down,spreading its wings over Bozrah.In that day the hearts of Edom's warriors will be like the heart of a woman in labor.
23 Concerning Damascus:
"Hamath and Arpad are dismayed,for they have heard bad news.They are disheartened,troubled like the restless sea. 24 Damascus has become feeble,she has turned to flee and panic has gripped her;anguish and pain have seized her,pain like that of a woman in labor. 25 Why has the city of renown not been abandoned,the town in which I delight? 26 Surely, her young men will fall in the streets;all her soldiers will be silenced in that day," declares the LORD Almighty. 27 "I will set fire to the walls of Damascus;it will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad."
28 Concerning Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked:
This is what the LORD says:
"Arise, and attack Kedar and destroy the people of the East. 29 Their tents and their flocks will be taken;their shelters will be carried off with all their goods and camels.Men will shout to them,'Terror on every side!'
30 "Flee quickly away!Stay in deep caves, you who live in Hazor," declares the LORD."Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has plotted against you;he has devised a plan against you.
31 "Arise and attack a nation at ease,which lives in confidence," declares the LORD,"a nation that has neither gates nor bars;its people live alone. 32 Their camels will become plunder,and their large herds will be booty.I will scatter to the winds those who are in distant places and will bring disaster on them from every side," declares the LORD. 33 "Hazor will become a haunt of jackals,a desolate place forever.No one will live there;no man will dwell in it."
34 This is the word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam, early in the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah:
35 This is what the LORD Almighty says:
"See, I will break the bow of Elam,the mainstay of their might. 36 I will bring against Elam the four winds from the four quarters of the heavens;I will scatter them to the four winds,and there will not be a nation where Elam's exiles do not go. 37 I will shatter Elam before their foes,before those who seek their lives;I will bring disaster upon them,even my fierce anger," declares the LORD."I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them. 38 I will set my throne in Elam and destroy her king and officials," declares the LORD.
39 "Yet I will restore the fortunes of Elam in days to come," declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 50

50:1 This is the word the LORD spoke through Jeremiah the prophet concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians:
2 "Announce and proclaim among the nations,lift up a banner and proclaim it;keep nothing back, but say,'Babylon will be captured;Bel will be put to shame,Marduk filled with terror.Her images will be put to shame and her idols filled with terror.' 3 A nation from the north will attack her and lay waste her land.No one will live in it;both men and animals will flee away.
4 "In those days, at that time,"declares the LORD,"the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the LORD their God. 5 They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it.They will come and bind themselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.
6 "My people have been lost sheep;their shepherds have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains.They wandered over mountain and hill and forgot their own resting place. 7 Whoever found them devoured them;their enemies said, 'We are not guilty,for they sinned against the LORD, their true pasture,the LORD, the hope of their fathers.'
8 "Flee out of Babylon;leave the land of the Babylonians,and be like the goats that lead the flock. 9 For I will stir up and bring against Babylon an alliance of great nations from the land of the north.They will take up their positions against her,and from the north she will be captured.Their arrows will be like skilled warriors who do not return empty-handed. 10 So Babylonia will be plundered;all who plunder her will have their fill," declares the LORD.
11 "Because you rejoice and are glad,you who pillage my inheritance,because you frolic like a heifer threshing grain and neigh like stallions, 12 your mother will be greatly ashamed;she who gave you birth will be disgraced.She will be the least of the nations — a wilderness, a dry land, a desert. 13 Because of the LORD's anger she will not be inhabited but will be completely desolate.All who pass Babylon will be horrified and scoff because of all her wounds.
14 "Take up your positions around Babylon,all you who draw the bow.Shoot at her! Spare no arrows,for she has sinned against the LORD. 15 Shout against her on every side!She surrenders, her towers fall,her walls are torn down.Since this is the vengeance of the LORD,take vengeance on her;do to her as she has done to others. 16 Cut off from Babylon the sower,and the reaper with his sickle at harvest.Because of the sword of the oppressor let everyone return to his own people,let everyone flee to his own land.
17 "Israel is a scattered flock that lions have chased away.The first to devour him was the king of Assyria;the last to crush his bones was Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon."
18 Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says:
"I will punish the king of Babylon and his land as I punished the king of Assyria. 19 But I will bring Israel back to his own pasture and he will graze on Carmel and Bashan;his appetite will be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and Gilead. 20 In those days, at that time,"declares the LORD,"search will be made for Israel's guilt,but there will be none,and for the sins of Judah,but none will be found,for I will forgive the remnant I spare.
21 "Attack the land of Merathaim and those who live in Pekod.Pursue, kill and completely destroy them," declares the LORD."Do everything I have commanded you. 22 The noise of battle is in the land,the noise of great destruction! 23 How broken and shattered is the hammer of the whole earth!How desolate is Babylon among the nations! 24 I set a trap for you, O Babylon,and you were caught before you knew it;you were found and captured because you opposed the LORD. 25 The LORD has opened his arsenal and brought out the weapons of his wrath,for the Sovereign LORD Almighty has work to do in the land of the Babylonians. 26 Come against her from afar.Break open her granaries;pile her up like heaps of grain.Completely destroy her and leave her no remnant. 27 Kill all her young bulls;let them go down to the slaughter!Woe to them! For their day has come,the time for them to be punished. 28 Listen to the fugitives and refugees from Babylon declaring in Zion how the LORD our God has taken vengeance,vengeance for his temple.
29 "Summon archers against Babylon,all those who draw the bow.Encamp all around her;let no one escape.Repay her for her deeds;do to her as she has done.For she has defied the LORD,the Holy One of Israel. 30 Therefore, her young men will fall in the streets;all her soldiers will be silenced in that day," declares the LORD. 31 "See, I am against you, O arrogant one,"declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty,"for your day has come,the time for you to be punished. 32 The arrogant one will stumble and fall and no one will help her up;I will kindle a fire in her towns that will consume all who are around her."
33 This is what the LORD Almighty says:
"The people of Israel are oppressed,and the people of Judah as well.All their captors hold them fast,refusing to let them go. 34 Yet their Redeemer is strong;the LORD Almighty is his name.He will vigorously defend their cause so that he may bring rest to their land,but unrest to those who live in Babylon. 35 "A sword against the Babylonians!"declares the LORD — "against those who live in Babylon and against her officials and wise men! 36 A sword against her false prophets!They will become fools.A sword against her warriors!They will be filled with terror. 37 A sword against her horses and chariots and all the foreigners in her ranks!They will become women.A sword against her treasures!They will be plundered. 38 A drought on her waters!They will dry up.For it is a land of idols,idols that will go mad with terror.
39 "So desert creatures and hyenas will live there,and there the owl will dwell.It will never again be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation. 40 As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah along with their neighboring towns," declares the LORD,"so no one will live there;no man will dwell in it.
41 "Look! An army is coming from the north;a great nation and many kings are being stirred up from the ends of the earth. 42 They are armed with bows and spears;they are cruel and without mercy.They sound like the roaring sea as they ride on their horses;they come like men in battle formation to attack you, O Daughter of Babylon. 43 The king of Babylon has heard reports about them,and his hands hang limp.Anguish has gripped him,pain like that of a woman in labor. 44 Like a lion coming up from Jordan's thickets to a rich pastureland,I will chase Babylon from its land in an instant.Who is the chosen one I will appoint for this?Who is like me and who can challenge me?And what shepherd can stand against me?" 45 Therefore, hear what the LORD has planned against Babylon,what he has purposed against the land of the Babylonians:The young of the flock will be dragged away;he will completely destroy their pasture because of them. 46 At the sound of Babylon's capture the earth will tremble;its cry will resound among the nations.

Second Reading: 2 Peter Chapter 2

2 Peter 2

2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8(for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)- 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. 10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.
Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; 11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. 12 But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.
13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. 14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed-an accursed brood! 15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. 16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey-a beast without speech-who spoke with a man's voice and restrained the prophet's madness.
17 These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity-for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."

Bible Background



Peter wrote his second letter to the early churches in 66 A.D. The theme of the letter is true knowledge. The newly formed church was threatened by false teachers and, therefore, Peter exhorts the Christians to be aware of this danger. Peter explains that false teachers had crept in and were secretly subverting the true doctrine of the Gospel:

"Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." II Peter 3:17-18 (NIV)


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