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First Reading: Jeremiah Chapter 49 and 50

Jeremiah 49

49:1 Judgment on Ammon

Against the Ammonites.
Thus says the LORD:
"Has Israel no sons?Has he no heir?Why then does Milcom inherit Gad,And his people dwell in its cities? 2 Therefore behold, the days are coming," says the LORD,"That I will cause to be heard an alarm of war In Rabbah of the Ammonites;It shall be a desolate mound,And her villages shall be burned with fire.Then Israel shall take possession of his inheritance," says the LORD.
3 "Wail, O Heshbon, for Ai is plundered!Cry, you daughters of Rabbah,Gird yourselves with sackcloth!Lament and run to and fro by the walls;For Milcom shall go into captivity With his priests and his princes together. 4 Why do you boast in the valleys,Your flowing valley, O backsliding daughter?Who trusted in her treasures, saying,'Who will come against me?' 5 Behold, I will bring fear upon you,"Says the Lord GOD of hosts,"From all those who are around you;You shall be driven out, everyone headlong,And no one will gather those who wander off. 6 But afterward I will bring back The captives of the people of Ammon," says the LORD.
7 Judgment on Edom

Against Edom.
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
"Is wisdom no more in Teman?Has counsel perished from the prudent?Has their wisdom vanished? 8 Flee, turn back, dwell in the depths, O inhabitants of Dedan!For I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him,The time that I will punish him. 9 If grape-gatherers came to you,Would they not leave some gleaning grapes?If thieves by night,Would they not destroy until they have enough? 10 But I have made Esau bare;I have uncovered his secret places, And he shall not be able to hide himself.His descendants are plundered,His brethren and his neighbors,And he is no more. 11 Leave your fatherless children,I will preserve them alive;And let your widows trust in Me."
12 For thus says the LORD: "Behold, those whose judgment was not to drink of the cup have assuredly drunk. And are you the one who will altogether go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, but you shall surely drink of it. 13 For I have sworn by Myself," says the LORD, "that Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse. And all its cities shall be perpetual wastes."
14 I have heard a message from the LORD,And an ambassador has been sent to the nations:"Gather together, come against her,And rise up to battle!
15 "For indeed, I will make you small among nations,Despised among men. 16 Your fierceness has deceived you,The pride of your heart,O you who dwell in the clefts of the rock,Who hold the height of the hill!Though you make your nest as high as the eagle,I will bring you down from there," says the LORD.
17 "Edom also shall be an astonishment;Everyone who goes by it will be astonished And will hiss at all its plagues. 18 As in the overthrow of Sodom and GomorrahAnd their neighbors," says the LORD,"No one shall remain there,Nor shall a son of man dwell in it.
19 "Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the floodplain of the JordanAgainst the dwelling place of the strong;But I will suddenly make him run away from her.And who is a chosen man that I may appoint over her?For who is like Me?Who will arraign Me?And who is that shepherd Who will withstand Me?"
20 Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD that He has taken against Edom,And His purposes that He has proposed against the inhabitants of Teman:Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out;Surely He shall make their dwelling places desolate with them. 21 The earth shakes at the noise of their fall;At the cry its noise is heard at the Red Sea. 22 Behold, He shall come up and fly like the eagle,And spread His wings over Bozrah;The heart of the mighty men of Edom in that day shall be Like the heart of a woman in birth pangs.
23 Judgment on Damascus

Against Damascus.
"Hamath and Arpad are shamed,For they have heard bad news.They are fainthearted;There is trouble on the sea;It cannot be quiet. 24 Damascus has grown feeble;She turns to flee,And fear has seized her.Anguish and sorrows have taken her like a woman in labor. 25 Why is the city of praise not deserted, the city of My joy? 26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets,And all the men of war shall be cut off in that day," says the LORD of hosts. 27 "I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus,And it shall consume the palaces of Ben-Hadad."
28 Judgment on Kedar and Hazor

Against Kedar and against the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon shall strike.
Thus says the LORD:
"Arise, go up to Kedar,And devastate the men of the East! 29 Their tents and their flocks they shall take away.They shall take for themselves their curtains,All their vessels and their camels;And they shall cry out to them,'Fear is on every side!'
30 "Flee, get far away! Dwell in the depths,O inhabitants of Hazor!" says the LORD."For Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has taken counsel against you,And has conceived a plan against you.
31 "Arise, go up to the wealthy nation that dwells securely," says the LORD,"Which has neither gates nor bars,Dwelling alone. 32 Their camels shall be for booty,And the multitude of their cattle for plunder.I will scatter to all winds those in the farthest corners,And I will bring their calamity from all its sides," says the LORD. 33 "Hazor shall be a dwelling for jackals, a desolation forever;No one shall reside there,Nor son of man dwell in it."
34 Judgment on Elam

The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying, 35 "Thus says the LORD of hosts:
'Behold, I will break the bow of Elam,The foremost of their might. 36 Against Elam I will bring the four winds From the four quarters of heaven,And scatter them toward all those winds;There shall be no nations where the outcasts of Elam will not go. 37 For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies And before those who seek their life.I will bring disaster upon them,My fierce anger,' says the LORD;'And I will send the sword after them Until I have consumed them. 38 I will set My throne in Elam,And will destroy from there the king and the princes,' says the LORD.
39'But it shall come to pass in the latter days:I will bring back the captives of Elam,' says the LORD."

Jeremiah 50

50:1 Judgment on Babylon and Babylonia

The word that the LORD spoke against Babylon and against the land of the Chaldeans by Jeremiah the prophet.
2 "Declare among the nations,Proclaim, and set up a standard;Proclaim — do not conceal it — Say, 'Babylon is taken, Bel is shamed.Merodach is broken in pieces;Her idols are humiliated,Her images are broken in pieces.' 3 For out of the north a nation comes up against her,Which shall make her land desolate,And no one shall dwell therein.They shall move, they shall depart,Both man and beast.
4 "In those days and in that time," says the LORD,"The children of Israel shall come,They and the children of Judah together;With continual weeping they shall come,And seek the LORD their God. 5 They shall ask the way to Zion,With their faces toward it, saying,'Come and let us join ourselves to the LORDIn a perpetual covenant That will not be forgotten.'
6 "My people have been lost sheep.Their shepherds have led them astray;They have turned them away on the mountains.They have gone from mountain to hill;They have forgotten their resting place. 7 All who found them have devoured them;And their adversaries said,'We have not offended,Because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice,The LORD, the hope of their fathers.'
8 "Move from the midst of Babylon,Go out of the land of the Chaldeans;And be like the rams before the flocks. 9 For behold, I will raise and cause to come up against BabylonAn assembly of great nations from the north country,And they shall array themselves against her;From there she shall be captured.Their arrows shall be like those of an expert warrior; None shall return in vain. 10 And Chaldea shall become plunder;All who plunder her shall be satisfied," says the LORD.
11 "Because you were glad, because you rejoiced,You destroyers of My heritage,Because you have grown fat like a heifer threshing grain,And you bellow like bulls, 12 Your mother shall be deeply ashamed;She who bore you shall be ashamed.Behold, the least of the nations shall be a wilderness,A dry land and a desert. 13 Because of the wrath of the LORDShe shall not be inhabited,But she shall be wholly desolate.Everyone who goes by Babylon shall be horrified And hiss at all her plagues.
14 "Put yourselves in array against Babylon all around,All you who bend the bow;Shoot at her, spare no arrows,For she has sinned against the LORD. 15 Shout against her all around;She has given her hand,Her foundations have fallen,Her walls are thrown down;For it is the vengeance of the LORD.Take vengeance on her.As she has done, so do to her. 16 Cut off the sower from Babylon,And him who handles the sickle at harvest time.For fear of the oppressing sword Everyone shall turn to his own people,And everyone shall flee to his own land.
17 "Israel is like scattered sheep;The lions have driven him away.First the king of Assyria devoured him;Now at last this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has broken his bones."
18 Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:
"Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land,As I have punished the king of Assyria. 19 But I will bring back Israel to his home,And he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan;His soul shall be satisfied on Mount Ephraim and Gilead. 20 In those days and in that time," says the LORD,"The iniquity of Israel shall be sought, but there shall be none;And the sins of Judah, but they shall not be found;For I will pardon those whom I preserve.
21 "Go up against the land of Merathaim, against it,And against the inhabitants of Pekod.Waste and utterly destroy them," says the LORD,"And do according to all that I have commanded you. 22 A sound of battle is in the land,And of great destruction. 23 How the hammer of the whole earth has been cut apart and broken!How Babylon has become a desolation among the nations!I have laid a snare for you; 24 You have indeed been trapped, O Babylon,And you were not aware;You have been found and also caught,Because you have contended against the LORD. 25 The LORD has opened His armory,And has brought out the weapons of His indignation;For this is the work of the Lord GOD of hosts In the land of the Chaldeans. 26 Come against her from the farthest border;Open her storehouses;Cast her up as heaps of ruins,And destroy her utterly;Let nothing of her be left. 27 Slay all her bulls,Let them go down to the slaughter.Woe to them!For their day has come, the time of their punishment. 28 The voice of those who flee and escape from the land of BabylonDeclares in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God,The vengeance of His temple.
29 "Call together the archers against Babylon.All you who bend the bow, encamp against it all around;Let none of them escape. Repay her according to her work;According to all she has done, do to her;For she has been proud against the LORD,Against the Holy One of Israel. 30 Therefore her young men shall fall in the streets,And all her men of war shall be cut off in that day," says the LORD. 31 "Behold, I am against you,O most haughty one!" says the Lord GOD of hosts;"For your day has come,The time that I will punish you. 32 The most proud shall stumble and fall,And no one will raise him up;I will kindle a fire in his cities,And it will devour all around him."
33 Thus says the LORD of hosts:
"The children of Israel were oppressed,Along with the children of Judah;All who took them captive have held them fast;They have refused to let them go. 34 Their Redeemer is strong;The LORD of hosts is His name.He will thoroughly plead their case,That He may give rest to the land,And disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.
35 "A sword is against the Chaldeans," says the LORD,"Against the inhabitants of Babylon,And against her princes and her wise men. 36 A sword is against the soothsayers, and they will be fools.A sword is against her mighty men, and they will be dismayed. 37 A sword is against their horses,Against their chariots,And against all the mixed peoples who are in her midst;And they will become like women.A sword is against her treasures, and they will be robbed. 38 A drought is against her waters, and they will be dried up.For it is the land of carved images,And they are insane with their idols.
39 "Therefore the wild desert beasts shall dwell there with the jackals,And the ostriches shall dwell in it.It shall be inhabited no more forever,Nor shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. 40 As God overthrew Sodom and GomorrahAnd their neighbors," says the LORD,"So no one shall reside there,Nor son of man dwell in it.
41 "Behold, a people shall come from the north,And a great nation and many kings Shall be raised up from the ends of the earth. 42 They shall hold the bow and the lance;They are cruel and shall not show mercy.Their voice shall roar like the sea;They shall ride on horses,Set in array, like a man for the battle,Against you, O daughter of Babylon.
43 "The king of Babylon has heard the report about them,And his hands grow feeble;Anguish has taken hold of him,Pangs as of a woman in childbirth.
44 "Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the floodplain of the JordanAgainst the dwelling place of the strong;But I will make them suddenly run away from her.And who is a chosen man that I may appoint over her?For who is like Me?Who will arraign Me?And who is that shepherd Who will withstand Me?"
45 Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD that He has taken against Babylon,And His purposes that He has proposed against the land of the Chaldeans:Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out;Surely He will make their dwelling place desolate with them. 46 At the noise of the taking of BabylonThe earth trembles,And the cry is heard among the nations.

Second Reading: 2 Peter Chapter 2

2 Peter 2

2:1 Destructive Doctrines

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
4 Doom of False Teachers

For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8(for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds) — 9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.
12 Depravity of False Teachers

But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, 13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. 15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man's voice restrained the madness of the prophet.
17 These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
18 Deceptions of False Teachers

For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."

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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