Day 324 – Jeremiah 27, 28; Psalms 115, 116; Proverbs 25:1–5; James 1

Jeremiah 27, 28

1 The word of the Lord He spoke against Babylon.
2 “Declare among the Gentiles and cause it to be heard. Do not conceal what is spoken. Say, ‘Babylon is conquered; Bel the fearless one has been put to shame; Merodach the luxurious one is handed over.’ 3 For a nation comes against her from the north. He shall destine her land for destruction, and nothing from man to animal shall dwell in it. 4 In those days and at that time, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together. They shall proceed, walking and weeping and seeking the Lord their God. 5 They shall ask the way until they come to Zion, for they shall set their face toward this place. They shall come and flee for refuge to the Lord their God, for the everlasting covenant shall not be forgotten.
6 “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds drove them out to wander on the mountains. They went from mountain to hill and forgot their marriage bed. 7 All who found them devoured them. Their adversaries said, ‘Let us not leave them alone, because they sinned against the Lord, who gathered together their fathers in a pasture of righteousness.’
8 “Be alienated from the midst of Babylon and from the land of the Chaldeans. Be like serpents in the presence of sheep. 9 For behold, I raise up assemblies of nations against Babylon from the land of the north. They will array themselves against her, and from there she shall be conquered, as the javelin of an expert warrior shall not be returned empty. 10 Chaldea shall be for plundering, and all who plunder her shall be satisfied, 11 because you celebrated and exulted while plundering My inheritance, and because you skipped like calves in pasture and butted horns like bulls.
12 “Your mother is very ashamed, she who bore you for good things. She is the last of the nations, and a desert. 13 Because of the Lord’s wrath, she will not be inhabited, but shall be for destruction. All who travel through Babylon shall be sullen, and they shall hiss at all her calamity. 14 All you who bend the bow, set yourselves in array against Babylon round about, and shoot at her. Do not spare your arrows. 15 Applaud excessively, for her hands are paralyzed. Her means of defense has fallen, and her wall is demolished; for it is vengeance from God. Take vengeance on her, for as she did, so do to her. 16 Utterly destroy the seed of Babylon, and hold fast the sickle in the time of harvest. Because of the Greek sword, each shall return to his people, and each shall flee to his land.
17 “Israel is a wandering sheep, for the lions drove him out. First, the king of Assyria devoured him, then the king of Babylon devoured his bones.” 18 Therefore thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will take vengeance on the king of Babylon and upon his land, as I took vengeance upon the king of Assyria. 19 But I shall restore Israel to his pasture, and he will graze on Carmel, on Mount Ephraim and in Gilead. His soul shall be satisfied. 20 In those days and at that time, they will seek for the wrongdoing of Israel, but it shall not exist; and they will look for the sins of Judah, but these shall not be found; for I shall be merciful to those left in the land,” says the Lord.
  21 “Embark against this land bitterly, and against those who dwell therein. Avenge with the sword and destroy it,” says the Lord, “and do according to all I command you. 22 A sound of war and great destruction is in the land of the Chaldeans. 23 How was the hammer of all the earth broken and crushed? How did Babylon become a desolation among the nations? 24 They will attack you, and you will be conquered, O Babylon. You will not even know you are found and taken, because you opposed the Lord. 25 The Lord opened His treasure and brought out the vessels of His wrath, because the work of the Lord God is in the land of the Chaldeans. 26 For her time has come. Open her storehouses, search her like a cave, and utterly destroy her. Let nothing of her remain. 27 Dry up all her fruits and let them go down to the slaughter. Woe to them! For their day has come, and the time of their retribution.
28 “The voice of those who flee and escape from the land of Babylon declares in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God. 29 Summon many against Babylon, even all who bend the bow. Encamp against it round about; let no one be saved from her. Repay her according to her works, and whatever she did, so do to her, for she opposed the Lord, the Holy God of Israel. 30 Her young men shall fall in the streets, and all her men of war shall be cast down,” says the Lord. 31 “Behold, I am against you, the haughty one,” says the Lord, “because the day and the time of your retribution has come. 32 Your insolence shall fail, and you will fall. There shall be no one to cause it to arise. I will kindle a fire in its thicket, and it shall devour everything around her.”
33 Thus says the Lord: “The sons of Israel have been oppressed along with the sons of Judah, for all who took them captive oppressed them. They were unwilling to let them go. 34 He who redeemed them is strong; the Lord Almighty is His name. He shall enter into judgment against His adversaries so as to take away their land and to provoke those who dwell in Babylon. 35 He will bring a sword against the Chaldeans and those inhabiting Babylon, and against her nobles and wise men, 36 and against her warriors; and they shall be weakened. 37 He will bring a sword against their horses and chariots, and against the warriors and irregular troops in her midst. They shall be like women. He will also bring a sword against its treasures, and they will be scattered over the water she trusted. 38 They will be put to shame in the islands in which they boasted, for it is a land of graven images.
39 “Therefore apparitions shall dwell in the islands, and the daughters of sirens shall dwell therein. It shall not be inhabited anymore forever. 40 As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities bordering them,” says the Lord, “no man shall dwell there, and no son of man will sojourn there. 41 Behold, a people comes from the north, and a great nation and many kings shall be raised up from the ends of the earth, holding bow and dagger. 42 He is reckless and will show no mercy at all. Their voice shall roar like the sea on the horses they ride, prepared for war like fire against you, O daughter of Babylon.
43 “The king of Babylon heard their sound, and his hands grew feeble. Anguish took hold of him, like the pangs of a woman in childbirth. 44 Behold, he shall go up like a lion from the Jordan River into the place of Aitham; for I will banish them quickly from it and set every young man against it. For who is like Me? Who opposes Me? Who is this shepherd who will stand against My presence?”
  45 Therefore hear the counsel of the Lord which He has resolved against Babylon, and the thoughts which He has reckoned against those inhabiting Chaldea. Surely the lambs of their sheep are utterly destroyed; surely the pasture is cut off from them; 46 for at the sound of the capturing of Babylon, the earth shall quake, and clamor will be heard among the nations.
1 Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I raise up against Babylon and the inhabitants of the Chaldeans a scorching heat, a wind to destroy utterly. 2 I will send violent men into Babylon, and they shall insult and ravage her land. Woe to Babylon all round in the day of her calamity. 3 Against her let the archer bend his bow, and let him who has armor put it on. Do not spare her young men; utterly destroy all her power. 4 The wounded men shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans, and those pierced through shall fall outside her. 5 For Israel and Judah were not bereaved of their God, the Lord Almighty, for the land was filled with their wrongdoings against the holy things of Israel.”
6 Flee from the midst of Babylon, and everyone save his life. Do not be made to perish in her wrongdoing. For it is the time of her retribution from the Lord. He shall render repayment to her. 7 Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, causing all the earth to be drunk. The nations drank from her wine; therefore, they were shaken. 8 Babylon fell suddenly and was broken in pieces. Sing a dirge for her; take resin for her corruption, if somehow she may be healed. 9 We treated Babylon medically, but she would not heal. Let us forsake her, and let each move to his country. For her judgment draws near to heaven and is taken to the stars.
10 The Lord brought forth His judgment. Come and let us declare in Zion the works of the Lord our God. 11 Prepare the arrows; fill the quivers. The Lord has raised up the spirit of the king of the Medes. For His wrath is against Babylon to destroy it utterly, because it is the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance of His people. 12 Lift up a banner on the walls of Babylon, prepare the quivers, rouse guards, and prepare the weapons. For the Lord has taken in hand and will do what He spoke against the inhabitants of Babylon, 13 who dwell near many waters, and amidst the abundance of her treasures.
The Arm of the Lord
Truly, your end is come into your bowels. 14 For the Lord has sworn by His arm, saying, “Therefore I will fill you with men as with locusts, and they will go down and speak against you.” 15 He made the land by His might, prepared the inhabited world by His wisdom, and by His understanding He stretched out heaven. 16 By His voice, He makes the sound of water in the sky and brings up the clouds from the end of the earth. He makes lightnings for rain and brings light out of His storehouses. 17 Every man is made foolish without knowledge, and every goldsmith is dishonored by his carved images; because they cast false gods, but there is no spirit of life in them. 18 It is a worthless work to be ridiculed, and in their time of visitation they shall perish.
19 Jacob’s portion is not such, because He who created all things is his inheritance. The Lord is His name. 20 “You scatter the weapons of war by Me, and by you I will scatter nations and drive away kings from you. 21 By you I will scatter the horse and its rider, and by you I will scatter the chariots and their mounted riders. 22 By you I will scatter young man and virgin, and by you I will scatter man and woman. 23 By you I will scatter the shepherd and his flock, and by you I will scatter the farmer and his farming. By you I will scatter rulers and commanders. 24 I will make Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea pay for all their vices performed against Zion, according to what you saw,” says the Lord.
  25 “Behold, I am against you, the corrupted mountain that corrupts everything in the land. I will stretch forth My hand against you and roll you down from the rocks. I will cause you to be a burnt mountain. 26 They will not take a stone from you for a corner or for a foundation. For you shall be a place of desolation forever,” says the Lord.
27 “Lift up a banner in the land; sound a trumpet among the nations; set apart the nations against her; direct against her from Me the kingdoms of Ararat and the people of Ashkenaz to stand against her. Set siege engines against her, and bring horses like a multitude of locusts. 28 Set apart the nations against her, the king of the Medes, and all of the land, its governors, and all its generals.
29 “The earth shook and suffered toil, for the purpose of the Lord is risen up against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation and uninhabitable. 30 The warriors of Babylon ceased to wage war. They shall sit there in the siege. Their might has been broken, and they became like women. Her tents are burnt, and the bars of their gates are shattered into pieces. 31 One will pursue to meet another pursuer, one messenger to meet another messenger, to bring word to the king of Babylon that his city is taken. 32 At the end of the crossing point they were taken, their garrisons were burned with fire, and their warriors ran away.”
33 For thus says the Lord: “The houses of the king of Babylon shall be like a threshing floor in the season for threshing. In a short while her harvest will come. 34 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon devoured me. He divided and overtook me, a small vessel. He swallowed me up, like a dragon who filled his belly with my delicacies, and drove me out. 35 She that dwells in Zion shall say, ‘My hardships and my miseries banished me to Babylon.’ Jerusalem shall say, ‘My blood shall be upon those inhabiting Chaldea.’ ”
36 Therefore, thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will judge your adversary and exact vengeance for you. I shall lay waste her sea and dry up her springs. 37 Babylon shall be as a desolation, and it shall not be inhabited. 38 For they rose up together as lions and as cubs of lions. 39 In their heat, I shall give them a wine-cup. I will make them drunk so they may be intoxicated, and sleep an unending sleep, and not wake up,” says the Lord.
40 “I will bring them down like lambs for slaughter, like rams with young. 41 How has the boast of the whole earth been caught and captured? How has Babylon become as a desolation among the nations? 42 The sea came up against Babylon with the sound of her waves, and she was covered. 43 Her cities became a waterless and impassable land. Not even one man shall dwell in it, nor shall a son of man lodge in it. 44 I will take vengeance on Babylon, and bring out from her mouth what she swallowed. The nations will no longer be gathered to her. 45 In Babylon, all the wounded men of the earth shall fall. 46 You who escape, go from the land, and do not stay. You who are afar off, remember the Lord, and let Jerusalem enter your heart.”
47 We are ashamed because we heard our disgrace. Dishonor covers our face, for strangers entered the house of the Lord among our holy things. 48 “Therefore, behold the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when I will take vengeance upon her carved images, and wounded men shall fall in all her land. 49 For even if Babylon ascended like heaven and she fortified the strength of her walls, yet from Me the plunderers shall come to destroy her,” says the Lord.
  50 “There is the sound of a cry in Babylon, and great destruction is in the land of the Chaldeans; 51 for the Lord utterly cut off Babylon, and destroyed from her the great voice ringing out as many waters. He appointed her voice for ruin, for misery came against Babylon. 52 Her warriors are conquered, and their bow is useless; for God repays them. The Lord renders repayment to her. 53 He will make her princes, her wise men, and her commanders completely drunk,” says the King. “The Lord Almighty is His name.” 54 Thus says the Lord: “The wall of Babylon was made broad, but it shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall burn with fire. The peoples shall not labor in vain, nor will the nations fail in their rule.”
55 This is the word the Lord commanded Jeremiah the prophet to say to Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah to Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. Now Seraiah was the quartermaster. 56 So Jeremiah wrote in one book all the calamities that would come upon Babylon. Indeed he wrote all these words against Babylon. 57 Then Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “When you arrive in Babylon and see it, you shall read all these words. 58 You shall say, ‘O Lord and Master, You spoke against this place to destroy it, and so none should dwell in it, neither man nor animal, because it shall be desolate forever.’ 59 Then it shall come to pass, when you finish reading this book, you shall tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates. 60 After this, you shall say, ‘Thus Babylon shall sink and not rise, because of the calamities I bring upon her.’ ”

Psalm 115

1 Alleluia.
I believed; therefore, I spoke;
I was greatly humbled.
2 I said in my ecstasy,
“Every man is a liar.”
3 What shall I give back to the Lord
For all He rendered to me?
4 I will take up the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the Lord.
5 Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His holy ones.
6 O Lord, I am Your servant;
I am Your servant and the son of Your handmaid.
You broke apart my bonds;
7 I will offer a sacrifice of praise;
8 I shall pay my vows to the Lord
In the presence of all His people,
9 In the courts of the Lord’s house,
In your midst, O Jerusalem.

Psalm 116

1 Alleluia.
Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;
Praise Him, all you peoples,
2 For His mercy rules over us;
And the truth of the Lord endures forever.

Proverbs 25:1–5

1 These are the miscellaneous instructions of Solomon which the friends of Hezekiah, the King of Judah, wrote out.
2 The Glory of God hides a word,
And the glory of the king honors deeds.
3 Heaven is high, and earth is deep,
But the heart of the king is incapable of disproof.
4 Beat drossy silver,
And it will be made entirely clean.
5 Slay the ungodly from before the king,
And his throne shall be established in righteousness.

James 1

1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:
Profiting from Trials
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
The Perspective of Rich and Poor
9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation,
10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away.
11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
Loving God Under Trials
12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
Qualities Needed in Trials
19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;
20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Doers—Not Hearers Only
21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
  22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;
24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.
27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

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