12 October 2017 Bible Reading
In today’s Bible reading, we conclude First Thessalonians. As we have seen the Christians in Thessalonica were faithful in the face of persecution. Paul was inspired to write the letter to encourage them to continue to grow in godliness. Paul knew that they had been exposed to false teaching. The letter makes it clear that continued growth was the best defense against false doctrine. Paul taught that spiritual growth should be motivated by a focus on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The application is easy to make in our own lives: live each day as if it were your last, remain focused on the goal of Heaven.
19 Thus said Yahweh, Go, and buy a potter’s earthen bottle, and take some of the elders of the people, and of the elders of the priests; 2 and go out to the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the gate Harsith, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell you; 3 and say, Hear Yahweh’s word, kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem: Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel says, Behold, I will bring evil on this place, which whoever hears, his ears shall tingle. 4 Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it to other gods, that they didn’t know, they and their fathers and the kings of Judah; and have filled this place with the blood of innocents, 5 and have built the high places of Baal, to burn their sons in the fire for burnt offerings to Baal; which I didn’t command, nor spoke it, neither came it into my mind: 6 therefore, behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that this place shall no more be called Topheth, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of Slaughter. 7 I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life: and their dead bodies will I give to be food for the birds of the sky, and for the animals of the earth. 8 I will make this city an astonishment, and a hissing; everyone who passes thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all its plagues. 9 I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters; and they shall eat everyone the flesh of his friend, in the siege and in the distress, with which their enemies, and those who seek their life, shall distress them. 10 Then you shall break the bottle in the sight of the men who go with you, 11 and shall tell them, Yahweh of Armies says: Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter’s vessel, that can’t be made whole again; and they shall bury in Topheth, until there is no place to bury. 12 Thus will I do to this place, says Yahweh, and to its inhabitants, even making this city as Topheth: 13 and the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, which are defiled, shall be as the place of Topheth, even all the houses on whose roofs they have burned incense to all the army of the sky, and have poured out drink offerings to other gods. 14 Then came Jeremiah from Topheth, where Yahweh had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of Yahweh’s house, and said to all the people: 15 Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel says, Behold, I will bring on this city and on all its towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it; because they have made their neck stiff, that they may not hear my words.
20 Now Pashhur, the son of Immer the priest, who was chief officer in Yahweh’s house, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things. 2 Then Pashhur struck Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the upper gate of Benjamin, which was in Yahweh’s house. 3 On the next day, Pashhur released Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then Jeremiah said to him, Yahweh has not called your name Pashhur, but Magormissabib. 4 For Yahweh says, Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself, and to all your friends; and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and your eyes shall see it; and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive to Babylon, and shall kill them with the sword. 5 Moreover I will give all the riches of this city, and all its gains, and all the precious things of it, yes, all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies; and they shall make them captives, and take them, and carry them to Babylon. 6 You, Pashhur, and all who dwell in your house shall go into captivity; and you shall come to Babylon, and there you shall die, and there you shall be buried, you, and all your friends, to whom you have prophesied falsely. 7 Yahweh, you have persuaded me, and I was persuaded; you are stronger than I, and have prevailed: I am become a laughing-stock all the day, every one mocks me. 8 For as often as I speak, I cry out; I cry, Violence and destruction! because Yahweh’s word is made a reproach to me, and a derision, all the day. 9 If I say, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name, then there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with forbearing, and I can’t. 10 For I have heard the defaming of many, terror on every side. Denounce, and we will denounce him, say all my familiar friends, those who watch for my fall; perhaps he will be persuaded, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him. 11 But Yahweh is with me as an awesome mighty one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail; they shall be utterly disappointed, because they have not dealt wisely, even with an everlasting dishonor which shall never be forgotten. 12 But, Yahweh of Armies, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance on them; for to you have I revealed my cause. 13 Sing to Yahweh, praise Yahweh; for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hand of evildoers. 14 Cursed is the day in which I was born: don’t let the day in which my mother bore me be blessed. 15 Cursed is the man who brought news to my father, saying, A boy is born to you; making him very glad. 16 Let that man be as the cities which Yahweh overthrew, and didn’t repent: and let him hear a cry in the morning, and shouting at noontime; 17 because he didn’t kill me from the womb; and so my mother would have been my grave, and her womb always great. 18 Why did I come out of the womb to see labor and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?
21 The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, when king Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur the son of Malchijah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, saying, 2 Please inquire of Yahweh for us; for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon makes war against us: perhaps Yahweh will deal with us according to all his wondrous works, that he may go up from us. 3 Then Jeremiah said to them, You shall tell Zedekiah: 4 Yahweh, the God of Israel says, Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, with which you fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans who besiege you, without the walls; and I will gather them into the middle of this city. 5 I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation. 6 I will strike the inhabitants of this city, both man and animal: they shall die of a great pestilence. 7 Afterward, says Yahweh, I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, even such as are left in this city from the pestilence, from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life: and he shall strike them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy. 8 To this people you shall say, Yahweh says: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. 9 He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he who goes out, and passes over to the Chaldeans who besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be to him for a prey. 10 For I have set my face on this city for evil, and not for good, says Yahweh: it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire. 11 Touching the house of the king of Judah, hear Yahweh’s word: 12 House of David, Yahweh says, Execute justice in the morning, and deliver him who is robbed out of the hand of the oppressor, lest my wrath go out like fire, and burn so that no one can quench it, because of the evil of your doings. 13 Behold, I am against you, O inhabitant of the valley, and of the rock of the plain, says Yahweh; you that say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations? 14 I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings, says Yahweh; and I will kindle a fire in her forest, and it shall devour all that is around her.
1 Thessalonians 5:4-28
4 But you, brothers, aren’t in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief. 5 You are all children of light, and children of the day. We don’t belong to the night, nor to darkness, 6 so then let’s not sleep, as the rest do, but let’s watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep in the night, and those who are drunk are drunk in the night. 8 But let us, since we belong to the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and, for a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God didn’t appoint us to wrath, but to the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11 Therefore exhort one another, and build each other up, even as you also do. 12 But we beg you, brothers, to know those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, 13 and to respect and honor them in love for their work’s sake.
Be at peace among yourselves. 14 We exhort you, brothers, admonish the disorderly, encourage the faint-hearted, support the weak, be patient toward all. 15 See that no one returns evil for evil to anyone, but always follow after that which is good, for one another, and for all.
16 Rejoice always. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you. 19 Don’t quench the Spirit. 20 Don’t despise prophesies. 21 Test all things, and hold firmly that which is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 He who calls you is faithful, who will also do it. 25 Brothers, pray for us. 26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. 27 I solemnly command you by the Lord that this letter be read to all the holy brothers.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
A Psalm by Asaph.
82 God presides in the great assembly.
He judges among the gods.
2 “How long will you judge unjustly,
and show partiality to the wicked?”
3 “Defend the weak, the poor, and the fatherless.
Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
4 Rescue the weak and needy.
Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.”
5 They don’t know, neither do they understand.
They walk back and forth in darkness.
All the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 I said, “You are gods,
all of you are sons of the Most High.
7 Nevertheless you shall die like men,
and fall like one of the rulers.”
8 Arise, God, judge the earth,
for you inherit all of the nations.
8 Don’t be hasty in bringing charges to court.
What will you do in the end when your neighbor shames you?
9 Debate your case with your neighbor,
and don’t betray the confidence of another;
10 lest one who hears it put you to shame,
and your bad reputation never depart.