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31 People of this generation, listen closely to the Lord’s word:
Have I been a wasteland to Israel
or a land of dense darkness?
Why then do my people say,
“We have wandered far away;
we’ll come to you no longer”?
32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry
or a bride her wedding dress?
Yet you have forgotten me days without end!
33 So skilled are you at pursuing lovers
that you instruct even the most wicked.
34 Your garments are stained
with the blood of the innocent poor,
even though you didn’t catch them
breaking and entering.
Yet, despite all this,
35 you still insist,
as a result he will turn his anger away from me.”
Because you claim not to have sinned,
I will pass judgment against you.
36 You change sides so casually!
But Egypt will shame you
no less than Assyria.
37 From there you will go out
with your hands on your heads,
because the Lord has rejected those you rely on;
they won’t help you.
Jeremiah’s summons to change
3 If a man divorces his wife,
and after she leaves him marries another,
can he return to her again?
Wouldn’t such an act completely corrupt the land?
Yet you have prostituted yourself with many lovers.
Would you return to me?
declares the Lord.
2 Look to the well-traveled paths and see!
Where haven’t you committed adultery?
On the roadsides you sit in wait for lovers,
like a nomad in the wilderness.
You have corrupted the land
with your cheap and reckless behavior.
3 That’s why the showers have failed
and the spring rains have ceased.
Still you act like a brazen prostitute
who refuses to blush.
4 At the same time you say to me,
“My father, my friend since youth,
5 will you stay angry forever?
Will you continue to be furious?”
This is what you say
while you do as much evil as you possibly can.
6 During the rule of King Josiah, the Lord said to me: Have you noticed what unfaithful Israel has done? She’s gone about looking for lovers on top of every high hill and under every lush tree. 7 I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me, but she didn’t. Her disloyal sister Judah saw this. 8 She also saw that I sent unfaithful Israel away with divorce papers because of all her acts of unfaithfulness; yet disloyal sister Judah was not afraid but kept on playing the prostitute. 9 She didn’t think twice about corrupting the land and committing adultery with stone and tree. 10 Yet even after all this, disloyal sister Judah didn’t return to me with all her heart but only insincerely, declares the Lord. 11 Then the Lord said to me: Unfaithful Israel is less guilty than disloyal Judah.
12 Go proclaim these words to the north and say:
Return, unfaithful Israel,
declares the Lord.
I won’t reject you,
for I’m faithful,
declares the Lord;
I won’t stay angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your wrongdoing:
how you have rebelled against the Lord your God,
and given yourself to strangers
under every lush tree
and haven’t obeyed me,
declares the Lord.
14 Return, rebellious children,
declares the Lord,
for I’m your husband.
I’ll gather you—
one from a city and two from a tribe—
and bring you back to Zion.
15 I will appoint shepherds with whom I’m pleased, and they will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And in those days, when your numbers have greatly increased in the land, declares the Lord, people will no longer talk about the Lord’s covenant chest; they won’t recall or remember it; they won’t even miss it or try to build another one. 17 At that time, they will call Jerusalem the Lord’s throne, and all nations will gather there to honor the Lord’s name. No longer will they follow their own willful and evil hearts. 18 In those days the people of Judah and Israel will leave the north together for the land that I gave their ancestors as an inheritance.
19 I thought to myself, How wonderful it would be
to treat you like children
and give you a beautiful land,
an inheritance unrivaled among the nations.
And I thought, You will call me father,
and you won’t turn away from me.
20 But as a woman betrays her lover,
so you, people of Israel, have betrayed me,
declares the Lord.
21 A voice is heard on the well-traveled paths;
it’s the crying and pleading of the people of Israel,
who have lost their way
and forgotten the Lord their God.
22 Return, rebellious children,
and I will heal your rebellion.
“Here we are; we come to you,
for you are the Lord our God.
23 Surely what happens on the hills is a waste,
as is the uproar on the mountains.
Only in the Lord our God
is the salvation of Israel.
24 From our youth, shame has devoured
the fruit of our parents’ labor—
their flocks and herds,
as well as their sons and daughters.
25 Let’s lie down in our shame.
Let our dishonor cover us,
for we have sinned against the Lord our God,
both we and our ancestors,
from our youth to this very day.
We have disobeyed the voice of the Lord our God.”
4 If you return, Israel, return to me, declares the Lord.
If you get rid of your disgusting idols from my presence
and wander no more,
2 and if you swear by the living God
in truth, justice, and righteousness,
then the nations will enjoy God’s blessings;
they will boast about him.
3 This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and to the residents of Jerusalem:
Break up your hard rocky soil;
don’t plant among the thorns.
4 Dedicate yourselves to the Lord;
don’t be thick-skinned,
people of Judah and residents of Jerusalem,
or else my anger will spread like a wildfire.
It will burn, with no one to put it out,
because of your evil deeds.
5 Announce in Judah,
in Jerusalem proclaim,
sound the alarm throughout the land,
cry out and say,
Let’s flee to the fortified towns!”
6 Set up a flag to Zion;
take cover, don’t just stand there!
I’m bringing disaster from the north,
7 A lion bursts out of the thicket;
a destroyer of nations advances.
He’s gone forth from his place
to ravage your land,
to wipe out your towns,
until no one is left.
8 So put on funeral clothing.
Weep and wail,
for the Lord’s fierce anger
hasn’t turned away from us.
9 On that day, declares the Lord,
the courage of the king and his princes will fail,
the priests will be stunned,
and the prophets will be shocked.
10 Then I said, “Lord God, no!
You have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem
by promising them peace
even though the sword is at their throats.”
11 At that time, this people and Jerusalem will be told:
A blistering wind from the bare heights;
it rages in the desert toward my people,
not merely to winnow or cleanse.
12 This wind is too devastating for that.
Now I, even I, will pronounce my sentence against them.
13 Look! He approaches like the clouds;
his chariots advance like a tempest,
his horses swifter than eagles.
How horrible! We’re doomed!
14 Cleanse your heart of evil, Jerusalem,
that you may be saved.
How long will you entertain your destructive ideas?
15 A voice declares from Dan;
someone proclaims disaster from the highlands of Ephraim.
16 Warn the nations,
proclaim it to Jerusalem!
Armies are approaching from a far-away country,
raising their war cries against the towns of Judah.
17 They hem her in like those guarding a field,
because she has rebelled against me,
declares the Lord.
18 Your own conduct, your own deeds have done this to you.
This is your payment and how bitter it is,
piercing into the depths of your heart.
1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Timothy our brother.
2 To the holy and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
Thanksgiving and prayer for the Colossians
3 We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you. 4 We’ve done this since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all God’s people. 5 You have this faith and love because of the hope reserved for you in heaven. You previously heard about this hope through the true message, the good news, 6 which has come to you. This message has been bearing fruit and growing among you since the day you heard and truly understood God’s grace, in the same way that it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world. 7 You learned it from Epaphras, who is the fellow slave we love and Christ’s faithful minister for your sake. 8 He informed us of your love in the Spirit.
9 Because of this, since the day we heard about you, we haven’t stopped praying for you and asking for you to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, with all wisdom and spiritual understanding. 10 We’re praying this so that you can live lives that are worthy of the Lord and pleasing to him in every way: by producing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God; 11 by being strengthened through his glorious might so that you endure everything and have patience; 12 and by giving thanks with joy to the Father. He made it so you could take part in the inheritance, in light granted to God’s holy people. 13 He rescued us from the control of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. 14 He set us free through the Son and forgave our sins.
Hymn about Christ’s work
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God,
the one who is first over all creation,
16 Because all things were created by him:
both in the heavens and on the earth,
the things that are visible and the things that are invisible.
Whether they are thrones or powers,
or rulers or authorities,
all things were created through him and for him.
17 He existed before all things,
and all things are held together in him.
For the music leader. With stringed instruments. A psalm of Asaph. A song.
76 God is known in Judah;
his name is great in Israel.
2 His dwelling place became Salem;
his habitation was Zion.
3 It was there that he broke the fiery shafts of the bow,
the shield, the sword—even the battle itself! Selah
4 You are ablaze with light,
mightier than the mountains that give food.
5 The bravehearted lie plundered.
They sank into deep lethargy.
All the strong troops
couldn’t even lift their hands!
6 At your rebuke, Jacob’s God,
both chariot and horse were stopped dead-still.
7 You! You are awesome!
Who can stand before you when you are angry?
8 You have announced judgment from heaven.
The earth grew afraid and fell silent
9 when God rose up to establish justice,
when God rose up to save all of the earth’s poor. Selah
10 Even human rage will turn to your praise
when you dress yourself
with whatever remains of your wrath.
11 Make promises to the Lord your God and keep them!
Let all around him bring gifts to the awesome one.
12 He breaks the spirit of princes.
He is terrifying to all the kings of the earth.
21 Fear the Lord, my child, as well as the king.
Don’t associate with those who are rebellious.
22 Disaster comes suddenly from them.
Who can know the ruin that both can bring?