Saturday after the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Jeremiah 7-9 (NKJV)
7:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 “Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say,
‘Hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the LORD!'” 3 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. 4 Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these.’ 5 For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, 6 if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt, 7 then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever. 8 Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit.
9 “Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, 10 and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’? 11 Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the LORD.
12 “But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these works,” says the LORD, “and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you, but you did not answer, 14 therefore I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. 15 And I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brethren—the whole posterity of Ephraim.
16 “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you. 17 Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger. 19 Do they provoke Me to anger?” says the LORD. “Do they not provoke themselves, to the shame of their own faces?”
20 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, My anger and My fury will be poured out on this place—on man and on beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground. And it will burn and not be quenched.”
21 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat meat. 22 For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. 23 But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ 24 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. 25 Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them. 26 Yet they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers.
27 “Therefore you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not obey you. You shall also call to them, but they will not answer you. 28 So you shall say to them, ‘This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the LORD their God nor receive correction. Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth.
29 ‘Cut off your hair and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on the desolate heights; for the LORD has rejected and forsaken the generation of His wrath.’
30 “For the children of Judah have done evil in My sight,” says the LORD. “They have set their abominations in the house which is called by My name, to pollute it. 31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into My heart. 32 Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “when it will no more be called Tophet, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter; for they will bury in Tophet until there is no room. 33 The corpses of this people will be food for the birds of the heaven and for the beasts of the earth. And no one will frighten them away. 34 Then I will cause to cease from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride. For the land shall be desolate.
8:1 “At that time,” says the LORD, “they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of its princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves. 2 They shall spread them before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and which they have served and after which they have walked, which they have sought and which they have worshiped. They shall not be gathered nor buried; they shall be like refuse on the face of the earth. 3 Then death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of those who remain of this evil family, who remain in all the places where I have driven them,” says the LORD of hosts.
4 “Moreover you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD:
“Will they fall and not rise? Will one turn away and not return? 5 Why has this people slidden back, Jerusalem, in a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit, they refuse to return. 6 I listened and heard, but they do not speak aright. No man repented of his wickedness, saying, ‘What have I done?’ Everyone turned to his own course, as the horse rushes into the battle. 7 Even the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD.
8 “How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us’? Look, the false pen of the scribe certainly works falsehood. 9 The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken. Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD; So what wisdom do they have? 10 Therefore I will give their wives to others, and their fields to those who will inherit them; Because from the least even to the greatest everyone is given to covetousness; From the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely. 11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace. 12 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed, nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; In the time of their punishment they shall be cast down,” says the LORD.
13 “I will surely consume them,” says the LORD. “No grapes shall be on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; And the things I have given them shall pass away from them.”‘”
14 “Why do we sit still? Assemble yourselves, and let us enter the fortified cities, and let us be silent there. For the LORD our God has put us to silence and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD. 15 We looked for peace, but no good came; And for a time of health, and there was trouble! 16 The snorting of His horses was heard from Dan. The whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of His strong ones; For they have come and devoured the land and all that is in it, the city and those who dwell in it.”
17 “For behold, I will send serpents among you, vipers which cannot be charmed, and they shall bite you,” says the LORD.
18 I would comfort myself in sorrow; My heart is faint in me. 19 Listen! The voice, the cry of the daughter of my people from a far country: “Is not the LORD in Zion? Is not her King in her?”
“Why have they provoked Me to anger with their carved images—with foreign idols?”
20 “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!”
For the hurt of the daughter of my people I am hurt. I am mourning; Astonishment has taken hold of me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery for the health of the daughter of my people?
9:1 Oh, that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! 2 Oh, that I had in the wilderness a lodging place for travelers; That I might leave my people, and go from them! For they are all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.
3 “And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know Me,” says the LORD. 4 “Everyone take heed to his neighbor, and do not trust any brother; For every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbor will walk with slanderers. 5 Everyone will deceive his neighbor, and will not speak the truth; They have taught their tongue to speak lies; They weary themselves to commit iniquity. 6 Your dwelling place is in the midst of deceit; Through deceit they refuse to know Me,” says the LORD.
7 Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts:
“Behold, I will refine them and try them; For how shall I deal with the daughter of My people? 8 Their tongue is an arrow shot out; It speaks deceit; One speaks peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth, but in his heart he lies in wait. 9 Shall I not punish them for these things?” says the LORD. “Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?”
10 I will take up a weeping and wailing for the mountains, and for the dwelling places of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that no one can pass through; Nor can men hear the voice of the cattle. Both the birds of the heavens and the beasts have fled; They are gone.
11 “I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a den of jackals. I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.”
12 Who is the wise man who may understand this? And who is he to whom the mouth of the LORD has spoken, that he may declare it? Why does the land perish and burn up like a wilderness, so that no one can pass through?
13 And the LORD said, “Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it, 14 but they have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them,” 15 therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. 16 I will scatter them also among the Gentiles, whom neither they nor their fathers have known. And I will send a sword after them until I have consumed them.”
17 Thus says the LORD of hosts:
“Consider and call for the mourning women, that they may come; And send for skillful wailing women, that they may come. 18 Let them make haste and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run with tears, and our eyelids gush with water. 19 For a voice of wailing is heard from Zion: ‘How we are plundered! We are greatly ashamed, because we have forsaken the land, because we have been cast out of our dwellings.'”
20 Yet hear the word of the LORD, O women, and let your ear receive the word of His mouth; Teach your daughters wailing, and everyone her neighbor a lamentation. 21 For death has come through our windows, has entered our palaces, to kill off the children—no longer to be outside! And the young men—no longer on the streets!
22 Speak, “Thus says the LORD:
‘Even the carcasses of men shall fall as refuse on the open field, like cuttings after the harvester, and no one shall gather them.'”
23 Thus says the LORD:
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24 But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.
25 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “that I will punish all who are circumcised with the uncircumcised—26 “Egypt, Judah, Edom, the people of Ammon, Moab, and all who are in the farthest corners, who dwell in the wilderness. For all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.”
In chapter 7 the Lord, through the prophet Jeremiah, again calls His people to repentance. He points out their sins of worshiping various false gods. Then they come into the temple, supposedly to worship the Lord, but also continue to worship the false gods—these false gods that they have created for themselves by believing the false prophets who preach lies to them. In verse 23 and following God tells them these lies were not His commands. He tells them they should obey His voice, which is being proclaimed through Jeremiah, His true prophet. Old Testament Israel seldom believed the word of God!
For much of the world today, even for much of visible Christendom, the Word of God still has no authority. It is seen as a book of fables, at best. However, when Jesus teaches the Church its mission on Earth He says that He has been given all authority in Heaven and on Earth. He is all-powerful! He tells His Church, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,” then He tells them how to accomplish this—”baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe [or believe] all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I [the One with all authority] am with you always” (Matt. 28:18-20).
Today, as always, the Word of the Lord is the final authority of truth. As always, the Word of the Lord is a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path (Ps. 119:105).
We pray: O Lord, by Your mercy, keep Your Church from all things hurtful and lead us to all things profitable; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.