A timely word is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Proverbs 25:11
A Warning for Judah’s Kings
1 The Lord said, “Go down to the house of the king of Judah and speak this word there: 2 ‘Hear the word of the Lord, king of Judah, who sits on the throne of David–you, your servants, and your people who enter in by these gates. 3 This is what the Lord says: Execute justice and righteousness, and deliver him who is robbed from the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong. Do no violence to the foreigner, the fatherless, or the widow. Do not shed innocent blood in this place.
4 If you do this, then kings sitting on the throne of David will indeed enter in by the gates of this house, riding in chariots and on horses, he, his servants and his people. 5 But if you will not hear these words, I swear by myself,” says the Lord, “that this house will become a desolation.’ ”
A Warning about the Palace
6 For the Lord says concerning the house of the king of Judah:
“You are Gilead to me,
the head of Lebanon,
yet surely I will make you a wilderness,
cities which are not inhabited.
7 I will prepare destroyers against you,
everyone with his weapons,
and they will cut down your choice cedars
and cast them into the fire.
8 “Many nations will pass by this city, and they will each ask his neighbor, ‘Why has the Lord done this to this great city?’ 9 Then they will answer, ‘Because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord their God, worshiped other gods and served them.’ ”
A Warning about Jehoahaz
10 Do not weep for the dead.
Do not bemoan him,
but weep bitterly for him who is exiled,
for he will never return,
or see his native country.
11 For the Lord says concerning Shallum the son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father, and who went out of this place, “He will not return there ever again. 12 But he will die in the place where they have led him captive. He will never see this land again.”
A Warning about Jehoiakim
13 “Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness
and his rooms by injustice,
who uses his neighbor’s service without wages
and does not give him his hire,
14 who says, ‘I will build myself a big house with spacious rooms,’
and cuts out windows for himself,
with a cedar ceiling
and painted with red.
15 Do you reign, because you strive to excel in cedar?
Did your father not eat and drink?
He acted with justice and righteousness,
and it went well with him.
16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy,
so it was well, then.
Is this not what it means to know me?” says the Lord.
17 But your eyes and your heart are set on nothing
except your own covetousness,
for shedding innocent blood,
for oppression and for doing violence.”
18 Therefore the Lord says concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah:
“They will not lament for him,
saying, ‘Alas, my brother!’ or, ‘Alas, my sister!’
They will not lament for him,
saying ‘Alas, my lord!’ or, ‘Alas, his glory!’
19 He will be buried with the burial of a donkey,
drawn and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.
20 Go up to Lebanon and cry.
Raise your voice in Bashan
and cry from Abarim,
for all your lovers have been destroyed.
21 I spoke to you in your prosperity,
but you said, ‘I will not listen.’
This has been your way from your youth,
that you did not obey my voice.
22 The wind will feed all your shepherds,
and your lovers will go into captivity.
Surely then you will be ashamed
and confounded for all your wickedness.
23 Inhabitant of Lebanon,
who makes your nest in the cedars,
how greatly pitied you will be
when pangs come on you,
the pain as of a woman in labor!”
A Warning for Jehoiachin
24 “As surely as I live,” says the Lord, “though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet on my right hand, I would still uproot you from there. 25 I would give you into the hand of those who seek your life and into the hand of those you fear, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of the Chaldeans. 26 I will cast you out with your mother who bore you, into another country where you were not born, and there you will die. 27 But to the land to which they long to return, there they will not return.”
28 Is this man Coniah a despised broken vessel?
Is he a vessel in which no one delights?
Why are they cast out, he and his offspring
and cast into a land which they do not know?
29 O earth, earth, earth,
hear the word of the Lord!
30 The Lord says,
“Record this man as childless,
a man who will not prosper in his days,
for no longer will a man of his offspring prosper,
sitting on the throne of David
and ruling in Judah.”
David’s Righteous Branch
1 “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” says the Lord.
2 Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, says against the shepherds who feed my people: “You have scattered my flock, driven them away, and have not attended to them. I will attend to you according to the evil of your deeds,” says the Lord. 3 “I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their folds, and they will be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them. They will no longer be afraid or dismayed, nor will any be lacking,” says the Lord.
5 The day is coming, says the Lord
when I will raise to David a righteous Branch,
and he will reign as king and deal wisely,
and will execute justice and righteousness in the land.
6 In his days Judah will be saved,
and Israel will dwell safely.
This is his name by which he will be called:
The Lord our Righteousness.
7 Therefore the days are coming,” says the Lord, “that they will no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the Israelites out of the land of Egypt,’ 8 but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ Then they will dwell in their own land.”
9 Concerning the prophets:
My heart within me is broken.
All my bones shake.
I am like a drunken man,
and like a man whom wine has overcome,
because of the Lord,
and because of his holy words.
10 For the land is full of adulterers,
for because of the curse the land mourns.
The pastures of the wilderness have dried up.
Their course is evil,
and their might is not right.
11 For both prophet and priest are profane.
Yes, in my house I have found their wickedness,” says the Lord.
12 Therefore their way will be to them
as slippery places in the darkness.
They will be driven on,
and fall therein,
for I will bring disaster on them,
in the year of their punishment,” says the Lord.
13 “I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria.
They prophesied by Baal
and caused my people Israel to err.
14 In the prophets of Jerusalem,
I have also seen a horrible thing:
they commit adultery and walk in lies.
They strengthen the hands of evildoers,
so that no one returns from his wickedness.
They have all become to me as Sodom,
and its inhabitants as Gomorrah.”
15 Therefore the Lord of Hosts says concerning the prophets:
“I will feed them with wormwood
and make them drink poisoned water,
for from the prophets of Jerusalem
ungodliness has gone out into all the land.”
16 The Lord of Hosts says,
“Do not listen to the words of the prophets
who prophesy to you.
They teach you worthless things.
They speak a vision of their own heart,
and not from the mouth of the Lord.
17 They say continually to those who despise me,
‘The Lord has said: You will have peace,’
and to everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart
they say, ‘No disaster will come to you.’
18 For who has stood in the council of the Lord,
that he should perceive and hear his word?
Who has listened to my word, and heard it?
19 The Lord’s storm, his wrath, has gone out.
Yes, a whirling storm:
It will burst on the head of the wicked.
20 The anger of the Lord will not return until he has executed
and until he has performed the intentions of his heart.
In the latter days, you will understand it perfectly.
21 I did not send these prophets, yet they ran.
I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied.
22 But if they had stood in my council,
then they would have caused my people to hear my words
and would have turned them from their evil way,
and from the evil of their actions.
23 “Am I a God close at hand,” says the Lord, “and not a God far off?
24 Can anyone hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?” says the Lord.
“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.
25 “I have heard what the prophets have said, who prophesy lies in my name, saying, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ 26 How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart. 27 They intend to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams, which they each tell his neighbor, as their fathers forgot my name because of Baal.
28 The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream, and he who has my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the straw to the wheat?” says the Lord. 29 “Is my word not like fire?” says the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? 30 Therefore, I am against the prophets,” says the Lord, “who each steal my words from his neighbor.
31 I am against the prophets,” says the Lord, “who use their tongues and say, ‘He says.’ 32 I am against those who prophesy lying dreams,” says the Lord, “who tell them and cause my people to err by their lies and by their vain boasting, yet I did not send them or command them. They do not profit this people at all,” says the Lord.
33 “When this people, or the prophet, or a priest, asks you, saying, ‘What is the message from the Lord?’ Then you shall tell them, ‘What message? The Lord says, I will cast you off.’
34 As for the prophet, the priest, and the people, who say, ‘The message from the Lord,’ I will punish that man and his household.
35 This is what each man should say to his neighbor and each to his brother, ‘What has the Lord answered?’ or ‘What has the Lord said?’ 36 You will mention the message from the Lord no more, for every man’s own word has become his message, for you have perverted the words of the living God, of the Lord of Hosts, our God.
37 You will say to the prophet, ‘What has God answered you?’ and, ‘What has God spoken?’
38 Although you say, ‘This is the message from God,’ therefore the Lord says: Because you say this word, ‘The message from the Lord,’ and I have sent to you, telling you not to say, ‘The message from the Lord,’ 39 therefore, I will utterly forget you, and I will cast you off and the city that I gave to you and to your fathers, away from my presence. 40 I will bring an everlasting reproach on you, and a perpetual shame, which will not be forgotten.”
2 Thessalonians 1
Greetings from Paul, Silas and Timothy
1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving for Their Faith
3 We are bound to always give thanks to God for you, brothers, just as it is appropriate, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of each and every one of you toward one another abounds. 4 This is why we ourselves boast about you in God’s churches, for your perseverance and faith in all your persecution and in the affliction which you endure.
5 This is an obvious sign of the righteous judgment of God, to the end that you may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which you also suffer, 6 since it is a righteous thing for God to repay affliction to those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted with us. When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 he will punish those who do not know God and those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will pay the penalty: eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes in that day to be glorified in his saints and to be admired among all those who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.
11 To this end we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire of goodness and work of faith with power, 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
God, Do not Keep Silent
A song. A Psalm by Asaph.
1 O God, do not keep silent.
Do not keep silent
and do not be still, God.
2 For your enemies are stirred up.
Those who hate you have lifted up their heads.
3 They conspire with cunning against your people.
They plot against your cherished ones.
4 “Come,” they say, “let’s destroy them as a nation,
that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”
5 For they have conspired together with one mind.
They form an alliance against you.
6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
Moab, and the Hagrites,
7 Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek,
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre,
8 Assyria also is joined with them.
They have helped the sons of Lot.
9 Do to them as you did to Midian,
as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the river Kishon,
10 who perished at Endor,
who became as dung for the earth.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
yes, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 who said, “Let’s take possession of God’s pasture lands.”
13 My God, make them like tumbleweed,
like chaff before the wind.
14 As the fire that burns the forest,
as the flame that sets the mountains on fire,
15 so pursue them with your tempest,
and terrify them with your storm.
16 Fill their faces with confusion,
that they may seek your name, O Lord.
17 Let them be disappointed and dismayed forever.
Yes, let them be confounded and perish,
18 that they may know that you alone, whose name is the Lord,
are the Most High over all the earth.
11 A timely word
is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold,
so is a wise reprover to an obedient ear.
13 As the cold of snow in the time of harvest,
so is a faithful messenger to those who send him;
for he refreshes the soul of his masters.
14 As clouds and wind without rain,
so is he who boasts of gifts deceptively.