Read the Bible | October 24th
 Righteous are you, O LORD,
when I complain to you;
yet I would plead my case before you.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
 You plant them, and they take root;
they grow and produce fruit;
you are near in their mouth
and far from their heart.
 But you, O LORD, know me;
you see me, and test my heart toward you.
Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter,
and set them apart for the day of slaughter.
 How long will the land mourn
and the grass of every field wither?
For the evil of those who dwell in it
the beasts and the birds are swept away,
because they said, “He will not see our latter end.”
The LORD Answers Jeremiah
 “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you,
how will you compete with horses?
And if in a safe land you are so trusting,
what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?
 For even your brothers and the house of your father,
even they have dealt treacherously with you;
they are in full cry after you;
do not believe them,
though they speak friendly words to you.”
 “I have forsaken my house;
I have abandoned my heritage;
I have given the beloved of my soul
into the hands of her enemies.
 My heritage has become to me
like a lion in the forest;
she has lifted up her voice against me;
therefore I hate her.
 Is my heritage to me like a hyena’s lair?
Are the birds of prey against her all around?
Go, assemble all the wild beasts;
bring them to devour.
 Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard;
they have trampled down my portion;
they have made my pleasant portion
a desolate wilderness.
 They have made it a desolation;
desolate, it mourns to me.
The whole land is made desolate,
but no man lays it to heart.
 Upon all the bare heights in the desert
destroyers have come,
for the sword of the LORD devours
from one end of the land to the other;
no flesh has peace.
 They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns;
they have tired themselves out but profit nothing.
They shall be ashamed of their harvests
because of the fierce anger of the LORD.”
 Thus says the LORD concerning all my evil neighbors who touch the heritage that I have given my people Israel to inherit: “Behold, I will pluck them up from their land, and I will pluck up the house of Judah from among them.  And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land.  And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, ‘As the LORD lives,’ even as they taught my people to swear by Baal, then they shall be built up in the midst of my people.  But if any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it, declares the LORD.” (ESV)
The Ruined Loincloth
 Thus says the LORD to me, “Go and buy a linen loincloth and put it around your waist, and do not dip it in water.”  So I bought a loincloth according to the word of the LORD, and put it around my waist.  And the word of the LORD came to me a second time,  “Take the loincloth that you have bought, which is around your waist, and arise, go to the Euphrates and hide it there in a cleft of the rock.”  So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as the LORD commanded me.  And after many days the LORD said to me, “Arise, go to the Euphrates, and take from there the loincloth that I commanded you to hide there.”  Then I went to the Euphrates, and dug, and I took the loincloth from the place where I had hidden it. And behold, the loincloth was spoiled; it was good for nothing.
 Then the word of the LORD came to me:  “Thus says the LORD: Even so will I spoil the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem.  This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who stubbornly follow their own heart and have gone after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be like this loincloth, which is good for nothing.  For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the LORD, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.
The Jars Filled with Wine
 “You shall speak to them this word: ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, “Every jar shall be filled with wine.”’ And they will say to you, ‘Do we not indeed know that every jar will be filled with wine?’  Then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD: Behold, I will fill with drunkenness all the inhabitants of this land: the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  And I will dash them one against another, fathers and sons together, declares the LORD. I will not pity or spare or have compassion, that I should not destroy them.’”
 Hear and give ear; be not proud,
for the LORD has spoken.
 Give glory to the LORD your God
before he brings darkness,
before your feet stumble
on the twilight mountains,
and while you look for light
he turns it into gloom
and makes it deep darkness.
 But if you will not listen,
my soul will weep in secret for your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears,
because the LORD’s flock has been taken captive.
 Say to the king and the queen mother:
“Take a lowly seat,
for your beautiful crown
has come down from your head.”
 The cities of the Negeb are shut up,
with none to open them;
all Judah is taken into exile,
wholly taken into exile.
 “Lift up your eyes and see
those who come from the north.
Where is the flock that was given you,
your beautiful flock?
 What will you say when they set as head over you
those whom you yourself have taught to be friends to you?
Will not pangs take hold of you
like those of a woman in labor?
 And if you say in your heart,
‘Why have these things come upon me?’
it is for the greatness of your iniquity
that your skirts are lifted up
and you suffer violence.
 Can the Ethiopian change his skin
or the leopard his spots?
Then also you can do good
who are accustomed to do evil.
 I will scatter you like chaff
driven by the wind from the desert.
 This is your lot,
the portion I have measured out to you, declares the LORD,
because you have forgotten me
and trusted in lies.
 I myself will lift up your skirts over your face,
and your shame will be seen.
 I have seen your abominations,
your adulteries and neighings, your lewd whorings,
on the hills in the field.
Woe to you, O Jerusalem!
How long will it be before you are made clean?” (ESV)
Famine, Sword, and Pestilence
 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:
 “Judah mourns,
and her gates languish;
her people lament on the ground,
and the cry of Jerusalem goes up.
 Her nobles send their servants for water;
they come to the cisterns;
they find no water;
they return with their vessels empty;
they are ashamed and confounded
and cover their heads.
 Because of the ground that is dismayed,
since there is no rain on the land,
the farmers are ashamed;
they cover their heads.
 Even the doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn
because there is no grass.
 The wild donkeys stand on the bare heights;
they pant for air like jackals;
their eyes fail
because there is no vegetation.
 “Though our iniquities testify against us,
act, O LORD, for your name’s sake;
for our backslidings are many;
we have sinned against you.
 O you hope of Israel,
its savior in time of trouble,
why should you be like a stranger in the land,
like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?
 Why should you be like a man confused,
like a mighty warrior who cannot save?
Yet you, O LORD, are in the midst of us,
and we are called by your name;
do not leave us.”
 Thus says the LORD concerning this people:
“They have loved to wander thus;
they have not restrained their feet;
therefore the LORD does not accept them;
now he will remember their iniquity
and punish their sins.”
 The LORD said to me: “Do not pray for the welfare of this people.  Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.”
 Then I said: “Ah, Lord GOD, behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’”  And the LORD said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.  Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although I did not send them, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not come upon this land’: By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed.  And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword, with none to bury them—them, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their evil upon them.
 “You shall say to them this word:
‘Let my eyes run down with tears night and day,
and let them not cease,
for the virgin daughter of my people is shattered with a great wound,
with a very grievous blow.
 If I go out into the field,
behold, those pierced by the sword!
And if I enter the city,
behold, the diseases of famine!
For both prophet and priest ply their trade through the land
and have no knowledge.’”
 Have you utterly rejected Judah?
Does your soul loathe Zion?
Why have you struck us down
so that there is no healing for us?
We looked for peace, but no good came;
for a time of healing, but behold, terror.
 We acknowledge our wickedness, O LORD,
and the iniquity of our fathers,
for we have sinned against you.
 Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake;
do not dishonor your glorious throne;
remember and do not break your covenant with us.
 Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Are you not he, O LORD our God?
We set our hope on you,
for you do all these things. (ESV)
The LORD Will Not Relent
 Then the LORD said to me, “Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go!  And when they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?’ you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD:
“‘Those who are for pestilence, to pestilence,
and those who are for the sword, to the sword;
those who are for famine, to famine,
and those who are for captivity, to captivity.’
 I will appoint over them four kinds of destroyers, declares the LORD: the sword to kill, the dogs to tear, and the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy.  And I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem.
 “Who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem,
or who will grieve for you?
Who will turn aside
to ask about your welfare?
 You have rejected me, declares the LORD;
you keep going backward,
so I have stretched out my hand against you and destroyed you—
I am weary of relenting.
 I have winnowed them with a winnowing fork
in the gates of the land;
I have bereaved them; I have destroyed my people;
they did not turn from their ways.
 I have made their widows more in number
than the sand of the seas;
I have brought against the mothers of young men
a destroyer at noonday;
I have made anguish and terror
fall upon them suddenly.
 She who bore seven has grown feeble;
she has fainted away;
her sun went down while it was yet day;
she has been shamed and disgraced.
And the rest of them I will give to the sword
before their enemies,
declares the LORD.”
 Woe is me, my mother, that you bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land! I have not lent, nor have I borrowed, yet all of them curse me.  The LORD said, “Have I not set you free for their good? Have I not pleaded for you before the enemy in the time of trouble and in the time of distress?  Can one break iron, iron from the north, and bronze?
 “Your wealth and your treasures I will give as spoil, without price, for all your sins, throughout all your territory.  I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.”
 O LORD, you know;
remember me and visit me,
and take vengeance for me on my persecutors.
In your forbearance take me not away;
know that for your sake I bear reproach.
 Your words were found, and I ate them,
and your words became to me a joy
and the delight of my heart,
for I am called by your name,
O LORD, God of hosts.
 I did not sit in the company of revelers,
nor did I rejoice;
I sat alone, because your hand was upon me,
for you had filled me with indignation.
 Why is my pain unceasing,
my wound incurable,
refusing to be healed?
Will you be to me like a deceitful brook,
like waters that fail?
 Therefore thus says the LORD:
“If you return, I will restore you,
and you shall stand before me.
If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,
you shall be as my mouth.
They shall turn to you,
but you shall not turn to them.
 And I will make you to this people
a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you,
but they shall not prevail over you,
for I am with you
to save you and deliver you,
declares the LORD.
 I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,
and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.” (ESV)
1 Timothy 6:2–21
 Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved.
False Teachers and True Contentment
Teach and urge these things.  If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness,  he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,  and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.  But godliness with contentment is great gain,  for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.  But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Fight the Good Fight of Faith
 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,  to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,  which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,  who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.  They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,  thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,”  for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.
Grace be with you. (ESV)
2 Timothy 1
 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,
 To Timothy, my beloved child:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Guard the Deposit Entrusted to You
 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.  As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy.  I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.  For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands,  for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,  who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,  and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,  for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher,  which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.  Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
 You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.  May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains,  but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus. (ESV)