Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tisha Bav / 9 Av Readings #2

Jeremiah 8:12-9:23

The Message (MSG)

“‘I went out to see if I could salvage anything’”
    God’s Decree—
    “‘but found nothing:
Not a grape, not a fig,
    just a few withered leaves.
I’m taking back
    everything I gave them.’”
14-16 So why are we sitting here, doing nothing?
    Let’s get organized.
Let’s go to the big city
    and at least die fighting.
We’ve gotten God’s ultimatum:
    We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t—
    damned because of our sin against him.
We hoped things would turn out for the best,
    but it didn’t happen that way.
We were waiting around for healing—
    and terror showed up!
From Dan at the northern borders
    we hear the hooves of horses,
Horses galloping, horses neighing.
    The ground shudders and quakes.
They’re going to swallow up the whole country.
    Towns and people alike—fodder for war.
17 “‘What’s more, I’m dispatching
    poisonous snakes among you,
Snakes that can’t be charmed,
    snakes that will bite you and kill you.’”
        God’s Decree!
18-22 I drown in grief.
    I’m heartsick.
Oh, listen! Please listen! It’s the cry of my dear people
    reverberating through the country.
Is God no longer in Zion?
    Has the King gone away?
Can you tell me why they flaunt their plaything-gods,
    their silly, imported no-gods before me?
The crops are in, the summer is over,
    but for us nothing’s changed.
    We’re still waiting to be rescued.
For my dear broken people, I’m heartbroken.
    I weep, seized by grief.
Are there no healing ointments in Gilead?
    Isn’t there a doctor in the house?
So why can’t something be done
    to heal and save my dear, dear people?
1-2 I wish my head were a well of water
    and my eyes fountains of tears
So I could weep day and night
    for casualties among my dear, dear people.
At times I wish I had a wilderness hut,
    a backwoods cabin,
Where I could get away from my people
    and never see them again.
They’re a faithless, feckless bunch,
    a congregation of degenerates.
3-6 “Their tongues shoot out lies
    like a bow shoots arrows—
A mighty army of liars,
    the sworn enemies of truth.
They advance from one evil to the next,
    ignorant of me.”
            God’s Decree.
“Be wary of even longtime neighbors.
    Don’t even trust your grandmother!
Brother schemes against brother,
    like old cheating Jacob.
Friend against friend
    spreads malicious gossip.
Neighbors gyp neighbors,
    never telling the truth.
They’ve trained their tongues to tell lies,
    and now they can’t tell the truth.
They pile wrong upon wrong, stack lie upon lie,
    and refuse to know me.”
        God’s Decree.
7-9 Therefore, God-of-the-Angel-Armies says:
“Watch this! I’ll melt them down
    and see what they’re made of.
What else can I do
    with a people this wicked?
Their tongues are poison arrows!
    Deadly lies stream from their mouths.
Neighbor greets neighbor with a smile,
    ‘Good morning! How’re things?’
    while scheming to do away with him.
Do you think I’m going to stand around and do nothing?”
    God’s Decree.
“Don’t you think I’ll take serious measures
    against a people like this?
10-11 “I’m lamenting the loss of the mountain pastures.
    I’m chanting dirges for the old grazing grounds.
They’ve become deserted wastelands too dangerous for travelers.
    No sounds of sheep bleating or cattle mooing.
Birds and wild animals, all gone.
    Nothing stirring, no sounds of life.
I’m going to make Jerusalem a pile of rubble,
    fit for nothing but stray cats and dogs.
I’m going to reduce Judah’s towns to piles of ruins
    where no one lives!”
12 I asked, “Is there anyone around bright enough to tell us what’s going on here? Anyone who has the inside story fromGod and can let us in on it?
“Why is the country wasted?
“Why no travelers in this desert?”

13-15 God’s answer: “Because they abandoned my plain teaching. They wouldn’t listen to anything I said, refused to live the way I told them to. Instead they lived any way they wanted and took up with the Baal gods, who they thought would give them what they wanted—following the example of their parents.” And this is the consequence. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so:
“I’ll feed them with pig slop.
“I’ll give them poison to drink.

16 “Then I’ll scatter them far and wide among godless peoples that neither they nor their parents have ever heard of, and I’ll send Death in pursuit until there’s nothing left of them.”

17-19 A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
“Look over the trouble we’re in and call for help.
    Send for some singers who can help us mourn our loss.
Tell them to hurry—
    to help us express our loss and lament,
Help us get our tears flowing,
    make tearful music of our crying.
Listen to it!
    Listen to that torrent of tears out of Zion:
‘We’re a ruined people,
    we’re a shamed people!
We’ve been driven from our homes
    and must leave our land!’”
20-21 Mourning women! Oh, listen to God’s Message!
    Open your ears. Take in what he says.
Teach your daughters songs for the dead
    and your friends the songs of heartbreak.
Death has climbed in through the window,
    broken into our bedrooms.
Children on the playgrounds drop dead,
    and young men and women collapse at their games.
22 Speak up! “God’s Message:
“‘Dead bodies everywhere, scattered at random
    like sheep and goat dung in the fields,
Like wheat cut down by reapers
    and left to rot where it falls.’”
23-24 God’s Message:
“Don’t let the wise brag of their wisdom.
    Don’t let heroes brag of their exploits.
Don’t let the rich brag of their riches.
    If you brag, brag of this and this only:
That you understand and know me.
    I’m God, and I act in loyal love.
I do what’s right and set things right and fair,
    and delight in those who do the same things.
These are my trademarks.”
    God’s Decree.

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