Day 246 – Rejoice in Doing Good

Thoughts and Reflections

In today’s reading, Jeremiah is imprisoned for speaking the truth. He tells King Zekekiah that Babylon will be victorious over Jerusalem. God tells Jeremiah to go buy a field even though it will later be conquered. He does so. This act demonstrates his faith in the Lord.

In Proverbs, it tells us that things that seem to be right can still lead us to destruction. We are reminded about the destructive power of gossip and we must be on guard against gossip and pray that we never say what does not to be said.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Jeremiah 32

1 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.

2 The army of the king of Babylon was then besieging Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was confined in the Court of the Guard in the king of Judah’s palace,

3 where Zedekiah king of Judah had confined him, saying, ‘Why do you keep prophesying like this, “Yahweh says this: I am going to hand this city over to the king of Babylon and he will capture it;

4 and Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape the clutches of the Chaldaeans, but will certainly be handed over to the king of Babylon, speak to him personally and see him face to face.

5 He will take Zedekiah away to Babylon and there he will stay (until I attend to him, Yahweh declares. If you fight the Chaldaeans you will not succeed!)” ‘

6 Jeremiah said, ‘The word of Yahweh has been addressed to me as follows,

7 “Look, Hanamel the son of your uncle Shallum will come to you and say: Buy my field at Anathoth, for you have the right of redemptionto purchase it.”

8 And, as Yahweh had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me, in the Court of the Guard and said, “Buy my field at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin, for you have the right of inheritance and right of redemption; buy it.” I knew then that this was Yahweh’s order.

9 Accordingly, I bought the field from my cousin Hanamel of Anathoth and weighed him out the money: seventeen silver shekels.

10 I drew up the deeds and sealed it, called in witnesses and weighed out the money on the scales.

11 I then took both the sealed deed of purchase (with its stipulations and clauses) and its open copy

12 and handed over the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, of the witnesses who had signed the deed of purchase, and of all the Judaeans who then happened to be in the Court of the Guard.

13 In their presence I gave Baruch this order,

14 “Yahweh Sabaoth, God of Israel, says this: Take these deeds, the sealed deed of purchase and its open copy, and put them in an earthenware pot, so that they may be preserved for a long time.

15 For Yahweh Sabaoth, God of Israel, says this: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this country.”

16 ‘After I had entrusted the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to Yahweh as follows,

17 “Ah, Lord Yahweh, you made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. To you nothing is impossible.

18 You show faithful love to thousands but repay the fathers’ guilt in full to their children after them. Great and mighty God, whose name is Yahweh Sabaoth,

19 great in purpose, mighty in deed, whose eyes are open on all human ways, rewarding every individual as that person’s ways and actions deserve!

20 You performed signs and wonders in Egypt, as you still do in Israel and among humanity today. You have won the name for yourself which is yours today.

21 You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, with mighty hand and outstretched arm and fearsome terror.

22 Then you gave them this country which you had promised on oath to their ancestors, a country flowing with milk and honey.

23 They then entered it, taking possession of it, but they would not listen to your voice nor follow your Law: they would do nothing you ordered them to do; and so you made this total disaster befall them.

24 Look! The earthworks are already in place to take the city and, by means of sword, famine and plague, the city is now within the clutches of the Chaldaeans attacking it. What you said has now come true, as you see.

25 Yet you yourself, Lord Yahweh, told me: Buy the field, pay for it, have it witnessed although the city is already in the Chaldaeans’ clutches.” ‘

26 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,

27 ‘Look, I am Yahweh, God of all humanity. Is anything impossible to me?

28 ‘So, Yahweh says this, “I shall hand this city over to the Chaldaeans and to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will capture it;

29 the Chaldaeans attacking this city will enter it, fire it and burn it to the ground, with the houses on whose roofs incense has been offered to Baal and libations poured to other gods, to provoke my anger.

30 For the people of Israel and Judah alike have done nothing but what displeases me since they were young. (The people of Israel in fact have done nothing but provoke my anger by their actions, Yahweh declares.)

31 Yes, from the day when this city was built until today, it has been such cause of anger and wrath to me that I mean to remove it from my sight,

32 on account of all the wickedness the people of Israel and the people of Judah have done to provoke my anger; they, their kings, their chief men, their priests, their prophets, the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

33 They turned to me their backs, never their faces; and though I taught them so urgently, so untiringly, they would not listen and accept correction.

34 Instead, they set up their Horrors in the Temple that bears my name to defile it,

35 and built the high places of Baal in the Valley of Ben-Hinnom, to burn their sons and daughters alive in honour of Molech: a thing I have never ordered, that had never entered my thoughts — that they would cause Judah to sin by anything so loathsome!

36 “So now, this is what Yahweh, God of Israel, says about this city of which you now say: By means of sword, famine and plague, it is already within the king of Babylon’s clutches:

37 Look, I shall gather them in from all the countries where I have driven them in my anger, my fury and great wrath. I shall bring them back to this place and make them live in safety.

38 Then they will be my people, and I shall be their God.

39 I shall give them singleness of heart and singleness of conduct so that they will always fear me, for their own good and that of their children after them.

40 I shall make an everlasting covenant with them, never to cease in my efforts for their welfare, and I shall put respect for me in their hearts, so that they will never turn away from me again.

41 My joy will lie in them and in doing them good, and I shall plant them firmly in this country, with all my heart and soul.

42 For Yahweh says this: Just as I have brought this complete and total disaster on this people, so I shall bring them all the good things I have promised them.

43 Fields will again be bought in this country of which you now say: It is a wasteland without human or animal, already in the clutches of the Chaldaeans.

44 People will buy fields, pay money, draw up deeds, seal them and have them witnessed in the territory of Benjamin, in the districts round Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah, of the highlands, of the lowlands and of the Negeb. For I shall bring back their captives, Yahweh declares.”‘

Judith 1

1 It was the twelfth year of Nebuchadnezzar who reigned over the Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh. Arphaxad was then reigning over the Medes in Ecbatana.

2 He surrounded this city with walls of dressed stones three cubits thick and six cubits long, making the rampart seventy cubits high and fifty cubits wide.

3 At the gates he placed towers one hundred cubits high and, at the foundations, sixty cubits wide,

4 the gates themselves being seventy cubits high and forty wide to allow his forces to march out in a body and his infantry to parade freely.

5 About this time King Nebuchadnezzar gave battle to King Arphaxad in the great plain lying in the territory of Ragae.

6 Supporting him were all the peoples from the highlands, all from the Euphrates and Tigris and Hydaspes, and those from the plains who were subject to Arioch, king of the Elymaeans. Thus many nations had mustered to take part in the battle of the Cheleoudites.

7 Nebuchadnezzar king of the Assyrians sent a message to all the inhabitants of Persia, to all the inhabitants of the western countries, Cilicia, Damascus, Lebanon, Anti-Lebanon, to all those along the coast,

8 to the peoples of Carmel, Gilead, Upper Galilee, the great plain of Esdraelon,

9 to the people of Samaria and its outlying towns, to those beyond Jordan, as far away as Jerusalem, Bethany, Chelous, Kadesh, the river of Egypt, Tahpanhes, Rameses and the whole territory of Goshen,

10 beyond Tanis too and Memphis, and to all the inhabitants of Egypt as far as the frontiers of Ethiopia.

11 But the inhabitants of these countries ignored the summons of Nebuchadnezzar king of the Assyrians and did not rally to him to make war. They were not afraid of him, since in their view he appeared isolated. Hence they sent his ambassadors back with nothing achieved and in disgrace.

12 Nebuchadnezzar was furious with all these countries. He swore by his throne and kingdom to take revenge on all the territories of Cilicia, Damascus and Syria, of the Moabites and of the Ammonites, of Judaea and Egypt as far as the limits of the two seas, and to ravage them with the sword. 

13 In the seventeenth year, he gave battle with his whole army to King Arphaxad and in this battle defeated him. He routed Arphaxad’s entire army and all his cavalry and chariots;

14 he occupied his towns and advanced on Ecbatana; he seized its towers and plundered its market places, reducing its former magnificence to a mockery.

15 He later captured Arphaxad in the mountains of Ragae and, thrusting him through with his spears, destroyed him once and for all.

16 He then retired with his troops and all who had joined forces with him: a vast horde of armed men. Then he and his army gave themselves up to carefree feasting for a hundred and twenty days.

Judith 2

1 In the eighteenth year, on the twenty-second day of the first month, a rumour ran through the palace that Nebuchadnezzar king of the Assyrians was to have his revenge on all the countries, as he had threatened.

2 Summoning his general staff and senior officers, he held a secret conference with them, and with his own lips pronounced utter destruction on the entire area.

3 It was then decreed that everyone should be put to death who had not answered the king’s appeal.

4 When the council was over, Nebuchadnezzar king of the Assyrians sent for Holofernes, general-in-chief of his armies and subordinate only to himself. He said to him,

5 ‘Thus speaks the Great King, lord of the whole world, “Go; take men of proven valour, about a hundred and twenty thousand foot soldiers and a strong company of horse with twelve thousand cavalrymen;

6 then advance against all the western lands, since these people have disregarded my call.

7 Bid them have earth and water ready, because in my rage I am about to march on them; the feet of my soldiers will cover the whole face of the earth, and I shall plunder it.

8 Their wounded will fill the valleys and the torrents, and rivers, blocked with their dead, will overflow.

9 I shall lead them captive to the ends of the earth.

10 Now go! Begin by conquering this whole region for me. If they surrender to you, hold them for me until the time comes to punish them.

11 But if they resist, look on no one with clemency, hand them over to slaughter and plunder throughout the territory entrusted to you.

12 For by my life and by the living power of my kingdom I have spoken. All this I shall do by my power.

13 And you, neglect none of your master’s commands, act strictly according to my orders without further delay.” ‘

14 Leaving the presence of his sovereign, Holofernes immediately summoned all the marshals, generals and officers of the Assyrian army

15 and detailed the picked troops as his master had ordered, about a hundred and twenty thousand men and a further twelve thousand mounted archers.

16 He organised these in the normal battle formation.

17 He then secured vast numbers of camels, donkeys and mules to carry the baggage, and innumerable sheep, oxen and goats for food supplies.

18 Every man received full rations and a generous sum of gold and silver from the king’s purse.

19 He then set out for the campaign with his whole army, in advance of King Nebuchadnezzar, to overwhelm the whole western region with his chariots, his horsemen and his picked body of foot.

20 A motley gathering followed in his rear, as numerous as locusts or the grains of sand on the ground; there was no counting their multitude.

21 Thus they set out from Nineveh and marched for three days towards the Plain of Bectileth. From Bectileth they went on to pitch camp near the mountains that lie to the north of Upper Cilicia.

22 From there Holofernes advanced into the highlands with his whole army, infantry, horsemen, chariots.

23 He cut his way through Put and Lud, carried away captive all the sons of Rassis and sons of Ishmael living on the verge of the desertsouth of Cheleon,

24 marched along the Euphrates, crossed Mesopotamia, rased all the fortified towns controlling the Wadi Abron and reached the sea.

25 Next he attacked the territories of Cilicia, butchering all who offered him resistance, advanced on the southern frontiers of Japheth, facing Arabia,

26 completely encircled the Midianites, burned their tents and plundered their sheep-folds,

27 made his way down to the Damascus plain at the time of the wheat harvest, set fire to the fields, destroyed the flocks and herds, sacked the towns, laid the countryside waste and put all the young men to the sword.

28 Fear and trembling seized all the coastal peoples; those of Sidon and Tyre, those of Sur, Ocina and Jamnia. The populations of Azotos and Ascalon were panic-stricken.

Proverbs 16:25-28

25 There is a way that some think straight, but it leads in the end to death.

26 A worker’s appetite works on his behalf, for his hunger urges him on.

27 A worthless person concocts evil, such a one’s talk is like a scorching fire.

28 A troublemaker sows strife, a slanderer divides friend from friend.

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