Infidelity To God
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Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You can't eat from any tree in the garden'?"
But Pharaoh responded, "Who is the Lord that I should obey Him by letting Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and what's more, I will not let Israel go."
"But the person who acts defiantly, whether native or foreign resident, blasphemes the Lord. That person is to be cut off from his people.
When someone hears the words of this oath, he may bless himself in his mind, thinking, 'I will have peace even though I follow my [own] stubborn heart.' This will lead to the destruction of the well-watered [land] as well as the dry [land]. The Lord will not be willing to forgive him. Instead, His anger and jealousy will burn against that person, and every curse written in this scroll will descend on him. The Lord will blot out his name under heaven,
Then Jeshurun became fat and rebelled- you became fat, bloated, and gorged. He abandoned the God who made him and scorned the Rock of his salvation.
Then the man of God approached and said to the king of Israel, "This is what the Lord says: 'Because the Arameans have said: The Lord is a god of the mountains and not a god of the valleys, I will hand over this entire immense horde to you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.' "
From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking up the path, some small boys came out of the city and harassed him, chanting, "Go up, baldy! Go up, baldy!"
So the couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the hand of the king and his officials, and according to the king's command, saying, "Israelites, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel so that He may return to those of you who remain, who have escaped from the grasp of the kings of Assyria.
So now, don't let Hezekiah deceive you, and don't let him mislead you like this. Don't believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my power or the power of my fathers. How much less will your gods deliver you from my power!' "
But they kept ridiculing God's messengers, despising His words, and scoffing at His prophets, until the Lord's wrath was so stirred up against His people that there was no remedy.
For he has stretched out his hand against God and has arrogantly opposed the Almighty. He rushes headlong at Him with his thick, studded shields.
Yet they say to God: "Leave us alone! We don't want to know Your ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him, and what will we gain by pleading with Him?"
Yet you say: "What does God know? Can He judge through thick darkness? Clouds veil Him so that He cannot see, as He walks on the circle of the sky."
Could one who hates justice govern [the world]? Will you condemn the mighty Righteous One, who says to a king, "Worthless man!" and to nobles, "Wicked men!"? God is not partial to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of His hands.
For you ask, "What does it profit You, and what benefit comes to me, if I do not sin?"
How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path of sinners, or join a group of mockers!
May the Lord cut off all flattering lips and the tongue that speaks boastfully. They say, "Through our tongues we have power; our lips are our own-who can be our master?"
The fool says in his heart, "God does not exist." They are corrupt; their actions are revolting. There is no one who does good.
They say, "The Lord doesn't see it. The God of Jacob doesn't pay attention." Pay attention, you stupid people! Fools, when will you be wise? Can the One who shaped the ear not hear, the One who formed the eye not see?
"How long, foolish ones, will you love ignorance? [How long] will [you] mockers enjoy mocking and [you] fools hate knowledge?
Woe to those who drag wickedness with cords of deceit and [pull] sin along with cart ropes, to those who say: "Let Him hurry up and do His work quickly so that we can see it! Let the plan of the Holy One of Israel take place so that we can know it!"
Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes straw and as dry grass shrivels in the flame, so their roots will become like something rotten and their blossoms will blow away like dust, for they have rejected the instruction of the Lord of Hosts, and they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the Lord's anger burns against His people. He raised His hand against them and struck them; the mountains quaked, and their corpses were like garbage in the streets. In all this, His anger is not removed, and His hand is still raised [to strike].
Who is he trying to teach? Who is he trying to instruct? Infants [just] weaned from milk? Babies removed from the breast? For [he says]: "Law after law, law after law, line after line, line after line, a little here, a little there."
Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you mockers who rule this people in Jerusalem. For you said, "We have cut a deal with Death, and we have made an agreement with Sheol; when the overwhelming scourge passes through, it will not touch us, because we have made falsehood our refuge and have hidden behind treachery."
And I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the mason's level." Hail will sweep away the false refuge, and water will flood your hiding place. Your deal with Death will be dissolved, and your agreement with Sheol will not last. When the overwhelming scourge passes through, you will be trampled. Every time it passes through, it will carry you away; it will pass through every morning- every day and every night. Only terror will cause you to understand the message.read more.
Indeed, the bed is too short to stretch out on, and its cover too small to wrap up in. For the Lord will rise up as [He did] at Mount Perazim. He will rise in wrath, as at the valley of Gibeon, to do His work, His strange work, and to perform His task, His disturbing task. So now, do not mock, or your shackles will become stronger. Indeed, I have heard from the Lord God of Hosts a decree of destruction for the whole land.
Woe to those who go to great lengths to hide their plans from the Lord. [They do] their works in darkness, and say, "Who sees us? Who knows us?" You have turned things around, as if the potter were the same as the clay. How can what is made say about its maker, "He didn't make me"? How can what is formed say about the one who formed it, "He doesn't understand [what he's doing]"?
"Woe to the one who argues with his Maker- one clay pot among many. Does clay say to the one forming it: What are you making? Or does your work [say]: He has no hands? How absurd is the one who says to [his] father: What are you fathering? or to [his] mother: What are you giving birth to?"
You were secure in your wickedness; you said: No one sees me. Your wisdom and knowledge led you astray. You said to yourself: I, and no one else. But disaster will happen to you; you will not know how to avert it. And it will fall on you, but you will be unable to ward it off. Devastation will happen to you suddenly and unexpectedly.
Summon the archers to Babylon, all who string the bow; camp all around her; let none escape. Repay her according to her deeds; just as she has done, do the same to her, for she has acted arrogantly against the Lord, against the Holy One of Israel.
During the days of her affliction and homelessness Jerusalem remembers all her precious belongings that were [hers] in days of old. When her people fell into the adversary's hand, she had no one to help. The adversaries looked at her, laughing over her downfall.
He answered me: "The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is extremely great; the land is full of bloodshed, and the city full of perversity. For they say: The Lord has abandoned the land; He does not see. But as for Me, I will not show pity or spare [them]. I will bring their actions down on their own heads."
"What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel: The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?
But the house of Israel says: The Lord's way isn't fair. Is it My ways that are unfair, house of Israel? Instead, isn't it your ways that are unfair?
Now if you're ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, drum, and every kind of music, fall down and worship the statue I made. But if you don't worship it, you will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire-and who is the god who can rescue you from my power?"
He will cause deceit to prosper through his cunning and by his influence, and in his own mind he will make himself great. In [a time of] peace, he will destroy many; he will even stand against the Prince of princes. But he will be shattered, not by human hands.
Woe to them, for they fled from Me; destruction to them, for they rebelled against Me! Though I want to redeem [them], they speak lies against Me.
And at that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish the men who settle down comfortably, who say to themselves: The Lord will not do good or evil.
"Your words against Me are harsh," says the Lord. Yet you ask: "What have we spoken against You?" You have said: "It is useless to serve God. What have we gained by keeping His requirements and walking mournfully before the Lord of Hosts?
When the Pharisees heard this, they said, "The man drives out demons only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons."
"Then the man who had received one talent also approached and said, 'Master, I know you. You're a difficult man, reaping where you haven't sown and gathering where you haven't scattered seed. So I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground. Look, you have what is yours.' "But his master replied to him, 'You evil, lazy slave! If you knew that I reap where I haven't sown and gather where I haven't scattered,read more.
then you should have deposited my money with the bankers. And when I returned I would have received my money back with interest.
Those who passed by were yelling insults at Him, shaking their heads and saying, "The One who would demolish the sanctuary and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross!" In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked Him and said,read more.
"He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He has put His trust in God; let God rescue Him now-if He wants Him! For He said, 'I am God's Son.' " In the same way even the criminals who were crucified with Him kept taunting Him.