Tell Others

‘A Samaritan woman came to draw water.’ John 4:7 NIV

John tells us that, ‘When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”’ After five failed marriages her trust levels were so rock-bottom low she approached Jesus cautiously. Brick by brick, Jesus took down the wall of suspicion she was hiding behind. When He got through, she left transformed. There are (at least!) two big lessons in this story for us:

(1) Christ sees potential in you when others don’t. Jesus was constantly being criticised by a group of religious people called ‘The Pharisees’ who complained, ‘This Man receives sinners and eats with them.’ (Luke 15:2 NKJV) Guess what? They were right! That’s exactly the category this woman fitted into and yet she was the first person Jesus introduced Himself to as the Messiah. Why didn’t He mention that when He called His twelve disciples, got baptised by John, cleansed the temple, performed His first miracle or chatted to Nicodemus? The fact is, Jesus doesn’t measure you by your past, He measures you by your potential.

(2) Christ will change you, then use you to change others. This woman didn’t mess about—that very same day she dashed off and started sharing about Jesus. She was the first person to ever preach the Gospel in town! And, as a result: ‘Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony…’ (John 4:39 NIV)

Why don’t you take the opportunities God gives you and tell someone about Jesus today?

SoulFood: Jer 10–13, Luke 2:21–33, Ps 17, Pr 14:13–16

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2021

Today’s Readings

Jeremiah 10–13

10:1 Hear the word that the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the LORD:

  “Learn not the way of the nations,
    nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens
    because the nations are dismayed at them,
  for the customs of the peoples are vanity.
  A tree from the forest is cut down
    and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.
  They decorate it with silver and gold;
    they fasten it with hammer and nails
    so that it cannot move.
  Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,
    and they cannot speak;
  they have to be carried,
    for they cannot walk.
  Do not be afraid of them,
    for they cannot do evil,
    neither is it in them to do good.”
  There is none like you, O LORD;
    you are great, and your name is great in might.
  Who would not fear you, O King of the nations?
    For this is your due;
  for among all the wise ones of the nations
    and in all their kingdoms
    there is none like you.
  They are both stupid and foolish;
    the instruction of idols is but wood!
  Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish,
    and gold from Uphaz.
  They are the work of the craftsman and of the hands of the goldsmith;
    their clothing is violet and purple;
    they are all the work of skilled men.
10   But the LORD is the true God;
    he is the living God and the everlasting King.
  At his wrath the earth quakes,
    and the nations cannot endure his indignation.

11 Thus shall you say to them: “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”

12   It is he who made the earth by his power,
    who established the world by his wisdom,
    and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
13   When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
    and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.
  He makes lightning for the rain,
    and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
14   Every man is stupid and without knowledge;
    every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols,
  for his images are false,
    and there is no breath in them.
15   They are worthless, a work of delusion;
    at the time of their punishment they shall perish.
16   Not like these is he who is the portion of Jacob,
    for he is the one who formed all things,
  and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance;
    the LORD of hosts is his name.
17   Gather up your bundle from the ground,
    O you who dwell under siege!
18   For thus says the LORD:
  “Behold, I am slinging out the inhabitants of the land
    at this time,
  and I will bring distress on them,
    that they may feel it.”
19   Woe is me because of my hurt!
    My wound is grievous.
  But I said, “Truly this is an affliction,
    and I must bear it.”
20   My tent is destroyed,
    and all my cords are broken;
  my children have gone from me,
    and they are not;
  there is no one to spread my tent again
    and to set up my curtains.
21   For the shepherds are stupid
    and do not inquire of the LORD;
  therefore they have not prospered,
    and all their flock is scattered.
22   A voice, a rumor! Behold, it comes!—
    a great commotion out of the north country
  to make the cities of Judah a desolation,
    a lair of jackals.
23   I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself,
    that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
24   Correct me, O LORD, but in justice;
    not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing.
25   Pour out your wrath on the nations that know you not,
    and on the peoples that call not on your name,
  for they have devoured Jacob;
    they have devoured him and consumed him,
    and have laid waste his habitation.

11:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Hear the words of this covenant, and speak to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. You shall say to them, Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Cursed be the man who does not hear the words of this covenant that I commanded your fathers when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you. So shall you be my people, and I will be your God, that I may confirm the oath that I swore to your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as at this day.” Then I answered, “So be it, LORD.”

And the LORD said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: Hear the words of this covenant and do them. For I solemnly warned your fathers when I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, warning them persistently, even to this day, saying, Obey my voice. Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone walked in the stubbornness of his evil heart. Therefore I brought upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did not.”

Again the LORD said to me, “A conspiracy exists among the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10 They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear my words. They have gone after other gods to serve them. The house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant that I made with their fathers. 11 Therefore, thus says the LORD, Behold, I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape. Though they cry to me, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they cannot save them in the time of their trouble. 13 For your gods have become as many as your cities, O Judah, and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to shame, altars to make offerings to Baal.

14 “Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble. 15 What right has my beloved in my house, when she has done many vile deeds? Can even sacrificial flesh avert your doom? Can you then exult? 16 The LORD once called you ‘a green olive tree, beautiful with good fruit.’ But with the roar of a great tempest he will set fire to it, and its branches will be consumed. 17 The LORD of hosts, who planted you, has decreed disaster against you, because of the evil that the house of Israel and the house of Judah have done, provoking me to anger by making offerings to Baal.”

18   The LORD made it known to me and I knew;
    then you showed me their deeds.
19   But I was like a gentle lamb
    led to the slaughter.
  I did not know it was against me
    they devised schemes, saying,
  “Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
    let us cut him off from the land of the living,
    that his name be remembered no more.”
20   But, O LORD of hosts, who judges righteously,
    who tests the heart and the mind,
  let me see your vengeance upon them,
    for to you have I committed my cause.

21 Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the men of Anathoth, who seek your life, and say, “Do not prophesy in the name of the LORD, or you will die by our hand”—22 therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: “Behold, I will punish them. The young men shall die by the sword, their sons and their daughters shall die by famine, 23 and none of them shall be left. For I will bring disaster upon the men of Anathoth, the year of their punishment.”

12:1   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.”

  “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.
10   Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard;
    they have trampled down my portion;
  they have made my pleasant portion
    a desolate wilderness.
11   They have made it a desolation;
    desolate, it mourns to me.
  The whole land is made desolate,
    but no man lays it to heart.
12   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.
13   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.”

14 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. 15 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. 16 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. 17 But if any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it, declares the LORD.”

13:1 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. 10 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. 11 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.

12 “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?’ 13 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. 14 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.’”

15   Hear and give ear; be not proud,
    for the LORD has spoken.
16   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.
17   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.
18   Say to the king and the queen mother:
    “Take a lowly seat,
  for your beautiful crown
    has come down from your head.”
19   The cities of the Negeb are shut up,
    with none to open them;
  all Judah is taken into exile,
    wholly taken into exile.
20   “Lift up your eyes and see
    those who come from the north.
  Where is the flock that was given you,
    your beautiful flock?
21   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?
22   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.
23   Can the Ethiopian change his skin
    or the leopard his spots?
  Then also you can do good
    who are accustomed to do evil.
24   I will scatter you like chaff
    driven by the wind from the desert.
25   This is your lot,
    the portion I have measured out to you, declares the LORD,
  because you have forgotten me
    and trusted in lies.
26   I myself will lift up your skirts over your face,
    and your shame will be seen.
27   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?”

Luke 2:21–33

21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29   “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
    according to your word;
30   for my eyes have seen your salvation
31     that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32   a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”

33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.

Psalm 17

A Prayer of David.

17:1   Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry!
    Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
  From your presence let my vindication come!
    Let your eyes behold the right!
  You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night,
    you have tested me, and you will find nothing;
    I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
  With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips
    I have avoided the ways of the violent.
  My steps have held fast to your paths;
    my feet have not slipped.
  I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
    incline your ear to me; hear my words.
  Wondrously show your steadfast love,
    O Savior of those who seek refuge
    from their adversaries at your right hand.
  Keep me as the apple of your eye;
    hide me in the shadow of your wings,
  from the wicked who do me violence,
    my deadly enemies who surround me.
10   They close their hearts to pity;
    with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
11   They have now surrounded our steps;
    they set their eyes to cast us to the ground.
12   He is like a lion eager to tear,
    as a young lion lurking in ambush.
13   Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him!
    Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
14   from men by your hand, O LORD,
    from men of the world whose portion is in this life.
  You fill their womb with treasure;
    they are satisfied with children,
    and they leave their abundance to their infants.
15   As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
    when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

Proverbs 14:13–16

13   Even in laughter the heart may ache,
    and the end of joy may be grief.
14   The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways,
    and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.
15   The simple believes everything,
    but the prudent gives thought to his steps.
16   One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil,
    but a fool is reckless and careless.

Thu 24 June, 2021


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