"Drought, Famine, Sword, Pestilence"1 [This is] the word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought: 2 “Judah mourns and her gates languish. [Her people] wail for the land, and a cry goes up from Jerusalem. 3 The nobles send their servants for water; they go to the cisterns, but find no water their jars return empty. They are ashamed and humiliated; they cover their heads. 4 The ground is cracked because no rain has fallen on the land. The farmers are ashamed; they cover their heads. 5 Even the doe in the field deserts her newborn fawn because there is no grass. 6 Wild donkeys stand on barren heights; they pant for air like jackals; their eyes fail for lack of pasture.” 7 Although our iniquities testify against us, O LORD, act for the sake of Your name. Indeed, our rebellions are many; we have sinned against You. 8 O Hope of Israel, its Savior in times of distress, why are You like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who stays but a night? 9 Why are You like a man taken by surprise, like a warrior powerless to save? Yet You are among us, O LORD, and we are called by Your name. Do not forsake us! 10 This is what the LORD says about this people: “Truly they love to wander; they have not restrained their feet. So the LORD does not accept them; He will now remember their guilt and call their sins to account.” 11 Then the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for the well-being of this people. 12 Although they may fast, I will not listen to their cry; although they may offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Instead, I will finish them off by sword and famine and plague.” 13 “Ah, Lord GOD!” I replied, “Look, the prophets are telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine, but I will give you lasting peace in this place.’” 14 “The prophets are prophesying lies in My name,” the LORD replied . “I did not send them [or] appoint them [or] speak to them. They are prophesying to you a false vision, a worthless divination, the futility and delusion of their own minds. 15 Therefore, this is what the LORD says about the prophets who prophesy in My name, though I did not send them, and who say, ‘No sword or famine will touch this land.’ By sword and famine these very prophets will meet their end! 16 And the people to whom they prophesy will be thrown into the streets of Jerusalem because of famine and sword. There will be no one to bury them or their wives, their sons or their daughters. I will pour out their own evil upon them. 17 You are to speak this word to them: “My eyes overflow with tears; day and night they do not cease, for the virgin daughter of my people has been shattered by a crushing blow, a severely grievous wound. 18 If I go out to the country, I see those slain by the sword; if I enter the city, I see those ravaged by famine! For both prophet and priest travel to a land they do not know.”
A Prayer for Mercy19 Have You rejected Judah completely? Do You despise Zion? Why have You stricken us so that we are beyond healing? We hoped for peace, but no good has come, and for the time of healing, but there was only terror. 20 We acknowledge our wickedness, O LORD, the guilt of our fathers; indeed, we have sinned against You. 21 For the sake of Your name do not despise us; do not disgrace Your glorious throne. Remember Your covenant with us; do not break it. 22 Can the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies alone send showers? Is this not by You, O LORD our God? So we put our hope in You, for You have done all these things.
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