In Jeremiah’s preaching today we read about the frustrating reality of hardheartedness, which is such a common characteristic of humanity. Or to put it in the words of Hebrews 3:13, we need to see to it “that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” In the New Testament we begin our read of the “Pastoral Epistles” (i.e., 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus). God’s concern that Christ’s Church be all that it is meant to be will dominate our thoughts over the next couple of weeks.
Jerusalem Refused to Repent
5:1 Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem,
look and take note!
Search her squares to see
if you can find a man,
one who does justice
and seeks truth,
that I may pardon her.
2 Though they say, “As the Lord lives,”
yet they swear falsely.
3 O Lord, do not your eyes look for truth?
You have struck them down,
but they felt no anguish;
you have consumed them,
but they refused to take correction.
They have made their faces harder than rock;
they have refused to repent.
4 Then I said, “These are only the poor;
they have no sense;
for they do not know the way of the Lord,
the justice of their God.
5 I will go to the great
and will speak to them,
for they know the way of the Lord,
the justice of their God.”
But they all alike had broken the yoke;
they had burst the bonds.
6 Therefore a lion from the forest shall strike them down;
a wolf from the desert shall devastate them.
A leopard is watching their cities;
everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces,
because their transgressions are many,
their apostasies are great.
7 “How can I pardon you?
Your children have forsaken me
and have sworn by those who are no gods.
When I fed them to the full,
they committed adultery
and trooped to the houses of whores.
8 They were well-fed, lusty stallions,
each neighing for his neighbor’s wife.
9 Shall I not punish them for these things?
declares the Lord;
and shall I not avenge myself
on a nation such as this?
10 “Go up through her vine rows and destroy,
but make not a full end;
strip away her branches,
for they are not the Lord’s.
11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah
have been utterly treacherous to me,
declares the Lord.
12 They have spoken falsely of the Lord
and have said, ‘He will do nothing;
no disaster will come upon us,
nor shall we see sword or famine.
13 The prophets will become wind;
the word is not in them.
Thus shall it be done to them!’”
The Lord Proclaims Judgment
14 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts:
“Because you have spoken this word,
behold, I am making my words in your mouth a fire,
and this people wood, and the fire shall consume them.
15 Behold, I am bringing against you
a nation from afar, O house of Israel,
declares the Lord.
It is an enduring nation;
it is an ancient nation,
a nation whose language you do not know,
nor can you understand what they say.
16 Their quiver is like an open tomb;
they are all mighty warriors.
17 They shall eat up your harvest and your food;
they shall eat up your sons and your daughters;
they shall eat up your flocks and your herds;
they shall eat up your vines and your fig trees;
your fortified cities in which you trust
they shall beat down with the sword.”
18 “But even in those days, declares the Lord, I will not make a full end of you. 19 And when your people say, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?’ you shall say to them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.’”
20 Declare this in the house of Jacob;
proclaim it in Judah:
21 “Hear this, O foolish and senseless people,
who have eyes, but see not,
who have ears, but hear not.
22 Do you not fear me? declares the Lord.
Do you not tremble before me?
I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea,
a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass;
though the waves toss, they cannot prevail;
though they roar, they cannot pass over it.
23 But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart;
they have turned aside and gone away.
24 They do not say in their hearts,
‘Let us fear the Lord our God,
who gives the rain in its season,
the autumn rain and the spring rain,
and keeps for us
the weeks appointed for the harvest.’
25 Your iniquities have turned these away,
and your sins have kept good from you.
26 For wicked men are found among my people;
they lurk like fowlers lying in wait. 
They set a trap;
they catch men.
27 Like a cage full of birds,
their houses are full of deceit;
therefore they have become great and rich;
28 they have grown fat and sleek.
They know no bounds in deeds of evil;
they judge not with justice
the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper,
and they do not defend the rights of the needy.
29 Shall I not punish them for these things?
declares the Lord,
and shall I not avenge myself
on a nation such as this?”
30 An appalling and horrible thing
has happened in the land:
31 the prophets prophesy falsely,
and the priests rule at their direction;
my people love to have it so,
but what will you do when the end comes?
Impending Disaster for Jerusalem
6:1 Flee for safety, O people of Benjamin,
from the midst of Jerusalem!
Blow the trumpet in Tekoa,
and raise a signal on Beth-haccherem,
for disaster looms out of the north,
and great destruction.
2 The lovely and delicately bred I will destroy,
the daughter of Zion. 
3 Shepherds with their flocks shall come against her;
they shall pitch their tents around her;
they shall pasture, each in his place.
4 “Prepare war against her;
arise, and let us attack at noon!
Woe to us, for the day declines,
for the shadows of evening lengthen!
5 Arise, and let us attack by night
and destroy her palaces!”
6 For thus says the Lord of hosts:
“Cut down her trees;
cast up a siege mound against Jerusalem.
This is the city that must be punished;
there is nothing but oppression within her.
7 As a well keeps its water fresh,
so she keeps fresh her evil;
violence and destruction are heard within her;
sickness and wounds are ever before me.
8 Be warned, O Jerusalem,
lest I turn from you in disgust,
lest I make you a desolation,
an uninhabited land.”
9 Thus says the Lord of hosts:
“They shall glean thoroughly as a vine
the remnant of Israel;
like a grape-gatherer pass your hand again
over its branches.”
10 To whom shall I speak and give warning,
that they may hear?
Behold, their ears are uncircumcised,
they cannot listen;
behold, the word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn;
they take no pleasure in it.
11 Therefore I am full of the wrath of the Lord;
I am weary of holding it in.
“Pour it out upon the children in the street,
and upon the gatherings of young men, also;
both husband and wife shall be taken,
the elderly and the very aged.
12 Their houses shall be turned over to others,
their fields and wives together,
for I will stretch out my hand
against the inhabitants of the land,”
declares the Lord.
13 “For from the least to the greatest of them,
everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
and from prophet to priest,
everyone deals falsely.
14 They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
when there is no peace.
15 Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
No, they were not at all ashamed;
they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,”
says the Lord.
16 Thus says the Lord:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
17 I set watchmen over you, saying,
‘Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!’
But they said, ‘We will not pay attention.’
18 Therefore hear, O nations,
and know, O congregation, what will happen to them.
19 Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people,
the fruit of their devices,
because they have not paid attention to my words;
and as for my law, they have rejected it.
20 What use to me is frankincense that comes from Sheba,
or sweet cane from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable,
nor your sacrifices pleasing to me.
21 Therefore thus says the Lord:
‘Behold, I will lay before this people
stumbling blocks against which they shall stumble;
fathers and sons together,
neighbor and friend shall perish.’”
22 Thus says the Lord:
“Behold, a people is coming from the north country,
a great nation is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth.
23 They lay hold on bow and javelin;
they are cruel and have no mercy;
the sound of them is like the roaring sea;
they ride on horses,
set in array as a man for battle,
against you, O daughter of Zion!”
24 We have heard the report of it;
our hands fall helpless;
anguish has taken hold of us,
pain as of a woman in labor.
25 Go not out into the field,
nor walk on the road,
for the enemy has a sword;
terror is on every side.
26 O daughter of my people, put on sackcloth,
and roll in ashes;
make mourning as for an only son,
most bitter lamentation,
for suddenly the destroyer
will come upon us.
27 “I have made you a tester of metals among my people,
that you may know and test their ways.
28 They are all stubbornly rebellious,
going about with slanders;
they are bronze and iron;
all of them act corruptly.
29 The bellows blow fiercely;
the lead is consumed by the fire;
in vain the refining goes on,
for the wicked are not removed.
30 Rejected silver they are called,
for the Lord has rejected them.”
1 Timothy 1
1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Warning Against False Teachers
3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship  from God that is by faith. 5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers,  liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound  doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
Christ Jesus Came to Save Sinners
12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen.
18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. (ESV)