Tuesday 23 February

Collect
Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness,
and was tempted as we are, yet without sin:
give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit;
and, as you know our weakness,
so may we know your power to save;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 5.1–19
Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem,
   look around and take note!
Search its squares and see
   if you can find one person
who acts justly
   and seeks truth—
so that I may pardon Jerusalem.
 Although they say, ‘As the Lord lives’,
   yet they swear falsely.
 O Lord, do your eyes not look for truth?
You have struck them,
   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 turn back.
 Then I said, ‘These are only the poor,
   they have no sense;
for they do not know the way of the Lord,
   the law of their God.
 Let me go to the rich
   and speak to them;
surely they know the way of the Lord,
   the law of their God.’
But they all alike had broken the yoke,
   they had burst the bonds.
 Therefore a lion from the forest shall kill them,
   a wolf from the desert shall destroy them.
A leopard is watching against their cities;
   everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces—
because their transgressions are many,
   their apostasies are great.
 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 prostitutes.
 They were well-fed lusty stallions,
   each neighing for his neighbour’s wife.
 Shall I not punish them for these things?
says the Lord;
   and shall I not bring retribution
   on a nation such as this?
 Go up through her vine-rows and destroy,
   but do not make a full end;
strip away her branches,
   for they are not the Lord’s.
 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah
   have been utterly faithless to me,
says the Lord.
 They have spoken falsely of the Lord,
   and have said, ‘He will do nothing.
No evil will come upon us,
   and we shall not see sword or famine.’
 The prophets are nothing but wind,
   for the word is not in them.
Thus shall it be done to them!
 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts:
Because they have spoken this word,
I am now making my words in your mouth a fire,
   and this people wood, and the fire shall devour them.
 I am going to bring upon you
   a nation from far away, O house of Israel,
says 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.
 Their quiver is like an open tomb;
   all of them are mighty warriors.
 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;
they shall destroy with the sword
   your fortified cities in which you trust.
 But even in those days, says the Lord, I will not make a full end of you. 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 strangers in a land that is not yours.’

Psalm 44
    We have heard with our ears, O God, our forebears have told us,
   all that you did in their days, in time of old;
    How with your hand you drove out nations and planted us in,
   and broke the power of peoples and set us free.
    For not by their own sword did our ancestors take the land
   nor did their own arm save them,
    But your right hand, your arm, and the light of your countenance,
   because you were gracious to them.
    You are my King and my God,
   who commanded salvation for Jacob.
    Through you we drove back our adversaries;
   through your name we trod down our foes.
    For I did not trust in my bow;
   it was not my own sword that saved me;
    It was you that saved us from our enemies
   and put our adversaries to shame.
    We gloried in God all the day long,
   and were ever praising your name.
      But now you have rejected us and brought us to shame,
   and go not out with our armies.
      You have made us turn our backs on our enemies,
   and our enemies have despoiled us.
      You have made us like sheep to be slaughtered,
   and have scattered us among the nations.
      You have sold your people for a pittance
   and made no profit on their sale.
      You have made us the taunt of our neighbours,
   the scorn and derision of those that are round about us.
      You have made us a byword among the nations;
   among the peoples they wag their heads.
      My confusion is daily before me,
   and shame has covered my face,
      At the taunts of the slanderer and reviler,
   at the sight of the enemy and avenger.
      All this has come upon us,
      though we have not forgotten you
   and have not played false to your covenant.
      Our hearts have not turned back,
   nor our steps gone out of your way,
      Yet you have crushed us in the haunt of jackals,
   and covered us with the shadow of death.
      If we have forgotten the name of our God,
   or stretched out our hands to any strange god,
      Will not God search it out?
   For he knows the secrets of the heart.
      But for your sake are we killed all the day long,
   and are counted as sheep for the slaughter.
      Rise up! Why sleep, O Lord?
   Awake, and do not reject us for ever.
      Why do you hide your face
   and forget our grief and oppression?
      Our soul is bowed down to the dust;
   our belly cleaves to the earth.
      Rise up, O Lord, to help us
   and redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.