Wednesday 24 February

Heavenly Father,
your Son battled with the powers of darkness,
and grew closer to you in the desert:
help us to use these days to grow in wisdom and prayer
that we may witness to your saving love
in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Jeremiah 5.20–31
 Declare this in the house of Jacob,
   proclaim it in Judah:
 Hear this, O foolish and senseless people,
   who have eyes, but do not see,
   who have ears, but do not hear.
 Do you not fear me? says the Lord;
   Do you not tremble before me?
I placed the sand as a 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.
 But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart;
   they have turned aside and gone away.
 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.’
 Your iniquities have turned these away,
   and your sins have deprived you of good.
 For scoundrels are found among my people;
   they take over the goods of others.
Like fowlers they set a trap;
   they catch human beings.
 Like a cage full of birds,
   their houses are full of treachery;
therefore they have become great and rich,
   they have grown fat and sleek.
They know no limits in deeds of wickedness;
   they do not judge with justice
the cause of the orphan, to make it prosper,
   and they do not defend the rights of the needy.
 Shall I not punish them for these things?
says the Lord,
   and shall I not bring retribution
   on a nation such as this?
 An appalling and horrible thing
   has happened in the land:
 the prophets prophesy falsely,
   and the priests rule as the prophets direct;
my people love to have it so,
   but what will you do when the end comes?

Psalm 6
    O Lord, rebuke me not in your wrath;
   neither chasten me in your fierce anger.
    Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am weak;
   Lord, heal me, for my bones are racked.
    My soul also shakes with terror;
   how long, O Lord, how long?
    Turn again, O Lord, and deliver my soul;
   save me for your loving mercy’s sake.
    For in death no one remembers you;
   and who can give you thanks in the grave?
    I am weary with my groaning;
   every night I drench my pillow
      and flood my bed with my tears.
    My eyes are wasted with grief
   and worn away because of all my enemies.
    Depart from me, all you that do evil,
   for the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.
    The Lord has heard my supplication;
   the Lord will receive my prayer.
      All my enemies shall be put to shame and confusion;
   they shall suddenly turn back in their shame.