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(Aug 8, 2000)
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I Samuel 26-31
Thursday, March 19, 2020
The Books of Poetry
I Corinthians 15-16
"I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.
For what is man's lot from God above, his heritage from the Almighty on high?
Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong?
Does he not see my ways and count my every step?
"If I have walked in falsehood or my foot has hurried after deceit--
let God weigh me in honest scales and he will know that I am blameless--
if my steps have turned from the path, if my heart has been led by my eyes, or if my hands have been defiled,
then may others eat what I have sown, and may my crops be uprooted.
"If my heart has been enticed by a woman, or if I have lurked at my neighbor's door,
then may my wife grind another man's grain, and may other men sleep with her.
For that would have been shameful, a sin to be judged.
It is a fire that burns to Destruction ; it would have uprooted my harvest.
"If I have denied justice to my menservants and maidservants when they had a grievance against me,
what will I do when God confronts me? What will I answer when called to account?
Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?
"If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary,
if I have kept my bread to myself, not sharing it with the fatherless--
but from my youth I reared him as would a father, and from my birth I guided the widow--
if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing, or a needy man without a garment,
and his heart did not bless me for warming him with the fleece from my sheep,
if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, knowing that I had influence in court,
then let my arm fall from the shoulder, let it be broken off at the joint.
For I dreaded destruction from God, and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things.
"If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, `You are my security,'
if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained,
if I have regarded the sun in its radiance or the moon moving in splendor,
so that my heart was secretly enticed and my hand offered them a kiss of homage,
then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.
"If I have rejoiced at my enemy's misfortune or gloated over the trouble that came to him--
I have not allowed my mouth to sin by invoking a curse against his life--
if the men of my household have never said, `Who has not had his fill of Job's meat?'--
but no stranger had to spend the night in the street, for my door was always open to the traveler--
if I have concealed my sin as men do, by hiding my guilt in my heart
because I so feared the crowd and so dreaded the contempt of the clans that I kept silent and would not go outside
("Oh, that I had someone to hear me! I sign now my defense--let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put his indictment in writing.
Surely I would wear it on my shoulder, I would put it on like a crown.
I would give him an account of my every step; like a prince I would approach him.)--
"if my land cries out against me and all its furrows are wet with tears,
if I have devoured its yield without payment or broken the spirit of its tenants,
then let briers come up instead of wheat and weeds instead of barley." The words of Job are ended.
So these three men stopped answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.
But Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God.
He was also angry with the three friends, because they had found no way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him.
Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he.
But when he saw that the three men had nothing more to say, his anger was aroused.
So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said: "I am young in years, and you are old; that is why I was fearful, not daring to tell you what I know.
I thought, `Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.'
But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding.
It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right.
"Therefore I say: Listen to me; I too will tell you what I know.
I waited while you spoke, I listened to your reasoning; while you were searching for words,
I gave you my full attention. But not one of you has proved Job wrong; none of you has answered his arguments.
Do not say, `We have found wisdom; let God refute him, not man.'
But Job has not marshaled his words against me, and I will not answer him with your arguments.
"They are dismayed and have no more to say; words have failed them.
Must I wait, now that they are silent, now that they stand there with no reply?
I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.
For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;
inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.
I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.
I will show partiality to no one, nor will I flatter any man;
for if I were skilled in flattery, my Maker would soon take me away.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
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