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II Samuel 1-4
Thursday, March 29, 2018
The Books of Poetry
II Corinthians 1-3
"But now, Job, listen to my words; pay attention to everything I say.
I am about to open my mouth; my words are on the tip of my tongue.
My words come from an upright heart; my lips sincerely speak what I know.
The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Answer me then, if you can; prepare yourself and confront me.
I am just like you before God; I too have been taken from clay.
No fear of me should alarm you, nor should my hand be heavy upon you.
"But you have said in my hearing-- I heard the very words--
`I am pure and without sin; I am clean and free from guilt.
Yet God has found fault with me; he considers me his enemy.
He fastens my feet in shackles; he keeps close watch on all my paths.'
"But I tell you, in this you are not right, for God is greater than man.
Why do you complain to him that he answers none of man's words ?
For God does speak--now one way, now another-- though man may not perceive it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men as they slumber in their beds,
he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings,
to turn man from wrongdoing and keep him from pride,
to preserve his soul from the pit, his life from perishing by the sword.
Or a man may be chastened on a bed of pain with constant distress in his bones,
so that his very being finds food repulsive and his soul loathes the choicest meal.
His flesh wastes away to nothing, and his bones, once hidden, now stick out.
His soul draws near to the pit, and his life to the messengers of death.
"Yet if there is an angel on his side as a mediator, one out of a thousand, to tell a man what is right for him,
to be gracious to him and say, `Spare him from going down to the pit ; I have found a ransom for him'--
then his flesh is renewed like a child's; it is restored as in the days of his youth.
He prays to God and finds favor with him, he sees God's face and shouts for joy; he is restored by God to his righteous state.
Then he comes to men and says, `I sinned, and perverted what was right, but I did not get what I deserved.
He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light.'
"God does all these things to a man-- twice, even three times--
to turn back his soul from the pit, that the light of life may shine on him.
"Pay attention, Job, and listen to me; be silent, and I will speak.
If you have anything to say, answer me; speak up, for I want you to be cleared.
But if not, then listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom."
Then Elihu said:
"Hear my words, you wise men; listen to me, you men of learning.
For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food.
Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good.
"Job says, `I am innocent, but God denies me justice.
Although I am right, I am considered a liar; although I am guiltless, his arrow inflicts an incurable wound.'
What man is like Job, who drinks scorn like water?
He keeps company with evildoers; he associates with wicked men.
For he says, `It profits a man nothing when he tries to please God.'
"So listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong.
He repays a man for what he has done; he brings upon him what his conduct deserves.
It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice.
Who appointed him over the earth? Who put him in charge of the whole world?
If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath,
all mankind would perish together and man would return to the dust.
"If you have understanding, hear this; listen to what I say.
Can he who hates justice govern? Will you condemn the just and mighty One?
Is he not the One who says to kings, `You are worthless,' and to nobles, `You are wicked,'
who shows no partiality to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of his hands?
They die in an instant, in the middle of the night; the people are shaken and they pass away; the mighty are removed without human hand.
"His eyes are on the ways of men; he sees their every step.
There is no dark place, no deep shadow, where evildoers can hide.
God has no need to examine men further, that they should come before him for judgment.
Without inquiry he shatters the mighty and sets up others in their place.
Because he takes note of their deeds, he overthrows them in the night and they are crushed.
He punishes them for their wickedness where everyone can see them,
because they turned from following him and had no regard for any of his ways.
They caused the cry of the poor to come before him, so that he heard the cry of the needy.
But if he remains silent, who can condemn him? If he hides his face, who can see him? Yet he is over man and nation alike,
to keep a godless man from ruling, from laying snares for the people.
"Suppose a man says to God, `I am guilty but will offend no more.
Teach me what I cannot see; if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.'
Should God then reward you on your terms, when you refuse to repent? You must decide, not I; so tell me what you know.
"Men of understanding declare, wise men who hear me say to me,
`Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight.'
Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost for answering like a wicked man!
To his sin he adds rebellion; scornfully he claps his hands among us and multiplies his words against God."
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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