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Thursday, December 20, 2018
The Books of Poetry
"Call if you will, but who will answer you? To which of the holy ones will you turn?
Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple.
I myself have seen a fool taking root, but suddenly his house was cursed.
His children are far from safety, crushed in court without a defender.
The hungry consume his harvest, taking it even from among thorns, and the thirsty pant after his wealth.
For hardship does not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground.
Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.
"But if it were I, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him.
He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.
He bestows rain on the earth; he sends water upon the countryside.
The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.
He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success.
He catches the wise in their craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are swept away.
Darkness comes upon them in the daytime; at noon they grope as in the night.
He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth; he saves them from the clutches of the powerful.
So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth.
"Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.
For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.
From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will befall you.
In famine he will ransom you from death, and in battle from the stroke of the sword.
You will be protected from the lash of the tongue, and need not fear when destruction comes.
You will laugh at destruction and famine, and need not fear the beasts of the earth.
For you will have a covenant with the stones of the field, and the wild animals will be at peace with you.
You will know that your tent is secure; you will take stock of your property and find nothing missing.
You will know that your children will be many, and your descendants like the grass of the earth.
You will come to the grave in full vigor, like sheaves gathered in season.
"We have examined this, and it is true. So hear it and apply it to yourself."
Then Job replied:
"If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales!
It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas-- no wonder my words have been impetuous.
The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God's terrors are marshaled against me.
Does a wild donkey bray when it has grass, or an ox bellow when it has fodder?
Is tasteless food eaten without salt, or is there flavor in the white of an egg ?
I refuse to touch it; such food makes me ill.
"Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for,
that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut me off!
Then I would still have this consolation-- my joy in unrelenting pain-- that I had not denied the words of the Holy One.
"What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?
Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze?
Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me?
"A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams, as the streams that overflow
when darkened by thawing ice and swollen with melting snow,
but that cease to flow in the dry season, and in the heat vanish from their channels.
Caravans turn aside from their routes; they go up into the wasteland and perish.
The caravans of Tema look for water, the traveling merchants of Sheba look in hope.
They are distressed, because they had been confident; they arrive there, only to be disappointed.
Now you too have proved to be of no help; you see something dreadful and are afraid.
Have I ever said, `Give something on my behalf, pay a ransom for me from your wealth,
deliver me from the hand of the enemy, ransom me from the clutches of the ruthless'?
"Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong.
How painful are honest words! But what do your arguments prove?
Do you mean to correct what I say, and treat the words of a despairing man as wind?
You would even cast lots for the fatherless and barter away your friend.
"But now be so kind as to look at me. Would I lie to your face?
Relent, do not be unjust; reconsider, for my integrity is at stake.
Is there any wickedness on my lips? Can my mouth not discern malice?
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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