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Thursday, December 27, 2018
The Books of Poetry
"Does not man have hard service on earth? Are not his days like those of a hired man?
Like a slave longing for the evening shadows, or a hired man waiting eagerly for his wages,
so I have been allotted months of futility, and nights of misery have been assigned to me.
When I lie down I think, `How long before I get up?' The night drags on, and I toss till dawn.
My body is clothed with worms and scabs, my skin is broken and festering.
"My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and they come to an end without hope.
Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again.
The eye that now sees me will see me no longer; you will look for me, but I will be no more.
As a cloud vanishes and is gone, so he who goes down to the grave does not return.
He will never come to his house again; his place will know him no more.
"Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep, that you put me under guard?
When I think my bed will comfort me and my couch will ease my complaint,
even then you frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions,
so that I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine.
I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning.
"What is man that you make so much of him, that you give him so much attention,
that you examine him every morning and test him every moment?
Will you never look away from me, or let me alone even for an instant?
If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watcher of men? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you?
Why do you not pardon my offenses and forgive my sins? For I will soon lie down in the dust; you will search for me, but I will be no more."
Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
"How long will you say such things? Your words are a blustering wind.
Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right?
When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penalty of their sin.
But if you will look to God and plead with the Almighty,
if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your rightful place.
Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.
"Ask the former generations and find out what their fathers learned,
for we were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow.
Will they not instruct you and tell you? Will they not bring forth words from their understanding?
Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water?
While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass.
Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless.
What he trusts in is fragile ; what he relies on is a spider's web.
He leans on his web, but it gives way; he clings to it, but it does not hold.
He is like a well-watered plant in the sunshine, spreading its shoots over the garden;
it entwines its roots around a pile of rocks and looks for a place among the stones.
But when it is torn from its spot, that place disowns it and says, `I never saw you.'
Surely its life withers away, and from the soil other plants grow.
"Surely God does not reject a blameless man or strengthen the hands of evildoers.
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.
Your enemies will be clothed in shame, and the tents of the wicked will be no more."
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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