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Thursday, January 7, 2021
The Books of Poetry
Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
"Are all these words to go unanswered? Is this talker to be vindicated?
Will your idle talk reduce men to silence? Will no one rebuke you when you mock?
You say to God, `My beliefs are flawless and I am pure in your sight.'
Oh, how I wish that God would speak, that he would open his lips against you
and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom has two sides. Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.
"Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
They are higher than the heavens--what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave --what can you know?
Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.
"If he comes along and confines you in prison and convenes a court, who can oppose him?
Surely he recognizes deceitful men; and when he sees evil, does he not take note?
But a witless man can no more become wise than a wild donkey's colt can be born a man.
"Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him,
if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.
You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by.
Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning.
You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor.
But the eyes of the wicked will fail, and escape will elude them; their hope will become a dying gasp."
Then Job replied:
"Doubtless you are the people, and wisdom will die with you!
But I have a mind as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know all these things?
"I have become a laughingstock to my friends, though I called upon God and he answered-- a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless!
Men at ease have contempt for misfortune as the fate of those whose feet are slipping.
The tents of marauders are undisturbed, and those who provoke God are secure-- those who carry their god in their hands.
"But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.
Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food?
Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?
"To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.
What he tears down cannot be rebuilt; the man he imprisons cannot be released.
If he holds back the waters, there is drought; if he lets them loose, they devastate the land.
To him belong strength and victory; both deceived and deceiver are his.
He leads counselors away stripped and makes fools of judges.
He takes off the shackles put on by kings and ties a loincloth around their waist.
He leads priests away stripped and overthrows men long established.
He silences the lips of trusted advisers and takes away the discernment of elders.
He pours contempt on nobles and disarms the mighty.
He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light.
He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them.
He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason; he sends them wandering through a trackless waste.
They grope in darkness with no light; he makes them stagger like drunkards.
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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