2 “Can anyone be of real use to God? Can even a wise person do him good? 3 Does it help the Almighty for you to be good? Does he gain anything if you are innocent? 4 Does God punish you for respecting him? Does he bring you into court for this? 5 No! It is because your evil is without limits and your sins have no end. 6 You took your brothers’ things for a debt they didn’t owe; you took clothes from people and left them naked. 7 You did not give water to tired people, and you kept food from the hungry. 8 You were a powerful man who owned land; you were honored and lived in the land. 9 But you sent widows away empty-handed, and you mistreated orphans. 10 That is why traps are all around you and sudden danger frightens you. 11 That is why it is so dark you cannot see and a flood of water covers you.
12 “God is in the highest part of heaven. See how high the highest stars are! 13 But you ask, ‘What does God know? Can he judge us through the dark clouds? 14 Thick clouds cover him so he cannot see us as he walks around high up in the sky.’ 15 Are you going to stay on the old path where evil people walk? 16 They were carried away before their time was up, and their foundations were washed away by a flood. 17 They said to God, ‘Leave us alone! The Almighty can do nothing to us.’ 18 But it was God who filled their houses with good things. Their way of thinking is different from mine.
19 “Good people can watch and be glad; the innocent can laugh at them and say, 20 ‘Surely our enemies are destroyed, and fire burns up their wealth.’
21 “Obey God and be at peace with him; this is the way to happiness. 22 Accept teaching from his mouth, and keep his words in your heart. 23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be blessed again. So remove evil from your house. 24 Throw your gold nuggets into the dust and your fine gold among the rocks in the ravines. 25 Then the Almighty will be your gold and the best silver for you. 26 You will find pleasure in the Almighty, and you will look up to him. 27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will keep your promises to him. 28 Anything you decide will be done, and light will shine on your ways. 29 When people are made humble and you say, ‘Have courage,’ then the humble will be saved. 30 Even a guilty person will escape and be saved because your hands are clean.”
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