2 “Can a person do anything to help God? Can even a wise person be helpful to him? 3 Is it any advantage to the Almighty if you are righteous? Would it be any gain to him if you were perfect? 4 Is it because you’re so pious that he accuses you and brings judgment against you? 5 No, it’s because of your wickedness! There’s no limit to your sins.
6 “For example, you must have lent money to your friend and demanded clothing as security. Yes, you stripped him to the bone. 7 You must have refused water for the thirsty and food for the hungry. 8 You probably think the land belongs to the powerful and only the privileged have a right to it! 9 You must have sent widows away empty-handed and crushed the hopes of orphans. 10 That is why you are surrounded by traps and tremble from sudden fears. 11 That is why you cannot see in the darkness, and waves of water cover you.
12 “God is so great—higher than the heavens, higher than the farthest stars. 13 But you reply, ‘That’s why God can’t see what I am doing! How can he judge through the thick darkness? 14 For thick clouds swirl about him, and he cannot see us. He is way up there, walking on the vault of heaven.’
15 “Will you continue on the old paths where evil people have walked? 16 They were snatched away in the prime of life, the foundations of their lives washed away. 17 For they said to God, ‘Leave us alone! What can the Almighty do to us?’ 18 Yet he was the one who filled their homes with good things, so I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking.
19 “The righteous will be happy to see the wicked destroyed, and the innocent will laugh in contempt. 20 They will say, ‘See how our enemies have been destroyed. The last of them have been consumed in the fire.’
21 “Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you. 22 Listen to his instructions, and store them in your heart. 23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored— so clean up your life. 24 If you give up your lust for money and throw your precious gold into the river, 25 the Almighty himself will be your treasure. He will be your precious silver!
26 “Then you will take delight in the Almighty and look up to God. 27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows to him. 28 You will succeed in whatever you choose to do, and light will shine on the road ahead of you. 29 If people are in trouble and you say, ‘Help them,’ God will save them. 30 Even sinners will be rescued; they will be rescued because your hands are pure.”
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