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Job 23:1-27:23; 2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11; Psalms 41:1-13; Proverbs 22:5-6 (New International Version)

Job 23-27

Job

23 Then Job replied:

“Even today my complaint is bitter;
    his hand[a] is heavy in spite of[b] my groaning.
If only I knew where to find him;
    if only I could go to his dwelling!
I would state my case before him
    and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would find out what he would answer me,
    and consider what he would say to me.
Would he vigorously oppose me?
    No, he would not press charges against me.
There the upright can establish their innocence before him,
    and there I would be delivered forever from my judge.

“But if I go to the east, he is not there;
    if I go to the west, I do not find him.
When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
    when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
    when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
11 My feet have closely followed his steps;
    I have kept to his way without turning aside.
12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
    I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.

13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him?
    He does whatever he pleases.
14 He carries out his decree against me,
    and many such plans he still has in store.
15 That is why I am terrified before him;
    when I think of all this, I fear him.
16 God has made my heart faint;
    the Almighty has terrified me.
17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness,
    by the thick darkness that covers my face.

24 “Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment?
    Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?
There are those who move boundary stones;
    they pasture flocks they have stolen.
They drive away the orphan’s donkey
    and take the widow’s ox in pledge.
They thrust the needy from the path
    and force all the poor of the land into hiding.
Like wild donkeys in the desert,
    the poor go about their labor of foraging food;
    the wasteland provides food for their children.
They gather fodder in the fields
    and glean in the vineyards of the wicked.
Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked;
    they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold.
They are drenched by mountain rains
    and hug the rocks for lack of shelter.
The fatherless child is snatched from the breast;
    the infant of the poor is seized for a debt.
10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked;
    they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry.
11 They crush olives among the terraces[c];
    they tread the winepresses, yet suffer thirst.
12 The groans of the dying rise from the city,
    and the souls of the wounded cry out for help.
    But God charges no one with wrongdoing.

13 “There are those who rebel against the light,
    who do not know its ways
    or stay in its paths.
14 When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up,
    kills the poor and needy,
    and in the night steals forth like a thief.
15 The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk;
    he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’
    and he keeps his face concealed.
16 In the dark, thieves break into houses,
    but by day they shut themselves in;
    they want nothing to do with the light.
17 For all of them, midnight is their morning;
    they make friends with the terrors of darkness.

18 “Yet they are foam on the surface of the water;
    their portion of the land is cursed,
    so that no one goes to the vineyards.
19 As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow,
    so the grave snatches away those who have sinned.
20 The womb forgets them,
    the worm feasts on them;
the wicked are no longer remembered
    but are broken like a tree.
21 They prey on the barren and childless woman,
    and to the widow they show no kindness.
22 But God drags away the mighty by his power;
    though they become established, they have no assurance of life.
23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security,
    but his eyes are on their ways.
24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone;
    they are brought low and gathered up like all others;
    they are cut off like heads of grain.

25 “If this is not so, who can prove me false
    and reduce my words to nothing?”

Bildad

25 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

“Dominion and awe belong to God;
    he establishes order in the heights of heaven.
Can his forces be numbered?
    On whom does his light not rise?
How then can a mortal be righteous before God?
    How can one born of woman be pure?
If even the moon is not bright
    and the stars are not pure in his eyes,
how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot—
    a human being, who is only a worm!”

Job

26 Then Job replied:

“How you have helped the powerless!
    How you have saved the arm that is feeble!
What advice you have offered to one without wisdom!
    And what great insight you have displayed!
Who has helped you utter these words?
    And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?

“The dead are in deep anguish,
    those beneath the waters and all that live in them.
The realm of the dead is naked before God;
    Destruction[d] lies uncovered.
He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
    he suspends the earth over nothing.
He wraps up the waters in his clouds,
    yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.
He covers the face of the full moon,
    spreading his clouds over it.
10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters
    for a boundary between light and darkness.
11 The pillars of the heavens quake,
    aghast at his rebuke.
12 By his power he churned up the sea;
    by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces.
13 By his breath the skies became fair;
    his hand pierced the gliding serpent.
14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works;
    how faint the whisper we hear of him!
    Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”

Job’s Final Word to His Friends

27 And Job continued his discourse:

“As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice,
    the Almighty, who has made my life bitter,
as long as I have life within me,
    the breath of God in my nostrils,
my lips will not say anything wicked,
    and my tongue will not utter lies.
I will never admit you are in the right;
    till I die, I will not deny my integrity.
I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it;
    my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.

“May my enemy be like the wicked,
    my adversary like the unjust!
For what hope have the godless when they are cut off,
    when God takes away their life?
Does God listen to their cry
    when distress comes upon them?
10 Will they find delight in the Almighty?
    Will they call on God at all times?

11 “I will teach you about the power of God;
    the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal.
12 You have all seen this yourselves.
    Why then this meaningless talk?

13 “Here is the fate God allots to the wicked,
    the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty:
14 However many his children, their fate is the sword;
    his offspring will never have enough to eat.
15 The plague will bury those who survive him,
    and their widows will not weep for them.
16 Though he heaps up silver like dust
    and clothes like piles of clay,
17 what he lays up the righteous will wear,
    and the innocent will divide his silver.
18 The house he builds is like a moth’s cocoon,
    like a hut made by a watchman.
19 He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more;
    when he opens his eyes, all is gone.
20 Terrors overtake him like a flood;
    a tempest snatches him away in the night.
21 The east wind carries him off, and he is gone;
    it sweeps him out of his place.
22 It hurls itself against him without mercy
    as he flees headlong from its power.
23 It claps its hands in derision
    and hisses him out of his place.”

Footnotes:

  1. Job 23:2 Septuagint and Syriac; Hebrew / the hand on me
  2. Job 23:2 Or heavy on me in
  3. Job 24:11 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  4. Job 26:6 Hebrew Abaddon
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2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11

Paul’s Change of Plans

12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity[a] and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 13 For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14 as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.

15 Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both “Yes, yes” and “No, no”?

18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas[b] and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

23 I call God as my witness—and I stake my life on it—that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm. So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? I wrote as I did, so that when I came I would not be distressed by those who should have made me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.

Forgiveness for the Offender

If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Corinthians 1:12 Many manuscripts holiness
  2. 2 Corinthians 1:19 Greek Silvanus, a variant of Silas
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Psalm 41

Psalm 41[a]

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;
    the Lord delivers them in times of trouble.
The Lord protects and preserves them—
    they are counted among the blessed in the land—
    he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.
The Lord sustains them on their sickbed
    and restores them from their bed of illness.

I said, “Have mercy on me, Lord;
    heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
My enemies say of me in malice,
    “When will he die and his name perish?
When one of them comes to see me,
    he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander;
    then he goes out and spreads it around.

All my enemies whisper together against me;
    they imagine the worst for me, saying,
“A vile disease has afflicted him;
    he will never get up from the place where he lies.”
Even my close friend,
    someone I trusted,
one who shared my bread,
    has turned[b] against me.

10 But may you have mercy on me, Lord;
    raise me up, that I may repay them.
11 I know that you are pleased with me,
    for my enemy does not triumph over me.
12 Because of my integrity you uphold me
    and set me in your presence forever.

13 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 41:1 In Hebrew texts 41:1-13 is numbered 41:2-14.
  2. Psalm 41:9 Hebrew has lifted up his heel
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Proverbs 22:5-6

In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls,
    but those who would preserve their life stay far from them.

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Read More
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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