Bible Gateway The Daily Audio Bible Reading Plan (NET) 2015-09-04T00:00:00-05:00 Powered by Bible Gateway The Daily Audio Bible Reading for Friday September 4, 2015 (NET)

Ecclesiastes 7-9

Life is Brief and Death is Certain!

A good reputation is better than precious perfume;
likewise, the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.
It is better to go to a funeral
than a feast.
For death is the destiny of every person,
and the living should take this to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
because sober reflection is good for the heart.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of merrymaking.

Frivolous Living Versus Wisdom

It is better for a person to receive a rebuke from those who are wise
than to listen to the song of fools.
For like the crackling of quick-burning thorns under a cooking pot,
so is the laughter of the fool.
This kind of folly also is useless.

Human Wisdom Overturned by Adversity

Surely oppression can turn a wise person into a fool;
likewise, a bribe corrupts the heart.
The end of a matter is better than its beginning;
likewise, patience is better than pride.
Do not let yourself be quickly provoked,
for anger resides in the lap of fools.
10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these days?”
for it is not wise to ask that.

Wisdom Can Lengthen One’s Life

11 Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing;
it benefits those who see the light of day.
12 For wisdom provides protection,
just as money provides protection.
But the advantage of knowledge is this:
Wisdom preserves the life of its owner.

Wisdom Acknowledges God’s Orchestration of Life

13 Consider the work of God:
For who can make straight what he has bent?
14 In times of prosperity be joyful,
but in times of adversity consider this:
God has made one as well as the other,
so that no one can discover what the future holds.

Exceptions to the Law of Retribution

15 During the days of my fleeting life I have seen both of these things:
Sometimes a righteous person dies prematurely in spite of his righteousness,
and sometimes a wicked person lives long in spite of his evil deeds.
16 So do not be excessively righteous or excessively wise;
otherwise you might be disappointed.
17 Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool;
otherwise you might die before your time.
18 It is best to take hold of one warning without letting go of the other warning;
for the one who fears God will follow both warnings.

Wisdom Needed Because No One is Truly Righteous

19 Wisdom gives a wise person more protection
than ten rulers in a city.
20 For there is not one truly righteous person on the earth
who continually does good and never sins.
21 Also, do not pay attention to everything that people say;
otherwise, you might even hear your servant cursing you.
22 For you know in your own heart
that you also have cursed others many times.

Human Wisdom is Limited

23 I have examined all this by wisdom;
I said, “I am determined to comprehend this”—but it was beyond my grasp.
24 Whatever has happened is beyond human understanding;
it is far deeper than anyone can fathom.

True Righteousness and Wisdom Are Virtually Nonexistent

25 I tried to understand, examine, and comprehend
the role of wisdom in the scheme of things,
and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the insanity of folly.
26 I discovered this:
More bitter than death is the kind of woman who is like a hunter’s snare;
her heart is like a hunter’s net and her hands are like prison chains.
The man who pleases God escapes her,
but the sinner is captured by her.
27 The Teacher says:
I discovered this while trying to discover the scheme of things, item by item.
28 What I have continually sought, I have not found;
I have found only one upright man among a thousand,
but I have not found one upright woman among all of them.
29 This alone have I discovered: God made humankind upright,
but they have sought many evil schemes.

Human Government Demonstrates Limitations of Wisdom

Who is a wise person? Who knows the solution to a problem?
A person’s wisdom brightens his appearance, and softens his harsh countenance.
Obey the king’s command,
because you took an oath before God to be loyal to him.
Do not rush out of the king’s presence in haste—do not delay when the matter is unpleasant,
for he can do whatever he pleases.
Surely the king’s authority is absolute;
no one can say to him, “What are you doing?”
Whoever obeys his command will not experience harm,
and a wise person knows the proper time and procedure.
For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter,
for the oppression of the king is severe upon his victim.
Surely no one knows the future,
and no one can tell another person what will happen.
Just as no one has power over the wind to restrain it,
so no one has power over the day of his death.
Just as no one can be discharged during the battle,
so wickedness cannot rescue the wicked.
While applying my mind to everything that happens in this world, I have seen all this:
Sometimes one person dominates other people to their harm.

Contradictions to the Law of Retribution

10 Not only that, but I have seen the wicked approaching and entering the temple,
and as they left the holy temple, they
boasted in the city that they had done so.
This also is an enigma.
11 When a sentence is not executed at once against a crime,
the human heart is encouraged to do evil.
12 Even though a sinner might commit a hundred crimes and still live a long time,
yet I know that it will go well with God-fearing people—for they stand in fear before him.
13 But it will not go well with the wicked,
nor will they prolong their days like a shadow,
because they do not stand in fear before God.
14 Here is another enigma that occurs on earth:
Sometimes there are righteous people who get what the wicked deserve,
and sometimes there are wicked people who get what the righteous deserve.
I said, “This also is an enigma.”

Enjoy Life In Spite of Its Injustices

15 So I recommend the enjoyment of life,
for there is nothing better on earth for a person to do except to eat, drink, and enjoy life.
So joy will accompany him in his toil
during the days of his life which God gives him on earth.

Limitations of Human Wisdom

16 When I tried to gain wisdom
and to observe the activity on earth—
even though it prevents anyone from sleeping day or night—
17 then I discerned all that God has done:
No one really comprehends what happens on earth.
Despite all human efforts to discover it, no one can ever grasp it.
Even if a wise person claimed that he understood,
he would not really comprehend it.

Everyone Will Die

So I reflected on all this, attempting to clear it all up.
I concluded that the righteous and the wise, as well as their works, are in the hand of God;
whether a person will be loved or hated—
no one knows what lies ahead.
Everyone shares the same fate—
the righteous and the wicked,
the good and the bad,
the ceremonially clean and unclean,
those who offer sacrifices and those who do not.
What happens to the good person, also happens to the sinner;
what happens to those who make vows, also happens to those who are afraid to make vows.
This is the unfortunate fact about everything that happens on earth:
the same fate awaits everyone.
In addition to this, the hearts of all people are full of evil,
and there is folly in their hearts during their lives—then they die.

Better to Be Poor but Alive than Rich but Dead

But whoever is among the living has hope;
a live dog is better than a dead lion.
For the living know that they will die, but the dead do not know anything;
they have no further reward—and even the memory of them disappears.
What they loved, as well as what they hated and envied, perished long ago,
and they no longer have a part in anything that happens on earth.

Life is Brief, so Cherish its Joys

Go, eat your food with joy,
and drink your wine with a happy heart,
because God has already approved your works.
Let your clothes always be white,
and do not spare precious ointment on your head.
Enjoy life with your beloved wife during all the days of your fleeting life
that God has given you on earth during all your fleeting days;
for that is your reward in life and in your burdensome work on earth.
10 Whatever you find to do with your hands,
do it with all your might,
because there is neither work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave,
the place where you will eventually go.

Wisdom Cannot Protect against Seemingly Chance Events

11 Again, I observed this on the earth:
the race is not always won by the swiftest,
the battle is not always won by the strongest;
prosperity does not always belong to those who are the wisest,
wealth does not always belong to those who are the most discerning,
nor does success always come to those with the most knowledge—
for time and chance may overcome them all.
12 Surely, no one knows his appointed time!
Like fish that are caught in a deadly net, and like birds that are caught in a snare—
just like them, all people are ensnared at an unfortunate time that falls upon them suddenly.

Most People Are Not Receptive to Wise Counsel

13 This is what I also observed about wisdom on earth,
and it is a great burden to me:
14 There was once a small city with a few men in it,
and a mighty king attacked it, besieging it and building strong siege works against it.
15 However, a poor but wise man lived in the city,
and he could have delivered the city by his wisdom,
but no one listened to that poor man.
16 So I concluded that wisdom is better than might,
but a poor man’s wisdom is despised; no one ever listens to his advice.

Wisdom versus Fools, Sin, and Folly

17 The words of the wise are heard in quiet,
more than the shouting of a ruler is heard among fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
but one sinner can destroy much that is good.

New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

2 Corinthians 7:8-16

For even if I made you sad by my letter, I do not regret having written it (even though I did regret it, for I see that my letter made you sad, though only for a short time). Now I rejoice, not because you were made sad, but because you were made sad to the point of repentance. For you were made sad as God intended, so that you were not harmed in any way by us. 10 For sadness as intended by God produces a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving no regret, but worldly sadness brings about death. 11 For see what this very thing, this sadness as God intended, has produced in you: what eagerness, what defense of yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what deep concern, what punishment! In everything you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. 12 So then, even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did wrong, or on account of the one who was wronged, but to reveal to you your eagerness on our behalf before God. 13 Therefore we have been encouraged. And in addition to our own encouragement, we rejoiced even more at the joy of Titus, because all of you have refreshed his spirit. 14 For if I have boasted to him about anything concerning you, I have not been embarrassed by you, but just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting to Titus about you has proved true as well. 15 And his affection for you is much greater when he remembers the obedience of you all, how you welcomed him with fear and trembling. 16 I rejoice because in everything I am fully confident in you.

New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Psalm 48

Psalm 48

A song, a psalm by the Korahites.

The Lord is great and certainly worthy of praise
in the city of our God, his holy hill.
It is lofty and pleasing to look at,
a source of joy to the whole earth.
Mount Zion resembles the peaks of Zaphon;
it is the city of the great king.
God is in its fortresses;
he reveals himself as its defender.
For look, the kings assemble;
they advance together.
As soon as they see, they are shocked;
they are terrified, they quickly retreat.
Look at them shake uncontrollably,
like a woman writhing in childbirth.
With an east wind
you shatter the large ships.
We heard about God’s mighty deeds, now we have seen them,
in the city of the Lord, the invincible Warrior,
in the city of our God.
God makes it permanently secure. (Selah)
We reflect on your loyal love, O God,
within your temple.
10 The praise you receive as far away as the ends of the earth
is worthy of your reputation, O God.
You execute justice!
11 Mount Zion rejoices;
the towns of Judah are happy,
because of your acts of judgment.
12 Walk around Zion! Encircle it!
Count its towers!
13 Consider its defenses!
Walk through its fortresses,
so you can tell the next generation about it!
14 For God, our God, is our defender forever!
He guides us!

New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 22:17-19

The Sayings of the Wise

17 Incline your ear and listen to the words of the wise,
and apply your heart to my instruction.
18 For it is pleasing if you keep these sayings within you,
and they are ready on your lips.
19 So that your confidence may be in the Lord,
I am making them known to you today—even you.

New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

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