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Job 16-19

16 1-2 I have heard words like that before;
    the comfort you give is only torment.
Are you going to keep on talking forever?
    Do you always have to have the last word?
If you were in my place and I in yours,
    I could say everything you are saying.
I could shake my head wisely
    and drown you with a flood of words.
I could strengthen you with advice
    and keep talking to comfort you.

But nothing I say helps,
    and being silent does not calm my pain.
You have worn me out, God;
    you have let my family be killed.
    You have seized me; you are my enemy.
I am skin and bones,
    and people take that as proof of my guilt.[a]

In anger God tears me limb from limb;
    he glares at me with hate.
10 People sneer at me;
    they crowd around me and slap my face.
11 God has handed me over to evil people.
12 I was living in peace,
    but God took me by the throat
    and battered me and crushed me.
God uses me for target practice
13     and shoots arrows at me from every side—
    arrows that pierce and wound me;
    and even then he shows no pity.
14 He wounds me again and again;
    he attacks like a soldier gone mad with hate.

15 I mourn and wear clothes made of sackcloth,
    and I sit here in the dust defeated.
16 I have cried until my face is red,
    and my eyes are swollen and circled with shadows,
17     but I am not guilty of any violence,
    and my prayer to God is sincere.

18 O Earth, don't hide the wrongs done to me!
Don't let my call for justice be silenced!
19 There is someone in heaven
    to stand up for me and take my side.
20 My friends scorn me;
    my eyes pour out tears to God.
21 I want someone to plead with God for me,
    as one pleads for a friend.
22 My years are passing now,
    and I walk the road of no return.

17 The end of my life is near. I can hardly breathe;
    there is nothing left for me but the grave.
I watch how bitterly everyone mocks me.
I am being honest, God. Accept my word.
    There is no one else to support what I say.
You have closed their minds to reason;
    don't let them triumph over me now.
In the old proverb someone betrays his friends for money,
    and his children suffer for it.[b]
And now people use this proverb against me;
    they come and spit in my face.
My grief has almost made me blind;
    my arms and legs are as thin as shadows.
Those who claim to be honest are shocked,
    and they all condemn me as godless.
Those who claim to be respectable
    are more and more convinced they are right.
10 But if all of them came and stood before me,
    I would not find even one of them wise.

11 My days have passed; my plans have failed;
    my hope is gone.
12 But my friends say night is daylight;
    they say that light is near,
    but I know I remain in darkness.
13 My only hope is the world of the dead,
    where I will lie down to sleep in the dark.
14 I will call the grave my father,
    and the worms that eat me
    I will call my mother and my sisters.
15 Where is there any hope for me?
    Who sees any?
16 Hope will not go with me[c]
    when I go down to the world of the dead.

18 1-2 Job, can't people like you ever be quiet?
    If you stopped to listen, we could talk to you.
What makes you think we are as stupid as cattle?
You are only hurting yourself with your anger.
    Will the earth be deserted because you are angry?
    Will God move mountains to satisfy you?

The light of the wicked will still be put out;
    its flame will never burn again.
The lamp in their tents will be darkened.
Their steps were firm, but now they stumble;
    they fall—victims of their own advice.
They walk into a net, and their feet are caught;
    a trap catches their heels and holds them.
10 On the ground a snare is hidden;
    a trap has been set in their path.

11 All around them terror is waiting;
    it follows them at every step.
12 They used to be rich, but now they go hungry;
    disaster stands and waits at their side.
13 A deadly disease spreads over their bodies
    and causes their arms and legs to rot.
14 They are torn from the tents where they lived secure,
    and are dragged off to face King Death.
15 Now anyone may live in their tents—[d]
    after sulfur is sprinkled to disinfect them![e]
16 Their roots and branches are withered and dry.
17 Their fame is ended at home and abroad;
    no one remembers them any more.
18 They will be driven out of the land of the living,
    driven from light into darkness.
19 They have no descendants, no survivors.
20 From east to west, all who hear of their fate
    shudder and tremble with fear.
21 That is the fate of evil people,
    the fate of those who care nothing for God.

19 1-2 Why do you keep tormenting me with words?
Time after time you insult me
    and show no shame for the way you abuse me.
Even if I have done wrong,
    how does that hurt you?
You think you are better than I am,
    and regard my troubles as proof of my guilt.
Can't you see it is God who has done this?
    He has set a trap to catch me.
I protest his violence,
    but no one is listening;
    no one hears my cry for justice.
God has blocked the way, and I can't get through;
    he has hidden my path in darkness.
He has taken away all my wealth
    and destroyed my reputation.
10 He batters me from every side.
He uproots my hope
    and leaves me to wither and die.
11 God is angry and rages against me;
    he treats me like his worst enemy.
12 He sends his army to attack me;
    they dig trenches and lay siege to my tent.

13 God has made my own family forsake me;
    I am a stranger to those who knew me;
14     my relatives and friends are gone.
15 Those who were guests in my house have forgotten me;
    my servant women treat me like a stranger and a foreigner.
16 When I call a servant, he doesn't answer—
    even when I beg him to help me.
17 My wife can't stand the smell of my breath,
    and my own brothers won't come near me.
18 Children despise me and laugh when they see me.
19 My closest friends look at me with disgust;
    those I loved most have turned against me.
20 My skin hangs loose on my bones;
    I have barely escaped with my life.[f]
21 You are my friends! Take pity on me!
    The hand of God has struck me down.
22 Why must you persecute me the way God does?
    Haven't you tormented me enough?

23 How I wish that someone would remember my words
    and record them in a book!
24 Or with a chisel carve my words in stone
    and write them so that they would last forever.[g]

25 But I know there is someone in heaven
    who will come at last to my defense.
26 Even after my skin is eaten by disease,
    while still in this body[h] I will see God.[i]
27 I will see him with my own eyes,
    and he will not be a stranger.

My courage failed because you said,
28     “How can we torment him?”
    You looked for some excuse to attack me.
29 But now, be afraid of the sword—
    the sword that brings God's wrath on sin,
    so that you will know there is one who judges.[j]

Footnotes:

  1. Job 16:8 Verses 7-8 in Hebrew are unclear.
  2. Job 17:5 someone … suffer for it; or someone entertains his friends while his children go hungry.
  3. Job 17:16 One ancient translation with me; Hebrew unclear.
  4. Job 18:15 Now anyone may live in their tents; Hebrew unclear.
  5. Job 18:15 Sulfur was used in the ancient world as a disinfectant and to clean rooms that had contained corpses.
  6. Job 19:20 Verse 20 in Hebrew is unclear.
  7. Job 19:24 last forever; or be on record.
  8. Job 19:26 while still in this body; or although not in this body.
  9. Job 19:26 Verse 26 in Hebrew is unclear.
  10. Job 19:29 one who judges; or a judgment.
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1 Corinthians 16

The Offering for Needy Believers

16 Now, concerning what you wrote about the money to be raised to help God's people in Judea. You must do what I told the churches in Galatia to do. Every Sunday each of you must put aside some money, in proportion to what you have earned, and save it up, so that there will be no need to collect money when I come. After I come, I shall give letters of introduction to those you have approved, and send them to take your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems worthwhile for me to go, then they can go along with me.

Paul's Plans

I shall come to you after I have gone through Macedonia—for I have to go through Macedonia. I shall probably spend some time with you, perhaps the whole winter, and then you can help me to continue my trip, wherever it is I shall go next. I want to see you more than just briefly in passing; I hope to spend quite a long time with you, if the Lord allows.

I will stay here in Ephesus until the day of Pentecost. There is a real opportunity here for great and worthwhile work, even though there are many opponents.

10 If Timothy comes your way, be sure to make him feel welcome among you, because he is working for the Lord, just as I am. 11 No one should look down on him, but you must help him continue his trip in peace, so that he will come back to me; for I am expecting him back with the believers.

12 Now, about brother Apollos. I have often encouraged him to visit you with the other believers, but he is not completely convinced[a] that he should go at this time. When he gets the chance, however, he will go.

Final Words

13 Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Do all your work in love.

15 You know about Stephanas and his family; they are the first Christian converts in Achaia and have given themselves to the service of God's people. I beg you, my friends, 16 to follow the leadership of such people as these, and of anyone else who works and serves with them.

17 I am happy about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus; they have made up for your absence 18 and have cheered me up, just as they cheered you up. Such men as these deserve notice.

19 The churches in the province of Asia send you their greetings; Aquila and Priscilla and the church that meets in their house send warm Christian greetings. 20 All the believers here send greetings.

Greet one another with the kiss of peace.

21 With my own hand I write this: Greetings from Paul.

22 Whoever does not love the Lord—a curse on him!

Marana tha—Our Lord, come!

23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 16:12 he is not completely convinced; or it is not at all God's will.
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Psalm 40:1-10

A Song of Praise[a]

40 I waited patiently for the Lord's help;
    then he listened to me and heard my cry.
He pulled me out of a dangerous pit,
    out of the deadly quicksand.
He set me safely on a rock
    and made me secure.
He taught me to sing a new song,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many who see this will take warning
    and will put their trust in the Lord.

Happy are those who trust the Lord,
    who do not turn to idols
    or join those who worship false gods.
You have done many things for us, O Lord our God;
    there is no one like you!
    You have made many wonderful plans for us.
I could never speak of them all—
    their number is so great!

You do not want sacrifices and offerings;
    you do not ask for animals burned whole on the altar
    or for sacrifices to take away sins.
Instead, you have given me ears to hear you,
    and so I answered, “Here I am;
    your instructions for me are in the book of the Law.[b]
How I love to do your will, my God!
    I keep your teaching in my heart.”

In the assembly of all your people, Lord,
    I told the good news that you save us.
    You know that I will never stop telling it.
10 I have not kept the news of salvation to myself;
    I have always spoken of your faithfulness and help.
In the assembly of all your people I have not been silent
    about your loyalty and constant love.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 40:1 HEBREW TITLE: A psalm by David.
  2. Psalm 40:7 your instructions … Law; or my devotion to you is recorded in your book.
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Proverbs 22:1

22 If you have to choose between a good reputation and great wealth, choose a good reputation.

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