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Job 28:1-30:31; 2 Corinthians 2:12-17; Psalms 42:1-11; Proverbs 22:7 (The Voice)

Job 28-30

28 Job: There is a place where silver is mined,
        a place where gold is refined.
    There iron is dug from the earth,
        and copper is smelted from ore.
    Humans put an end to darkness,
        and search in every last corner
    For the ore that is in gloom and darkness.
    In the earth they cut a shaft
        in a place forgotten, far from the beaten path;
    They descend on ropes,
        swinging dangerously back and forth.
    The ground above yields food;
        the earth below is turned as if fire has destroyed it
    Where earth gives up sapphires from her rocks
        and bits of gold from her dirt.
    No bird of prey knows this way, this secret path down below;
        no falcon’s eye has ever peered into it.
    No proud beast has ever reached this place;
        no lordly lion has marched over it.

    The miner breaks apart flinty stone,
        uprooting the ancient mountains.
10     He carves tunnels through the rock,
        revealing precious treasures.
11     He dams up[a] the underground streams until they cease seeping,
        and he brings out into the light what was hidden there in the darkness.

12     But where is wisdom found,
        and where does understanding dwell?

Proverbs 1:20–33 and 8:3–36 give the best articulated picture of wisdom in the Bible. Personified there as Lady Wisdom, this character was created by God long before His creation of the world—which she then aided in. After creation, she wanted nothing more than to be with humanity and help them to have full, truthful lives; but here Job explains that wisdom is now hidden. Certainly God knows where she is, although He isn’t telling; but humans have a better chance of finding immeasurable wealth than of attaining wisdom. This is because she is only found on one road, and that’s the God-fearing road of piety. In order to find wisdom, one must allow God to direct him there; and ironically, the knowledge that God must direct lives is wisdom itself!

13 Job: No human perceives wisdom’s true value,
        nor has she been found in the land of the living.
14     The deep says, “She is not to be seen within me.”
        “Nor within me,” says the voice of the raging sea.
15     No gold can be given in trade for wisdom,
        nor a sum of silver weighed out as her price.
16     She cannot be bought with all the gold of Ophir,
        neither with onyx nor sapphire.
17     The shimmer of gold and brightness of glass cannot compare,
        and no refined gold jewelry is worth her in trade.
18     Perish the mention of coral and crystal;
        even more than pearls is the value of wisdom.
19     Ethiopian topaz—unequal as well;
        even gold, unalloyed, is too paltry indeed.
20     Then from where does wisdom come?
        Where does understanding dwell?
21     She is hidden away from every eye,
        even from birds looking down from the sky.
22     Destruction and Death have both confessed,
        “Rumors are all we know about her.”

23     God understands wisdom’s path and way;
        her place is known to Him alone.
24     For He gazes out to the edge of the earth,
        sees all that falls beneath the sky overhead.
25     He lent the wind its weight and force
        and measured out the waters’ spread.
26     When He set a limit on the rain that falls
        and made the thunderbolt a road to race,
27     Then He saw wisdom and made her known,
        He settled her and searched out for her a place.
28     And to humankind, He said, “Now, the fear of the Lord is wisdom,
        and to depart from evil is understanding.”

The great wisdom of the ages begins with fearing God. It is the evil of the world that clouds our understanding and leads us into foolishness.

29 Job continued.

Job: Ah, that I were as I once was, months ago
        during the time when God oversaw me,
    When His lamp shone above my head,
        and by His light, I walked through the darkness.
    Ah, to be in the ripest time of life once more
        when the intimacies of friendship with God enfolded my tent,
    When the Highest One[b] was with me
        and my children encircled me,
    When my steps were bathed in milk
        and the rock poured out rivers of olive oil, showering my body,
    When I went up to the gate of the city,
        when I took my seat in the town square where the elders meet.
    There the young saw me and made room for me, in deference to elders.
        The old rose and stood out of respect.
    The leaders stopped talking
        with their hands over their mouths.
10     The voices of nobles fell to a hush;
        their tongues stuck to the roofs of their mouths.
11     Every ear that heard me blessed me,
        and every eye that saw me testified to my greatness.
12     After all, I rescued the poor when they cried out for help
        and assisted the orphans when they had no one else.

Great virtue has always begun with the treatment of the poor. Can Job be accused of having a hard heart?

13     The dying spoke their blessings over me,
        and the widows sang their joyful songs honoring what I did.
14     I adorned myself in righteousness,
        and it covered me;
        my justice fit me like a cloak and turban—
        conveying both my dignity and my authority.
15     I was the eyes for the blind,
        the feet for the lame,
16     A father for the needy,
        and I sought for the cause of whom I did not know.
17     I broke out the fangs of the wicked
        and wrested prey from their jaws.
18     Then I said, “I will pass from this earth in the comfort of my nest.
        My days will be more numerous than a beach’s grains of sand.
19     My roots will grow deep, spreading out to the water’s edge,
        and in the night, the dew will come to rest on my branches.
20     Respect will be accorded me every day,
        my skill with the bow always new in my hand.”

21     People used to listen to me,
        the sense of expectation visible on their faces;
        they waited in silence for my advice.
22     And when I finished, they did not hurry to speak again.
        They waited while my words dropped like dew upon them.
23     Indeed, they waited for me as one waits for a good rain,
        and they opened their mouths as if to catch spring showers on their tongues.
24     I smiled upon them when their confidence flagged,
        and they took comfort in my beaming face.[c]
25     I led them in their way.
        I sat as their leader.
    I lived like a king among his troops.
        I was as a happy man spreading comfort among the mourners.

30 Job: But now they mock me,
        these young men whose fathers I hold in such contempt.
    I wouldn’t trust them with my herds
        as I do my dogs.
    What good does their strength do me?
        Their potency has wilted.
    Gaunt from starvation, haggard from hunger that drives them to gnaw the ground in the night,
        a ground all wasted and hollowed-out,
    They are left with the desperate foods of the famished—
        plucking mallow from the bushes by the salt marshes,
        and making the ashy broom tree root their staple.
    The people from the town chase each one out of his neighborhood;
        they howl at all of them as if they were common thieves,
    And push them out to live in the deep valleys of the wadis—
        those desert streams that come and go—
    So these outcasts seek shelter in the overhangs and crumbling caves
        that line the banks of no-man’s-land.
    Braying like donkeys from the bushes,
        huddled together in the prickly undergrowth are
    Fools and sons of no-names,
        driven by lashes out from the bosom of the land.

Even the fools and outcasts use Job’s name as an insult. His character has been brought low by those who should be beneath him.

    And now they sing of me in taunt and parody,
        and make my name a byword among them.
10     They abhor me, keep their distance,
        and feel free to spit in my face.
11     Because God has unstrung His bowstring and stricken me with suffering,
        they are no longer restrained toward me.
12     To my right, the horde[d] arises.
        They seek to knock me off my feet,
        piling their disastrous ways against me.
13     They lay waste to my path
        and benefit from my destruction,
        and no one is there to stop them.
14     As through a wall breached, they advance easily.
        Their thunderstorm of wheels rolled across my ruins.
15     Alas! A storm of terrors has turned toward me and is upon me;
        my dignity is blown away as by the wind;
        my prosperity vanishes like a wispy cloud.

16     And now my own soul is drawn out, poured over me.
        The days of misery have taken hold of me;
        I am firmly in their grasp.
17     By night, my pain is at work, boring holes in my bones;
        it gnaws at me and never lies down to rest.
18     With great force, God wraps around me like my clothing.
        He binds tightly about my neck as if He were the collar of my tunic.[e]
19     He has pushed me off into the mud,
        and I am reduced from man to dust and ashes.
20     I call out to You, God, but You refuse to answer me.
        When I arise, You merely examine me.
21     You have changed.
        Now You are cruel to me;
        You employ Your strength to attack me.
22     You pull me up into the wind and make me ride upon it
        until I am fractured and dissipated in the storm.
23     I know where this ends.
        You will send me off to death
        and usher me to that meetinghouse where all the living one day go.

24     And yet does not a person trapped in ruins stretch out his hand,
        and in this disaster does he not cry out for help?[f]
25     Did I not grieve for the hard days of another
        or weep for the pains of the poor?
26     And yet when I longed for the good, evil came;
        when I awaited the light, thick darkness arrived instead.
27     I am boiling on the inside,
        and it will not quit;
        yet the days of misery still come for me.
28     I drift in darkness, the sun absent;
        I arise in the assembly
        and call out for help.
29     But who will come now that I am roaming the wilderness?
        I am a brother to jackals, a friend of ostriches.
30     Despite my earnest cries, my skin burns until it is black and flakes off,
        and my bones burn with fever.
31     And so my harp is tuned to the key of mourning,
        and my flute is pitched to the sound of weeping.

Footnotes:

  1. 28:11 Hebrew manuscripts read, “He searches.”
  2. 29:5 Hebrew, Shaddai
  3. 29:24 Meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  4. 30:12 Meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  5. 30:18 Meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  6. 30:24 Meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
Read More
2 Corinthians 2:12-17

12 When I arrived at Troas, bringing the good news of the Anointed, the Lord opened a door there for me. 13 Yet my spirit was restless because I could not find my brother Titus. Eventually I told them good-bye and set out for Macedonia.

14 Yet I am so thankful to God, who always marches us to victory under the banner of the Anointed One; and through us He spreads the beautiful fragrance of His knowledge to every corner of the earth. 15 In a turbulent world where people are either dying or being rescued, we are the sweet smell of the Anointed to God our Father. 16 To those who are dying, they smell the stench of death in us. And to those being rescued, we are the unmistakable scent of life. Who is worthy of this calling? 17 For we are nothing like the others who sell the word of God like a commodity. Do not be mistaken; our words come from God with the utmost sincerity, always spoken through the Anointed in the presence of God.

Read More
Psalm 42

Book Two

This second book of psalms (Psalms 42–72) has a few unique features. First, it is the only book of the five that contains psalms ascribed to the sons of Korah, a group of Levite temple singers. Second, it uses two rather obscure Hebrew terms in the superscriptions of almost half of these psalms. Maskil, which may be related to contemplation, is translated “contemplative poem” or “song” (42; 44–45; 52–55) and miktam, whose meaning is unclear, is translated “a prayer” (56–60). Third, in referring to God this second book shows a preference for the word “God” over the name “the Eternal One” that appears as “YHWH” in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Throughout the Bible, the creator and covenant God is referred to in many ways. Generally speaking, the names and titles used indicate something of His character and nature. The title “God” implies His unique majesty and power; no one is like Him. The name, translated “The Eternal One” and also “The Eternal,” is God’s covenant name revealed uniquely to Israel. As the translation suggests, the divine name implies that the one True God transcends time and yet He is “with” His people.

Psalm 42[a]

For the worship leader. A contemplative song[b] of the sons of Korah.

My soul is dry and thirsts for You, True God,
    as a deer thirsts for water.
I long for the True God who lives.
    When can I stand before Him and feel His comfort?
Right now I’m overwhelmed by my sorrow and pain;
    I can’t stop feasting on my tears.
People crowd around me and say,
    “Where is your True God whom you claim will save?

With a broken heart,
    I remember times before
When I was with Your people. Those were better days.
    I used to lead them happily into the True God’s house,
Singing with joy, shouting thanksgivings with abandon,
    joining the congregation in the celebration.
Why am I so overwrought?
    Why am I so disturbed?
Why can’t I just hope in God?
    Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the One
    who saves me and is my life.
My God, my soul is so traumatized;
    the only help is remembering You wherever I may be;
From the land of the Jordan to Hermon’s high place
    to Mount Mizar.
In the roar of Your waterfalls,
    ancient depths surge, calling out to the deep.
All Your waves break over me;
    am I drowning?
Yet in the light of day, the Eternal shows me His love.
    When night settles in and all is dark, He keeps me company—
    His soothing song, a prayerful melody to the True God of my life.

Even still, I will say to the True God, my rock and strength:
    “Why have You forgotten me?
Why must I live my life so depressed, crying endlessly
    while my enemies have the upper hand?”
10 My enemies taunt me.
    They shatter my soul the way a sword shatters a man’s bones.
They keep taunting all the day long,
    “Where is He, your True God?”

11 Why am I so overwrought,
    Why am I so disturbed?
Why can’t I just hope in God?
    Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the One
    who saves me, my God.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 42 Psalms 42–43 are a single poem in many Hebrew manuscripts.
  2. 42:title Hebrew, maskil
Read More
Proverbs 22:7

The rich lord it over the poor,
    and the borrower is the slave to the lender.

Read More
The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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