Job Speaks: Where Can I Find God?
Then Job replied to his friends,
2 “My complaint is bitter again today.
I try hard to control my sighing.
3 “If only I knew where I could find God!
I would go where he lives.
4 I would present my case to him.
I would have a mouthful of arguments.
5 I want to know the words he would use to answer me.
I want to understand the things he would say to me.
6 Would he sue me and hide behind great legal maneuvers?
No, he certainly would press charges against me.
7 Then decent people could argue with him,
and I would escape my judgment forever.
8 However, if I go east, he isn’t there.
If I go west, I can’t find him.
9 If I go northward, where he is at work, I can’t observe him.
If I turn southward, I can’t see him.
10 I can’t find him because he knows the road I take.
When he tests me,
I’ll come out as pure as gold.
11 I have followed his footsteps closely.
I have stayed on his path and did not turn from it.
12 I have not left his commands behind.
I have treasured his words in my heart.
God Is Against Me
13 “But God is one of a kind.
Who can make him change his mind?
He does whatever he wants!
14 He will carry out his orders concerning me
as he does with so many other things.[a]
15 That is why I’m terrified of him.
When I think of it, I’m afraid of him.
16 God has discouraged me.
The Almighty has filled me with terror.
17 But I am not silenced by the dark
or by the thick darkness that covers my face.
Job Continues: Why Doesn’t God Punish Those Who Do Evil?
“Why doesn’t the Almighty set aside times for punishment?
Why don’t those who are close to him see his days of judgment?
2 “People move boundary markers.
They steal flocks and tend them as shepherds.
3 They drive away the orphan’s donkey.
They take the widow’s ox as security for a loan.
4 They force needy people off the road.
All the poor people of the country go into hiding.
5 Like wild donkeys in the desert,
poor people go out to do their work, looking for food.
The plains provide food for their children.
6 They harvest animal food in the field to feed themselves.
They pick the leftover grapes in the wicked person’s vineyard.
7 All night they lie naked
without a covering from the cold.
8 They are drenched by the rainstorms in the mountains.
They hug the rocks because they can’t find shelter.
9 “People snatch the nursing orphan from a breast
and take a poor woman’s baby as security for a loan.
10 That is why the poor go around naked.
They are hungry, yet they carry bundles of grain.
11 They press out olive oil between rows of olive trees.
They stomp on grapes in wine vats, yet they are thirsty.
12 Those dying in the city groan.
Wounded people cry for help,
but God pays no attention to their prayers.
13 “Such people are among those who rebel against the light.
They are not acquainted with its ways.
They do not stay on its paths.
14 At dawn murderers rise; they kill the poor and needy.
At night they become thieves.
15 Adulterers watch for twilight.
They say, ‘No one is watching us,’ as they cover their faces.
16 In the dark, they break into houses,
but by day they lock themselves in.
They do not even know the light,
17 because morning and deep darkness are the same to them,
because they are familiar with the terrors of deep darkness.
18 Such people are like scum on the surface of the water.
Their property is cursed in the land.
People do not travel the road that goes to their vineyards.
19 Just as drought and heat steal water from snow,
so the grave steals people who sin.
20 The womb forgets them.
Worms feast on them.
No one remembers them anymore,
and wickedness is snapped like a twig.
21 These men take advantage of childless women.
These men show no kindness to widows.
22 God will drag away these mighty men by his power.
These people may prosper,
but they will never feel secure about life.
23 God may let them feel confident and self-reliant,
but his eyes are on their ways.
24 Such people may be prosperous for a little while,
but then they’re gone.
They are brought down low and disappear like everything else.[b]
They wither like heads of grain.
25 “If it isn’t so, who can prove I’m a liar
and show that my words are worthless?”
Bildad Speaks: No One Is Righteous to God
Then Bildad from Shuah replied to Job,
2 “Authority and terror belong to God.
He establishes peace in his high places.
3 Is there any limit to the number of his troops?
Is there anyone on whom his light does not rise?
4 How can a person be righteous to God?
How can anyone born of a woman be pure?
5 Even the moon isn’t bright,
and the stars aren’t pure in his sight.
6 How much less pure is a mortal—who is only a maggot—
a descendant of Adam—who is only a worm!”
Job Speaks: My Friends Have Offered Useless Advice
Then Job replied to his friends,
2 “You have helped the person who has no power
and saved the arm that isn’t strong.
3 You have advised the person who has no wisdom
and offered so much assistance.
4 To whom have you spoken these words,
and whose spirit has spoken through you?
God’s Power over Creation
5 “The souls of the dead tremble beneath the water,
and so do the creatures living there.
6 Sheol is naked in God’s presence,
and Abaddon has no clothing.
7 “He stretches out his heavens[c] over empty space.
He hangs the earth on nothing whatsoever.
8 He holds the water in his thick clouds,
and the clouds don’t even split under its weight.
9 He covers his throne[d]
by spreading his cloud over it.
10 He marks the horizon on the surface of the water
at the boundary where light meets dark.
11 The pillars of heaven tremble
and are astonished when he yells at them.
12 With his power he calmed the sea.
With his insight he killed Rahab the sea monster.
13 With his wind the sky was cleared.
With his hand he stabbed the fleeing snake.
14 “These are only glimpses of what he does.
We only hear a whisper of him!
Who can understand the thunder of his power?”
Job Continues: I Insist I Am Innocent
Job continued his poems and said,
2 “I swear an oath
by God, the one who has taken away my rights,
by the Almighty, who has made my life bitter:
3 ‘As long as there is one breath left in me
and God’s breath fills my nostrils,
4 my lips will not say anything wrong,
and my tongue will not mumble anything deceitful.’
5 It’s unthinkable for me to admit that you are right.
Until I breathe my last breath, I will never give up my claim of integrity.
6 I cling to my righteousness and won’t let go.
My conscience won’t accuse me as long as I live.
7 “Let my enemy be treated like wicked people.
Let anyone who attacks me be treated like unrighteous people.
8 After all, what hope does the godless person have when he is cut off,
when God takes away his life?
9 Will God hear his cry when trouble comes upon him?
10 Can he be happy with the Almighty?
Can he call on God at all times?
What God Has in Store for Wicked People
11 “I will teach you about God’s power.
I will not hide what the Almighty has done.
12 Certainly, you have all seen it.
Why then do you chatter on about such nonsense?
13 This is what God has waiting for the wicked person,
the inheritance that tyrants receive from the Almighty:
14 If he has many children, swords will kill them,
and his descendants won’t have enough food.
15 Those who survive him will be buried by a plague,
and their widows won’t cry for them.
16 Though he collects silver like dust
and piles up clothing like dirt,
17 righteous people will wear what he piles up,
and the innocent will divide the silver
18 He builds his house like a moth,
like a shack that a watchman makes.
19 He may go to bed rich, but he’ll never be rich again.
When he opens his eyes, nothing will be left.
20 Terrors overtake him like a flood.
A windstorm snatches him away at night.
21 The east wind carries him away, and he’s gone.
It sweeps him from his place.
22 It hurls itself at him without mercy.
He flees from its power.
23 It claps its hands over him.
It whistles at him from his own place.
2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11
Paul’s Reason for Being Proud
12 We are proud that our conscience is clear. We are proud of the way that we have lived in this world. We have lived with a God-given holiness[a] and sincerity, especially toward you. It was not by human wisdom that we have lived but by God’s kindness. [b] 13 We are only writing you what you already knew before you read this. I hope you will understand this as long as you live, 14 even though you now understand it only partially. We are your reason to be proud, as you will be our reason to be proud on the day of our Lord Jesus.
Why Paul Changed His Plans
15 Confident of this, I had previously wanted to visit you so that you could benefit twice. 16 My plans had been to go from the city of Corinth to the province of Macedonia. Then from Macedonia I had planned to return to you again in Corinth and have you support my trip to Judea.
17 You don’t think that I made these plans lightly, do you? Do you think that when I make plans, I make them in a sinful way? Why would I say that something is true when it isn’t? 18 You can depend on God. Our message to you isn’t false; it’s true. 19 God’s Son, Jesus Christ, whom I, Silvanus, and Timothy told you about, was true not false. Because of him our message was always true. 20 Certainly, Christ made God’s many promises come true. For that reason, because of our message, people also honor God by saying, “Amen!”
21 God establishes us, together with you, in a relationship with Christ. He has also anointed us. 22 In addition, he has put his seal of ownership on us and has given us the Spirit as his guarantee.
23 I appeal to God as a witness on my behalf, that I stayed away from Corinth because I wanted to spare you. 24 It isn’t that we want to have control over your Christian faith. Rather, we want to work with you so that you will be happy. Certainly, you are firmly established in the Christian faith.
2 I decided not to visit you again while I was distressed. 2 After all, if I had made you uncomfortable, how could you have cheered me up when you were uncomfortable?
3 This is the very reason I wrote to you. I didn’t want to visit you and be distressed by those who should make me happy. I’m confident about all of you that whatever makes me happy also makes you happy.
4 I was deeply troubled and anguished. In fact, I had tears in my eyes when I wrote to you. I didn’t write to make you uncomfortable but to let you know how much I love you.
Forgive the Person Who Sinned
5 If someone caused distress, I’m not the one really affected. To some extent—although I don’t want to emphasize this too much—it has affected all of you. 6 The majority of you have imposed a severe enough punishment on that person. 7 So now forgive and comfort him. Such distress could overwhelm someone like that if he’s not forgiven and comforted. 8 That is why I urge you to assure him that you love him. 9 I had also written to you to test you. I wanted to see if you would be obedient in every way.
10 If you forgive someone, so do I. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did in the presence of Christ for your benefit. 11 I don’t want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming.
For the choir director; a psalm by David.
1 Blessed is the one who has concern for helpless people.
The Lord will rescue him in times of trouble.
2 The Lord will protect him and keep him alive.
He will be blessed in the land.
Do not place him at the mercy of his enemies.
3 The Lord will support him on his sickbed.
You will restore this person to health when he is ill.
4 I said, “O Lord, have pity on me!
Heal my soul because I have sinned against you.”
5 My enemies say terrible things about me:
“When will he die, and when will his family name disappear?”
6 When one of them comes to visit me, he speaks foolishly.
His heart collects gossip.
Then he leaves to tell others.
7 Everyone who hates me whispers about me.
They think evil things about me and say,
8 “A devilish disease has attached itself to him.
He will never leave his sickbed.”
9 Even my closest friend whom I trusted,
the one who ate my bread,
has lifted his heel against me.
10 Have pity on me, O Lord!
Raise me up so that I can pay them back
11 and my enemy cannot shout in triumph over me.
When you do this, I know that you are pleased with me.
12 You defend my integrity,
and you set me in your presence forever.
13 Thank the Lord God of Israel through all eternity!
Amen and amen!
5 A devious person has thorns and traps ahead of him.
Whoever guards himself will stay far away from them.
6 Train a child in the way he should go,
and even when he is old he will not turn away from it.