Reading for August 25th

Job 10-12 (Listen)

Job Continues: A Plea to God

“I loathe my life;

I will give free utterance to my complaint;

I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.

I will say to God, Do not condemn me;

let me know why you contend against me.

Does it seem good to you to oppress,

to despise the work of your hands

and favor the designs of the wicked?

Have you eyes of flesh?

Do you see as man sees?

Are your days as the days of man,

or your years as a man's years,

that you seek out my iniquity

and search for my sin,

although you know that I am not guilty,

and there is none to deliver out of your hand?

Your hands fashioned and made me,

and now you have destroyed me altogether.

Remember that you have made me like clay;

and will you return me to the dust?

Did you not pour me out like milk

and curdle me like cheese?

You clothed me with skin and flesh,

and knit me together with bones and sinews.

You have granted me life and steadfast love,

and your care has preserved my spirit.

Yet these things you hid in your heart;

I know that this was your purpose.

If I sin, you watch me

and do not acquit me of my iniquity.

If I am guilty, woe to me!

If I am in the right, I cannot lift up my head,

for I am filled with disgrace

and look on my affliction.

And were my head lifted up, you would hunt me like a lion

and again work wonders against me.

You renew your witnesses against me

and increase your vexation toward me;

you bring fresh troops against me.

 

“Why did you bring me out from the womb?

Would that I had died before any eye had seen me

and were as though I had not been,

carried from the womb to the grave.

Are not my days few?

Then cease, and leave me alone, that I may find a little cheer

before I go—and I shall not return—

to the land of darkness and deep shadow,

the land of gloom like thick darkness,

like deep shadow without any order,

where light is as thick darkness.”

 

Zophar Speaks: You Deserve Worse

Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:

 

“Should a multitude of words go unanswered,

and a man full of talk be judged right?

Should your babble silence men,

and when you mock, shall no one shame you?

For you say, ‘My doctrine is pure,

and I am clean in God's eyes.’

But oh, that God would speak

and open his lips to you,

and that he would tell you the secrets of wisdom!

For he is manifold in understanding.

Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves.

 

“Can you find out the deep things of God?

Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?

It is higher than heaven—what can you do?

Deeper than Sheol—what can you know?

Its measure is longer than the earth

and broader than the sea.

If he passes through and imprisons

and summons the court, who can turn him back?

For he knows worthless men;

when he sees iniquity, will he not consider it?

But a stupid man will get understanding

when a wild donkey's colt is born a man!

 

“If you prepare your heart,

you will stretch out your hands toward him.

If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away,

and let not injustice dwell in your tents.

Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish;

you will be secure and will not fear.

You will forget your misery;

you will remember it as waters that have passed away.

And your life will be brighter than the noonday;

its darkness will be like the morning.

And you will feel secure, because there is hope;

you will look around and take your rest in security.

You will lie down, and none will make you afraid;

many will court your favor.

But the eyes of the wicked will fail;

all way of escape will be lost to them,

and their hope is to breathe their last.”

 

Job Replies: The Lord Has Done This

Then Job answered and said:

 

“No doubt you are the people,

and wisdom will die with you.

But I have understanding as well as you;

I am not inferior to you.

Who does not know such things as these?

I am a laughingstock to my friends;

I, who called to God and he answered me,

a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock.

In the thought of one who is at ease there is contempt for misfortune;

it is ready for those whose feet slip.

The tents of robbers are at peace,

and those who provoke God are secure,

who bring their god in their hand.

 

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;

the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;

or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;

and the fish of the sea will declare to you.

Who among all these does not know

that the hand of the Lord has done this?

In his hand is the life of every living thing

and the breath of all mankind.

Does not the ear test words

as the palate tastes food?

Wisdom is with the aged,

and understanding in length of days.

 

“With God are wisdom and might;

he has counsel and understanding.

If he tears down, none can rebuild;

if he shuts a man in, none can open.

If he withholds the waters, they dry up;

if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land.

With him are strength and sound wisdom;

the deceived and the deceiver are his.

He leads counselors away stripped,

and judges he makes fools.

He looses the bonds of kings

and binds a waistcloth on their hips.

He leads priests away stripped

and overthrows the mighty.

He deprives of speech those who are trusted

and takes away the discernment of the elders.

He pours contempt on princes

and loosens the belt of the strong.

He uncovers the deeps out of darkness

and brings deep darkness to light.

He makes nations great, and he destroys them;

he enlarges nations, and leads them away.

He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth

and makes them wander in a trackless waste.

They grope in the dark without light,

and he makes them stagger like a drunken man.