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First Reading: Job Chapter 10 and 11

Job 10

"I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul. 2 I will say to God: Do not condemn me, but tell me what charges you have against me. 3 Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands, while you smile on the schemes of the wicked? 4 Do you have eyes of flesh? Do you see as a mortal sees? 5 Are your days like those of a mortal or your years like those of a man, 6 that you must search out my faults and probe after my sin- 7 though you know that I am not guilty and that no one can rescue me from your hand?
8 "Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? 9 Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again? 10 Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese, 11 clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? 12 You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.
13 "But this is what you concealed in your heart, and I know that this was in your mind: 14 If I sinned, you would be watching me and would not let my offense go unpunished. 15 If I am guilty-woe to me! Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head, for I am full of shame and drowned in my affliction. 16 If I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion and again display your awesome power against me. 17 You bring new witnesses against me and increase your anger toward me; your forces come against me wave upon wave.
18 "Why then did you bring me out of the womb? I wish I had died before any eye saw me. 19 If only I had never come into being, or had been carried straight from the womb to the grave! 20 Are not my few days almost over? Turn away from me so I can have a moment's joy 21 before I go to the place of no return, to the land of gloom and deep shadow, 22 to the land of deepest night, of deep shadow and disorder, where even the light is like darkness."

Job 11

11:1 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
2 "Are all these words to go unanswered? Is this talker to be vindicated? 3 Will your idle talk reduce men to silence? Will no one rebuke you when you mock? 4 You say to God, 'My beliefs are flawless and I am pure in your sight.' 5 Oh, how I wish that God would speak, that he would open his lips against you 6 and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom has two sides. Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.
7 "Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? 8 They are higher than the heavens-what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave-what can you know? 9 Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.
10 "If he comes along and confines you in prison and convenes a court, who can oppose him? 11 Surely he recognizes deceitful men; and when he sees evil, does he not take note? 12 But a witless man can no more become wise than a wild donkey's colt can be born a man.
13 "Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, 14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, 15 then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear. 16 You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. 17 Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. 18 You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. 19 You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor. 20 But the eyes of the wicked will fail, and escape will elude them; their hope will become a dying gasp."

Second Reading: Psalms Chapter 54 and 55

Psalms 54

54:1 For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A maskil of David. When the Ziphites had gone to Saul and said, "Is not David hiding among us?"

Save me, O God, by your name;vindicate me by your might. 2 Hear my prayer, O God;listen to the words of my mouth.
3 Strangers are attacking me;ruthless men seek my life — men without regard for God.Selah
4 Surely God is my help;the Lord is the one who sustains me.
5 Let evil recoil on those who slander me;in your faithfulness destroy them.
6 I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you;I will praise your name, O LORD,for it is good. 7 For he has delivered me from all my troubles,and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.

Psalms 55

55:1 For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A maskil of David.

Listen to my prayer, O God,do not ignore my plea; 2 hear me and answer me.My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught 3 at the voice of the enemy,at the stares of the wicked;for they bring down suffering upon me and revile me in their anger.
4 My heart is in anguish within me;the terrors of death assail me. 5 Fear and trembling have beset me;horror has overwhelmed me. 6 I said, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!I would fly away and be at rest — 7 I would flee far away and stay in the desert; Selah 8 I would hurry to my place of shelter,far from the tempest and storm."
9 Confuse the wicked, O Lord, confound their speech,for I see violence and strife in the city. 10 Day and night they prowl about on its walls;malice and abuse are within it. 11 Destructive forces are at work in the city;threats and lies never leave its streets.
12 If an enemy were insulting me,I could endure it;if a foe were raising himself against me,I could hide from him. 13 But it is you, a man like myself,my companion, my close friend, 14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.
15 Let death take my enemies by surprise;let them go down alive to the grave, for evil finds lodging among them.
16 But I call to God,and the LORD saves me. 17 Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress,and he hears my voice. 18 He ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me,even though many oppose me. 19 God, who is enthroned forever,will hear them and afflict them — Selahmen who never change their ways and have no fear of God. 20 My companion attacks his friends;he violates his covenant. 21 His speech is smooth as butter,yet war is in his heart;his words are more soothing than oil,yet they are drawn swords.
22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;he will never let the righteous fall. 23 But you, O God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption;bloodthirsty and deceitful men will not live out half their days.
But as for me, I trust in you.

Bible Background



Part 4 of 4

The following is found in the book of Job:

  1. The Prologue - Job's righteousness and testing - Chapters 1-2
  2. Job's lament - Chapter 3
  3. The first cycle of speeches between Job and the three friends - Chapters 4-14
  4. The second cycle of speeches between Job and the three friends - Chapters 15-21
  5. The third cycle of speeches between Job and the three friends - Chapters 22-26
  6. Job's closing discourse and monologues - Chapters 27-31
  7. Elihu intercedes - Chapters 32-37
  8. God questions Job - Chapters 38-41
  9. Epilogue - Chapter 42



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