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First Reading: Job Chapter 16 and 17
16:1 Then Job replied:
2 "I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all! 3 Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing? 4 I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you. 5 But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.
6 "Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away. 7 Surely, O God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household. 8 You have bound me-and it has become a witness; my gauntness rises up and testifies against me. 9 God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me; my opponent fastens on me his piercing eyes. 10 Men open their mouths to jeer at me; they strike my cheek in scorn and unite together against me. 11 God has turned me over to evil men and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked. 12 All was well with me, but he shattered me; he seized me by the neck and crushed me. He has made me his target; 13 his archers surround me. Without pity, he pierces my kidneys and spills my gall on the ground. 14 Again and again he bursts upon me; he rushes at me like a warrior.
15 "I have sewed sackcloth over my skin and buried my brow in the dust. 16 My face is red with weeping, deep shadows ring my eyes; 17 yet my hands have been free of violence and my prayer is pure.
18 "O earth, do not cover my blood; may my cry never be laid to rest! 19 Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. 20 My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; 21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend.
22 "Only a few years will pass before I go on the journey of no return.
My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me. 2 Surely mockers surround me; my eyes must dwell on their hostility.
3 "Give me, O God, the pledge you demand. Who else will put up security for me? 4 You have closed their minds to understanding; therefore you will not let them triumph. 5 If a man denounces his friends for reward, the eyes of his children will fail.
6 "God has made me a byword to everyone, a man in whose face people spit. 7 My eyes have grown dim with grief; my whole frame is but a shadow. 8 Upright men are appalled at this; the innocent are aroused against the ungodly. 9 Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger.
10 "But come on, all of you, try again! I will not find a wise man among you. 11 My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart. 12 These men turn night into day; in the face of darkness they say, 'Light is near.' 13 If the only home I hope for is the grave, if I spread out my bed in darkness, 14 if I say to corruption, 'You are my father,' and to the worm, 'My mother' or 'My sister,' 15 where then is my hope? Who can see any hope for me? 16 Will it go down to the gates of death? Will we descend together into the dust?"
Second Reading: Psalms Chapter 56
56:1 For the director of music. To [the tune of] "A Dove on Distant Oaks." Of David. A miktam. When the Philistines had seized him in Gath.
Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me;all day long they press their
attack. 2 My slanderers pursue me all day long;many are attacking me in their
3 When I am afraid,I will trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise,in God I trust; I will not be afraid.What can mortal man do to me?
5 All day long they twist my words;they are always plotting to harm me. 6 They conspire, they lurk,they watch my steps,eager to take my life.
7 On no account let them escape;in your anger, O God, bring down the nations. 8 Record my lament;list my tears on your scroll are they not in your record?
9 Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help.By this I will know that God is for me. 10 In God, whose word I praise,in the LORD, whose word I praise 11 in God I trust; I will not be afraid.What can man do to me?
12 I am under vows to you, O God;I will present my thank offerings to you. 13 For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling,that I may walk before God in the light of life.
GOOD VS. EVIL
Part 3 of 7
WHAT IS SIN? In John's first epistle he writes, "Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness" (I John 3:4 NIV) The Greek word for lawlessness is "anomia." It indicates not merely a transgression of a given law, but involves also an attitude of rebellion. In other words, when one defies God either through thought, word, or deed, it is considered sin.
DOES GOD TEMPT ANYONE OR CAUSE THEM TO SIN? The answer is found in James 1:13-15: When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF SIN?: The answer is found in I John 2:16: For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world.
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