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First Reading: Job Chapter 16 and 17
16:1 Job Reproaches His Pitiless Friends
Then Job answered and said:
2 "I have heard many such things;Miserable comforters are you all! 3 Shall words of wind have an end?Or what provokes you that you answer? 4 I also could speak as you do,If your soul were in my soul's place.I could heap up words against you,And shake my head at you; 5 But I would strengthen you with my mouth,And the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief.
6 "Though I speak, my grief is not relieved;And if I remain silent, how am I eased? 7 But now He has worn me out;You have made desolate all my company. 8 You have shriveled me up,And it is a witness against me;My leanness rises up against me And bears witness to my face. 9 He tears me in His wrath, and hates me;He gnashes at me with His teeth;My adversary sharpens His gaze on me. 10 They gape at me with their mouth,They strike me reproachfully on the cheek,They gather together against me. 11 God has delivered me to the ungodly,And turned me over to the hands of the wicked. 12 I was at ease, but He has shattered me;He also has taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces;He has set me up for His target, 13 His archers surround me.He pierces my heart and does not pity;He pours out my gall on the ground. 14 He breaks me with wound upon wound;He runs at me like a warrior.
15 "I have sewn sackcloth over my skin,And laid my head in the dust. 16 My face is flushed from weeping,And on my eyelids is the shadow of death; 17 Although no violence is in my hands,And my prayer is pure.
18 "O earth, do not cover my blood,And let my cry have no resting place! 19 Surely even now my witness is in heaven,And my evidence is on high. 20 My friends scorn me;My eyes pour out tears to God. 21 Oh, that one might plead for a man with God,As a man pleads for his neighbor! 22 For when a few years are finished,I shall go the way of no return.
17:1 Job Prays for Relief
"My spirit is broken,My days are extinguished,The grave is ready for me.
2 Are not mockers with me?And does not my eye dwell on their provocation?
3 "Now put down a pledge for me with Yourself.Who is he who will shake hands with me? 4 For You have hidden their heart from understanding;Therefore You will not exalt them. 5 He who speaks flattery to his friends,Even the eyes of his children will fail.
6 "But He has made me a byword of the people,And I have become one in whose face men spit. 7 My eye has also grown dim because of sorrow,And all my members are like shadows. 8 Upright men are astonished at this,And the innocent stirs himself up against the hypocrite. 9 Yet the righteous will hold to his way,And he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger.
10 "But please, come back again, all of you, For I shall not find one wise man among you. 11 My days are past,My purposes are broken off,Even the thoughts of my heart. 12 They change the night into day;'The light is near,' they say, in the face of darkness. 13 If I wait for the grave as my house,If I make my bed in the darkness, 14 If I say to corruption, 'You are my father,'And to the worm, 'You are my mother and my sister,' 15 Where then is my hope?As for my hope, who can see it? 16 Will they go down to the gates of Sheol?Shall we have rest together in the dust?"
Second Reading: Psalms Chapter 56
56:1 Prayer for Relief from Tormentors
To the Chief Musician. Set to "The Silent Dove in Distant Lands."
A Michtam of David when the Philistines captured him in Gath.
Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up;Fighting all day he oppresses me. 2 My enemies would hound me all day,For there are many who fight against me, O Most High.
3 Whenever I am afraid,I will trust in You. 4 In God (I will praise His word),In God I have put my trust;I will not fear.What can flesh do to me?
5 All day they twist my words;All their thoughts are against me for evil. 6 They gather together,They hide, they mark my steps,When they lie in wait for my life. 7 Shall they escape by iniquity?In anger cast down the peoples, O God!
8 You number my wanderings;Put my tears into Your bottle;Are they not in Your book? 9 When I cry out to You,Then my enemies will turn back;This I know, because God is for me. 10 In God (I will praise His word),In the LORD (I will praise His word), 11 In God I have put my trust;I will not be afraid.What can man do to me?
12 Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God;I will render praises to You, 13 For You have delivered my soul from death.Have You not kept my feet from falling,That I may walk before GodIn the light of the living?
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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