18, December 2018

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Today’s Readings

Job 5–7 ()

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5:1   “Call now; is there anyone who will answer you?
    To which of the holy ones will you turn?
  Surely vexation kills the fool,
    and jealousy slays the simple.
  I have seen the fool taking root,
    but suddenly I cursed his dwelling.
  His children are far from safety;
    they are crushed in the gate,
    and there is no one to deliver them.
  The hungry eat his harvest,
    and he takes it even out of thorns,
    and the thirsty pant after his wealth.
  For affliction does not come from the dust,
    nor does trouble sprout from the ground,
  but man is born to trouble
    as the sparks fly upward.
  “As for me, I would seek God,
    and to God would I commit my cause,
  who does great things and unsearchable,
    marvelous things without number:
10   he gives rain on the earth
    and sends waters on the fields;
11   he sets on high those who are lowly,
    and those who mourn are lifted to safety.
12   He frustrates the devices of the crafty,
    so that their hands achieve no success.
13   He catches the wise in their own craftiness,
    and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end.
14   They meet with darkness in the daytime
    and grope at noonday as in the night.
15   But he saves the needy from the sword of their mouth
    and from the hand of the mighty.
16   So the poor have hope,
    and injustice shuts her mouth.
17   “Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves;
    therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.
18   For he wounds, but he binds up;
    he shatters, but his hands heal.
19   He will deliver you from six troubles;
    in seven no evil shall touch you.
20   In famine he will redeem you from death,
    and in war from the power of the sword.
21   You shall be hidden from the lash of the tongue,
    and shall not fear destruction when it comes.
22   At destruction and famine you shall laugh,
    and shall not fear the beasts of the earth.
23   For you shall be in league with the stones of the field,
    and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you.
24   You shall know that your tent is at peace,
    and you shall inspect your fold and miss nothing.
25   You shall know also that your offspring shall be many,
    and your descendants as the grass of the earth.
26   You shall come to your grave in ripe old age,
    like a sheaf gathered up in its season.
27   Behold, this we have searched out; it is true.
    Hear, and know it for your good.”

6:1 Then Job answered and said:

  “Oh that my vexation were weighed,
    and all my calamity laid in the balances!
  For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea;
    therefore my words have been rash.
  For the arrows of the Almighty are in me;
    my spirit drinks their poison;
    the terrors of God are arrayed against me.
  Does the wild donkey bray when he has grass,
    or the ox low over his fodder?
  Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt,
    or is there any taste in the juice of the mallow?
  My appetite refuses to touch them;
    they are as food that is loathsome to me.
  “Oh that I might have my request,
    and that God would fulfill my hope,
  that it would please God to crush me,
    that he would let loose his hand and cut me off!
10   This would be my comfort;
    I would even exult in pain unsparing,
    for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.
11   What is my strength, that I should wait?
    And what is my end, that I should be patient?
12   Is my strength the strength of stones, or is my flesh bronze?
13   Have I any help in me,
    when resource is driven from me?
14   “He who withholds kindness from a friend
    forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
15   My brothers are treacherous as a torrent-bed,
    as torrential streams that pass away,
16   which are dark with ice,
    and where the snow hides itself.
17   When they melt, they disappear;
    when it is hot, they vanish from their place.
18   The caravans turn aside from their course;
    they go up into the waste and perish.
19   The caravans of Tema look,
    the travelers of Sheba hope.
20   They are ashamed because they were confident;
    they come there and are disappointed.
21   For you have now become nothing;
    you see my calamity and are afraid.
22   Have I said, ‘Make me a gift’?
    Or, ‘From your wealth offer a bribe for me’?
23   Or, ‘Deliver me from the adversary's hand’?
    Or, ‘Redeem me from the hand of the ruthless’?
24   “Teach me, and I will be silent;
    make me understand how I have gone astray.
25   How forceful are upright words!
    But what does reproof from you reprove?
26   Do you think that you can reprove words,
    when the speech of a despairing man is wind?
27   You would even cast lots over the fatherless,
    and bargain over your friend.
28   “But now, be pleased to look at me,
    for I will not lie to your face.
29   Please turn; let no injustice be done.
    Turn now; my vindication is at stake.
30   Is there any injustice on my tongue?
    Cannot my palate discern the cause of calamity?

7:1   “Has not man a hard service on earth,
    and are not his days like the days of a hired hand?
  Like a slave who longs for the shadow,
    and like a hired hand who looks for his wages,
  so I am allotted months of emptiness,
    and nights of misery are apportioned to me.
  When I lie down I say, ‘When shall I arise?’
    But the night is long,
    and I am full of tossing till the dawn.
  My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt;
    my skin hardens, then breaks out afresh.
  My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle
    and come to their end without hope.
  “Remember that my life is a breath;
    my eye will never again see good.
  The eye of him who sees me will behold me no more;
    while your eyes are on me, I shall be gone.
  As the cloud fades and vanishes,
    so he who goes down to Sheol does not come up;
10   he returns no more to his house,
    nor does his place know him anymore.
11   “Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;
    I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
    I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
12   Am I the sea, or a sea monster,
    that you set a guard over me?
13   When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me,
    my couch will ease my complaint,’
14   then you scare me with dreams
    and terrify me with visions,
15   so that I would choose strangling
    and death rather than my bones.
16   I loathe my life; I would not live forever.
    Leave me alone, for my days are a breath.
17   What is man, that you make so much of him,
    and that you set your heart on him,
18   visit him every morning
    and test him every moment?
19   How long will you not look away from me,
    nor leave me alone till I swallow my spit?
20   If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind?
    Why have you made me your mark?
    Why have I become a burden to you?
21   Why do you not pardon my transgression
    and take away my iniquity?
  For now I shall lie in the earth;
    you will seek me, but I shall not be.”

Luke 1:11–18 ()

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11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”

Psalm 105:37–45 ()

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37   Then he brought out Israel with silver and gold,
    and there was none among his tribes who stumbled.
38   Egypt was glad when they departed,
    for dread of them had fallen upon it.
39   He spread a cloud for a covering,
    and fire to give light by night.
40   They asked, and he brought quail,
    and gave them bread from heaven in abundance.
41   He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
    it flowed through the desert like a river.
42   For he remembered his holy promise,
    and Abraham, his servant.
43   So he brought his people out with joy,
    his chosen ones with singing.
44   And he gave them the lands of the nations,
    and they took possession of the fruit of the peoples' toil,
45   that they might keep his statutes
    and observe his laws.
  Praise the LORD!

Ecclesiastes 7:9–12 ()

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  Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
    for anger lodges in the heart of fools.
10   Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”
    For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
11   Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
    an advantage to those who see the sun.
12   For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money,
    and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.

18, December 2018

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