29, December 2018

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Today’s Readings

Job 36–38 ()

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36:1 And Elihu continued, and said:

  “Bear with me a little, and I will show you,
    for I have yet something to say on God's behalf.
  I will get my knowledge from afar
    and ascribe righteousness to my Maker.
  For truly my words are not false;
    one who is perfect in knowledge is with you.
  “Behold, God is mighty, and does not despise any;
    he is mighty in strength of understanding.
  He does not keep the wicked alive,
    but gives the afflicted their right.
  He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous,
    but with kings on the throne
    he sets them forever, and they are exalted.
  And if they are bound in chains
    and caught in the cords of affliction,
  then he declares to them their work
    and their transgressions, that they are behaving arrogantly.
10   He opens their ears to instruction
    and commands that they return from iniquity.
11   If they listen and serve him,
    they complete their days in prosperity,
    and their years in pleasantness.
12   But if they do not listen, they perish by the sword
    and die without knowledge.
13   “The godless in heart cherish anger;
    they do not cry for help when he binds them.
14   They die in youth,
    and their life ends among the cult prostitutes.
15   He delivers the afflicted by their affliction
    and opens their ear by adversity.
16   He also allured you out of distress
    into a broad place where there was no cramping,
    and what was set on your table was full of fatness.
17   “But you are full of the judgment on the wicked;
    judgment and justice seize you.
18   Beware lest wrath entice you into scoffing,
    and let not the greatness of the ransom turn you aside.
19   Will your cry for help avail to keep you from distress,
    or all the force of your strength?
20   Do not long for the night,
    when peoples vanish in their place.
21   Take care; do not turn to iniquity,
    for this you have chosen rather than affliction.
22   Behold, God is exalted in his power;
    who is a teacher like him?
23   Who has prescribed for him his way,
    or who can say, ‘You have done wrong’?
24   “Remember to extol his work,
    of which men have sung.
25   All mankind has looked on it;
    man beholds it from afar.
26   Behold, God is great, and we know him not;
    the number of his years is unsearchable.
27   For he draws up the drops of water;
    they distill his mist in rain,
28   which the skies pour down
    and drop on mankind abundantly.
29   Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds,
    the thunderings of his pavilion?
30   Behold, he scatters his lightning about him
    and covers the roots of the sea.
31   For by these he judges peoples;
    he gives food in abundance.
32   He covers his hands with the lightning
    and commands it to strike the mark.
33   Its crashing declares his presence;
    the cattle also declare that he rises.

37:1   “At this also my heart trembles
    and leaps out of its place.
  Keep listening to the thunder of his voice
    and the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
  Under the whole heaven he lets it go,
    and his lightning to the corners of the earth.
  After it his voice roars;
    he thunders with his majestic voice,
    and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard.
  God thunders wondrously with his voice;
    he does great things that we cannot comprehend.
  For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’
    likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.
  He seals up the hand of every man,
    that all men whom he made may know it.
  Then the beasts go into their lairs,
    and remain in their dens.
  From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
    and cold from the scattering winds.
10   By the breath of God ice is given,
    and the broad waters are frozen fast.
11   He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
    the clouds scatter his lightning.
12   They turn around and around by his guidance,
    to accomplish all that he commands them
    on the face of the habitable world.
13   Whether for correction or for his land
    or for love, he causes it to happen.
14   “Hear this, O Job;
    stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
15   Do you know how God lays his command upon them
    and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?
16   Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
    the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge,
17   you whose garments are hot
    when the earth is still because of the south wind?
18   Can you, like him, spread out the skies,
    hard as a cast metal mirror?
19   Teach us what we shall say to him;
    we cannot draw up our case because of darkness.
20   Shall it be told him that I would speak?
    Did a man ever wish that he would be swallowed up?
21   “And now no one looks on the light
    when it is bright in the skies,
    when the wind has passed and cleared them.
22   Out of the north comes golden splendor;
    God is clothed with awesome majesty.
23   The Almighty—we cannot find him;
    he is great in power;
    justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate.
24   Therefore men fear him;
    he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.”

38:1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

  “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
  Dress for action like a man;
    I will question you, and you make it known to me.
  “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.
  Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
    Or who stretched the line upon it?
  On what were its bases sunk,
    or who laid its cornerstone,
  when the morning stars sang together
    and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
  “Or who shut in the sea with doors
    when it burst out from the womb,
  when I made clouds its garment
    and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10   and prescribed limits for it
    and set bars and doors,
11   and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
    and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?
12   “Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
    and caused the dawn to know its place,
13   that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
    and the wicked be shaken out of it?
14   It is changed like clay under the seal,
    and its features stand out like a garment.
15   From the wicked their light is withheld,
    and their uplifted arm is broken.
16   “Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
    or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17   Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
    or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18   Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
    Declare, if you know all this.
19   “Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
    and where is the place of darkness,
20   that you may take it to its territory
    and that you may discern the paths to its home?
21   You know, for you were born then,
    and the number of your days is great!
22   “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
    or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
23   which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
    for the day of battle and war?
24   What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
    or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?
25   “Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain
    and a way for the thunderbolt,
26   to bring rain on a land where no man is,
    on the desert in which there is no man,
27   to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
    and to make the ground sprout with grass?
28   “Has the rain a father,
    or who has begotten the drops of dew?
29   From whose womb did the ice come forth,
    and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?
30   The waters become hard like stone,
    and the face of the deep is frozen.
31   “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades
    or loose the cords of Orion?
32   Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,
    or can you guide the Bear with its children?
33   Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
    Can you establish their rule on the earth?
34   “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
    that a flood of waters may cover you?
35   Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go
    and say to you, ‘Here we are’?
36   Who has put wisdom in the inward parts
    or given understanding to the mind?
37   Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
    Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
38   when the dust runs into a mass
    and the clods stick fast together?
39   “Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
    or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
40   when they crouch in their dens
    or lie in wait in their thicket?
41   Who provides for the raven its prey,
    when its young ones cry to God for help,
    and wander about for lack of food?

Luke 2:34–40 ()

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34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.

Psalm 139:1–12 ()

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To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

139:1   O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
  You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
  You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
  Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
  You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.
  Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
  If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
  If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10   even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11   If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12   even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

Ecclesiastes 11:4–6 ()

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  He who observes the wind will not sow,
    and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.

29, December 2018

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