22, December 2015

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Today’s Soulfood Readings

Job 18–20

18:1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

  “How long will you hunt for words?
    Consider, and then we will speak.
  Why are we counted as cattle?
    Why are we stupid in your sight?
  You who tear yourself in your anger,
    shall the earth be forsaken for you,
    or the rock be removed out of its place?
  “Indeed, the light of the wicked is put out,
    and the flame of his fire does not shine.
  The light is dark in his tent,
    and his lamp above him is put out.
  His strong steps are shortened,
    and his own schemes throw him down.
  For he is cast into a net by his own feet,
    and he walks on its mesh.
  A trap seizes him by the heel;
    a snare lays hold of him.
10   A rope is hidden for him in the ground,
    a trap for him in the path.
11   Terrors frighten him on every side,
    and chase him at his heels.
12   His strength is famished,
    and calamity is ready for his stumbling.
13   It consumes the parts of his skin;
    the firstborn of death consumes his limbs.
14   He is torn from the tent in which he trusted
    and is brought to the king of terrors.
15   In his tent dwells that which is none of his;
    sulfur is scattered over his habitation.
16   His roots dry up beneath,
    and his branches wither above.
17   His memory perishes from the earth,
    and he has no name in the street.
18   He is thrust from light into darkness,
    and driven out of the world.
19   He has no posterity or progeny among his people,
    and no survivor where he used to live.
20   They of the west are appalled at his day,
    and horror seizes them of the east.
21   Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous,
    such is the place of him who knows not God.”

19:1 Then Job answered and said:

  “How long will you torment me
    and break me in pieces with words?
  These ten times you have cast reproach upon me;
    are you not ashamed to wrong me?
  And even if it be true that I have erred,
    my error remains with myself.
  If indeed you magnify yourselves against me
    and make my disgrace an argument against me,
  know then that God has put me in the wrong
    and closed his net about me.
  Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered;
    I call for help, but there is no justice.
  He has walled up my way, so that I cannot pass,
    and he has set darkness upon my paths.
  He has stripped from me my glory
    and taken the crown from my head.
10   He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone,
    and my hope has he pulled up like a tree.
11   He has kindled his wrath against me
    and counts me as his adversary.
12   His troops come on together;
    they have cast up their siege ramp against me
    and encamp around my tent.
13   “He has put my brothers far from me,
    and those who knew me are wholly estranged from me.
14   My relatives have failed me,
    my close friends have forgotten me.
15   The guests in my house and my maidservants count me as a stranger;
    I have become a foreigner in their eyes.
16   I call to my servant, but he gives me no answer;
    I must plead with him with my mouth for mercy.
17   My breath is strange to my wife,
    and I am a stench to the children of my own mother.
18   Even young children despise me;
    when I rise they talk against me.
19   All my intimate friends abhor me,
    and those whom I loved have turned against me.
20   My bones stick to my skin and to my flesh,
    and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.
21   Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends,
    for the hand of God has touched me!
22   Why do you, like God, pursue me?
    Why are you not satisfied with my flesh?
23   “Oh that my words were written!
    Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
24   Oh that with an iron pen and lead
    they were engraved in the rock forever!
25   For I know that my Redeemer lives,
    and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
26   And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I shall see God,
27   whom I shall see for myself,
    and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
    My heart faints within me!
28   If you say, ‘How we will pursue him!’
    and, ‘The root of the matter is found in him,’
29   be afraid of the sword,
    for wrath brings the punishment of the sword,
    that you may know there is a judgment.”

20:1 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:

  “Therefore my thoughts answer me,
    because of my haste within me.
  I hear censure that insults me,
    and out of my understanding a spirit answers me.
  Do you not know this from of old,
    since man was placed on earth,
  that the exulting of the wicked is short,
    and the joy of the godless but for a moment?
  Though his height mount up to the heavens,
    and his head reach to the clouds,
  he will perish forever like his own dung;
    those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’
  He will fly away like a dream and not be found;
    he will be chased away like a vision of the night.
  The eye that saw him will see him no more,
    nor will his place any more behold him.
10   His children will seek the favor of the poor,
    and his hands will give back his wealth.
11   His bones are full of his youthful vigor,
    but it will lie down with him in the dust.
12   “Though evil is sweet in his mouth,
    though he hides it under his tongue,
13   though he is loath to let it go
    and holds it in his mouth,
14   yet his food is turned in his stomach;
    it is the venom of cobras within him.
15   He swallows down riches and vomits them up again;
    God casts them out of his belly.
16   He will suck the poison of cobras;
    the tongue of a viper will kill him.
17   He will not look upon the rivers,
    the streams flowing with honey and curds.
18   He will give back the fruit of his toil
    and will not swallow it down;
  from the profit of his trading
    he will get no enjoyment.
19   For he has crushed and abandoned the poor;
    he has seized a house that he did not build.
20   “Because he knew no contentment in his belly,
    he will not let anything in which he delights escape him.
21   There was nothing left after he had eaten;
    therefore his prosperity will not endure.
22   In the fullness of his sufficiency he will be in distress;
    the hand of everyone in misery will come against him.
23   To fill his belly to the full,
    God will send his burning anger against him
    and rain it upon him into his body.
24   He will flee from an iron weapon;
    a bronze arrow will strike him through.
25   It is drawn forth and comes out of his body;
    the glittering point comes out of his gallbladder;
    terrors come upon him.
26   Utter darkness is laid up for his treasures;
    a fire not fanned will devour him;
    what is left in his tent will be consumed.
27   The heavens will reveal his iniquity,
    and the earth will rise up against him.
28   The possessions of his house will be carried away,
    dragged off in the day of God’s wrath.
29   This is the wicked man’s portion from God,
    the heritage decreed for him by God.”

John 19:17–30

17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,

  “They divided my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Psalm 113

113:1   Praise the LORD!
  Praise, O servants of the LORD,
    praise the name of the LORD!
  Blessed be the name of the LORD
    from this time forth and forevermore!
  From the rising of the sun to its setting,
    the name of the LORD is to be praised!
  The LORD is high above all nations,
    and his glory above the heavens!
  Who is like the LORD our God,
    who is seated on high,
  who looks far down
    on the heavens and the earth?
  He raises the poor from the dust
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
  to make them sit with princes,
    with the princes of his people.
  He gives the barren woman a home,
    making her the joyous mother of children.
  Praise the LORD!

Ecclesiastes 10:10–14

10   If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge,
    he must use more strength,
    but wisdom helps one to succeed.
11   If the serpent bites before it is charmed,
    there is no advantage to the charmer.
12   The words of a wise man’s mouth win him favor,
    but the lips of a fool consume him.
13   The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness,
    and the end of his talk is evil madness.
14   A fool multiplies words,
    though no man knows what is to be,
    and who can tell him what will be after him?

22, December 2015

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