19, December 2016

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Today’s Readings

Job 8–10 ()

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8:1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

  “How long will you say these things,
    and the words of your mouth be a great wind?
  Does God pervert justice?
    Or does the Almighty pervert the right?
  If your children have sinned against him,
    he has delivered them into the hand of their transgression.
  If you will seek God
    and plead with the Almighty for mercy,
  if you are pure and upright,
    surely then he will rouse himself for you
    and restore your rightful habitation.
  And though your beginning was small,
    your latter days will be very great.
  “For inquire, please, of bygone ages,
    and consider what the fathers have searched out.
  For we are but of yesterday and know nothing,
    for our days on earth are a shadow.
10   Will they not teach you and tell you
    and utter words out of their understanding?
11   “Can papyrus grow where there is no marsh?
    Can reeds flourish where there is no water?
12   While yet in flower and not cut down,
    they wither before any other plant.
13   Such are the paths of all who forget God;
    the hope of the godless shall perish.
14   His confidence is severed,
    and his trust is a spider’s web.
15   He leans against his house, but it does not stand;
    he lays hold of it, but it does not endure.
16   He is a lush plant before the sun,
    and his shoots spread over his garden.
17   His roots entwine the stone heap;
    he looks upon a house of stones.
18   If he is destroyed from his place,
    then it will deny him, saying, ‘I have never seen you.’
19   Behold, this is the joy of his way,
    and out of the soil others will spring.
20   “Behold, God will not reject a blameless man,
    nor take the hand of evildoers.
21   He will yet fill your mouth with laughter,
    and your lips with shouting.
22   Those who hate you will be clothed with shame,
    and the tent of the wicked will be no more.”

9:1 Then Job answered and said:

  “Truly I know that it is so:
    But how can a man be in the right before God?
  If one wished to contend with him,
    one could not answer him once in a thousand times.
  He is wise in heart and mighty in strength
    —who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?—
  he who removes mountains, and they know it not,
    when he overturns them in his anger,
  who shakes the earth out of its place,
    and its pillars tremble;
  who commands the sun, and it does not rise;
    who seals up the stars;
  who alone stretched out the heavens
    and trampled the waves of the sea;
  who made the Bear and Orion,
    the Pleiades and the chambers of the south;
10   who does great things beyond searching out,
    and marvelous things beyond number.
11   Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not;
    he moves on, but I do not perceive him.
12   Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back?
    Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’
13   “God will not turn back his anger;
    beneath him bowed the helpers of Rahab.
14   How then can I answer him,
    choosing my words with him?
15   Though I am in the right, I cannot answer him;
    I must appeal for mercy to my accuser.
16   If I summoned him and he answered me,
    I would not believe that he was listening to my voice.
17   For he crushes me with a tempest
    and multiplies my wounds without cause;
18   he will not let me get my breath,
    but fills me with bitterness.
19   If it is a contest of strength, behold, he is mighty!
    If it is a matter of justice, who can summon him?
20   Though I am in the right, my own mouth would condemn me;
    though I am blameless, he would prove me perverse.
21   I am blameless; I regard not myself;
    I loathe my life.
22   It is all one; therefore I say,
    ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’
23   When disaster brings sudden death,
    he mocks at the calamity of the innocent.
24   The earth is given into the hand of the wicked;
    he covers the faces of its judges—
    if it is not he, who then is it?
25   “My days are swifter than a runner;
    they flee away; they see no good.
26   They go by like skiffs of reed,
    like an eagle swooping on the prey.
27   If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint,
    I will put off my sad face, and be of good cheer,’
28   I become afraid of all my suffering,
    for I know you will not hold me innocent.
29   I shall be condemned;
    why then do I labor in vain?
30   If I wash myself with snow
    and cleanse my hands with lye,
31   yet you will plunge me into a pit,
    and my own clothes will abhor me.
32   For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him,
    that we should come to trial together.
33   There is no arbiter between us,
    who might lay his hand on us both.
34   Let him take his rod away from me,
    and let not dread of him terrify me.
35   Then I would speak without fear of him,
    for I am not so in myself.

10:1   “I loathe my life;
  I will give free utterance to my complaint;
    I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
  I will say to God, Do not condemn me;
    let me know why you contend against me.
  Does it seem good to you to oppress,
    to despise the work of your hands
    and favor the designs of the wicked?
  Have you eyes of flesh?
    Do you see as man sees?
  Are your days as the days of man,
    or your years as a man’s years,
  that you seek out my iniquity
    and search for my sin,
  although you know that I am not guilty,
    and there is none to deliver out of your hand?
  Your hands fashioned and made me,
    and now you have destroyed me altogether.
  Remember that you have made me like clay;
    and will you return me to the dust?
10   Did you not pour me out like milk
    and curdle me like cheese?
11   You clothed me with skin and flesh,
    and knit me together with bones and sinews.
12   You have granted me life and steadfast love,
    and your care has preserved my spirit.
13   Yet these things you hid in your heart;
    I know that this was your purpose.
14   If I sin, you watch me
    and do not acquit me of my iniquity.
15   If I am guilty, woe to me!
    If I am in the right, I cannot lift up my head,
  for I am filled with disgrace
    and look on my affliction.
16   And were my head lifted up, you would hunt me like a lion
    and again work wonders against me.
17   You renew your witnesses against me
    and increase your vexation toward me;
    you bring fresh troops against me.
18   “Why did you bring me out from the womb?
    Would that I had died before any eye had seen me
19   and were as though I had not been,
    carried from the womb to the grave.
20   Are not my days few?
    Then cease, and leave me alone, that I may find a little cheer
21   before I go—and I shall not return—
    to the land of darkness and deep shadow,
22   the land of gloom like thick darkness,
    like deep shadow without any order,
    where light is as thick darkness.”

John 18:33–40 ()

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33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

Psalm 12 ()

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To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.

12:1   Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone;
    for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
  Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;
    with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
  May the LORD cut off all flattering lips,
    the tongue that makes great boasts,
  those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail,
    our lips are with us; who is master over us?”
  “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
    I will now arise,” says the LORD;
    “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
  The words of the LORD are pure words,
    like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
    purified seven times.
  You, O LORD, will keep them;
    you will guard us from this generation forever.
  On every side the wicked prowl,
    as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

Ecclesiastes 9:10–12 ()

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10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. 12 For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.

19, December 2016

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