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Old Testament:  Job 22-24

Job 22

Eliphaz's Third Response to Job
 1  Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:

 2  "Can a person do anything to help God?
  Can even a wise person be helpful to him?
 3  Is it any advantage to the Almighty if you are righteous?
  Would it be any gain to him if you were perfect?
 4  Is it because you're so pious that he accuses you
  and brings judgment against you?
 5  No, it's because of your wickedness!
  There's no limit to your sins.

 6  "For example, you must have lent money to your friend
  and demanded clothing as security.
  Yes, you stripped him to the bone.
 7  You must have refused water for the thirsty
  and food for the hungry.
 8  You probably think the land belongs to the powerful
  and only the privileged have a right to it!
 9  You must have sent widows away empty-handed
  and crushed the hopes of orphans.
 10  That is why you are surrounded by traps
  and tremble from sudden fears.
 11  That is why you cannot see in the darkness,
  and waves of water cover you.

 12  "God is so great—higher than the heavens,
  higher than the farthest stars.
 13  But you reply, `That's why God can't see what I am doing!
  How can he judge through the thick darkness?
 14  For thick clouds swirl about him, and he cannot see us.
  He is way up there, walking on the vault of heaven.'

 15  "Will you continue on the old paths
  where evil people have walked?
 16  They were snatched away in the prime of life,
  the foundations of their lives washed away.
 17  For they said to God, `Leave us alone!
  What can the Almighty do to us?'
 18  Yet he was the one who filled their homes with good things,
  so I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking.

 19  "The righteous will be happy to see the wicked destroyed,
  and the innocent will laugh in contempt.
 20  They will say, `See how our enemies have been destroyed.
  The last of them have been consumed in the fire.'

 21  "Submit to God, and you will have peace;
  then things will go well for you.
 22  Listen to his instructions,
  and store them in your heart.
 23  If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored—
  so clean up your life.
 24  If you give up your lust for money
  and throw your precious gold into the river,
 25  the Almighty himself will be your treasure.
  He will be your precious silver!

 26  "Then you will take delight in the Almighty
  and look up to God.
 27  You will pray to him, and he will hear you,
  and you will fulfill your vows to him.
 28  You will succeed in whatever you choose to do,
  and light will shine on the road ahead of you.
 29  If people are in trouble and you say, `Help them,'
  God will save them.
 30  Even sinners will be rescued;
  they will be rescued because your hands are pure."

Job 23

Job's Eighth Speech: A Response to Eliphaz
 1  Then Job spoke again:

 2  "My complaint today is still a bitter one,
  and I try hard not to groan aloud.
 3  If only I knew where to find God,
  I would go to his court.
 4  I would lay out my case
  and present my arguments.
 5  Then I would listen to his reply
  and understand what he says to me.
 6  Would he use his great power to argue with me?
  No, he would give me a fair hearing.
 7  Honest people can reason with him,
  so I would be forever acquitted by my judge.
 8  I go east, but he is not there.
  I go west, but I cannot find him.
 9  I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden.
  I look to the south, but he is concealed.

 10  "But he knows where I am going.
  And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.
 11  For I have stayed on God's paths;
  I have followed his ways and not turned aside.
 12  I have not departed from his commands,
  but have treasured his words more than daily food.
 13  But once he has made his decision, who can change his mind?
  Whatever he wants to do, he does.
 14  So he will do to me whatever he has planned.
  He controls my destiny.
 15  No wonder I am so terrified in his presence.
  When I think of it, terror grips me.
 16  God has made me sick at heart;
  the Almighty has terrified me.
 17  Darkness is all around me;
  thick, impenetrable darkness is everywhere.

Job 24

Job Asks Why the Wicked Are Not Punished
 1  "Why doesn't the Almighty bring the wicked to judgment?
  Why must the godly wait for him in vain?
 2  Evil people steal land by moving the boundary markers.
  They steal livestock and put them in their own pastures.
 3  They take the orphan's donkey
  and demand the widow's ox as security for a loan.
 4  The poor are pushed off the path;
  the needy must hide together for safety.
 5  Like wild donkeys in the wilderness,
  the poor must spend all their time looking for food,
  searching even in the desert for food for their children.
 6  They harvest a field they do not own,
  and they glean in the vineyards of the wicked.
 7  All night they lie naked in the cold,
  without clothing or covering.
 8  They are soaked by mountain showers,
  and they huddle against the rocks for want of a home.

 9  "The wicked snatch a widow's child from her breast,
  taking the baby as security for a loan.
 10  The poor must go about naked, without any clothing.
  They harvest food for others while they themselves are starving.
 11  They press out olive oil without being allowed to taste it,
  and they tread in the winepress as they suffer from thirst.
 12  The groans of the dying rise from the city,
  and the wounded cry for help,
  yet God ignores their moaning.

 13  "Wicked people rebel against the light.
  They refuse to acknowledge its ways
  or stay in its paths.
 14  The murderer rises in the early dawn
  to kill the poor and needy;
  at night he is a thief.
 15  The adulterer waits for the twilight,
  saying, `No one will see me then.'
  He hides his face so no one will know him.
 16  Thieves break into houses at night
  and sleep in the daytime.
  They are not acquainted with the light.
 17  The black night is their morning.
  They ally themselves with the terrors of the darkness.

 18  "But they disappear like foam down a river.
  Everything they own is cursed,
  and they are afraid to enter their own vineyards.
 19  The grave [19]  consumes sinners
  just as drought and heat consume snow.
 20  Their own mothers will forget them.
  Maggots will find them sweet to eat.
No one will remember them.
  Wicked people are broken like a tree in the storm.
 21  They cheat the woman who has no son to help her.
  They refuse to help the needy widow.

 22  "God, in his power, drags away the rich.
  They may rise high, but they have no assurance of life.
 23  They may be allowed to live in security,
  but God is always watching them.
 24  And though they are great now,
  in a moment they will be gone like all others,
  cut off like heads of grain.
 25  Can anyone claim otherwise?
  Who can prove me wrong?"
<<  24:19 Hebrew Sheol.

New Testament:  Acts 11

Acts 11

Peter Explains His Actions
 1  Soon the news reached the apostles and other believers [1]  in Judea that the Gentiles had received the word of God.  2  But when Peter arrived back in Jerusalem, the Jewish believers [2]  criticized him.  3  "You entered the home of Gentiles [3]  and even ate with them!" they said.
   4  Then Peter told them exactly what had happened.  5  "I was in the town of Joppa," he said, "and while I was praying, I went into a trance and saw a vision. Something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners from the sky. And it came right down to me.  6  When I looked inside the sheet, I saw all sorts of tame and wild animals, reptiles, and birds.  7  And I heard a voice say, `Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.'
   8  "`No, Lord,' I replied. `I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure or unclean. [8] '
   9  "But the voice from heaven spoke again: `Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.'"  10  This happened three times before the sheet and all it contained was pulled back up to heaven.
   11  "Just then three men who had been sent from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying.  12  The Holy Spirit told me to go with them and not to worry that they were Gentiles. These six brothers here accompanied me, and we soon entered the home of the man who had sent for us.  13  He told us how an angel had appeared to him in his home and had told him, `Send messengers to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter.  14  He will tell you how you and everyone in your household can be saved!'
   15  "As I began to speak," Peter continued, "the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as he fell on us at the beginning.  16  Then I thought of the Lord's words when he said, `John baptized with [16]  water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'  17  "And since God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to stand in God's way?"    18  When the others heard this, they stopped objecting and began praising God. They said, "We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life."

The Church in Antioch of Syria
 19  Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen's death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews.  20  However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles [20]  about the Lord Jesus.  21  The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord.
   22  When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch.  23  When he arrived and saw this evidence of God's blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord.  24  Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord.
   25  Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul.  26  When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.)    27  During this time some prophets traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch.  28  One of them named Agabus stood up in one of the meetings and predicted by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. (This was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius.)  29  So the believers in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could.  30  This they did, entrusting their gifts to Barnabas and Saul to take to the elders of the church in Jerusalem.
<<  11:1 Greek brothers.
<<  11:2 Greek those of the circumcision.
<<  11:3 Greek of uncircumcised men.
<<  11:8 Greek anything common or unclean.
<<  11:16 Or in; also in 11:16b.
<<  11:20 Greek the Hellenists (i.e., those who speak Greek); other manuscripts read the Greeks.
<<  11:26 Greek disciples; also in 11:29.
<<  11:29 Greek the brothers.

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Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Wheaton Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

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