August 28 – Job 20-21, Galatians 5, Psalm 54, Proverbs 22:13

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Job 20-21

Zophar Speaks: The Wicked Will Suffer

20 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[a] 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[b] wrath.
29 This is the wicked man’s portion from God,
    the heritage decreed for him by God.”

Job Replies: The Wicked Do Prosper

21 Then Job answered and said:

“Keep listening to my words,
    and let this be your comfort.
Bear with me, and I will speak,
    and after I have spoken, mock on.
As for me, is my complaint against man?
    Why should I not be impatient?
Look at me and be appalled,
    and lay your hand over your mouth.
When I remember, I am dismayed,
    and shuddering seizes my flesh.
Why do the wicked live,
    reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
Their offspring are established in their presence,
    and their descendants before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear,
    and no rod of God is upon them.
10 Their bull breeds without fail;
    their cow calves and does not miscarry.
11 They send out their little boys like a flock,
    and their children dance.
12 They sing to the tambourine and the lyre
    and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.
13 They spend their days in prosperity,
    and in peace they go down to Sheol.
14 They say to God, ‘Depart from us!
    We do not desire the knowledge of your ways.
15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
    And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’
16 Behold, is not their prosperity in their hand?
    The counsel of the wicked is far from me.

17 “How often is it that the lamp of the wicked is put out?
    That their calamity comes upon them?
    That God[c] distributes pains in his anger?
18 That they are like straw before the wind,
    and like chaff that the storm carries away?
19 You say, ‘God stores up their iniquity for their children.’
    Let him pay it out to them, that they may know it.
20 Let their own eyes see their destruction,
    and let them drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
21 For what do they care for their houses after them,
    when the number of their months is cut off?
22 Will any teach God knowledge,
    seeing that he judges those who are on high?
23 One dies in his full vigor,
    being wholly at ease and secure,
24 his pails[d] full of milk
    and the marrow of his bones moist.
25 Another dies in bitterness of soul,
    never having tasted of prosperity.
26 They lie down alike in the dust,
    and the worms cover them.

27 “Behold, I know your thoughts
    and your schemes to wrong me.
28 For you say, ‘Where is the house of the prince?
    Where is the tent in which the wicked lived?’
29 Have you not asked those who travel the roads,
    and do you not accept their testimony
30 that the evil man is spared in the day of calamity,
    that he is rescued in the day of wrath?
31 Who declares his way to his face,
    and who repays him for what he has done?
32 When he is carried to the grave,
    watch is kept over his tomb.
33 The clods of the valley are sweet to him;
    all mankind follows after him,
    and those who go before him are innumerable.
34 How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?
    There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”

Galatians 5

Christ Has Set Us Free

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified[a] by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers,[b] still preach[c] circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

Keep in Step with the Spirit

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[d] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do[e] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Psalm 54

The Lord Upholds My Life

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Maskil[a] of David, when the Ziphites went and told Saul, “Is not David hiding among us?”

54 O God, save me by your name,
    and vindicate me by your might.
O God, hear my prayer;
    give ear to the words of my mouth.

For strangers[b] have risen against me;
    ruthless men seek my life;
    they do not set God before themselves. Selah

Behold, God is my helper;
    the Lord is the upholder of my life.
He will return the evil to my enemies;
    in your faithfulness put an end to them.

With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;
    I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.
For he has delivered me from every trouble,
    and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

Proverbs 22:13

13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!
    I shall be killed in the streets!”