August 26: Job 20–21; 1 Thessalonians 4:1–12; Psalm 52; Proverbs 22:8–9


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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,
    GodHebrew he‘>1 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’sHebrew his‘>2 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 GodHebrew he‘>3 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 pailsThe meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain’>4 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.”

1 Thessalonians 4:1–12

A Life Pleasing to God

Finally, then, brothers,Or brothers and sisters; also verses 10, 13′>1 we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification:Or your holiness‘>2 that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own bodyOr how to take a wife for himself; Greek how to possess his own vessel‘>3 in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

Psalm 52

The Steadfast Love of God Endures

To the choirmaster. A MaskilProbably a musical or liturgical term’>1 of David, when Doeg, the Edomite, came and told Saul, “David has come to the house of Ahimelech.”

52   Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man?
    The steadfast love of God endures all the day.
  Your tongue plots destruction,
    like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.
  You love evil more than good,
    and lying more than speaking what is right. Selah
  You love all words that devour,
    O deceitful tongue.

  But God will break you down forever;
    he will snatch and tear you from your tent;
    he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah
  The righteous shall see and fear,
    and shall laugh at him, saying,
  “See the man who would not make
    God his refuge,
  but trusted in the abundance of his riches
    and sought refuge in his own destruction!”Or in his work of destruction‘>2

  But I am like a green olive tree
    in the house of God.
  I trust in the steadfast love of God
    forever and ever.
  I will thank you forever,
    because you have done it.
  I will wait for your name, for it is good,
    in the presence of the godly.

Proverbs 22:8–9

  Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
    and the rod of his fury will fail.
  Whoever has a bountifulHebrew good‘>1 eye will be blessed,
    for he shares his bread with the poor.


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