Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

David's words relate how important it is to know that your conscience is clear when you go through a trial. Satan, the accuser, is quick to send others to question your motives, character, and conduct. But even if all three areas are pure, you still can come under attack from the enemy.

No amount of accusation from Job's friends could sway his conscience. He declared, "I will never concede that you are right; until I die, I will defend my innocence. I will maintain my innocence without wavering. My conscience is clear for as long as I live" (Job 27:5-6).

Paul, also an object of accusation, wrote to the Corinthian church, "We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have been honest and sincere in all our dealings. We have depended on God's grace, not on our own earthly wisdom. This is how we have acted toward everyone, and especially toward you" (2 Corinthians 1:12).

Of course, neither Job nor David nor Paul was claiming perfection, only godly sincerity of heart. Never let the devil slander your conscience if you have walked in integrity. A weak or wounded conscience will destroy you. Stand up to the accuser, and wait for the vindication of the Lord!

Job 23:1-27:23

Job

23 Then Job replied:

“Even today my complaintS Job 7:11 is bitter;S 1Sa 1:10; S Job 6:3

his handSeptuagint and Syriac; Hebrew / the hand on me is heavy in spite ofOr heavy on me in my groaning.Ps 6:6; 32:4; Jer 45:3; Eze 21:7

If only I knew where to find him;

if only I could go to his dwelling!Dt 4:29

I would state my caseS Job 13:18 before him

and fill my mouth with arguments.S Job 9:15

I would find out what he would answer me,S Job 11:5

and consider what he would say to me.

Would he vigorously oppose me?S Job 9:4

No, he would not press charges against me.S Job 6:4

There the uprightS Job 1:1 can establish their innocence before him,S Ge 3:8; S Job 9:3; 13:3

and there I would be delivered forever from my judge.S Job 6:29

“But if I go to the east, he is not there;

if I go to the west, I do not find him.

When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;

when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.S Job 9:11

10 But he knows the way that I take;Job 1:1; 27:6; 31:6; 36:7; Ps 7:9; 11:5; 34:15; 37:18; 94:11; 119:168; 146:8

when he has tested me,S Job 7:18; Ps 139:1-3 I will come forth as gold.S Job 6:29; S 22:15; S Ps 12:6; 1Pe 1:7

11 My feet have closely followed his steps;Ps 17:5

I have kept to his way without turning aside.Job 31:7; Ps 40:4; 44:18; 119:51, 59, 157; 125:5; Jer 11:20

12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips;S Job 6:10

I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.S Job 15:11; Mt 4:4; Jn 4:32, 34

13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him?S Job 9:3

He does whatever he pleases.S Job 10:13; Isa 55:11

14 He carries out his decree against me,

and many such plans he still has in store.1Th 3:3; 1Pe 4:12

15 That is why I am terrified before him;S Ge 45:3

when I think of all this, I fear him.S Jos 24:14; Ps 34:9; 36:1; 111:10; Pr 1:7; Ecc 3:14; 12:13; 2Co 5:11

16 God has made my heart faint;S Dt 20:3

the AlmightyJob 27:2 has terrified me.S Ex 3:6; Rev 6:16

17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness,S Job 3:6; S 19:8

by the thick darkness that covers my face.

24 “Why does the Almighty not set timesS Job 14:5 for judgment?S Job 9:23; 2Pe 3:7

Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?S Job 15:20; Ac 1:7

There are those who move boundary stones;S Dt 19:14

they pasture flocks they have stolen.Ex 20:15; Dt 28:31

They drive away the orphan’s donkey

and take the widow’s ox in pledge.S Job 6:27; S 22:9

They thrust the needyJob 29:16; 31:19 from the path

and force all the poorJob 29:12; 30:25; Ps 12:5; 41:1; 82:3, 4; Isa 11:4 of the land into hiding.S Job 20:19; S Pr 28:12

Like wild donkeysS Ge 16:12 in the desert,

the poor go about their laborPs 104:23 of foraging food;

the wastelandJob 30:3 provides food for their children.

They gather fodderS Job 6:5 in the fields

and glean in the vineyardsver 18 of the wicked.Ru 2:22; S 1Ki 21:19

Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked;

they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold.S Ex 22:27

They are drenchedDa 4:25, 33 by mountain rains

and hugLa 4:5 the rocks for lack of shelter.S Jdg 6:2

The fatherlessS Dt 24:17 child is snatchedJob 29:17 from the breast;

the infant of the poor is seizedPs 14:4; Pr 30:14; Isa 3:14; 10:1-2; Eze 18:12 for a debt.S Lev 25:47; S 2Ki 4:1

10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked;Dt 24:12-13

they carry the sheaves,S Lev 19:9 but still go hungry.

11 They crush olives among the terracesThe meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.;

they tread the winepresses,Isa 5:2; 16:10; Hag 2:16 yet suffer thirst.Mic 6:15

12 The groans of the dying rise from the city,

and the souls of the wounded cry out for help.S Job 12:19; 30:28; Ps 5:2; 22:24; 39:12; 119:147; Isa 30:19; Jer 50:46; 51:52, 54; Eze 26:15; Rev 6:10

But God charges no one with wrongdoing.S Job 9:23

13 “There are those who rebel against the light,ver 16; Job 38:15; Jn 3:19-20; 1Th 5:4-5

who do not know its ways

or stay in its paths.Job 17:12; 38:20; Ps 18:28; Isa 5:20; Eph 5:8-14

14 When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up,

killsIsa 3:15; Mic 3:3 the poor and needy,S Job 20:19; Ps 37:32

and in the night steals forth like a thief.Ps 10:9

15 The eye of the adultererJob 31:9, 27; Pr 1:10 watches for dusk;Pr 7:8-9

he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’Ps 10:11

and he keeps his face concealed.

16 In the dark, thieves break into houses,S Ex 22:2; Mt 6:19

but by day they shut themselves in;

they want nothing to do with the light.S ver 13

17 For all of them, midnight is their morning;

they make friends with the terrorsS Job 18:11 of darkness.S Job 15:22; S 18:5

18 “Yet they are foamS Job 9:26; Jude 1:13 on the surface of the water;Job 22:16; Isa 57:20

their portion of the land is cursed,S Job 5:3

so that no one goes to the vineyards.ver 6

19 As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow,Job 6:17

so the graveS Job 21:13 snatches away those who have sinned.

20 The womb forgets them,

the wormS Job 7:5 feasts on them;S Job 21:26

the wicked are no longer rememberedS Job 18:17

but are broken like a tree.S Job 14:7; Ps 31:12; Da 4:14

21 They prey on the barren and childless woman,

and to the widow they show no kindness.S Job 22:9

22 But God drags away the mighty by his power;S Job 9:4

though they become established,S Job 12:19 they have no assurance of life.Dt 28:66; Mt 6:27; Jas 4:14

23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security,S Job 9:24; Am 6:1

but his eyesS 2Ch 16:9 are on their ways.S Job 10:4

24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone;S 2Ki 19:35; S Job 4:20; Ps 37:10; 83:13; Isa 5:24; 17:13; 40:24; 41:2, 15

they are brought low and gathered up like all others;S Job 3:19

they are cut off like heads of grain.Isa 17:5

25 “If this is not so, who can prove me false

and reduce my words to nothing?”S Job 6:28; S 16:17

Bildad

25 Then Bildad the ShuhiteS Job 8:1 replied:

“Dominion and awe belong to God;S Job 9:4; Ps 47:9; 89:18; Zec 9:7; Rev 1:6

he establishes order in the heights of heaven.S 2Ch 20:6; S Job 11:8; S 16:19

Can his forces be numbered?

On whom does his light not rise?Mt 5:45; Jas 1:17

How then can a mortal be righteous before God?

How can one born of woman be pure?S Job 4:17

If even the moonJob 31:26 is not bright

and the stars are not pure in his eyes,S Job 4:18

how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot—

a human being,Ps 80:17; 144:3; Eze 2:1 who is only a worm!”S Job 4:19; S 7:5

Job

26 Then Job replied:

“How you have helped the powerless!Job 6:12

How you have saved the arm that is feeble!S Job 4:3

What advice you have offered to one without wisdom!

And what great insightJob 34:35 you have displayed!

Who has helped you utter these words?

And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?1Ki 22:24

“The dead are in deep anguish,Ps 88:10; Isa 14:9; 26:14

those beneath the waters and all that live in them.

The realm of the deadPs 139:8 is naked before God;

DestructionHebrew AbaddonS Job 20:26; S Rev 9:11 lies uncovered.Job 10:22; 11:8; 38:17; 41:11; Ps 139:11-12; Pr 15:11; S Heb 4:13

He spreads out the northern skiesJob 9:8 over empty space;

he suspends the earth over nothing.Job 38:6; Ps 104:5; Pr 3:19-20; 8:27; Isa 40:22

He wraps up the watersPr 30:4 in his clouds,S Ge 1:2; Job 36:27; 37:11; Ps 147:8

yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.

He covers the face of the full moon,

spreading his cloudsS 2Sa 22:10; S Job 22:14 over it.

10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the watersPr 8:27, 29; Isa 40:22

for a boundary between light and darkness.S Ge 1:4; S Job 28:3; 38:8-11

11 The pillars of the heavens quake,S 2Sa 22:8

aghast at his rebuke.

12 By his power he churned up the sea;S Ex 14:21

by his wisdomJob 12:13 he cut RahabS Job 9:13 to pieces.

13 By his breath the skiesJob 9:8 became fair;

his hand pierced the gliding serpent.Isa 27:1

14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works;

how faint the whisperJob 4:12 we hear of him!Job 42:5; Hab 3:2; 1Co 13:12

Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”S Job 9:6

Job’s Final Word to His Friends

27 And Job continued his discourse:Job 29:1

“As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice,S Job 6:29; S 9:24; Isa 45:9; 49:4, 14

the Almighty,Job 23:16 who has made my life bitter,S 1Sa 1:10; S Job 7:19; S 10:1

as long as I have life within me,

the breath of GodS Ge 2:7; Job 32:8; 33:4; 34:14; S Ps 144:4 in my nostrils,

my lips will not say anything wicked,

and my tongue will not utter lies.S Job 6:28; S 12:16; S 16:17

I will never admit you are in the right;

till I die, I will not deny my integrity.S Job 2:9; S 10:7; S 32:2

I will maintain my innocenceJob 29:14; Ps 119:121; 132:9; Isa 59:17; 61:10 and never let go of it;

my conscienceS Ac 23:1; Ro 2:15 will not reproach me as long as I live.S Job 2:3; S 10:7; S 23:10; S 34:17

“May my enemy be like the wicked,S Job 8:22

my adversaryJob 31:35 like the unjust!

For what hope have the godlessS Job 8:13 when they are cut off,

when God takes away their life?S Nu 16:22; S Job 8:22; S 11:20; Lk 12:20

Does God listen to their cry

when distress comes upon them?S Dt 1:45; S 1Sa 8:18; S Job 15:31

10 Will they find delight in the Almighty?S Job 22:26

Will they call on God at all times?

11 “I will teach you about the power of God;

the waysJob 36:23 of the Almighty I will not conceal.ver 13

12 You have all seen this yourselves.

Why then this meaningless talk?

13 “Here is the fate God allots to the wicked,

the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty:S Job 16:19; S 20:29

14 However many his children,S Job 5:4 their fate is the sword;S Job 15:22; S La 2:22

his offspring will never have enough to eat.S Job 4:11

15 The plague will bury those who survive him,

and their widows will not weep for them.Ps 78:64

16 Though he heaps up silver like dustS 1Ki 10:27

and clothes like piles of clay,Zec 9:3

17 what he lays upPs 39:6; 49:10; Ecc 2:26 the righteous will wear,S Job 7:8; Pr 13:22; 28:8; Ecc 2:26

and the innocent will divide his silver.Ex 3:22; S Job 3:15

18 The houseS Job 8:22 he builds is like a moth’s cocoon,S Job 8:14

like a hutIsa 1:8; 24:20 made by a watchman.

19 He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more;S Job 3:13; S 7:8

when he opens his eyes, all is gone.S Job 14:20

20 TerrorsS Job 6:4 overtake him like a flood;S Job 15:21

a tempest snatches him away in the night.S Job 20:8

21 The east windJob 38:24; Jer 13:24; 22:22 carries him off, and he is gone;Job 30:22

it sweeps him out of his place.S Job 7:10

22 It hurls itself against him without mercyJer 13:14; Eze 5:11; 24:14

as he flees headlong2Ki 7:15 from its power.S Job 11:20

23 It claps its handsS Nu 24:10; Na 3:19 in derision

and hisses him out of his place.”S Job 7:10

Job’s Eighth Speech: A Response to Eliphaz

23 Then Job spoke again:

“My complaint today is still a bitter one,

and I try hard not to groan aloud.

If only I knew where to find God,

I would go to his court.

I would lay out my case

and present my arguments.

Then I would listen to his reply

and understand what he says to me.

Would he use his great power to argue with me?

No, he would give me a fair hearing.

Honest people can reason with him,

so I would be forever acquitted by my judge.

I go east, but he is not there.

I go west, but I cannot find him.

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 Asks Why the Wicked Are Not Punished

24 “Why doesn’t the Almighty bring the wicked to judgment?

Why must the godly wait for him in vain?

Evil people steal land by moving the boundary markers.

They steal livestock and put them in their own pastures.

They take the orphan’s donkey

and demand the widow’s ox as security for a loan.

The poor are pushed off the path;

the needy must hide together for safety.

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.

They harvest a field they do not own,

and they glean in the vineyards of the wicked.

All night they lie naked in the cold,

without clothing or covering.

They are soaked by mountain showers,

and they huddle against the rocks for want of a home.

“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 graveHebrew Sheol. 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?”

Bildad’s Third Response to Job

25 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

“God is powerful and dreadful.

He enforces peace in the heavens.

Who is able to count his heavenly army?

Doesn’t his light shine on all the earth?

How can a mortal be innocent before God?

Can anyone born of a woman be pure?

God is more glorious than the moon;

he shines brighter than the stars.

In comparison, people are maggots;

we mortals are mere worms.”

Job’s Ninth Speech: A Response to Bildad

26 Then Job spoke again:

“How you have helped the powerless!

How you have saved the weak!

How you have enlightened my stupidity!

What wise advice you have offered!

Where have you gotten all these wise sayings?

Whose spirit speaks through you?

“The dead tremble—

those who live beneath the waters.

The underworldHebrew Sheol. is naked in God’s presence.

The place of destructionHebrew Abaddon. is uncovered.

God stretches the northern sky over empty space

and hangs the earth on nothing.

He wraps the rain in his thick clouds,

and the clouds don’t burst with the weight.

He covers the face of the moon,Or covers his throne.

shrouding it with his clouds.

10 He created the horizon when he separated the waters;

he set the boundary between day and night.

11 The foundations of heaven tremble;

they shudder at his rebuke.

12 By his power the sea grew calm.

By his skill he crushed the great sea monster.Hebrew Rahab, the name of a mythical sea monster that represents chaos in ancient literature.

13 His Spirit made the heavens beautiful,

and his power pierced the gliding serpent.

14 These are just the beginning of all that he does,

merely a whisper of his power.

Who, then, can comprehend the thunder of his power?”

Job’s Final Speech

27 Job continued speaking:

“I vow by the living God, who has taken away my rights,

by the Almighty who has embittered my soul—

As long as I live,

while I have breath from God,

my lips will speak no evil,

and my tongue will speak no lies.

I will never concede that you are right;

I will defend my integrity until I die.

I will maintain my innocence without wavering.

My conscience is clear for as long as I live.

“May my enemy be punished like the wicked,

my adversary like those who do evil.

For what hope do the godless have when God cuts them off

and takes away their life?

Will God listen to their cry

when trouble comes upon them?

10 Can they take delight in the Almighty?

Can they call to God at any time?

11 I will teach you about God’s power.

I will not conceal anything concerning the Almighty.

12 But you have seen all this,

yet you say all these useless things to me.

13 “This is what the wicked will receive from God;

this is their inheritance from the Almighty.

14 They may have many children,

but the children will die in war or starve to death.

15 Those who survive will die of a plague,

and not even their widows will mourn them.

16 “Evil people may have piles of money

and may store away mounds of clothing.

17 But the righteous will wear that clothing,

and the innocent will divide that money.

18 The wicked build houses as fragile as a spider’s web,As in Greek and Syriac versions (see also 8:14); Hebrew reads a moth.

as flimsy as a shelter made of branches.

19 The wicked go to bed rich

but wake to find that all their wealth is gone.

20 Terror overwhelms them like a flood,

and they are blown away in the storms of the night.

21 The east wind carries them away, and they are gone.

It sweeps them away.

22 It whirls down on them without mercy.

They struggle to flee from its power.

23 But everyone jeers at them

and mocks them.

23 Then Job answered and said,

Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.

Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!

I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.

I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.

Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.

There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.

Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:

On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:

10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

11 My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.

12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

13 But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.

14 For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.

15 Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him.

16 For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:

17 Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face.

24 Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?

Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.

They drive away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow's ox for a pledge.

They turn the needy out of the way: the poor of the earth hide themselves together.

Behold, as wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children.

They reap every one his corn in the field: and they gather the vintage of the wicked.

They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold.

They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter.

They pluck the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor.

10 They cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry;

11 Which make oil within their walls, and tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst.

12 Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them.

13 They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof.

14 The murderer rising with the light killeth the poor and needy, and in the night is as a thief.

15 The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face.

16 In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light.

17 For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one know them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death.

18 He is swift as the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth: he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards.

19 Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned.

20 The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree.

21 He evil entreateth the barren that beareth not: and doeth not good to the widow.

22 He draweth also the mighty with his power: he riseth up, and no man is sure of life.

23 Though it be given him to be in safety, whereon he resteth; yet his eyes are upon their ways.

24 They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn.

25 And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?

25 Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,

Dominion and fear are with him, he maketh peace in his high places.

Is there any number of his armies? and upon whom doth not his light arise?

How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?

Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight.

How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?

26 But Job answered and said,

How hast thou helped him that is without power? how savest thou the arm that hath no strength?

How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?

To whom hast thou uttered words? and whose spirit came from thee?

Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof.

Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering.

He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them.

He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it.

10 He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end.

11 The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof.

12 He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud.

13 By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.

14 Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?

27 Moreover Job continued his parable, and said,

As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul;

All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;

My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.

God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.

My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.

Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous.

For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?

Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him?

10 Will he delight himself in the Almighty? will he always call upon God?

11 I will teach you by the hand of God: that which is with the Almighty will I not conceal.

12 Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it; why then are ye thus altogether vain?

13 This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, which they shall receive of the Almighty.

14 If his children be multiplied, it is for the sword: and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread.

15 Those that remain of him shall be buried in death: and his widows shall not weep.

16 Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay;

17 He may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver.

18 He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper maketh.

19 The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he is not.

20 Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night.

21 The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place.

22 For God shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand.

23 Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place.

2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11

Paul’s Change of Plans

12 Now this is our boast: Our conscienceS Ac 23:1 testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrityMany manuscripts holiness1Th 2:10 and godly sincerity.2Co 2:17 We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom1Co 1:17; 2:1, 4, 13 but on God’s grace.13 For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that,14 as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.S 1Co 1:8

15 Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit youS 1Co 4:19 first so that you might benefit twice.Ro 1:11, 13; 15:2916 I wanted to visit you on my way1Co 16:5-7 to MacedoniaS Ac 16:9 and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way1Co 16:11; 3Jn 6 to Judea.Ac 19:2117 Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner2Co 10:2, 3; 11:18 so that in the same breath I say both “Yes, yes” and “No, no”?

18 But as surely as God is faithful,S 1Co 1:9 our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.”19 For the Son of God,S Mt 4:3 Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and SilasGreek Silvanus, a variant of SilasS Ac 15:22 and TimothyS Ac 16:1—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has alwaysHeb 13:8 been “Yes.”20 For no matter how many promisesRo 15:8 God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen”S 1Co 14:16 is spoken by us to the glory of God.Ro 15:921 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firmS 1Co 16:13 in Christ. He anointed1Jn 2:20, 27 us,22 set his sealGe 38:18; Eze 9:4; Hag 2:23 of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.S 2Co 5:5

23 I call God as my witnessS Ro 1:9—and I stake my life on it—that it was in order to spare you1Co 4:21; 2Co 2:1, 3; 13:2, 10 that I did not return to Corinth.24 Not that we lord it over1Pe 5:3 your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.Ro 11:20; 1Co 15:1So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you.S 2Co 1:23For if I grieve you,2Co 7:8 who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved?I wrote as I did,ver 4, 9; 2Co 7:8, 12 so that when I came I would not be distressed2Co 12:21 by those who should have made me rejoice. I had confidence2Co 7:16; 8:22; Gal 5:10; 2Th 3:4; Phm 21 in all of you, that you would all share my joy.For I wrote youver 3, 9; 2Co 7:8, 12 out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.

Forgiveness for the Offender

If anyone has caused grief,1Co 5:1, 2 he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely.The punishment1Co 5:4, 5; 2Co 7:11 inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient.Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him,Gal 6:1; Eph 4:32; Col 3:13 so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.Another reason I wrote youver 3, 4; 2Co 7:8, 12 was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.2Co 7:15; 10:610 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake,11 in order that SatanS Mt 4:10 might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.Lk 22:31; 2Co 4:4; 1Pe 5:8, 9

Paul’s Change of Plans

12 We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holinessSome manuscripts read honesty. and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you.13 Our letters have been straightforward, and there is nothing written between the lines and nothing you can’t understand. I hope someday you will fully understand us,14 even if you don’t understand us now. Then on the day when the Lord JesusSome manuscripts read our Lord Jesus. returns, you will be proud of us in the same way we are proud of you.

15 Since I was so sure of your understanding and trust, I wanted to give you a double blessing by visiting you twice—16 first on my way to Macedonia and again when I returned from Macedonia.Macedonia was in the northern region of Greece. Then you could send me on my way to Judea.

17 You may be asking why I changed my plan. Do you think I make my plans carelessly? Do you think I am like people of the world who say “Yes” when they really mean “No”?18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you does not waver between “Yes” and “No.”19 For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas,Greek Silvanus. Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says.20 For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.

21 It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us,22 and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.

23 Now I call upon God as my witness that I am telling the truth. The reason I didn’t return to Corinth was to spare you from a severe rebuke.24 But that does not mean we want to dominate you by telling you how to put your faith into practice. We want to work together with you so you will be full of joy, for it is by your own faith that you stand firm.

So I decided that I would not bring you grief with another painful visit.For if I cause you grief, who will make me glad? Certainly not someone I have grieved.That is why I wrote to you as I did, so that when I do come, I won’t be grieved by the very ones who ought to give me the greatest joy. Surely you all know that my joy comes from your being joyful.I wrote that letter in great anguish, with a troubled heart and many tears. I didn’t want to grieve you, but I wanted to let you know how much love I have for you.

Forgiveness for the Sinner

I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me.Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough.Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement.So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.

I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions.10 When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit,11 so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.

12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

13 For we write none other things unto you, that what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;

14 As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are our's in the day of the Lord Jesus.

15 And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit;

16 And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea.

17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?

18 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.

19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.

20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;

22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.

24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.

For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?

And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.

For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.

But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.

Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.

So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.

Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.

For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.

10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;

11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Psalm 41:1-13

Psalm 41In Hebrew texts 41:1-13 is numbered 41:2-14.

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

BlessedS Dt 14:29 are those who have regard for the weak;S Job 24:4

the Lord delivers them in times of trouble.Ps 25:17

The Lord protectsPs 12:5; 32:7 and preserves them—Ezr 9:9; Ps 71:20; 119:88, 159; 138:7; 143:11

they are counted among the blessed in the land—Ps 37:22

he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.S Dt 6:24

The Lord sustains them on their sickbedPs 6:6

and restores them from their bed of illness.2Sa 13:5; 2Ki 1:4

I said, “Have mercyPs 6:2; S 9:13 on me, Lord;

healS Dt 32:39 me, for I have sinnedPs 51:4 against you.”

My enemies say of me in malice,

“When will he die and his name perish?S Ps 38:12

When one of them comes to see me,

he speaks falsely,Ps 12:2; 101:7; Mt 5:11 while his heart gathers slander;Pr 26:24

then he goes out and spreadsS Lev 19:16 it around.

All my enemies whisper togetherPs 71:10 against me;

they imagine the worst for me, saying,

“A vile disease has afflicted him;

he will never get upS 2Ki 1:4 from the place where he lies.”

Even my close friend,S 2Sa 15:12; S Job 19:14

someone I trusted,

one who shared my bread,

has turnedHebrew has lifted up his heel against me.Nu 30:2; Job 19:19; Ps 55:20; 89:34; Mt 26:23; Lk 22:21; Jn 13:18*

10 But may you have mercyver 4 on me, Lord;

raise me up,Ps 3:3; 9:13 that I may repayS 2Sa 3:39 them.

11 I know that you are pleased with me,S Nu 14:8

for my enemy does not triumph over me.Ps 25:2

12 Because of my integrityS Ps 25:21 you uphold mePs 18:35; S 37:17; 63:8

and set me in your presence forever.S Job 4:7; Ps 21:6; 61:7

13 PraiseS Ge 24:27 be to the Lord, the God of Israel,Ps 72:18

from everlasting to everlasting.

Amen and Amen.Ps 72:19; 89:52; 106:48

Psalm 41

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!

The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble.

The Lord protects them

and keeps them alive.

He gives them prosperity in the land

and rescues them from their enemies.

The Lord nurses them when they are sick

and restores them to health.

“O Lord,” I prayed, “have mercy on me.

Heal me, for I have sinned against you.”

But my enemies say nothing but evil about me.

“How soon will he die and be forgotten?” they ask.

They visit me as if they were my friends,

but all the while they gather gossip,

and when they leave, they spread it everywhere.

All who hate me whisper about me,

imagining the worst.

“He has some fatal disease,” they say.

“He will never get out of that bed!”

Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely,

the one who shared my food, has turned against me.

10 Lord, have mercy on me.

Make me well again, so I can pay them back!

11 I know you are pleased with me,

for you have not let my enemies triumph over me.

12 You have preserved my life because I am innocent;

you have brought me into your presence forever.

13 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,

who lives from everlasting to everlasting.

Amen and amen!

41 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.

The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies.

The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.

I said, Lord, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.

Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish?

And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad, he telleth it.

All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.

An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more.

Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

10 But thou, O Lord, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.

11 By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me.

12 And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever.

13 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.

Proverbs 22:5-6

In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls,Pr 15:19

but those who would preserve their life stay far from them.

StartS Ge 14:14 children off on the way they should go,Eph 6:4

and even when they are old they will not turn from it.S Dt 6:7

Corrupt people walk a thorny, treacherous road;

whoever values life will avoid it.

Direct your children onto the right path,

and when they are older, they will not leave it.

Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Aug 26 Aug 28
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