August 18: Job 2–4; Colossians 1:1–20; Psalm 44; Proverbs 21:25–26

Job 2–4

Satan Attacks Job’s Health

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD. And the LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”

So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”Or disaster; also verse 11′>1 In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Job’s Three Friends

11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. 12 And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. 13 And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.

Job Laments His Birth

After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. And Job said:

  “Let the day perish on which I was born,
    and the night that said,
    ‘A man is conceived.’
  Let that day be darkness!
    May God above not seek it,
    nor light shine upon it.
  Let gloom and deep darkness claim it.
    Let clouds dwell upon it;
    let the blackness of the day terrify it.
  That night—let thick darkness seize it!
    Let it not rejoice among the days of the year;
    let it not come into the number of the months.
  Behold, let that night be barren;
    let no joyful cry enter it.
  Let those curse it who curse the day,
    who are ready to rouse up Leviathan.
  Let the stars of its dawn be dark;
    let it hope for light, but have none,
    nor see the eyelids of the morning,
10   because it did not shut the doors of my mother’s womb,
    nor hide trouble from my eyes.

11   “Why did I not die at birth,
    come out from the womb and expire?
12   Why did the knees receive me?
    Or why the breasts, that I should nurse?
13   For then I would have lain down and been quiet;
    I would have slept; then I would have been at rest,
14   with kings and counselors of the earth
    who rebuilt ruins for themselves,
15   or with princes who had gold,
    who filled their houses with silver.
16   Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child,
    as infants who never see the light?
17   There the wicked cease from troubling,
    and there the weary are at rest.
18   There the prisoners are at ease together;
    they hear not the voice of the taskmaster.
19   The small and the great are there,
    and the slave is free from his master.

20   “Why is light given to him who is in misery,
    and life to the bitter in soul,
21   who long for death, but it comes not,
    and dig for it more than for hidden treasures,
22   who rejoice exceedingly
    and are glad when they find the grave?
23   Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,
    whom God has hedged in?
24   For my sighing comes instead ofOr like; Hebrew before‘>2 my bread,
    and my groanings are poured out like water.
25   For the thing that I fear comes upon me,
    and what I dread befalls me.
26   I am not at ease, nor am I quiet;
    I have no rest, but trouble comes.”

Eliphaz Speaks: The Innocent Prosper

Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

  “If one ventures a word with you, will you be impatient?
    Yet who can keep from speaking?
  Behold, you have instructed many,
    and you have strengthened the weak hands.
  Your words have upheld him who was stumbling,
    and you have made firm the feeble knees.
  But now it has come to you, and you are impatient;
    it touches you, and you are dismayed.
  Is not your fear of GodHebrew lacks of God‘>3 your confidence,
    and the integrity of your ways your hope?

  “Remember: who that was innocent ever perished?
    Or where were the upright cut off?
  As I have seen, those who plow iniquity
    and sow trouble reap the same.
  By the breath of God they perish,
    and by the blast of his anger they are consumed.
10   The roar of the lion, the voice of the fierce lion,
    the teeth of the young lions are broken.
11   The strong lion perishes for lack of prey,
    and the cubs of the lioness are scattered.

12   “Now a word was brought to me stealthily;
    my ear received the whisper of it.
13   Amid thoughts from visions of the night,
    when deep sleep falls on men,
14   dread came upon me, and trembling,
    which made all my bones shake.
15   A spirit glided past my face;
    the hair of my flesh stood up.
16   It stood still,
    but I could not discern its appearance.
  A form was before my eyes;
    there was silence, then I heard a voice:
17   ‘Can mortal man be in the right beforeOr more than; twice in this verse’>4 God?
    Can a man be pure before his Maker?
18   Even in his servants he puts no trust,
    and his angels he charges with error;
19   how much more those who dwell in houses of clay,
    whose foundation is in the dust,
    who are crushed likeOr before‘>5 the moth.
20   Between morning and evening they are beaten to pieces;
    they perish forever without anyone regarding it.
21   Is not their tent-cord plucked up within them,
    do they not die, and that without wisdom?’

Colossians 1:1–20

Greeting

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the saints and faithful brothersOr brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters‘>1 in Christ at Colossae:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant.For the contextual rendering of the Greek word sundoulos, see Preface’>2 He is a faithful minister of Christ on yourSome manuscripts our‘>3 behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanksOr patience, with joy giving thanks‘>4 to the Father, who has qualified youSome manuscripts us‘>5 to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The Preeminence of Christ

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For byThat is, by means of; or in‘>6 him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

 

Psalm 44

Come to Our Help

To the choirmaster. A MaskilProbably a musical or liturgical term’>1 of the Sons of Korah.

44   O God, we have heard with our ears,
    our fathers have told us,
  what deeds you performed in their days,
    in the days of old:
  you with your own hand drove out the nations,
    but them you planted;
  you afflicted the peoples,
    but them you set free;
  for not by their own sword did they win the land,
    nor did their own arm save them,
  but your right hand and your arm,
    and the light of your face,
    for you delighted in them.

  You are my King, O God;
    ordain salvation for Jacob!
  Through you we push down our foes;
    through your name we tread down those who rise up against us.
  For not in my bow do I trust,
    nor can my sword save me.
  But you have saved us from our foes
    and have put to shame those who hate us.
  In God we have boasted continually,
    and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah

  But you have rejected us and disgraced us
    and have not gone out with our armies.
10   You have made us turn back from the foe,
    and those who hate us have gotten spoil.
11   You have made us like sheep for slaughter
    and have scattered us among the nations.
12   You have sold your people for a trifle,
    demanding no high price for them.
13   You have made us the taunt of our neighbors,
    the derision and scorn of those around us.
14   You have made us a byword among the nations,
    a laughingstockHebrew a shaking of the head‘>2 among the peoples.
15   All day long my disgrace is before me,
    and shame has covered my face
16   at the sound of the taunter and reviler,
    at the sight of the enemy and the avenger.

17   All this has come upon us,
    though we have not forgotten you,
    and we have not been false to your covenant.
18   Our heart has not turned back,
    nor have our steps departed from your way;
19   yet you have broken us in the place of jackals
    and covered us with the shadow of death.
20   If we had forgotten the name of our God
    or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
21   would not God discover this?
    For he knows the secrets of the heart.
22   Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.

23   Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord?
    Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever!
24   Why do you hide your face?
    Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
25   For our soul is bowed down to the dust;
    our belly clings to the ground.
26   Rise up; come to our help!
    Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!

Proverbs 21:25–26

25   The desire of the sluggard kills him,
    for his hands refuse to labor.
26   All day long he craves and craves,
    but the righteous gives and does not hold back.

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