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29 August 2017 Bible Reading

In today’s reading in 2 Corinthians chapter 3, we see a beautiful comparison of the Old and New Covenants. In the text, Paul, by inspiration, refers to a covenant of letter, meaning the Mosaic covenant. His reference, in verse 7, to the shining face of Moses on his descent from Mount Sinai with the tablets of the law makes this clear. The Mosaic covenant structured every aspect of Israel’s social, religious, physical and civil existence from the time of Moses until Paul’s day. Although we are found of referring to the “10 Commandments”, there were actually 613. Paul, by inspiration, refers to these as “old” — Judaism, and even some Christians, disagree to this day.

Job 31-33
31 “I made a covenant with my eyes,
how then should I look lustfully at a young woman?
2 For what is the portion from God above,
and the heritage from the Almighty on high?
3 Is it not calamity to the unrighteous,
and disaster to the workers of iniquity?
4 Doesn’t he see my ways,
and number all my steps?
5 “If I have walked with falsehood,
and my foot has hurried to deceit
6 (let me be weighed in an even balance,
that God may know my integrity);
7 if my step has turned out of the way,
if my heart walked after my eyes,
if any defilement has stuck to my hands,
8 then let me sow, and let another eat.
Yes, let the produce of my field be rooted out.
9 “If my heart has been enticed to a woman,
and I have laid wait at my neighbor’s door,
10 then let my wife grind for another,
and let others sleep with her.
11 For that would be a heinous crime.
Yes, it would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges:
12 For it is a fire that consumes to destruction,
and would root out all my increase.
13 “If I have despised the cause of my male servant
or of my female servant,
when they contended with me;
14 What then shall I do when God rises up?
When he visits, what shall I answer him?
15 Didn’t he who made me in the womb make him?
Didn’t one fashion us in the womb?
16 “If I have withheld the poor from their desire,
or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
17 or have eaten my morsel alone,
and the fatherless has not eaten of it
18 (no, from my youth he grew up with me as with a father,
her have I guided from my mother’s womb);
19 if I have seen any perish for want of clothing,
or that the needy had no covering;
20 if his heart hasn’t blessed me,
if he hasn’t been warmed with my sheep’s fleece;
21 if I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless,
because I saw my help in the gate,
22 then let my shoulder fall from the shoulder blade,
and my arm be broken from the bone.
23 For calamity from God is a terror to me.
Because his majesty, I can do nothing.
24 “If I have made gold my hope,
and have said to the fine gold, ‘You are my confidence;’
25 If I have rejoiced because my wealth was great,
and because my hand had gotten much;
26 if I have seen the sun when it shined,
or the moon moving in splendor,
27 and my heart has been secretly enticed,
and my hand threw a kiss from my mouth,
28 this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges;
for I should have denied the God who is above.
29 “If I have rejoiced at the destruction of him who hated me,
or lifted up myself when evil found him;
30 (yes, I have not allowed my mouth to sin
by asking his life with a curse);
31 if the men of my tent have not said,
‘Who can find one who has not been filled with his meat?’
32 (the foreigner has not camped in the street,
but I have opened my doors to the traveler);
33 if like Adam I have covered my transgressions,
by hiding my iniquity in my heart,
34 because I feared the great multitude,
and the contempt of families terrified me,
so that I kept silence, and didn’t go out of the door—
35 oh that I had one to hear me!
(behold, here is my signature, let the Almighty answer me);
let the accuser write my indictment!
36 Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;
and I would bind it to me as a crown.
37 I would declare to him the number of my steps.
as a prince would I go near to him.
38 If my land cries out against me,
and its furrows weep together;
39 if I have eaten its fruits without money,
or have caused its owners to lose their life,
40 let briers grow instead of wheat,
and stinkweed instead of barley.”
The words of Job are ended.
32 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2 Then the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel, the Buzite, of the family of Ram, was kindled against Job. His wrath was kindled because he justified himself rather than God. 3 Also his wrath was kindled against his three friends, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job. 4 Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job, because they were elder than he. 5 When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, his wrath was kindled.
6 Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered,
“I am young, and you are very old;
Therefore I held back, and didn’t dare show you my opinion.
7 I said, ‘Days should speak,
and multitude of years should teach wisdom.’
8 But there is a spirit in man,
and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.
9 It is not the great who are wise,
nor the aged who understand justice.
10 Therefore I said, ‘Listen to me;
I also will show my opinion.’
11 “Behold, I waited for your words,
and I listened for your reasoning,
while you searched out what to say.
12 Yes, I gave you my full attention,
but there was no one who convinced Job,
or who answered his words, among you.
13 Beware lest you say, ‘We have found wisdom,
God may refute him, not man;’
14 for he has not directed his words against me;
neither will I answer him with your speeches.
15 “They are amazed. They answer no more.
They don’t have a word to say.
16 Shall I wait, because they don’t speak,
because they stand still, and answer no more?
17 I also will answer my part,
and I also will show my opinion.
18 For I am full of words.
The spirit within me constrains me.
19 Behold, my breast is as wine which has no vent;
like new wineskins it is ready to burst.
20 I will speak, that I may be refreshed.
I will open my lips and answer.
21 Please don’t let me respect any man’s person,
neither will I give flattering titles to any man.
22 For I don’t know how to give flattering titles;
or else my Maker would soon take me away.
33 “However, Job, please hear my speech,
and listen to all my words.
2 See now, I have opened my mouth.
My tongue has spoken in my mouth.
3 My words shall utter the uprightness of my heart.
That which my lips know they shall speak sincerely.
4 The Spirit of God has made me,
and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
5 If you can, answer me.
Set your words in order before me, and stand up.
6 Behold, I am toward God even as you are.
I am also formed out of the clay.
7 Behold, my terror shall not make you afraid,
neither shall my pressure be heavy on you.
8 “Surely you have spoken in my hearing,
I have heard the voice of your words, saying,
9 ‘I am clean, without disobedience.
I am innocent, neither is there iniquity in me.
10 Behold, he finds occasions against me.
He counts me for his enemy.
11 He puts my feet in the stocks.
He marks all my paths.’
12 “Behold, I will answer you. In this you are not just,
for God is greater than man.
13 Why do you strive against him,
because he doesn’t give account of any of his matters?
14 For God speaks once,
yes twice, though man pays no attention.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on men,
in slumbering on the bed;
16 Then he opens the ears of men,
and seals their instruction,
17 That he may withdraw man from his purpose,
and hide pride from man.
18 He keeps back his soul from the pit,
and his life from perishing by the sword.
19 He is chastened also with pain on his bed,
with continual strife in his bones;
20 So that his life abhors bread,
and his soul dainty food.
21 His flesh is so consumed away, that it can’t be seen.
His bones that were not seen stick out.
22 Yes, his soul draws near to the pit,
and his life to the destroyers.
23 “If there is beside him an angel,
an interpreter, one among a thousand,
to show to man what is right for him;
24 then God is gracious to him, and says,
‘Deliver him from going down to the pit,
I have found a ransom.’
25 His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s.
He returns to the days of his youth.
26 He prays to God, and he is favorable to him,
so that he sees his face with joy.
He restores to man his righteousness.
27 He sings before men, and says,
‘I have sinned, and perverted that which was right,
and it didn’t profit me.
28 He has redeemed my soul from going into the pit.
My life shall see the light.’
29 “Behold, God does all these things,
twice, yes three times, with a man,
30 to bring back his soul from the pit,
that he may be enlightened with the light of the living.
31 Mark well, Job, and listen to me.
Hold your peace, and I will speak.
32 If you have anything to say, answer me.
Speak, for I desire to justify you.
33 If not, listen to me.
Hold your peace, and I will teach you wisdom.”

2 Corinthians 3
3 Are we beginning again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as do some, letters of commendation to you or from you? 2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 being revealed that you are a letter of Christ, served by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in tablets that are hearts of flesh. 4 Such confidence we have through Christ toward God; 5 not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God; 6 who also made us sufficient as servants of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 But if the service of death, written engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly on the face of Moses for the glory of his face; which was passing away: 8 won’t service of the Spirit be with much more glory? 9 For if the service of condemnation has glory, the service of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For most certainly that which has been made glorious has not been made glorious in this respect, by reason of the glory that surpasses. 11 For if that which passes away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.
12 Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness of speech, 13 and not as Moses, who put a veil on his face, that the children of Israel wouldn’t look steadfastly on the end of that which was passing away. 14 But their minds were hardened, for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains, because in Christ it passes away. 15 But to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 But whenever one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face seeing the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Psalm 43
43 Vindicate me, God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation.
Oh, deliver me from deceitful and wicked men.
2 For you are the God of my strength. Why have you rejected me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
3 Oh, send out your light and your truth.
Let them lead me.
Let them bring me to your holy hill,
To your tents.
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God, my exceeding joy.
I will praise you on the harp, God, my God.
5 Why are you in despair, my soul?
Why are you disturbed within me?
Hope in God!
For I shall still praise him:
my Savior, my helper, and my God.

Proverbs 22:8-9
8 He who sows wickedness reaps trouble,
and the rod of his fury will be destroyed.
9 He who has a generous eye will be blessed;
for he shares his food with the poor.

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