31 August 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s reading includes the familiar challenge of Job 38:4: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” Our society abounds with theories concerning cosmology and the origins of life. The verse points out that none of us should pretend to speak with authority about the Creation. It is a poetic image, and is not designed to give any intimation about the actual process by which the Earth was made, or the manner in which it is sustained.
37 “Yes, at this my heart trembles,
and is moved out of its place.
2 Hear, oh, hear the noise of his voice,
the sound that goes out of his mouth.
3 He sends it out under the whole sky,
and his lightning to the ends of the earth.
4 After it a voice roars.
He thunders with the voice of his majesty.
He doesn’t hold back anything when his voice is heard.
5 God thunders marvelously with his voice.
He does great things, which we can’t comprehend.
6 For he says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth;’
likewise to the shower of rain,
and to the showers of his mighty rain.
7 He seals up the hand of every man,
that all men whom he has made may know it.
8 Then the animals take cover,
and remain in their dens.
9 Out of its room comes the storm,
and cold out of the north.
10 By the breath of God, ice is given,
and the width of the waters is frozen.
11 Yes, he loads the thick cloud with moisture.
He spreads abroad the cloud of his lightning.
12 It is turned around by his guidance,
that they may do whatever he commands them
on the surface of the habitable world,
13 Whether it is for correction, or for his land,
or for loving kindness, that he causes it to come.
14 “Listen to this, Job.
Stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.
15 Do you know how God controls them,
and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?
16 Do you know the workings of the clouds,
the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge?
17 You whose clothing is warm,
when the earth is still by reason of the south wind?
18 Can you, with him, spread out the sky,
which is strong as a cast metal mirror?
19 Teach us what we shall tell him,
for we can’t make our case by reason of darkness.
20 Will it be told him that I would speak?
Or should a man wish that he were swallowed up?
21 Now men don’t see the light which is bright in the skies,
but the wind passes, and clears them.
22 Out of the north comes golden splendor.
With God is awesome majesty.
23 We can’t reach the Almighty.
He is exalted in power.
In justice and great righteousness, he will not oppress.
24 Therefore men revere him.
He doesn’t regard any who are wise of heart.”
38 Then Yahweh answered Job out of the whirlwind,
2 “Who is this who darkens counsel
by words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man,
for I will question you, then you answer me!
4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Declare, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measures, if you know?
Or who stretched the line on it?
6 Whereupon were its foundations fastened?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
7 when the morning stars sang together,
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
8 “Or who shut up the sea with doors,
when it broke out of the womb,
9 when I made clouds its garment,
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 marked out for it my bound,
set bars and doors,
11 and said, ‘Here you may come, but no further.
Here your proud waves shall be stayed?’
12 “Have you commanded the morning in your days,
and caused the dawn to know its place;
13 that it might take hold of the ends of the earth,
and shake the wicked out of it?
14 It is changed as clay under the seal,
and presented as a garment.
15 From the wicked, their light is withheld.
The high arm is broken.
16 “Have you entered into the springs of the sea?
Or have you walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you?
Or have you seen the gates of the shadow of death?
18 Have you comprehended the earth in its width?
Declare, if you know it all.
19 “What is the way to the dwelling of light?
As for darkness, where is its place,
20 that you should take it to its bound,
that you should discern the paths to its house?
21 Surely you know, for you were born then,
and the number of your days is great!
22 Have you entered the treasuries of the snow,
or have you seen the treasures of the hail,
23 which I have reserved against the time of trouble,
against the day of battle and war?
24 By what way is the lightning distributed,
or the east wind scattered on the earth?
25 Who has cut a channel for the flood water,
or the path for the thunderstorm;
26 To cause it to rain on a land where no man is;
on the wilderness, in which there is no man;
27 to satisfy the waste and desolate ground,
to cause the tender grass to grow?
28 Does the rain have a father?
Or who fathers the drops of dew?
29 Out of whose womb came the ice?
The gray frost of the sky, who has given birth to it?
30 The waters become hard like stone,
when the surface of the deep is frozen.
31 “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades,
or loosen the cords of Orion?
32 Can you lead the constellations out in their season?
Or can you guide the Bear with her cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you establish its dominion over the earth?
34 “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
That abundance of waters may cover you?
35 Can you send out lightnings, that they may go?
Do they report to you, ‘Here we are?’
36 Who has put wisdom in the inward parts?
Or who has given understanding to the mind?
37 Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
Or who can pour out the bottles of the sky,
38 when the dust runs into a mass,
and the clods of earth stick together?
39 “Can you hunt the prey for the lioness,
or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
40 when they crouch in their dens,
and lie in wait in the thicket?
41 Who provides for the raven his prey,
when his young ones cry to God,
and wander for lack of food?
39 “Do you know the time when the mountain goats give birth?
Do you watch when the doe bears fawns?
2 Can you number the months that they fulfill?
Or do you know the time when they give birth?
3 They bow themselves, they bear their young.
They end their labor pains.
4 Their young ones become strong.
They grow up in the open field.
They go out, and don’t return again.
5 “Who has set the wild donkey free?
Or who has loosened the bonds of the swift donkey,
6 Whose home I have made the wilderness,
and the salt land his dwelling place?
7 He scorns the tumult of the city,
neither does he hear the shouting of the driver.
8 The range of the mountains is his pasture,
He searches after every green thing.
9 “Will the wild ox be content to serve you?
Or will he stay by your feeding trough?
10 Can you hold the wild ox in the furrow with his harness?
Or will he till the valleys after you?
11 Will you trust him, because his strength is great?
Or will you leave to him your labor?
12 Will you confide in him, that he will bring home your seed,
and gather the grain of your threshing floor?
13 “The wings of the ostrich wave proudly;
but are they the feathers and plumage of love?
14 For she leaves her eggs on the earth,
warms them in the dust,
15 and forgets that the foot may crush them,
or that the wild animal may trample them.
16 She deals harshly with her young ones, as if they were not hers.
Though her labor is in vain, she is without fear,
17 because God has deprived her of wisdom,
neither has he imparted to her understanding.
18 When she lifts up herself on high,
she scorns the horse and his rider.
19 “Have you given the horse might?
Have you clothed his neck with a quivering mane?
20 Have you made him to leap as a locust?
The glory of his snorting is awesome.
21 He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength.
He goes out to meet the armed men.
22 He mocks at fear, and is not dismayed,
neither does he turn back from the sword.
23 The quiver rattles against him,
the flashing spear and the javelin.
24 He eats up the ground with fierceness and rage,
neither does he stand still at the sound of the trumpet.
25 As often as the trumpet sounds he snorts, ‘Aha!’
He smells the battle afar off,
the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
26 “Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars,
and stretches her wings toward the south?
27 Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up,
and makes his nest on high?
28 On the cliff he dwells, and makes his home,
on the point of the cliff, and the stronghold.
29 From there he spies out the prey.
His eyes see it afar off.
30 His young ones also suck up blood.
Where the slain are, there he is.”
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:10
13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is written, “I believed, and therefore I spoke.” We also believe, and therefore also we speak; 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that the grace, being multiplied through the many, may cause the thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we don’t faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; 18 while we don’t look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
5 For we know that if the earthly house of our tent is dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens. 2 For most certainly in this we groan, longing to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven; 3 if so be that being clothed we will not be found naked. 4 For indeed we who are in this tent do groan, being burdened; not that we desire to be unclothed, but that we desire to be clothed, that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now he who made us for this very thing is God, who also gave to us the down payment of the Spirit.
6 Therefore we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are courageous, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore also we make it our aim, whether at home or absent, to be well pleasing to him. 10 For we must all be revealed before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
9 But now you rejected us, and brought us to dishonor,
and don’t go out with our armies.
10 You make us turn back from the adversary.
Those who hate us take plunder for themselves.
11 You have made us like sheep for food,
and have scattered us among the nations.
12 You sell your people for nothing,
and have gained nothing from their sale.
13 You make us a reproach to our neighbors,
a scoffing and a derision to those who are around us.
14 You make us a byword among the nations,
a shaking of the head among the peoples.
15 All day long my dishonor is before me,
and shame covers my face,
16 At the taunt of one who reproaches and verbally abuses,
because of the enemy and the avenger.
17 All this has come on us,
yet have we not forgotten you,
Neither have we been false to your covenant.
18 Our heart has not turned back,
neither have our steps strayed from your path,
19 Though you have crushed us in the haunt of jackals,
and covered us with the shadow of death.
20 If we have forgotten the name of our God,
or spread out our hands to a strange god;
21 won’t God search this out?
For he knows the secrets of the heart.
22 Yes, for your sake we are killed all day long.
We are regarded as sheep for the slaughter.
23 Wake up!
Why do you sleep, Lord?
Don’t reject us forever.
24 Why do you hide your face,
and forget our affliction and our oppression?
25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust.
Our body clings to the earth.
26 Rise up to help us.
Redeem us for your loving kindness’ sake.
13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!
I will be killed in the streets!”