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5 September 2017 Bible Reading

Today’s reading in the 49th Psalm makes reference to Sheol, a very general term for the realm of the dead – spirits of men. Other references to Sheol are in Genesis 42:38, Isaiah 14:11, Psalm 141:7, Daniel 12:2, Proverbs 7:27 and Job 10:21,22, and 17:16. In referring to the realm of the dead, the Bible also uses Abaddon (ruin), found in Psalm 88:11, Job 28:22 and Proverbs 15:11; Bor (the pit), found in Isaiah 14:15, 24:22, Ezekiel 26:20; and Shakhat (corruption), found in Isaiah 38:17, Ezekiel 28:8.

Ecclesiastes 10-12
10 Dead flies cause the oil of the perfumer to produce an evil odor;
so does a little folly outweigh wisdom and honor.
2 A wise man’s heart is at his right hand,
but a fool’s heart at his left. 3 Yes also, when the fool walks by the way, his understanding fails him, and he says to everyone that he is a fool. 4 If the spirit of the ruler rises up against you, don’t leave your place; for gentleness lays great offenses to rest.
5 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, the sort of error which proceeds from the ruler. 6 Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in a low place. 7 I have seen servants on horses, and princes walking like servants on the earth. 8 He who digs a pit may fall into it; and whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. 9 Whoever carves out stones may be injured by them. Whoever splits wood may be endangered thereby. 10 If the ax is blunt, and one doesn’t sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but skill brings success.
11 If the snake bites before it is charmed, then is there no profit for the charmer’s tongue. 12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but a fool is swallowed by his own lips. 13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness; and the end of his talk is mischievous madness. 14 A fool also multiplies words.
Man doesn’t know what will be; and that which will be after him, who can tell him? 15 The labor of fools wearies every one of them; for he doesn’t know how to go to the city.
16 Woe to you, land, when your king is a child,
and your princes eat in the morning! 17 Happy are you, land, when your king is the son of nobles,
and your princes eat in due season,
for strength, and not for drunkenness!
18 By slothfulness the roof sinks in;
and through idleness of the hands the house leaks.
19 A feast is made for laughter,
and wine makes the life glad;
and money is the answer for all things.
20 Don’t curse the king, no, not in your thoughts;
and don’t curse the rich in your bedroom:
for a bird of the sky may carry your voice,
and that which has wings may tell the matter.
11 Cast your bread on the waters;
for you shall find it after many days.
2 Give a portion to seven, yes, even to eight;
for you don’t know what evil will be on the earth.
3 If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth;
and if a tree falls toward the south, or toward the north,
in the place where the tree falls, there shall it be.
4 He who observes the wind won’t sow;
and he who regards the clouds won’t reap.
5 As you don’t know what is the way of the wind,
nor how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child;
even so you don’t know the work of God who does all.
6 In the morning sow your seed,
and in the evening don’t withhold your hand;
for you don’t know which will prosper, whether this or that,
or whether they both will be equally good.
7 Truly the light is sweet,
and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to see the sun.
8 Yes, if a man lives many years, let him rejoice in them all;
but let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many.
All that comes is vanity.
9 Rejoice, young man, in your youth,
and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth,
and walk in the ways of your heart,
and in the sight of your eyes;
but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.
10 Therefore remove sorrow from your heart,
and put away evil from your flesh;
for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.
12 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth,
before the evil days come, and the years draw near,
when you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”;
2 Before the sun, the light, the moon, and the stars are darkened,
and the clouds return after the rain;
3 in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble,
and the strong men shall bow themselves,
and the grinders cease because they are few,
and those who look out of the windows are darkened,
4 and the doors shall be shut in the street;
when the sound of the grinding is low,
and one shall rise up at the voice of a bird,
and all the daughters of music shall be brought low;
5 yes, they shall be afraid of heights,
and terrors will be on the way;
and the almond tree shall blossom,
and the grasshopper shall be a burden,
and desire shall fail;
because man goes to his everlasting home,
and the mourners go about the streets:
6 before the silver cord is severed,
or the golden bowl is broken,
or the pitcher is broken at the spring,
or the wheel broken at the cistern,
7 and the dust returns to the earth as it was,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher.
“All is vanity!”
9 Further, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge. Yes, he pondered, sought out, and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find out acceptable words, and that which was written blamelessly, words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are like goads; and like nails well fastened are words from the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. 12 Furthermore, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
13 This is the end of the matter. All has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil.

2 Corinthians 8:1-15
8 Moreover, brothers, we make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the assemblies of Macedonia; 2 how that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality. 3 For according to their power, I testify, yes and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord, 4 begging us with much entreaty to receive this grace and the fellowship in the service to the saints. 5 This was not as we had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God. 6 So we urged Titus, that as he made a beginning before, so he would also complete in you this grace. 7 But as you abound in everything, in faith, utterance, knowledge, all earnestness, and in your love to us, see that you also abound in this grace. 8 I speak not by way of commandment, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity also of your love. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich. 10 I give a judgment in this: for this is expedient for you, who were the first to start a year ago, not only to do, but also to be willing. 11 But now complete the doing also, that as there was the readiness to be willing, so there may be the completion also out of your ability. 12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what you have, not according to what you don’t have. 13 For this is not that others may be eased and you distressed, 14 but for equality. Your abundance at this present time supplies their lack, that their abundance also may become a supply for your lack; that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

Psalm 49
For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by the sons of Korah.
49 Hear this, all you peoples.
Listen, all you inhabitants of the world,
2 both low and high,
rich and poor together.
3 My mouth will speak words of wisdom.
My heart shall utter understanding.
4 I will incline my ear to a proverb.
I will open my riddle on the harp.
5 Why should I fear in the days of evil,
when iniquity at my heels surrounds me?
6 Those who trust in their wealth,
and boast in the multitude of their riches—
7 none of them can by any means redeem his brother,
nor give God a ransom for him.
8 For the redemption of their life is costly,
no payment is ever enough,
9 That he should live on forever,
that he should not see corruption.
10 For he sees that wise men die;
likewise the fool and the senseless perish,
and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their inward thought is that their houses will endure forever,
and their dwelling places to all generations.
They name their lands after themselves.
12 But man, despite his riches, doesn’t endure.
He is like the animals that perish.
13 This is the destiny of those who are foolish,
and of those who approve their sayings.
14 They are appointed as a flock for Sheol.
Death shall be their shepherd.
The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning.
Their beauty shall decay in Sheol,
far from their mansion.
15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol,
for he will receive me.
16 Don’t be afraid when a man is made rich,
when the glory of his house is increased.
17 For when he dies he shall carry nothing away.
His glory shall not descend after him.
18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul—
and men praise you when you do well for yourself—
19 he shall go to the generation of his fathers.
They shall never see the light.
20 A man who has riches without understanding,
is like the animals that perish.

Proverbs 22:20-21
20 Haven’t I written to you thirty excellent things
of counsel and knowledge,
21 To teach you truth, reliable words,
to give sound answers to the ones who sent you?

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