Today's SoulFood Reading

for Wednesday, Mar 17

Job 15–17 ()

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15:1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

  “Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge,
    and fill his belly with the east wind?
  Should he argue in unprofitable talk,
    or in words with which he can do no good?
  But you are doing away with the fear of God
    and hindering meditation before God.
  For your iniquity teaches your mouth,
    and you choose the tongue of the crafty.
  Your own mouth condemns you, and not I;
    your own lips testify against you.
  “Are you the first man who was born?
    Or were you brought forth before the hills?
  Have you listened in the council of God?
    And do you limit wisdom to yourself?
  What do you know that we do not know?
    What do you understand that is not clear to us?
10   Both the gray-haired and the aged are among us,
    older than your father.
11   Are the comforts of God too small for you,
    or the word that deals gently with you?
12   Why does your heart carry you away,
    and why do your eyes flash,
13   that you turn your spirit against God
    and bring such words out of your mouth?
14   What is man, that he can be pure?
    Or he who is born of a woman, that he can be righteous?
15   Behold, God puts no trust in his holy ones,
    and the heavens are not pure in his sight;
16   how much less one who is abominable and corrupt,
    a man who drinks injustice like water!
17   “I will show you; hear me,
    and what I have seen I will declare
18   (what wise men have told,
    without hiding it from their fathers,
19   to whom alone the land was given,
    and no stranger passed among them).
20   The wicked man writhes in pain all his days,
    through all the years that are laid up for the ruthless.
21   Dreadful sounds are in his ears;
    in prosperity the destroyer will come upon him.
22   He does not believe that he will return out of darkness,
    and he is marked for the sword.
23   He wanders abroad for bread, saying, ‘Where is it?’
    He knows that a day of darkness is ready at his hand;
24   distress and anguish terrify him;
    they prevail against him, like a king ready for battle.
25   Because he has stretched out his hand against God
    and defies the Almighty,
26   running stubbornly against him
    with a thickly bossed shield;
27   because he has covered his face with his fat
    and gathered fat upon his waist
28   and has lived in desolate cities,
    in houses that none should inhabit,
    which were ready to become heaps of ruins;
29   he will not be rich, and his wealth will not endure,
    nor will his possessions spread over the earth;
30   he will not depart from darkness;
    the flame will dry up his shoots,
    and by the breath of his mouth he will depart.
31   Let him not trust in emptiness, deceiving himself,
    for emptiness will be his payment.
32   It will be paid in full before his time,
    and his branch will not be green.
33   He will shake off his unripe grape like the vine,
    and cast off his blossom like the olive tree.
34   For the company of the godless is barren,
    and fire consumes the tents of bribery.
35   They conceive trouble and give birth to evil,
    and their womb prepares deceit.”

16:1 Then Job answered and said:

  “I have heard many such things;
    miserable comforters are you all.
  Shall windy words have an end?
    Or what provokes you that you answer?
  I also could speak as you do,
    if you were in my place;
  I could join words together against you
    and shake my head at you.
  I could strengthen you with my mouth,
    and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain.
  “If I speak, my pain is not assuaged,
    and if I forbear, how much of it leaves me?
  Surely now God has worn me out;
    he has made desolate all my company.
  And he has shriveled me up,
    which is a witness against me,
  and my leanness has risen up against me;
    it testifies to my face.
  He has torn me in his wrath and hated me;
    he has gnashed his teeth at me;
    my adversary sharpens his eyes against me.
10   Men have gaped at me with their mouth;
    they have struck me insolently on the cheek;
    they mass themselves together against me.
11   God gives me up to the ungodly
    and casts me into the hands of the wicked.
12   I was at ease, and he broke me apart;
    he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces;
  he set me up as his target;
13     his archers surround me.
  He slashes open my kidneys and does not spare;
    he pours out my gall on the ground.
14   He breaks me with breach upon breach;
    he runs upon me like a warrior.
15   I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin
    and have laid my strength in the dust.
16   My face is red with weeping,
    and on my eyelids is deep darkness,
17   although there is no violence in my hands,
    and my prayer is pure.
18   “O earth, cover not my blood,
    and let my cry find no resting place.
19   Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven,
    and he who testifies for me is on high.
20   My friends scorn me;
    my eye pours out tears to God,
21   that he would argue the case of a man with God,
    as a son of man does with his neighbor.
22   For when a few years have come
    I shall go the way from which I shall not return.

17:1   “My spirit is broken; my days are extinct;
    the graveyard is ready for me.
  Surely there are mockers about me,
    and my eye dwells on their provocation.
  “Lay down a pledge for me with you;
    who is there who will put up security for me?
  Since you have closed their hearts to understanding,
    therefore you will not let them triumph.
  He who informs against his friends to get a share of their property—
    the eyes of his children will fail.
  “He has made me a byword of the peoples,
    and I am one before whom men spit.
  My eye has grown dim from vexation,
    and all my members are like a shadow.
  The upright are appalled at this,
    and the innocent stirs himself up against the godless.
  Yet the righteous holds to his way,
    and he who has clean hands grows stronger and stronger.
10   But you, come on again, all of you,
    and I shall not find a wise man among you.
11   My days are past; my plans are broken off,
    the desires of my heart.
12   They make night into day:
    ‘The light,’ they say, ‘is near to the darkness.’
13   If I hope for Sheol as my house,
    if I make my bed in darkness,
14   if I say to the pit, ‘You are my father,’
    and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’
15   where then is my hope?
    Who will see my hope?
16   Will it go down to the bars of Sheol?
    Shall we descend together into the dust?”


Matthew 23:23–39 ()

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23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Psalm 19 ()

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To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

19:1   The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
  Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
  There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
  Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.
  In them he has set a tent for the sun,
    which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
    and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
  Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
    and its circuit to the end of them,
    and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
  The law of the LORD is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
  the testimony of the LORD is sure,
    making wise the simple;
  the precepts of the LORD are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
  the commandment of the LORD is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
  the fear of the LORD is clean,
    enduring forever;
  the rules of the LORD are true,
    and righteous altogether.
10   More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
  sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
11   Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.
12   Who can discern his errors?
    Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13   Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
    let them not have dominion over me!
  Then I shall be blameless,
    and innocent of great transgression.
14   Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Proverbs 8:6–7 ()

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  Hear, for I will speak noble things,
    and from my lips will come what is right,
  for my mouth will utter truth;
    wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

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