Today's SoulFood Readingfor Wednesday, Mar 24
Job 35–37 ()
35:1 And Elihu answered and said:
2 “Do you think this to be just?
Do you say, ‘It is my right before God,’
3 that you ask, ‘What advantage have I?
How am I better off than if I had sinned?’
4 I will answer you
and your friends with you.
5 Look at the heavens, and see;
and behold the clouds, which are higher than you.
6 If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against him?
And if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to him?
7 If you are righteous, what do you give to him?
Or what does he receive from your hand?
8 Your wickedness concerns a man like yourself,
and your righteousness a son of man.
9 “Because of the multitude of oppressions people cry out;
they call for help because of the arm of the mighty.
10 But none says, ‘Where is God my Maker,
who gives songs in the night,
11 who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth
and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?’
12 There they cry out, but he does not answer,
because of the pride of evil men.
13 Surely God does not hear an empty cry,
nor does the Almighty regard it.
14 How much less when you say that you do not see him,
that the case is before him, and you are waiting for him!
15 And now, because his anger does not punish,
and he does not take much note of transgression,
16 Job opens his mouth in empty talk;
he multiplies words without knowledge.”
36:1 And Elihu continued, and said:
2 “Bear with me a little, and I will show you,
for I have yet something to say on God’s behalf.
3 I will get my knowledge from afar
and ascribe righteousness to my Maker.
4 For truly my words are not false;
one who is perfect in knowledge is with you.
5 “Behold, God is mighty, and does not despise any;
he is mighty in strength of understanding.
6 He does not keep the wicked alive,
but gives the afflicted their right.
7 He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous,
but with kings on the throne
he sets them forever, and they are exalted.
8 And if they are bound in chains
and caught in the cords of affliction,
9 then he declares to them their work
and their transgressions, that they are behaving arrogantly.
10 He opens their ears to instruction
and commands that they return from iniquity.
11 If they listen and serve him,
they complete their days in prosperity,
and their years in pleasantness.
12 But if they do not listen, they perish by the sword
and die without knowledge.
13 “The godless in heart cherish anger;
they do not cry for help when he binds them.
14 They die in youth,
and their life ends among the cult prostitutes.
15 He delivers the afflicted by their affliction
and opens their ear by adversity.
16 He also allured you out of distress
into a broad place where there was no cramping,
and what was set on your table was full of fatness.
17 “But you are full of the judgment on the wicked;
judgment and justice seize you.
18 Beware lest wrath entice you into scoffing,
and let not the greatness of the ransom turn you aside.
19 Will your cry for help avail to keep you from distress,
or all the force of your strength?
20 Do not long for the night,
when peoples vanish in their place.
21 Take care; do not turn to iniquity,
for this you have chosen rather than affliction.
22 Behold, God is exalted in his power;
who is a teacher like him?
23 Who has prescribed for him his way,
or who can say, ‘You have done wrong’?
24 “Remember to extol his work,
of which men have sung.
25 All mankind has looked on it;
man beholds it from afar.
26 Behold, God is great, and we know him not;
the number of his years is unsearchable.
27 For he draws up the drops of water;
they distill his mist in rain,
28 which the skies pour down
and drop on mankind abundantly.
29 Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds,
the thunderings of his pavilion?
30 Behold, he scatters his lightning about him
and covers the roots of the sea.
31 For by these he judges peoples;
he gives food in abundance.
32 He covers his hands with the lightning
and commands it to strike the mark.
33 Its crashing declares his presence;
the cattle also declare that he rises.
37:1 “At this also my heart trembles
and leaps out of its place.
2 Keep listening to the thunder of his voice
and the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
3 Under the whole heaven he lets it go,
and his lightning to the corners of the earth.
4 After it his voice roars;
he thunders with his majestic voice,
and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard.
5 God thunders wondrously with his voice;
he does great things that we cannot comprehend.
6 For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’
likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.
7 He seals up the hand of every man,
that all men whom he made may know it.
8 Then the beasts go into their lairs,
and remain in their dens.
9 From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
and cold from the scattering winds.
10 By the breath of God ice is given,
and the broad waters are frozen fast.
11 He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
the clouds scatter his lightning.
12 They turn around and around by his guidance,
to accomplish all that he commands them
on the face of the habitable world.
13 Whether for correction or for his land
or for love, he causes it to happen.
14 “Hear this, O Job;
stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
15 Do you know how God lays his command upon them
and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?
16 Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge,
17 you whose garments are hot
when the earth is still because of the south wind?
18 Can you, like him, spread out the skies,
hard as a cast metal mirror?
19 Teach us what we shall say to him;
we cannot draw up our case because of darkness.
20 Shall it be told him that I would speak?
Did a man ever wish that he would be swallowed up?
21 “And now no one looks on the light
when it is bright in the skies,
when the wind has passed and cleared them.
22 Out of the north comes golden splendor;
God is clothed with awesome majesty.
23 The Almighty—we cannot find him;
he is great in power;
justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate.
24 Therefore men fear him;
he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.”
Matthew 25:14–21 ()
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
Psalm 38:1–12 ()
A Psalm of David, for the memorial offering.
38:1 O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath!
2 For your arrows have sunk into me,
and your hand has come down on me.
3 There is no soundness in my flesh
because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
because of my sin.
4 For my iniquities have gone over my head;
like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.
5 My wounds stink and fester
because of my foolishness,
6 I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
all the day I go about mourning.
7 For my sides are filled with burning,
and there is no soundness in my flesh.
8 I am feeble and crushed;
I groan because of the tumult of my heart.
9 O Lord, all my longing is before you;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
10 My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
11 My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,
and my nearest kin stand far off.
12 Those who seek my life lay their snares;
those who seek my hurt speak of ruin
and meditate treachery all day long.
Proverbs 8:22–23 ()
22 “The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of old.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
at the first, before the beginning of the earth.