Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 161

Job 4–7, Romans 4–5

Bible text(s)

The First Dialogue

(4.1—14.22)
Eliphaz

1-2Job, will you be annoyed if I speak?

I can't keep quiet any longer.

3You have taught many people

and given strength to feeble hands.

4When someone stumbled, weak and tired,

your words encouraged him to stand.

5Now it's your turn to be in trouble,

and you are too stunned to face it.

6You worshipped God, and your life was blameless;

and so you should have confidence and hope.

7Think back now. Name a single case

where a righteous person met with disaster.

8I have seen people plough fields of evil

and sow wickedness like seed;

now they harvest wickedness and evil.

9Like a storm, God destroys them in his anger.

10The wicked roar and growl like lions,

but God silences them and breaks their teeth.

11Like lions with nothing to kill and eat,

they die, and all their children are scattered.

12Once a message came quietly,

so quietly I could hardly hear it.

13Like a nightmare it disturbed my sleep.

14I trembled and shuddered;

my whole body shook with fear.

15A light breeze touched my face,

and my hair bristled with fright.

16I could see something standing there;

I stared, but couldn't tell what it was.

Then I heard a voice out of the silence:

17“Can anyone be righteous in the sight of God

or be pure before his Creator?

18God does not trust his heavenly servants;

he finds fault even with his angels.

19Do you think he will trust a creature of clay,

a thing of dust that can be crushed like a moth?

20Someone may be alive in the morning,

but die unnoticed before evening comes.

21All that he has is taken away;

he dies, still lacking wisdom.”

1Call out, Job. See if anyone answers.

Is there any angel to whom you can turn?

2To worry yourself to death with resentment

would be a foolish, senseless thing to do.

3I have seen fools who looked secure,

but I called down a sudden curse on their homes.

4Their children can never find safety;

no one stands up to defend them in court.

5Hungry people will eat the fool's crops —

even the grain growing among thorns

and thirsty people will envy his wealth.

6Evil does not grow in the soil,

nor does trouble grow out of the ground.

7No indeed! People bring trouble on themselves,

as surely as sparks fly up from a fire.

8If I were you, I would turn to God

and present my case to him.

9We cannot understand the great things he does,

and to his miracles there is no end.

10He sends rain on the land

and he waters the fields.

11Yes, it is God who raises the humble

and gives joy to all who mourn.

12-13He upsets the plans of cunning people,

and traps the wise in their own schemes,

so that nothing they do succeeds;

14even at noon they grope in darkness.

15But God saves the poor from death;

he saves the needy from oppression.

16He gives hope to the poor and silences the wicked.

17Happy is the person whom God corrects!

Do not resent it when he rebukes you.

18God bandages the wounds he makes;

his hand hurts you, and his hand heals.

19Time after time he will save you from harm;

20when famine comes, he will keep you alive,

and in war protect you from death.

21God will rescue you from slander;

he will save you when destruction comes.

22You will laugh at violence and hunger

and not be afraid of wild animals.

23The fields you plough will be free of rocks;

wild animals will never attack you.

24Then you will live at peace in your tent;

when you look at your sheep, you will find them safe.

25You will have as many children

as there are blades of grass in a pasture.

26Like wheat that ripens till harvest time,

you will live to a ripe old age.

27Job, we have learnt this by long study.

It is true, so now accept it.

Job

1-2If my troubles and griefs were weighed on scales,

3they would weigh more than the sands of the sea,

so my wild words should not surprise you.

4Almighty God has pierced me with arrows,

and their poison spreads through my body.

God has lined up his terrors against me.

5A donkey is content when eating grass,

and a cow is quiet when eating hay.

6But who can eat tasteless, unsalted food?

What flavour is there in the white of an egg?

7I have no appetite for food like that,

and everything I eat makes me sick.

8Why won't God give me what I ask?

Why won't he answer my prayer?

9If only he would go ahead and kill me!

10If I knew he would, I would leap for joy,

no matter how great my pain.

I know that God is holy;

I have never opposed what he commands.

11What strength have I got to keep on living?

Why go on living when I have no hope?

12Am I made of stone? Is my body bronze?

13I have no strength left to save myself;

there is nowhere I can turn for help.

14In trouble like this I need loyal friends —

whether I've forsaken God or not.

15But you, my friends, you deceive me like streams

that go dry when no rain comes.

16The streams are choked with snow and ice,

17but in the heat they disappear,

and the stream beds lie bare and dry.

18Caravans get lost looking for water;

they wander and die in the desert.

19Caravans from Sheba and Tema search,

20but their hope dies beside dry streams.

21You are like those streams to me,

you see my fate and draw back in fear.

22Have I asked you to give me a gift

or to bribe someone on my behalf

23or to save me from some enemy or tyrant?

24All right, teach me; tell me my faults.

I will be quiet and listen to you.

25Honest words are convincing,

but you are talking nonsense.

26You think I am talking nothing but wind;

then why do you answer my words of despair?

27You would even throw dice for orphan slaves

and make yourselves rich off your closest friends!

28Look me in the face. I won't lie.

29You have gone far enough. Stop being unjust.

Don't condemn me. I'm in the right.

30But you think I am lying —

you think I can't tell right from wrong.

1Human life is like forced army service,

like a life of hard manual labour,

2like slaves longing for cool shade;

like workers waiting for their pay.

3Month after month I have nothing to live for;

night after night brings me grief.

4When I lie down to sleep, the hours drag;

I toss all night and long for dawn.

5My body is full of worms;

it is covered with scabs;

pus runs out of my sores.

6My days pass by without hope,

pass faster than a weaver's shuttle.

7Remember, O God, my life is only a breath;

my happiness has already ended.

8You see me now, but never again.

If you look for me, I'll be gone.

9-10Like a cloud that fades and is gone,

people die and never return;

they are forgotten by all who knew them.

11No! I can't be quiet!

I am angry and bitter.

I have to speak.

12Why do you keep me under guard?

Do you think I am a sea monster?

13I lie down and try to rest;

I look for relief from my pain.

14But you — you terrify me with dreams;

you send me visions and nightmares

15until I would rather be strangled

than live in this miserable body.

16I give up; I am tired of living.

Leave me alone. My life makes no sense.

17Why are human beings so important to you?

Why pay attention to what they do?

18You inspect them every morning

and test them every minute.

19Won't you look away long enough

for me to swallow my spittle?

20Are you harmed by my sin, you jailer?

Why use me for your target practice?

Am I so great a burden to you?

21Can't you ever forgive my sin?

Can't you pardon the wrong I do?

Soon I will be in my grave,

and I'll be gone when you look for me.

The Example of Abraham

1What shall we say, then, of Abraham, the father of our race? What was his experience? 2If he was put right with God by the things he did, he would have something to boast about — but not in God's sight. 3The scripture says, “Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous.” 4Those who work are paid wages, but they are not regarded as a gift; they are something that has been earned. 5But those who depend on faith, not on deeds, and who believe in the God who declares the guilty to be innocent, it is this faith that God takes into account in order to put them right with himself. 6This is what David meant when he spoke of the happiness of the person whom God accepts as righteous, apart from anything that person does:

7“Happy are those whose wrongs are forgiven,

whose sins are pardoned!

8Happy is the person whose sins the Lord will not keep account of!”

9Does this happiness that David spoke of belong only to those who are circumcised? No indeed! It belongs also to those who are not circumcised. For we have quoted the scripture, “Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous.” 10When did this take place? Was it before or after Abraham was circumcised? It was before, not after. 11He was circumcised later, and his circumcision was a sign to show that because of his faith God had accepted him as righteous before he had been circumcised. And so Abraham is the spiritual father of all who believe in God and are accepted as righteous by him, even though they are not circumcised. 12He is also the father of those who are circumcised, that is, of those who, in addition to being circumcised, also live the same life of faith that our father Abraham lived before he was circumcised.

God's Promise is Received through Faith

13When God promised Abraham and his descendants that the world would belong to him, he did so, not because Abraham obeyed the Law, but because he believed and was accepted as righteous by God. 14For if what God promises is to be given to those who obey the Law, then faith means nothing and God's promise is worthless. 15The Law brings down God's anger; but where there is no law, there is no disobeying of the law.

16And so the promise was based on faith, in order that the promise should be guaranteed as God's free gift to all of Abraham's descendants — not just to those who obey the Law, but also to those who believe as Abraham did. For Abraham is the spiritual father of us all; 17as the scripture says, “I have made you father of many nations.” So the promise is good in the sight of God, in whom Abraham believed — the God who brings the dead to life and whose command brings into being what did not exist. 18Abraham believed and hoped, even when there was no reason for hoping, and so became “the father of many nations.” Just as the scripture says, “Your descendants will be as many as the stars.” 19He was then almost 100 years old; but his faith did not weaken when he thought of his body, which was already practically dead, or of the fact that Sarah could not have children. 20His faith did not leave him, and he did not doubt God's promise; his faith filled him with power, and he gave praise to God. 21He was absolutely sure that God would be able to do what he had promised. 22That is why Abraham, through faith, “was accepted as righteous by God”. 23The words “he was accepted as righteous” were not written for him alone. 24They were written also for us who are to be accepted as righteous, who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from death. 25Because of our sins he was handed over to die, and he was raised to life in order to put us right with God.

Right with God

1Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2He has brought us by faith into this experience of God's grace, in which we now live. And so we boast of the hope we have of sharing God's glory! 3We also boast of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, 4endurance brings God's approval, and his approval creates hope. 5This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us.

6For when we were still helpless, Christ died for the wicked at the time that God chose. 7It is a difficult thing for someone to die for a righteous person. It may even be that someone might dare to die for a good person. 8But God has shown us how much he loves us — it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! 9By his blood we are now put right with God; how much more, then, will we be saved by him from God's anger! 10We were God's enemies, but he made us his friends through the death of his Son. Now that we are God's friends, how much more will we be saved by Christ's life! 11But that is not all; we rejoice because of what God has done through our Lord Jesus Christ, who has now made us God's friends.

Adam and Christ

12Sin came into the world through one man, and his sin brought death with it. As a result, death has spread to the whole human race because everyone has sinned. 13There was sin in the world before the Law was given; but where there is no law, no account is kept of sins. 14But from the time of Adam to the time of Moses death ruled over the whole human race, even over those who did not sin in the same way that Adam did when he disobeyed God's command.

Adam was a figure of the one who was to come. 15But the two are not the same, because God's free gift is not like Adam's sin. It is true that many people died because of the sin of that one man. But God's grace is much greater, and so is his free gift to so many people through the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ. 16And there is a difference between God's gift and the sin of one man. After the one sin, came the judgement of “Guilty”; but after so many sins, comes the undeserved gift of “Not guilty!” 17It is true that through the sin of one man death began to rule because of that one man. But how much greater is the result of what was done by the one man, Jesus Christ! All who receive God's abundant grace and are freely put right with him will rule in life through Christ.

18So then, as the one sin condemned all people, in the same way the one righteous act sets all people free and gives them life. 19And just as the mass of people were made sinners as the result of the disobedience of one man, in the same way the mass of people will all be put right with God as the result of the obedience of the one man.

20Law was introduced in order to increase wrongdoing; but where sin increased, God's grace increased much more. 21So then, just as sin ruled by means of death, so also God's grace rules by means of righteousness, leading us to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.16
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