Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 163

Job 11–14, Romans 9–10

Bible text(s)

Zophar

1-2Will no one answer all this nonsense?

Does talking so much put you in the right?

3Job, do you think we can't answer you?

That your mocking words will leave us speechless?

4You claim that what you say is true;

you claim you are pure in the sight of God.

5How I wish God would answer you!

6He would tell you there are many sides to wisdom;

there are things too deep for human knowledge.

God is punishing you less than you deserve.

7Can you discover the limits and bounds

of the greatness and power of God?

8The sky is no limit for God,

but it lies beyond your reach.

God knows the world of the dead,

but you do not know it.

9God's greatness is broader than the earth,

wider than the sea.

10If God arrests you and brings you to trial,

who is there to stop him?

11God knows which people are worthless;

he sees all their evil deeds.

12Stupid people will start being wise

when wild donkeys are born tame.

13Put your heart right, Job. Reach out to God.

14Put away evil and wrong from your home.

15Then face the world again, firm and courageous.

16Then all your troubles will fade from your memory,

like floods that are past and remembered no more.

17Your life will be brighter than sunshine at noon,

and life's darkest hours will shine like the dawn.

18You will live secure and full of hope;

God will protect you and give you rest.

19You won't be afraid of your enemies;

many people will ask you for help.

20But the wicked will look round in despair

and find that there is no way to escape.

Their one hope is that death will come.

Job

1-2Yes, you are the voice of the people.

When you die, wisdom will die with you.

3But I have as much sense as you have;

I am in no way inferior to you;

everyone knows all that you have said.

4Even my friends laugh at me now;

they laugh, although I am righteous and blameless;

but there was a time when God answered my prayers.

5You have no troubles, and yet you make fun of me;

you hit someone who is about to fall.

6But thieves and godless people live in peace,

though their only god is their own strength.

7Even birds and animals have much they could teach you;

8ask the creatures of earth and sea for their wisdom.

9All of them know that the LORD's hand made them.

10It is God who directs the lives of his creatures;

everyone's life is in his power.

11But just as your tongue enjoys tasting food,

your ears enjoy hearing words.

12-13Old people have wisdom,

but God has wisdom and power.

Old people have insight;

God has insight and power to act.

14When God tears down, who can rebuild,

and who can free those God imprisons?

15Drought comes when God withholds rain;

floods come when he turns water loose.

16God is strong and always victorious;

both deceived and deceiver are in his power.

17He takes away the wisdom of rulers

and makes leaders act like fools.

18He dethrones kings and makes them prisoners;

19he humbles priests and men of power.

20He silences those who are trusted,

and takes the wisdom of old people away.

21He disgraces those in power

and puts an end to the strength of rulers.

22He sends light to places dark as death.

23He makes nations strong and great,

but then he defeats and destroys them.

24He makes their leaders foolish

and lets them wander confused and lost;

25they grope in the dark and stagger like drunkards.

1-2Everything you say, I have heard before.

I understand it all; I know as much as you do.

I'm not your inferior.

3But my dispute is with God, not you;

I want to argue my case with him.

4You cover up your ignorance with lies;

you are like doctors who can't heal anyone.

5Say nothing, and someone may think you are wise!

6Listen while I state my case.

7Why are you lying?

Do you think your lies will benefit God?

8Are you trying to defend him?

Are you going to argue his case in court?

9If God looks at you closely, will he find anything good?

Do you think you can fool God as you fool others?

10Even though your prejudice is hidden,

he will reprimand you,

11and his power will fill you with terror.

12Your proverbs are as useless as ashes;

your arguments crumble like clay.

13Be quiet and give me a chance to speak,

and let the results be what they will.

14I am ready to risk my life.

15I've lost all hope, so what if God kills me?

I am going to state my case to him.

16It may even be that my boldness will save me,

since no wicked person would dare to face God.

17Now listen to my words of explanation.

18I am ready to state my case,

because I know I am in the right.

19Are you coming to accuse me, God?

If you do, I am ready to be silent and die.

20Let me ask for two things; agree to them,

and I will not try to hide from you;

21stop punishing me, and don't crush me with terror.

22Speak first, O God, and I will answer.

Or let me speak, and you answer me.

23What are my sins? What wrongs have I done?

What crimes am I charged with?

24Why do you avoid me?

Why do you treat me like an enemy?

25Are you trying to frighten me? I'm nothing but a leaf;

you are attacking a piece of dry straw.

26You bring bitter charges against me,

even for what I did when I was young.

27You bind chains on my feet;

you watch every step I take,

and even examine my footprints.

28As a result, I crumble like rotten wood,

like a moth-eaten coat.

1We are all born weak and helpless.

All lead the same short, troubled life.

2We grow and wither as quickly as flowers;

we disappear like shadows.

3Will you even look at me, God,

or put me on trial and judge me?

4Nothing clean can ever come

from anything as unclean as human beings.

5The length of their lives is decided beforehand —

the number of months they will live.

You have settled it, and it can't be changed.

6Look away from them and leave them alone;

let them enjoy their hard life — if they can.

7There is hope for a tree that has been cut down;

it can come back to life and sprout.

8Even though its roots grow old,

and its stump dies in the ground,

9with water it will sprout like a young plant.

10But people die, and that is the end of them;

they die, and where are they then?

11Like rivers that stop running,

and lakes that go dry,

12people die, never to rise.

They will never wake up while the sky endures;

they will never stir from their sleep.

13I wish you would hide me in the world of the dead;

let me be hidden until your anger is over,

and then set a time to remember me.

14If people die, can they come back to life?

But I will wait for better times,

wait till this time of trouble is ended.

15Then you will call, and I will answer,

and you will be pleased with me, your creature.

16Then you will watch every step I take,

but you will not keep track of my sins.

17You will forgive them and put them away;

you will wipe out all the wrongs I have done.

18There comes a time when mountains fall

and solid cliffs are moved away.

19Water will wear down rocks,

and heavy rain will wash away the soil;

so you destroy our hope for life.

20You overpower someone and send him away for ever;

his face is twisted in death.

21His sons win honour, but he never knows it,

nor is he told when they are disgraced.

22He feels only the pain of his own body

and the grief of his own mind.

God and his People

1I am speaking the truth; I belong to Christ and I do not lie. My conscience, ruled by the Holy Spirit, also assures me that I am not lying 2when I say how great is my sorrow, how endless the pain in my heart 3for my people, my own flesh and blood! For their sake I could wish that I myself were under God's curse and separated from Christ. 4They are God's people; he made them his children and revealed his glory to them; he made his covenants with them and gave them the Law; they have the true worship; they have received God's promises; 5they are descended from the famous Hebrew ancestors; and Christ, as a human being, belongs to their race. May God, who rules over all, be praised for ever! Amen.

6I am not saying that the promise of God has failed; for not all the people of Israel are the people of God. 7Nor are all Abraham's descendants the children of God. God said to Abraham, “It is through Isaac that you will have the descendants I promised you.” 8This means that the children born in the usual way are not the children of God; instead, the children born as a result of God's promise are regarded as the true descendants. 9For God's promise was made in these words: “At the right time I will come back, and Sarah will have a son.”

10And this is not all. For Rebecca's two sons had the same father, our ancestor Isaac. 11-12But in order that the choice of one son might be completely the result of God's own purpose, God said to her, “The elder will serve the younger.” He said this before they were born, before they had done anything either good or bad; so God's choice was based on his call, and not on anything they had done. 13As the scripture says, “I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.”

14Shall we say, then, that God is unjust? Not at all. 15For he said to Moses, “I will have mercy on anyone I wish; I will take pity on anyone I wish.” 16So then, everything depends, not on what human beings want or do, but only on God's mercy. 17For the scripture says to the king of Egypt, “I made you king in order to use you to show my power and to spread my fame over the whole world.” 18So then, God has mercy on anyone he wishes, and he makes stubborn anyone he wishes.

God's Anger and Mercy

19But one of you will say to me, “If this is so, how can God find fault with anyone? Who can resist God's will?” 20But who are you, my friend, to answer God back? A clay pot does not ask the man who made it, “Why did you make me like this?” 21After all, the man who makes the pots has the right to use the clay as he wishes, and to make two pots from the same lump of clay, one for special occasions and the other for ordinary use.

22And the same is true of what God has done. He wanted to show his anger and to make his power known. But he was very patient in enduring those who were the objects of his anger, who were doomed to destruction. 23And he also wanted to reveal his abundant glory, which was poured out on us who are the objects of his mercy, those of us whom he has prepared to receive his glory. 24For we are the people he called, not only from among the Jews but also from among the Gentiles. 25This is what he says in the book of Hosea:

“The people who were not mine

I will call ‘My People’.

The nation that I did not love

I will call ‘My Beloved’.

26And in the very place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’

there they will be called the children of the living God.”

27And Isaiah exclaims about Israel: “Even if the people of Israel are as many as the grains of sand by the sea, yet only a few of them will be saved; 28for the Lord will quickly settle his full account with the world.” 29It is as Isaiah had said before, “If the Lord Almighty had not left us some descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.”

Paul's Prayer for Israel

30So we say that the Gentiles, who were not trying to put themselves right with God, were put right with him through faith; 31while God's people, who were seeking a law that would put them right with God, did not find it. 32And why not? Because they did not depend on faith but on what they did. And so they stumbled over the “stumbling stone” 33that the scripture speaks of:

“Look, I place in Zion a stone

that will make people stumble,

a rock that will make them fall.

But whoever believes in him will not be disappointed.”

1My brothers and sisters, how I wish with all my heart that my own people might be saved! How I pray to God for them! 2I can assure you that they are deeply devoted to God; but their devotion is not based on true knowledge. 3They have not known the way in which God puts people right with himself, and instead, they have tried to set up their own way; and so they did not submit themselves to God's way of putting people right. 4For Christ has brought the Law to an end, so that everyone who believes is put right with God.

Salvation is for All

5Moses wrote this about being put right with God by obeying the Law: “Whoever obeys the commands of the Law will live.” 6But what the scripture says about being put right with God through faith is this: “You are not to ask yourself, Who will go up into heaven?” (that is, to bring Christ down). 7“Nor are you to ask, Who will go down into the world below?” (that is, to bring Christ up from death). 8What it says is this: “God's message is near you, on your lips and in your heart” — that is, the message of faith that we preach. 9If you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from death, you will be saved. 10For it is by our faith that we are put right with God; it is by our confession that we are saved. 11The scripture says, “Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed.” 12This includes everyone, because there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles; God is the same Lord of all and richly blesses all who call to him. 13As the scripture says, “Everyone who calls out to the Lord for help will be saved.”

14But how can they call to him for help if they have not believed? And how can they believe if they have not heard the message? And how can they hear if the message is not proclaimed? 15And how can the message be proclaimed if the messengers are not sent out? As the scripture says, “How wonderful is the coming of messengers who bring good news!” 16But not all have accepted the Good News. Isaiah himself said, “Lord, who believed our message?” 17So then, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through preaching Christ.

18But I ask: is it true that they did not hear the message? Of course they did — for as the scripture says:

“The sound of their voice went out to all the world;

their words reached the ends of the earth.”

19Again I ask: did the people of Israel not understand? Moses himself is the first one to answer:

“I will use a so-called nation

to make my people jealous;

and by means of a nation of fools

I will make my people angry.”

20And Isaiah is even bolder when he says,

“I was found by those who were not looking for me;

I appeared to those who were not asking for me.”

21But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I held out my hands to welcome a disobedient and rebellious people.”

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