July 31: Psalm 31; Job 20-24

Song for today: Marvelous Grace of Our Loving Lord

Today’s country: Republic of Guatemala

In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me!
Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me!
For you are my rock and my fortress;
and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
•••
But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hand;
rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
Make your face shine on your servant;
save me in your steadfast love!
•••
Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you
and worked for those who take refuge in you,
in the sight of the children of mankind!
In the cover of your presence you hide them
from the plots of men;
you store them in your shelter
from the strife of tongues.
Blessed be the Lord,
for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
when I was in a besieged city.
I had said in my alarm,
“I am cut off from your sight.”
But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
when I cried to you for help.
Love the Lord, all you his saints!
The Lord preserves the faithful
but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the Lord!
from Psalm 31

Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:
“Therefore my thoughts answer me,
because of my haste within me.
I hear censure that insults me,
and out of my understanding a spirit answers me.
Do you not know this from of old,
since man was placed on earth,
that the exulting of the wicked is short,
and the joy of the godless but for a moment?
•••
The heavens will reveal his iniquity,
and the earth will rise up against him.
The possessions of his house will be carried away,
dragged off in the day of God’s wrath.
This is the wicked man’s portion from God,
the heritage decreed for him by God.”
from Job 20

Then Job answered and said:
“Keep listening to my words,
and let this be your comfort.
Bear with me, and I will speak,
and after I have spoken, mock on.
•••
Why do the wicked live,
reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
Their offspring are established in their presence,
and their descendants before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear,
and no rod of God is upon them.
Their bull breeds without fail;
their cow calves and does not miscarry.
They send out their little boys like a flock,
and their children dance.
They sing to the tambourine and the lyre
and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.
They spend their days in prosperity,
and in peace they go down to Sheol.
They say to God, ‘Depart from us!
We do not desire the knowledge of your ways.
What is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’
•••
One dies in his full vigor,
being wholly at ease and secure,
his pails full of milk
and the marrow of his bones moist.
Another dies in bitterness of soul,
never having tasted of prosperity.
They lie down alike in the dust,
and the worms cover them.
•••
How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?
There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”
from Job 21

Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:
“Can a man be profitable to God?
Surely he who is wise is profitable to himself.
Is it any pleasure to the Almighty if you are in the right,
or is it gain to him if you make your ways blameless?
Is it for your fear of him that he reproves you
and enters into judgment with you?
Is not your evil abundant?
There is no end to your iniquities.
•••
Agree with God, and be at peace;
thereby good will come to you.
Receive instruction from his mouth,
and lay up his words in your heart.
If you return to the Almighty you will be built up;
if you remove injustice far from your tents
from Job 22

Then Job answered and said:
“Today also my complaint is bitter;
my hand is heavy on account of my groaning.
Oh, that I knew where I might find him,
that I might come even to his seat!
I would lay my case before him
and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would know what he would answer me
and understand what he would say to me.
Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power?
No; he would pay attention to me.
There an upright man could argue with him,
and I would be acquitted forever by my judge.
•••
But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back?
What he desires, that he does.
For he will complete what he appoints for me,
and many such things are in his mind.
from Job 23

Why are not times of judgment kept by the Almighty,
and why do those who know him never see his days?
from Job 24

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