1 Elihu continued speaking: 2 “Let me go on, and I will show you the truth. For I have not finished defending God! 3 I will present profound arguments for the righteousness of my Creator. 4 I am telling you nothing but the truth, for I am a man of great knowledge. 5 “God is mighty, but he does not despise anyone! He is mighty in both power and understanding. 6 He does not let the wicked live but gives justice to the afflicted. 7 He never takes his eyes off the innocent, but he sets them on thrones with kings and exalts them forever. 8 If they are bound in chains and caught up in a web of trouble, 9 he shows them the reason. He shows them their sins of pride. 10 He gets their attention and commands that they turn from evil. 11 “If they listen and obey God, they will be blessed with prosperity throughout their lives. All their years will be pleasant. 12 But if they refuse to listen to him, they will cross over the river of death, dying from lack of understanding. 13 For the godless are full of resentment. Even when he punishes them, they refuse to cry out to him for help. 14 They die when they are young, after wasting their lives in immoral living. 15 But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer. For he gets their attention through adversity. 16 “God is leading you away from danger, Job, to a place free from distress. He is setting your table with the best food. 17 But you are obsessed with whether the godless will be judged. Don’t worry, judgment and justice will be upheld. 18 But watch out, or you may be seduced by wealth. Don’t let yourself be bribed into sin. 19 Could all your wealth or all your mighty efforts keep you from distress? 20 Do not long for the cover of night, for that is when people will be destroyed. 21 Be on guard! Turn back from evil, for God sent this suffering to keep you from a life of evil. 22 “Look, God is all-powerful. Who is a teacher like him? 23 No one can tell him what to do, or say to him, ‘You have done wrong.’ 24 Instead, glorify his mighty works, singing songs of praise. 25 Everyone has seen these things, though only from a distance. 26 “Look, God is greater than we can understand. His years cannot be counted. 27 He draws up the water vapor and then distills it into rain. 28 The rain pours down from the clouds, and everyone benefits. 29 Who can understand the spreading of the clouds and the thunder that rolls forth from heaven? 30 See how he spreads the lightning around him and how it lights up the depths of the sea. 31 By these mighty acts he nourishes the people, giving them food in abundance. 32 He fills his hands with lightning bolts and hurls each at its target. 33 The thunder announces his presence; the storm announces his indignant anger.
1 “My heart pounds as I think of this. It trembles within me. 2 Listen carefully to the thunder of God’s voice as it rolls from his mouth. 3 It rolls across the heavens, and his lightning flashes in every direction. 4 Then comes the roaring of the thunder— the tremendous voice of his majesty. He does not restrain it when he speaks. 5 God’s voice is glorious in the thunder. We can’t even imagine the greatness of his power. 6 “He directs the snow to fall on the earth and tells the rain to pour down. 7 Then everyone stops working so they can watch his power. 8 The wild animals take cover and stay inside their dens. 9 The stormy wind comes from its chamber, and the driving winds bring the cold. 10 God’s breath sends the ice, freezing wide expanses of water. 11 He loads the clouds with moisture, and they flash with his lightning. 12 The clouds churn about at his direction. They do whatever he commands throughout the earth. 13 He makes these things happen either to punish people or to show his unfailing love. 14 “Pay attention to this, Job. Stop and consider the wonderful miracles of God! 15 Do you know how God controls the storm and causes the lightning to flash from his clouds? 16 Do you understand how he moves the clouds with wonderful perfection and skill? 17 When you are sweltering in your clothes and the south wind dies down and everything is still, 18 he makes the skies reflect the heat like a bronze mirror. Can you do that? 19 “So teach the rest of us what to say to God. We are too ignorant to make our own arguments. 20 Should God be notified that I want to speak? Can people even speak when they are confused? 21 We cannot look at the sun, for it shines brightly in the sky when the wind clears away the clouds. 22 So also, golden splendor comes from the mountain of God. He is clothed in dazzling splendor. 23 We cannot imagine the power of the Almighty; but even though he is just and righteous, he does not destroy us. 24 No wonder people everywhere fear him. All who are wise show him reverence. ”
22 Then the apostles and elders together with the whole church in Jerusalem chose delegates, and they sent them to Antioch of Syria with Paul and Barnabas to report on this decision. The men chosen were two of the church leaders —Judas (also called Barsabbas) and Silas. 23 This is the letter they took with them: “This letter is from the apostles and elders, your brothers in Jerusalem. It is written to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Greetings! 24 “We understand that some men from here have troubled you and upset you with their teaching, but we did not send them! 25 So we decided, having come to complete agreement, to send you official representatives, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We are sending Judas and Silas to confirm what we have decided concerning your question. 28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: 29 You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.” 30 The messengers went at once to Antioch, where they called a general meeting of the believers and delivered the letter. 31 And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message. 32 Then Judas and Silas, both being prophets, spoke at length to the believers, encouraging and strengthening their faith. 33 They stayed for a while, and then the believers sent them back to the church in Jerusalem with a blessing of peace. 34 35 Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch. They and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord there. 36 After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.” 37 Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. 38 But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work. 39 Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. 40 Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord’s gracious care. 41 Then he traveled throughout Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches there.