Wisdom 16:15-29

Storms and bread

15 It is impossible to escape from your hand.
16 Even though the ungodly denied any knowledge of you, it was your strong arm that afflicted them. They were pursued by strange rainfalls that never stopped, and by hailstorms and downpours. They were pursued by a fire that consumed everything.
17 The most unusual thing about this fire was that it showed that it was stronger than water, which normally quenches any fire. Yet the universe itself comes to the defense of those who do what is right.
18 At one point the flame did die down, so that it might not destroy the creatures that had been sent but only punish them. The ungodly noticed and realized it was God's judgment that was hunting them down.
19 Then suddenly the fire flared up again, right in the midst of water, with an even greater intensity than normal fire. It destroyed the crops in a land dominated by wrongdoing.
20 In contrast, you fed your people with the food from angels. Again and again, you provided your people with a bread that had been prepared in heaven. It was a bread that was able to satisfy anyone's longing and please anyone's taste.
21 You even showed your children your sweet side: when they ate, the bread was changed into whatever they wanted it to become!
22 And though it was like snow and snowflakes, it endured the fire, which didn't melt it. In this way, they knew that their enemies' crops had been destroyed by an unusual fire, one that blazed even in the midst of the hail and let off sparks even in the midst of the rain.
23 But in order that those who do the right thing might be fed, fire itself forgot how powerful it was.
24 Creation, which serves you, the one who made it, tenses itself in preparation for the judgment of those who have done wrong and then relaxes itself again in order to benefit those who have put their trust in you.
25 And so it was that what was created was changed. It became a minister of your gift, completely nourishing and fulfilling the desire of those in need.
26 In this way your children, whom you love, Lord, would learn that it isn't the various kinds of crops that sustain humans, but it is your word that preserves those who trust in you.
27 As proof, what wasn't destroyed by the fire simply melted away when it was warmed by a gentle sunbeam.
28 In this way we learn that we too must arise before the sun to thank you and pray to you with the dawn of light.
29 The hope of those who don't thank God, however, will melt away like winter frost and drain away like wastewater.
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