Then the Lord formed human beings from the dust 1 and sent each of them back to it again.
He gave them only a limited time to live, but he gave them authority over everything on earth.
He made them to be like himself, and gave them his own strength.
He made all other creatures afraid of them; he gave them authority over all the animals and birds.
He gave them their tongues, their eyes, their ears, their minds, and their consciences.
He filled them with knowledge and understanding 2 and showed them the difference between good and evil.
He gave them his own insight to let them see the majesty of his creation.
They will praise his holy name and proclaim the greatness of all he does.
He made knowledge available to them and gave them the Law as a source of life.
He made an eternal covenant with them and revealed his commands to them.
They saw the splendor of his majesty and heard the glory of his voice.
He warned them against unrighteousness and taught each person how to treat others.
The Lord is always aware of what people do; there is no way to hide from him.
He gave each nation its own ruler, but Israel is the Lord's own possession.
The Lord is always watching what people do; everything they do is as clear as day to him.
None of their sins are hidden from him; he is aware of them all.
When we give to the poor, the Lord considers it as precious as a valuable ring. Human kindness is as precious to him as life itself.
Later he will judge the wicked and punish them; they will get what they deserve.
But the Lord will allow those who repent to return to him. He always gives encouragement to those who are losing hope.
Come to the Lord, and leave your sin behind. Pray sincerely that he will help you live a better life. 3
Return to the Most High and turn away from sin. Have an intense hatred for wickedness.
Those who are alive can give thanks to the Lord, but can anyone in the world of the dead sing praise to the Most High? 4
A person who is alive and well can sing the Lord's praises, but the dead, who no longer exist, have no way to give him thanks.
How great is the Lord's merciful forgiveness of those who turn to him!
But this is not the nature of human beings; not one of us is immortal.
Nothing is brighter than the sun, but even the sun's light fails during an eclipse. How much easier it is for human thoughts to be eclipsed by evil!
The Lord can look out over all the stars in the sky. Human beings? They are dust and ashes.