Job 5; Job 6; Job 7; Acts 8:1-25

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Job 5

1 "Cry out! Is there anyone to answer you? To which of the holy ones will you turn?
2 Certainly, anger kills a stubborn fool, and jealousy murders a gullible person.
3 I have seen a stubborn fool take root, but I quickly cursed his house.
4 His children are far from help. They are crushed at the city gate, and no one is there to rescue them.
5 What a stubborn fool gathers, hungry people eat. They take it even from among the thorns, and thirsty people pant after his wealth.
6 Certainly, sorrow doesn't come from the soil, and trouble doesn't sprout from the ground.
7 But a person is born for trouble as surely as sparks fly up [from a fire].
8 "But I would seek God's help and present my case to him.
9 He does great things that [we] cannot understand and miracles that [we] cannot count.
10 He gives rain to the earth and sends water to the fields.
11 He places lowly people up high. He lifts those who mourn to safety.
12 He keeps shrewd people from carrying out their plans so that they cannot do anything successfully.
13 He catches the wise with their own tricks. The plans of schemers prove to be hasty.
14 In the daytime they meet darkness and grope in the sunlight as if it were night.
15 "But he saves [other people] from their slander and the needy from the power of the mighty.
16 Then the poor have hope while wrongdoing shuts its mouth.
17 "Blessed is the person whom God corrects. That person should not despise discipline from the Almighty.
18 God injures, but he bandages. He beats you up, but his hands make you well.
19 He will keep you safe from six troubles, and when the seventh one comes, no harm will touch you:
20 "In famine he will save you from death, and in war he will save you from the sword.
21 "When the tongue lashes out, you will be safe, and you will not be afraid of destruction when it comes.
22 "You will be able to laugh at destruction and starvation, so do not be afraid of wild animals on the earth.
23 "You will have a binding agreement with the stones in the field, and wild animals will be at peace with you.
24 "You will know peace in your tent. You will inspect your house and find nothing missing.
25 "You will find that your children are many and your descendants are like the grass of the earth.
26 "You will come to your grave at a ripe old age like a stack of hay in the right season.
27 "We have studied all of this thoroughly! This is the way it is. Listen to it, and learn it for yourself."

Job 6

1 Then Job replied [to his friends],
2 "If only my grief could be weighed, if only my misery could be laid on the scales with it,
3 then they would be heavier than the sand of the seas. I spoke carelessly
4 because the arrows of the Almighty [have found their target] in me, and my spirit is drinking their poison. God's terrors line up in battle against me.
5 "Does a wild donkey bray when it's [eating] grass, or does an ox make a sound over its hay?
6 Is tasteless food eaten without salt, or is there any flavor in the white of an egg?
7 I refuse to touch such things. They are disgusting to me.
8 "How I wish that my prayer would be answered-- that God would give me what I'm hoping for,
9 that God would [finally] be willing to crush me, that he would reach out to cut me off.
10 Then I would still have comfort. I would be happy despite my endless pain, because I have not rejected the words of the Holy One.
11 What strength do I have [left] that I can go on hoping? What goal do I have that I would want to prolong my life?
12 Do I have the strength of rocks? Does my body have the strength of bronze?
13 Am I not completely helpless? Haven't my skills been taken away from me?
14 "A friend should treat a troubled person kindly, even if he abandons the fear of the Almighty.
15 My brothers have been as deceptive as seasonal rivers, like the seasonal riverbeds that flood.
16 They are dark with ice. They are hidden by snow.
17 They vanish during a scorching summer. In the heat their riverbeds dry up.
18 They change their course. They go into a wasteland and disappear.
19 Caravans from Tema look for them. Travelers from Sheba search for them.
20 They are ashamed because they relied on the streams. Arriving there, they are disappointed.
21 "So you are as unreliable to me [as they are]. You see something terrifying, and you are afraid.
22 Did I ever say, 'Give me a gift,' or 'Offer me a bribe from your wealth,'
23 or 'Rescue me from an enemy,' or 'Ransom me from a tyrant'?
24 Teach me, and I'll be silent. Show me where I've been wrong.
25 How painful an honest discussion can be! In correcting me, you correct yourselves!
26 Do you think my words need correction? Do you think they're what a desperate person says to the wind?
27 Would you also throw dice for an orphan? Would you buy and sell your friend?
28 "But now, if you're willing, look at me. I won't lie to your face.
29 Please change your mind. Don't permit any injustice. Change your mind because I am still right about this!
30 Is there injustice on my tongue, or is my mouth unable to tell the difference between right and wrong?

Job 7

1 "Isn't a mortal's stay on earth difficult like a hired hand's daily [work]?
2 Like a slave, he longs for shade. Like a hired hand, he eagerly looks for his pay.
3 Likewise, I have been given months that are of no use, and I have inherited nights filled with misery.
4 When I lie down, I ask, 'When will I get up?' But the evening is long, and I'm exhausted from tossing about until dawn.
5 My body is covered with maggots and scabs. My skin is crusted over with sores; then they ooze.
6 My days go swifter than a weaver's shuttle. They are spent without hope.
7 Remember, my life is only a breath, and never again will my eyes see anything good.
8 The eye that watches over me will no longer see me. Your eye will look for me, but I'll be gone.
9 As a cloud fades away and disappears, so a person goes into the grave and doesn't come back again.
10 He doesn't come back home again, and his household doesn't recognize him anymore.
11 So I won't keep my mouth shut, but I will speak from the distress that is in my spirit and complain about the bitterness in my soul.
12 "Am I the sea or a sea monster that you have set a guard over me?
13 When I say, 'My couch may give me comfort. My bed may help me bear my pain,'
14 then you frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions.
15 My throat would rather be choked. My body would prefer death [to these dreams].
16 I hate my life; I do not want to live forever. Leave me alone because my days are so brief.
17 "What is a mortal that you should make so much of him, that you should be concerned about him?
18 [What is he] that you should inspect him every morning and examine him every moment?
19 Why don't you stop looking at me long enough to let me swallow my spit?
20 If I sin, what can I [possibly] do to you since you insist on spying on people? Why do you make me your target? I've become a burden even to myself.
21 Why don't you forgive my disobedience and take away my sin? Soon I'll lie down in the dust. Then you will search for me, but I'll be gone!"

Acts 8:1-25

1 Saul approved of putting Stephen to death. On that day widespread persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem. Most believers, except the apostles, were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.
2 Devout men buried Stephen as they mourned loudly for him.
3 Saul tried to destroy the church. He dragged men and women out of one home after another and threw them into prison.
4 The believers who were scattered went from place to place, where they spread the word.
5 Philip went to the city of Samaria and told people about the Messiah.
6 The crowds paid close attention to what Philip said. They listened to him and saw the miracles that he performed.
7 Evil spirits screamed as they came out of the many people they had possessed. Many paralyzed and lame people were cured.
8 As a result, that city was extremely happy.
9 A man named Simon lived in that city. He amazed the people of Samaria with his practice of magic. He claimed that he was great.
10 Everyone from children to adults paid attention to him. They said, "This man is the power of God, and that power is called great."
11 They paid attention to Simon because he had amazed them for a long time with his practice of magic.
12 However, when Philip spread the Good News about the kingdom of God and the one named Jesus Christ, men and women believed him and were baptized.
13 Even Simon believed, and after he was baptized, he became devoted to Philip. Simon was amazed to see the miracles and impressive things that were happening.
14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the Samaritans had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.
15 Peter and John went to Samaria and prayed that the Samaritans would receive the Holy Spirit.
16 (Before this the Holy Spirit had not come to any of the Samaritans. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit.
18 Simon saw that the Spirit was given to the Samaritans when the apostles placed their hands on them. So he offered Peter and John money
19 and said, "Give me this power so that anyone I place my hands on will receive the Holy Spirit."
20 Peter told Simon, "May your money be destroyed with you because you thought you could buy God's gift.
21 You won't have any share in this because God can see how twisted your thinking is.
22 So change your wicked thoughts, and ask the Lord if he will forgive you for thinking like this.
23 I can see that you are bitter with jealousy and wrapped up in your evil ways."
24 Simon answered, "Pray to the Lord for me that none of the things you said will happen to me."
25 After they had boldly spoken about the message of the Lord, they spread the Good News in many Samaritan villages on their way back to Jerusalem.