Job 21; Job 22; Job 23

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Job 21

1 Then Job spoke again:
2 “Listen closely to what I am saying. That’s one consolation you can give me.
3 Bear with me, and let me speak. After I have spoken, you may resume mocking me.
4 “My complaint is with God, not with people. I have good reason to be so impatient.
5 Look at me and be stunned. Put your hand over your mouth in shock.
6 When I think about what I am saying, I shudder. My body trembles.
7 “Why do the wicked prosper, growing old and powerful?
8 They live to see their children grow up and settle down, and they enjoy their grandchildren.
9 Their homes are safe from every fear, and God does not punish them.
10 Their bulls never fail to breed. Their cows bear calves and never miscarry.
11 They let their children frisk about like lambs. Their little ones skip and dance.
12 They sing with tambourine and harp. They celebrate to the sound of the flute.
13 They spend their days in prosperity, then go down to the grave in peace.
14 And yet they say to God, ‘Go away. We want no part of you and your ways.
15 Who is the Almighty, and why should we obey him? What good will it do us to pray?’
16 (They think their prosperity is of their own doing, but I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking.)
17 “Yet the light of the wicked never seems to be extinguished. Do they ever have trouble? Does God distribute sorrows to them in anger?
18 Are they driven before the wind like straw? Are they carried away by the storm like chaff? Not at all!
19 “‘Well,’ you say, ‘at least God will punish their children!’ But I say he should punish the ones who sin, so that they understand his judgment.
20 Let them see their destruction with their own eyes. Let them drink deeply of the anger of the Almighty.
21 For they will not care what happens to their family after they are dead.
22 “But who can teach a lesson to God, since he judges even the most powerful?
23 One person dies in prosperity, completely comfortable and secure,
24 the picture of good health, vigorous and fit.
25 Another person dies in bitter poverty, never having tasted the good life.
26 But both are buried in the same dust, both eaten by the same maggots.
27 “Look, I know what you’re thinking. I know the schemes you plot against me.
28 You will tell me of rich and wicked people whose houses have vanished because of their sins.
29 But ask those who have been around, and they will tell you the truth.
30 Evil people are spared in times of calamity and are allowed to escape disaster.
31 No one criticizes them openly or pays them back for what they have done.
32 When they are carried to the grave, an honor guard keeps watch at their tomb.
33 A great funeral procession goes to the cemetery. Many pay their respects as the body is laid to rest, and the earth gives sweet repose.
34 “How can your empty clichés comfort me? All your explanations are lies!”

Job 22

1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
2 “Can a person do anything to help God? Can even a wise person be helpful to him?
3 Is it any advantage to the Almighty if you are righteous? Would it be any gain to him if you were perfect?
4 Is it because you’re so pious that he accuses you and brings judgment against you?
5 No, it’s because of your wickedness! There’s no limit to your sins.
6 “For example, you must have lent money to your friend and demanded clothing as security. Yes, you stripped him to the bone.
7 You must have refused water for the thirsty and food for the hungry.
8 You probably think the land belongs to the powerful and only the privileged have a right to it!
9 You must have sent widows away empty-handed and crushed the hopes of orphans.
10 That is why you are surrounded by traps and tremble from sudden fears.
11 That is why you cannot see in the darkness, and waves of water cover you.
12 “God is so great—higher than the heavens, higher than the farthest stars.
13 But you reply, ‘That’s why God can’t see what I am doing! How can he judge through the thick darkness?
14 For thick clouds swirl about him, and he cannot see us. He is way up there, walking on the vault of heaven.’
15 “Will you continue on the old paths where evil people have walked?
16 They were snatched away in the prime of life, the foundations of their lives washed away.
17 For they said to God, ‘Leave us alone! What can the Almighty do to us?’
18 Yet he was the one who filled their homes with good things, so I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking.
19 “The righteous will be happy to see the wicked destroyed, and the innocent will laugh in contempt.
20 They will say, ‘See how our enemies have been destroyed. The last of them have been consumed in the fire.’
21 “Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you.
22 Listen to his instructions, and store them in your heart.
23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored— so clean up your life.
24 If you give up your lust for money and throw your precious gold into the river,
25 the Almighty himself will be your treasure. He will be your precious silver!
26 “Then you will take delight in the Almighty and look up to God.
27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows to him.
28 You will succeed in whatever you choose to do, and light will shine on the road ahead of you.
29 If people are in trouble and you say, ‘Help them,’ God will save them.
30 Even sinners will be rescued; they will be rescued because your hands are pure.”

Job 23

1 Then Job spoke again:
2 “My complaint today is still a bitter one, and I try hard not to groan aloud.
3 If only I knew where to find God, I would go to his court.
4 I would lay out my case and present my arguments.
5 Then I would listen to his reply and understand what he says to me.
6 Would he use his great power to argue with me? No, he would give me a fair hearing.
7 Honest people can reason with him, so I would be forever acquitted by my judge.
8 I go east, but he is not there. I go west, but I cannot find him.
9 I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden. I look to the south, but he is concealed.
10 “But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.
11 For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food.
13 But once he has made his decision, who can change his mind? Whatever he wants to do, he does.
14 So he will do to me whatever he has planned. He controls my destiny.
15 No wonder I am so terrified in his presence. When I think of it, terror grips me.
16 God has made me sick at heart; the Almighty has terrified me.
17 Darkness is all around me; thick, impenetrable darkness is everywhere.