Ephesians 2 (Listen)

By Grace Through Faith

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

One in Christ

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

(ESV)

Job 34 (Listen)

Elihu Asserts God's Justice

Then Elihu answered and said:

  “Hear my words, you wise men,
    and give ear to me, you who know;
  for the ear tests words
    as the palate tastes food.
  Let us choose what is right;
    let us know among ourselves what is good.
  For Job has said, ‘I am in the right,
    and God has taken away my right;
  in spite of my right I am counted a liar;
    my wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.’
  What man is like Job,
    who drinks up scoffing like water,
  who travels in company with evildoers
    and walks with wicked men?
  For he has said, ‘It profits a man nothing
    that he should take delight in God.’
10   “Therefore, hear me, you men of understanding:
    far be it from God that he should do wickedness,
    and from the Almighty that he should do wrong.
11   For according to the work of a man he will repay him,
    and according to his ways he will make it befall him.
12   Of a truth, God will not do wickedly,
    and the Almighty will not pervert justice.
13   Who gave him charge over the earth,
    and who laid on him the whole world?
14   If he should set his heart to it
    and gather to himself his spirit and his breath,
15   all flesh would perish together,
    and man would return to dust.
16   “If you have understanding, hear this;
    listen to what I say.
17   Shall one who hates justice govern?
    Will you condemn him who is righteous and mighty,
18   who says to a king, ‘Worthless one,’
    and to nobles, ‘Wicked man,’
19   who shows no partiality to princes,
    nor regards the rich more than the poor,
    for they are all the work of his hands?
20   In a moment they die;
    at midnight the people are shaken and pass away,
    and the mighty are taken away by no human hand.
21   “For his eyes are on the ways of a man,
    and he sees all his steps.
22   There is no gloom or deep darkness
    where evildoers may hide themselves.
23   For God has no need to consider a man further,
    that he should go before God in judgment.
24   He shatters the mighty without investigation
    and sets others in their place.
25   Thus, knowing their works,
    he overturns them in the night, and they are crushed.
26   He strikes them for their wickedness
    in a place for all to see,
27   because they turned aside from following him
    and had no regard for any of his ways,
28   so that they caused the cry of the poor to come to him,
    and he heard the cry of the afflicted—
29   When he is quiet, who can condemn?
    When he hides his face, who can behold him,
    whether it be a nation or a man?—
30   that a godless man should not reign,
    that he should not ensnare the people.
31   “For has anyone said to God,
    ‘I have borne punishment; I will not offend any more;
32   teach me what I do not see;
    if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more’?
33   Will he then make repayment to suit you,
    because you reject it?
  For you must choose, and not I;
    therefore declare what you know.
34   Men of understanding will say to me,
    and the wise man who hears me will say:
35   ‘Job speaks without knowledge;
    his words are without insight.’
36   Would that Job were tried to the end,
    because he answers like wicked men.
37   For he adds rebellion to his sin;
    he claps his hands among us
    and multiplies his words against God.”

(ESV)

Proverbs 15 (Listen)

  A soft answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.
  The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
    but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
  The eyes of the LORD are in every place,
    keeping watch on the evil and the good.
  A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
    but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
  A fool despises his father's instruction,
    but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.
  In the house of the righteous there is much treasure,
    but trouble befalls the income of the wicked.
  The lips of the wise spread knowledge;
    not so the hearts of fools.
  The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
    but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.
  The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
    but he loves him who pursues righteousness.
10   There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way;
    whoever hates reproof will die.
11   Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD;
    how much more the hearts of the children of man!
12   A scoffer does not like to be reproved;
    he will not go to the wise.
13   A glad heart makes a cheerful face,
    but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
14   The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,
    but the mouths of fools feed on folly.
15   All the days of the afflicted are evil,
    but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.
16   Better is a little with the fear of the LORD
    than great treasure and trouble with it.
17   Better is a dinner of herbs where love is
    than a fattened ox and hatred with it.
18   A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
    but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
19   The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns,
    but the path of the upright is a level highway.
20   A wise son makes a glad father,
    but a foolish man despises his mother.
21   Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense,
    but a man of understanding walks straight ahead.
22   Without counsel plans fail,
    but with many advisers they succeed.
23   To make an apt answer is a joy to a man,
    and a word in season, how good it is!
24   The path of life leads upward for the prudent,
    that he may turn away from Sheol beneath.
25   The LORD tears down the house of the proud
    but maintains the widow's boundaries.
26   The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD,
    but gracious words are pure.
27   Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household,
    but he who hates bribes will live.
28   The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
    but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
29   The LORD is far from the wicked,
    but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
30   The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
    and good news refreshes the bones.
31   The ear that listens to life-giving reproof
    will dwell among the wise.
32   Whoever ignores instruction despises himself,
    but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
33   The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom,
    and humility comes before honor.

(ESV)

Psalm 135 (Listen)

Your Name, O Lord, Endures Forever

  Praise the LORD!
  Praise the name of the LORD,
    give praise, O servants of the LORD,
  who stand in the house of the LORD,
    in the courts of the house of our God!
  Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;
    sing to his name, for it is pleasant!
  For the LORD has chosen Jacob for himself,
    Israel as his own possession.
  For I know that the LORD is great,
    and that our Lord is above all gods.
  Whatever the LORD pleases, he does,
    in heaven and on earth,
    in the seas and all deeps.
  He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth,
    who makes lightnings for the rain
    and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
  He it was who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
    both of man and of beast;
  who in your midst, O Egypt,
    sent signs and wonders
    against Pharaoh and all his servants;
10   who struck down many nations
    and killed mighty kings,
11   Sihon, king of the Amorites,
    and Og, king of Bashan,
    and all the kingdoms of Canaan,
12   and gave their land as a heritage,
    a heritage to his people Israel.
13   Your name, O LORD, endures forever,
    your renown, O LORD, throughout all ages.
14   For the LORD will vindicate his people
    and have compassion on his servants.
15   The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
    the work of human hands.
16   They have mouths, but do not speak;
    they have eyes, but do not see;
17   they have ears, but do not hear,
    nor is there any breath in their mouths.
18   Those who make them become like them,
    so do all who trust in them.
19   O house of Israel, bless the LORD!
    O house of Aaron, bless the LORD!
20   O house of Levi, bless the LORD!
    You who fear the LORD, bless the LORD!
21   Blessed be the LORD from Zion,
    he who dwells in Jerusalem!
  Praise the LORD!

(ESV)