Hear my prayer, O Lord, and in your faithfulness give ear to my supplications; answer me in your righteousness. Enter not into judgement with your servant, for in your sight shall no one living be justified. For the enemy has pursued me, crushing my life to the ground, making me sit in darkness like those long dead. My spirit faints within me; my heart within me is desolate. I remember the time past; I muse upon all your deeds; I consider the works of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul gasps for you like a thirsty land.
O Lord, make haste to answer me; my spirit fails me; hide not your face from me lest I be like those who go down to the Pit. Let me hear of your loving-kindness in the morning, for in you I put my trust; show me the way I should walk in,
for I lift up my soul to you. Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies, for I flee to you for refuge.
Teach me to do what pleases you, for you are my God; let your kindly spirit lead me on a level path. Revive me, O Lord, for your name’s sake; for your righteousness’ sake, bring me out of trouble. In your faithfulness, slay my enemies, and destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for truly I am your servant.
Praise the Lord, O my soul: while I live will I praise the Lord; as long as I have any being,
I will sing praises to my God.
Put not your trust in princes, nor in any human power, for there is no help in them. When their breath goes forth, they return to the earth; on that day all their thoughts perish.
Happy are those who have the God of Jacob for their help, whose hope is in the Lord their God;
Who made heaven and earthm the sea and all that is in them;
who keeps his promise for ever;
Who gives justice to those that suffer wrong and bread to those who hunger.
The Lord looses those that are bound;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous;
The Lord watches over the stranger in the land; he upholds the orphan and widow; but the way of the wicked he turns upside down.
The Lord shall reign for ever, your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered:
‘If one ventures a word with you, will you be offended?
But who can keep from speaking?
See, you have instructed many; you have strengthened the weak hands.
Your words have supported those who were stumbling,
and you have made firm the feeble knees.
But now it has come to you, and you are impatient;
it touches you, and you are dismayed.
Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?
‘Think now, who that was innocent ever perished?
Or where were the upright cut off?
As I have seen, those who plough iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.
By the breath of God they perish, and by the blast of his anger they are consumed.
The roar of the lion, the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions are broken.
The strong lion perishes for lack of prey, and the whelps of the lioness are scattered.
‘Now a word came stealing to me, my ear received the whisper of it.
Amid thoughts from visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on mortals,
dread came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones shake.
A spirit glided past my face; the hair of my flesh bristled.
It stood still, but I could not discern its appearance.
A form was before my eyes; there was silence, then I heard a voice:
“Can mortals be righteous before God?
Can human beings be pure before their Maker?
Even in his servants he puts no trust, and his angels he charges with error;
how much more those who live in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust,
who are crushed like a moth.
Between morning and evening they are destroyed; they perish for ever without any regarding it.
Their tent-cord is plucked up within them, and they die devoid of wisdom.”
But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast of your relation to God and know his will and determine what is best because you are instructed in the law, and if you are sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth, you, then, that teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You that forbid adultery, do you commit adultery? You that abhor idols, do you rob temples? You that boast in the law, do you dishonour God by breaking the law? For, as it is written, ‘The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’
Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. So, if those who are uncircumcised keep the requirements of the law, will not their uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law will condemn you that have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart—it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God.
O God, from whom all blessings flow, by whose providence we are kept and by whose grace we are directed: help us, through the example of your servant Thomas Ken, faithfully to keep your word, humbly to accept adversity and steadfastly to worship you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.