I cry aloud to God; I cry aloud to God and he will hear me. In the day of my trouble I have sought the Lord; by night my hand is stretched out and does not tire; my soul refuses comfort. I think upon God and I groan; I ponder, and my spirit faints. You will not let my eyelids close; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old; I remember the years long past; I commune with my heart in the night; my spirit searches for understanding.
Will the Lord cast us off for ever?
Will he no more show us his favour?
Has his loving mercy clean gone for ever?
Has his promise come to an end for evermore?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he shut up his compassion in displeasure?
And I said, ‘My grief is this: that the right hand of the Most High has lost its strength.’
I will remember the works of the Lord and call to mind your wonders of old time.
I will meditate on all your works and ponder your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy; who is so great a god as our God?
You are the God who worked wonders and declared your power among the peoples. With a mighty arm you redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.
The waters saw you, O God; the waters saw you and were afraid; the depths also were troubled. The clouds poured out water; the skies thundered; your arrows flashed on every side; The voice of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lit up the ground; the earth trembled and shook. Your way was in the sea, and your paths in the great waters, but your footsteps were not known. You led your people like sheep by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Job again took up his discourse and said:
O that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me;
when his lamp shone over my head, and by his light I walked through darkness;
when I was in my prime, when the friendship of God was upon my tent;
when the Almighty was still with me, when my children were around me;
when my steps were washed with milk, and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!
When I went out to the gate of the city, when I took my seat in the square,
the young men saw me and withdrew, and the aged rose up and stood;
the nobles refrained from talking, and laid their hands on their mouths;
the voices of princes were hushed, and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.
When the ear heard, it commended me, and when the eye saw, it approved;
because I delivered the poor who cried, and the orphan who had no helper.
The blessing of the wretched came upon me, and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban.
I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy, and I championed the cause of the stranger.
I broke the fangs of the unrighteous, and made them drop their prey from their teeth.
Then I thought,
“I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days like the phoenix;
my roots spread out to the waters, with the dew all night on my branches;
my glory was fresh with me, and my bow ever new in my hand.”
They listened to me, and waited, and kept silence for my counsel.
After I spoke they did not speak again, and my word dropped upon them like dew.
They waited for me as for the rain; they opened their mouths as for the spring rain.
I smiled on them when they had no confidence; and the light of my countenance they did not extinguish.
I chose their way, and sat as chief, and I lived like a king among his troops, like one who comforts mourners.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
God our saviour, look on this wounded world in pity and in power; hold us fast to your promises of peace won for us by your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.