Archives for posts with tag: bible

sleep

If you were a full time student, you could spend all day Monday studying maths, every Tuesday studying history, Wednesday science, Thursday theology, and every Friday you could study art. That would work. It would work even better if you studied a little of each topic each day, even if you spent the same amount of time in total. Why is that? We know about a couple of the reasons, but there are probably more.

It is somewhat like learning to swim. If you knew nothing about swimming, then it is probably feasible to learn in a day or two, if you worked on it full time. That would be very fatiguing. But, if you instead spent a half hour a day, then your muscles would have time to recover from the exertion, and the lessons would be far more enjoyable and effective. Also, your muscle memory would have time to become established and integrated between sessions, especially while you are sleeping. So, this too would increase the effectiveness of the training.

You might have noticed, when studying one topic for hours, that it is refreshing to think about something else for awhile. It is like our brains need a rest from that exercise by using some other “brain muscles” instead.

This post is really about daily Bible reading. Yes, there are a lot of ways to do Bible study and it is great to hear about methods that have been a blessing. We are not discouraging anyone from using their favourite approach, rather, we are simply sharing a key part of ours.

For well over a decade we have been reading the Bible out loud to our family daily, completing the Bible each year. This has been such a blessing. We don’t do this out of guilt or pride, but because we want to know what He has to say. We read it every day because of the above reasons, but mostly because it is cleansing and nourishing to the spirit. We repeat it every year because we want to be reminded. We read the whole Bible because that is what God saw fit to record.

Luke 4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Job 36:22 Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him?

It is so disappointing when we hear of anyone discouraging people from reading their Bible through each year. Don’t listen to them! Though, as a family, we employ many other tactics, this is the foundation for all of our other studies, both in the Bible and elsewhere. For any teaching you hear, you will have read the biblical context recently, and can more ably discern if the teaching is valid doctrinally. How else would we know for sure that some false teaching is not at all in the Bible, unless we had read it all ourselves? Study the genuine, in order to recognize a counterfeit.

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WordStudies

In any communication, it is helpful to establish some common ground among the participants. That is one of the objectives of this blog; to provide some framework to our creed, as a catalyst to draw together friendly project members of like precious faith. At the deepest level, this common ground would include the definitions of the words used and their connotations in the context of the message. Some words have a very broad meaning and several others have very little latitude.

For example, maybe Fred thinks that the word “religion” simply means rituals and traditions. And perhaps Ivan is thinking more along the lines of helping “the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). If Ivan and Fred are not talking about the meaning of the word, but simply use the word, then this would be miscommunication. Whatever one said, the other would “hear” something else.

Our plan is to include some word studies in future blog posts. Not that we want to dictate the meaning of words, as an authority in English lexicology, but just to clarify the nuances of how we are using some key words in relation to this project.

List of word study articles:

Religion

Repentance

Christian

Calling

Holiness

Unity

Dispensations

FromHeaven

Job 35:2 Thinkest thou this to be right, [that] thou saidst, My righteousness [is] more than God’s?

There are many who object to the Judaeo-Christian world view, due to the accounts in God’s Word when God commands the Israelites to wipe out a nation, for example.

1 Samuel 15:3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

Admittedly, this is a hard criticism to answer. There is no lack of a good answer, yet the same skeptic who condemns the God of the Bible, thinking their righteousness is more than God’s, would also likely reject the foundational tenets of this answer, if they bothered to read it. So, why answer? Because the answer honours God and His Word! Also, because many would be misled, if they only hear the skeptic and not the rebuttal.

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

There is a good deal of overlap between this topic and Why Is There Pain And Suffering?, but there is enough difference that it deserves a separate article. Especially since it is also strongly addressed in the book of Job. One difference is that the deaths in the book of Job, for example, were attributed to Satan, not God. In this article we focus on the occasions when God commands, rather than allows, the death of individuals who have committed no capital crime. Please read that other article, so we don’t need to repeat a lot of it here. Thanks!

There are some who attempt to salvage God’s reputation, for ordering the Israelites to wipe out entire nations, by claiming that only the men would be remaining to defend the city. The women and children would have known of the coming attack and would have retreated to safety. Even the men who recognized that their nation deserved to be destroyed would not have stayed to defend it. So, only those responsible for the national rebellion would be wiped out in the battle. Whether or not that is true, this article will not be approaching the topic this way. Among other reasons, what about the flood of Noah’s day? The Bible does not say that God allowed Satan to create a global flood, but that it was the action of God Himself. The Bible is clear that the eight on the ark were the only people to escape destruction. So, the above thesis does not fully answer the challenge anyway.

God’s defence is His glory.

Revelation 14:7 … Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made Heaven, and Earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

Daniel 4:34-35
34 … I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation:
35 And all the inhabitants of the Earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of Heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the Earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Job 41:11 Who hath prevented me, that I should repay [him? whatsoever is] under the whole heaven is mine.

Colossians 1:16-17
16 For by him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in Earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

1 Chronicles 29:11 Thine, O LORD, [is] the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all [that is] in the Heaven and in the Earth [is thine;] thine [is] the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.

Romans 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, [are] all things: to whom [be] glory for ever. Amen.

We are all condemned to death.

Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 3:17, 19 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: … unto dust shalt thou return.

Romans 5:12, 18
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
18 … as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Every breath is from God’s grace.

Job 34:12-15
12 Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.
13 Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world?
14 If he set his heart upon man, [if] he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath;
15 All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.

John 3:27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from Heaven.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Each breath we take is a gift from God. He does not owe us another one. God’s holiness and righteousness do not depend on our receipt of another moment of life. He need not provide any justification for when, or how, our earthly lives end. Though we can take steps to hasten our demise, there is no guarantee, there is no contract, that our lives will last. However you define “long life,” it still ends.

Job 33:12-13
12 Behold, … God is greater than man.
13 Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.

The Biblical standard is high, for when mankind is to take a human life, and people get confused and start to misapply these criteria to God. By definition, God is all-knowing and all-powerful. Mankind is not … not even close. Just because we must provide biblical justification any time we take a human life, does not mean that God needs to answer to us. Sometimes God reveals to us the details of how the manner and timing of a person’s death fits into His glorious plan, usually He does not.

God can do some things that we cannot rightly do …

Isaiah 55:8-9
8 For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9 For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

2 Thessalonians 2:1,4
1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him, …
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

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sunrise

Philippians 4:6-7
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 5:6-7
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

The Bible says to cast your cares on Him. Have you ever wondered how to do that? Here is one procedure:

1) Problem
2) Tempted to worry
3) Remind myself that Almighty God has great compassion for me and He said for me to cast my cares on Him
4) Pray about my problem
5) Stop praying about my problem
6) Meditate on Psalm 23, instead of meditating on my problem.

Consider the stability of the Rock of Ages, instead of your precarious situation. Focus on the size of your God, rather than the size of your concern. Strengthen your faith by worshipping God.

Job 37:14 Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.

Isaiah 26:3-4
3 Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, [whose] mind [is] stayed [on thee:] because he trusteth in thee.
4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH [is] everlasting strength:

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sharpenAxe

Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and [hath] nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

Being a sluggard, according to Solomon, is the opposite of being diligent. He says the diligent will be well fed, but the Bible does not have anything good to say about the sluggard.

Proverbs 6:4-11
4 Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.
5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand [of the hunter,] and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
8 Provideth her meat in the summer, [and] gathereth her food in the harvest.
9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
10 [Yet] a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

Proverbs 10:26 As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so [is] the sluggard to them that send him.

Proverbs 20:4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; [therefore] shall he beg in harvest, and [have] nothing.

Proverbs 26:16 The sluggard [is] wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.

Proverbs 26:12 Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? [there is] more hope of a fool than of him.

Proverbs 27:22 Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, [yet] will not his foolishness depart from him.

People try to avoid work, thinking they will enjoy life more by doing less challenging tasks. This is not wise and accomplishes worse than failure in its objective.

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throne

James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

So, unless you are satisfied with devilish faith, it is going to take something more than a belief in God.

Matthew 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in Heaven.

Romans 10:9-10
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

When a word is spoken, yet is not true, that is not a confession. Is He your Lord? Is He on the throne of your life? Do you believe that He knows best? Or do you pick and choose which parts of God’s Word you will follow, putting your own authority above The Author?

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him:] for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Upon what have you placed your faith? A god with a small “g” who can be served conveniently? Or the Creator of the cosmos, of Whom you beg for wisdom?

Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the LORD [is] a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name [was] Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

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CambodianOrphans

We would like to share with you some information about a ministry that we can endorse wholeheartedly. The name of the ministry is North Country Baptist Children’s Home.

This is an orphanage in Cambodia with a capacity for 100 children. As of this writing, they are caring for 37 orphans.

You can donate monthly to sponsor a child, so they will be able to take in more orphans. Or you can give a one-time gift to help, for example, with needs that they share through their newsletters. Please see their website for more details.

http://www.ncbch.com

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.

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CambodianOrphanage

handshake

Luke 21:16-17
16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and [some] of you shall they cause to be put to death.
17 And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name’s sake.

Matthew 10:34-36
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on Earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man’s foes [shall be] they of his own household.

Jesus told us this would happen. It is some of our closest friends and relatives that have hurt us the most. What Jesus did not say was that we should attempt to avoid this pain via isolation. Relationships with healthy ties are worth the risk.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Like Jonathan for David, we find out who our real friends are when the troubles come. Other times, it is more like Judas.

Job 42:10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

3 John 13-14
13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:
14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace [be] to thee. [Our] friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.

John 15:12-13
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

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leak-quote

What if I had no compassion for the poor? What if I had no compassion for the lost? What if I grudgingly laboured for Christ only out of duty and self-righteousness? What if my only reason for ministry is to avoid feeling guilty for not doing so? In contrast, what if God put His compassion for the poor and the lost into my heart? My heart would soften. I would rejoice in being the bearer of God’s love. I would be blessed by being a blessing. I would grow in my desire for the lost sheep to come to my Shepherd.

1 Corinthians 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor,] and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Isaiah 64:6 … we are all as an unclean [thing,] and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Filthy rags, that is the value of our self-righteousness. That sounds more counter productive, rather than a contribution. God does not need your money, but His Face shines on generous hearts. God does not need your ministry, but He allows us the blessing of partnering with Him. What a Partner!

Judges 7:2 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that [are] with thee [are] too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.

Meagre physical assets hinders not God in His work. On the contrary, as in the case of Gideon’s army, numerous earthly resources can detract from God getting the rightful credit in the victory. It is far better to glorify God, so that our faith is strengthened.

2 Corinthians 9:6-12
6 But this [I say,] He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give;] not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
8 And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things,] may abound to every good work:
9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.
12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;

Bountiful giving is not merely a measure of the size of the gift. It is a measure of the size of our desire to give. Of course, in some situations, this will result in large gifts, and there is nothing wrong with that. For others, it will be more like the widow’s two mites, also highly regarded by Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

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elders

In the book of Job, his own complaints and arguments, are categorized, by God, as “words without knowledge.” Also, all of the speeches that his three friends made, God condemned as folly. In contrast, the reason that Elihu’s words are recorded in Scripture, is because he was a prophet of God. It seems that God inspired Elihu to make the introductory speech in preparation for God Himself to arrive and say what no human preacher could say.

The unnamed narrator of the book of Job is also a prophet inspired of God. In the narration, the reasons for Elihu’s admonition are introduced. In both the narration, and during Elihu’s speech, it is pointed out that Elihu honoured his elders.

Job 32:6-7
6 And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I [am] young, and ye [are] very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not show you mine opinion.
7 I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.

Here we have a rare situation. A prophet of God, who is not an elder, is in a position where his honour for his elders is tested and exercised. His response is approved as inspired of God, as an installment to God’s Holy Word. By examining the Scriptures, and using Elihu as a godly example, we can hope to get a better understanding of what it means to honour our elders in a Biblical way. We can even learn of some things it does not mean to honour our elders.

Similar to Timothy and Jeremiah, we find that Elihu had a ministry, even though he was not an elder.

1 Timothy 4:11-14
11 These things command and teach.
12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

Thus, from these biblical examples, we can see that honouring our elders does not mean that we are to leave all of the work of ministry to the elders. It may seem like we are being humble by deferring these hallowed roles to those with more experience, but that is not God’s design that He has patterned for us in His Word. Yes, there are some ministry roles that the Holy Bible directs to be filled by elders, just not all of them.

Another aspect that is not included in biblically honouring our elders, is that they are always to be deemed as correct, when there is a disagreement, just because they are older. Elihu made it very clear that his elders, Job, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar were wrong. This was not just a difference of opinion between Elihu and the four. Elihu found the four to be in error, compared to Truth Itself.

Job 32
2 … against Job … because he justified himself rather than God.
3 Also against his three friends … because they had found no answer, and [yet] had condemned Job.

Job, as an elder, was to be admonished for his poor treatment of God’s glory. Job’s three friends, as elders, were to be admonished for publicly condemning Job because they assumed he was guilty, not because they knew he was guilty.

It was not as though Elihu considered his preferences to be more important than others’. He did not even take credit for his own point of view. He acknowledged that the wisdom that he had been taught came as a gift from God.

Job 36:3 I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.

Job 32:8 But [there is] a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

There are some that consider flattering titles to be required in the honour that is to be given to elders. The Bible says just the opposite when Elihu says,

Job 32:21-22
21 Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.
22 For I know not to give flattering titles; [in so doing] my maker would soon take me away.

This agrees with what Jesus said also.

Matthew 23
Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees … love … to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren.

OK, admittedly, most of this article is talking about what honouring elders is not. Now what does the Bible say Elihu did as an expression of honour to these elders?

Elihu waited until his elders were done talking.

Job 32:4 Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they [were] elder than he.

Also, he didn’t just wait, he was attentively listening to his elders.

Job 32:11-12a
11 Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say.
12 Yea, I attended unto you, …

We can also see that Elihu was attentive, since he quotes Job multiple times. Also, he tells the three friends that he will not be using any of their speeches. Elihu was not just waiting for them to shut up, so he could talk, he was testing these teachings, compared to God’s Word, as he listened.

Further, he didn’t just wait, he didn’t even start until they were done talking.

Job 31:40b … The words of Job are ended.

Job 32:1a So these three men ceased to answer Job …

Job 32:16 When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, [and] answered no more;)

Considering the context, we would not propose that this is a doctrine that must be strictly followed in this specific method for every occasion. The spirit of the principle is to hear them out. To honour our elders, we let them have their say in the matter. In this case, there were already elders rebuking each other, so Elihu was probably giving them space to sort it out themselves.

Another honour that Elihu bestowed upon these elders is to treat them with dignity, as astute men of wisdom. Several times, as he reasons with them, he either states or implies that they are men of understanding and prudence, so they are quite capable of grasping the truth of what God has revealed.

Elihu did not admonish these elders just because they were wrong, but to defend God’s glory and holiness. So, we will conclude this article with some samples of the same.

Job 33:12 Behold, [in] this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.

Job 34:10 Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, [that he should do] wickedness; and [from] the Almighty, [that he should commit] iniquity.

Job 34:12 Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.

Job 36:2-3
2 Suffer me a little, and I will show thee that [I have] yet to speak on God’s behalf.
3 I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.

Job 36:5 Behold, God [is] mighty, and despiseth not [any: he is] mighty in strength [and] wisdom.

Job 36:22-26
22 Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him?
23 Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?
24 Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold.
25 Every man may see it; man may behold [it] afar off.
26 Behold, God [is] great, and we know [him] not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.

Job 37:2-5
2 Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound [that] goeth out of his mouth.
3 He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.
4 After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard.
5 God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.

Job 37:23-24
23 [Touching] the Almighty, we cannot find him out: [he is] excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.
24 Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any [that are] wise of heart.

Job 37:14 Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.

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