Day 259 – Wisdom of Sirach 13, 14; Psalm 68:1–20; Proverbs 14:6–10; 2 Corinthians 8

Wisdom of Sirach 13, 14

1 Whoever touches pitch will be stained,

And whoever associates with an arrogant man will become like him.

2 Do not lift a weight too heavy for you,

Nor associate with a man stronger and richer than you.

What does a clay pot have in common with a copper kettle?

For the clay pot will strike against the kettle and will itself be broken.

3 A rich man does wrong and even proves himself to be the one wronged.

A poor man is wronged, and he must apologize.

4 If you can be useful to him, a rich man will make use of you;

But if you are in need, he will abandon you.

5 If you own anything, he will live with you,

And he will exhaust you, but will not feel sorry for you.

6 When he needs you, he will deceive you and smile at you;

And he will give you hope and say good things to you.

He will even say, “What do you need?”

7 He will shame you with his foods

Until he exhausts you two or three times.

Then at last he will mock you.

If he should see you after this, he will forsake you

And shake his head over you.

8 Take heed, lest you be led astray

And be humiliated in your folly.

9 When a ruler invites you, be slow to accept,

And he will invite you more often.

10 Do not press upon him, lest you be rejected,

  But do not withdraw at a distance, lest you be forgotten.

11 Do not intend to speak to him as an equal,

And do not trust his abundance of words;

For he will test you with a lot of talk,

And while he is smiling, he will scrutinize you.

12 He who does not guard your words is unmerciful,

And he will not hesitate to harm or imprison you.

13 Keep your words to yourself, and be very careful,

For you are walking near your own fall.

Like Attracts Like

14 Every living creature loves its like,

And every man his neighbor.

15 All flesh gathers together by species,

And every man clings to one like himself.

16 What wolf will associate with a lamb?

No more will the sinner with a godly man.

17 What peace is there between a hyena and a dog?

And what peace does a rich man have with a poor man?

18 The prey of lions are wild asses in the wilderness.

Similarly, the pastures of the rich are the poor.

Rich and Poor

19 Lowness of stature is an abomination to the arrogant;

Thus a poor man is an abomination to a rich man.

20 When a rich man is shaken, he is strengthened by friends;

But when a humble man falls, he is pushed away by friends.

21 When a rich man falls, there are many to help him;

And when he speaks abominable words, they justify him.

If a humble man falls, they criticize him further;

And when he speaks with intelligence, no place is given to him.

22 When a rich man speaks, everyone is silent,

And they exalt his word to the clouds.

A poor man speaks, and they say, “Who is this man?”

And if he stumbles, they push him down even further.

23 Wealth in which there is no sin is good,

But poverty is evil in the mouth of an ungodly man.

24 The heart of a man changes the expression on his face,

Either for good or for evil.

25 The mark of a heart filled with goodness is a cheerful face,

But the invention of proverbs requires laborious reasoning.

1 Blessed is a man who does not slip and fall because of his mouth,

And is not stung with pain caused by his sin.

2 Blessed is he whose soul does not condemn him,

And who has not fallen away from his hope.

  3 Wealth is not fitting for a small-minded man,

And to what end is wealth for an envious man?

4 For he who gathers for himself, gathers for others,

And others will live in luxury with his goods.

5 If a man does evil to himself, for whom shall he do good?

And he will not rejoice in his wealth.

Warnings of Vices

6 When a man envies himself, there is no one worse off,

And this is the reward for his vice.

7 Even if he does good, he does it unintentionally,

And in the end he reveals his vice.

8 He who envies with his eye is evil;

He turns away his face and despises souls.

9 The eye of a greedy man is not satisfied with his share,

And useless wrongdoing dries up the soul.

10 The evil eye of a man is envious over his bread;

Thus it is lacking at his table.

11 My son, whatever you have, treat yourself well,

And offer sacrifices worthily to the Lord.

12 Remember that death does not delay,

And the covenant of Hades has not been shown to you.

13 Before you die, do good to a friend,

And reach out and give to him based on your ability.

14 Do not let a day go by without doing something good,

And do not let any of your desire for doing good escape you.

15 Will you not leave all your hard work to another,

And all your hard work to be divided by lot?

16 Give and receive and deprive yourself,

Because in Hades there is nowhere to seek luxury.

17 All flesh becomes old like a garment,

For the covenant from of old is, “You shall die by death.”

18 Like flourishing leaves on a thick tree,

Which sheds some leaves and puts forth others,

So also is the generation of flesh and blood:

One dies and another is born.

19 Every work of man decays and fails,

And he who made it will depart with it.

The Blessings of Wisdom

20 Blessed is the man who practices wisdom

And discourses with insight.

21 Whoever ponders the ways of wisdom in his heart

Will also reflect on her secrets.

22 Pursue wisdom like a tracker

And lie in wait on her paths.

23 He who looks intently through her windows

Will also listen at her doors.

24 He who lodges near her house

Will also fasten his tent peg to her walls.

25 He will establish his home according to her will,

And so lodge in a good dwelling place.

26 He will put his children in her shelter

And lodge under her branches.

27 He will be sheltered by her from the burning heat

  And will dwell in her glory.

Psalm 68:1–20

1 For the End, concerning things that shall be changed; by David.

2 Save me, O God, for the waters flood my soul.

3 I am stuck in the mire of the sea, and there is no place to stand;

I came into the depths of the sea, and the storm overwhelmed me.

4 I grow weary with crying; my throat is hoarse;

My eyes fail me from hoping in my God.

5 Those who hate me without a cause multiplied even more than the hairs of my head;

My enemies who persecute me unjustly have become strong;

Then I paid for things I did not steal.

6 O God, You know my foolishness,

And my transgressions are not hidden from You.

7 O Lord, O Lord of hosts, let not those who wait for You be put to shame because of me;

O God of Israel, let not those who seek You feel ashamed because of me.

  8 For Your sake I bore disgrace;

Humiliation covered my face.

9 I am become a stranger to my brothers,

An alien to my mother’s sons;

10 For the zeal of Your house consumed me,

And the insults of those who disgraced You fell on me.

11 I bent down my soul with fasting,

And it became a disgrace for me.

12 I also made sackcloth my garment,

And I became a byword to them.

13 Those who sit at the gate were talking against me,

And those who drink wine were singing about me.

14 But I, O Lord, pray with my prayer to You;

It is the time of Your goodwill, O God, in the abundance of Your mercies;

In the truth of Your salvation, hear me.

15 Save me from the mire, that I may not be stuck therein;

Deliver me from those who hate me, and from the depths of the waters.

16 Let not a storm of water drown me;

Neither let the deep swallow me up,

Nor the well enclose its mouth upon me.

17 Hear me, O Lord, for Your mercy is good;

According to Your abundant compassion, look upon me.

18 Turn not Your face from Your child,

For I am afflicted; hear me speedily.

19 Give heed to my soul, and redeem it;

Deliver me because of my enemies.

20 For You know my disgrace

And my shame and humiliation;

All who afflict me are before You.

Proverbs 14:6–10

6 You will seek wisdom in the company of evil men, and you will not find it;

But perception is easily found with the discerning.

7 All things are contrary to a man without discernment,

But the weapons of perception are wise lips.

8 The wisdom of astute men will know their ways,

But the folly of men without discernment is in their deceit.

9 The houses of the lawless are due for purification,

But the houses of the righteous are acceptable.

10 If the heart of a man is controlled by feelings, his soul is sorrowful,

But when he rejoices, it is not mingled with arrogance.

2 Corinthians 8

1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia:

2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.

3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing,

4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.

6 So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.

7 But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.

Christ Our Pattern

8 I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others.

9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

10 And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago;

  11 but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.

12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.

13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened;

14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality.

15 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

Collection for the Judean Saints

16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus.

17 For he not only accepted the exhortation, but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord.

18 And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches,

19 and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind,

20 avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us—

21 providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

22 And we have sent with them our brother whom we have often proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, because of the great confidence which we have in you.

23 If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.24 Therefore show to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.

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