Day 274 – Wisdom of Sirach 41, 42; Psalm 77:18–37; Proverbs 16:11–15; Ephesians 3

Wisdom of Sirach 41, 42

1 O death, how bitter is the memory of you
To a man at peace with his possessions,
To a man without distractions and prosperous in everything,
And still strong enough to enjoy his food.
2 O death, your judgment is good
To the man in need and failing in strength
In his extreme old age, distracted by everything,
And stubborn and short on patience.
3 Do not fear the judgment of death;
Remember those before you and after you.
4 This is the judgment from the Lord to all flesh,
And how can you reject the good pleasure of the Most High?
Whether you lived ten or a hundred or a thousand years,
There is in Hades no inquiry into your life.
5 The children of sinners are loathsome children,
And they frequent the dwellings of the ungodly.
  6 The inheritance of the children of sinners will perish,
And with their seed the disgrace will continue.
7 The children will blame their godless father,
For because of him they will be denounced.
8 Woe to you, the ungodly men
Who forsook the law of God Most High.
9 And when you are born, you will be born to a curse,
And when you die, your portion will be a curse.
10 Whatever is from the earth shall return to the earth,
So the ungodly go from a curse to destruction.
11 The mourning of men is about their bodies,
But the evil name of sinners will be blotted out.
12 Have regard for your name,
For it will remain with you longer
Than a thousand great chests of gold.
13 The days of a good life are numbered,
But a good name will remain forever.
14 Observe instruction and live in peace, my children,
But hidden wisdom and invisible treasure—
What benefit are these?
15 A man who hides his foolishness
Is better than a man who hides his wisdom.
Shame, Proper and Improper
16 Therefore, be ashamed on the basis of my word,
For it is not good to protect every kind of shame,
And not everything is highly esteemed by all with confidence.
17 Be ashamed of fornication before father or mother;
Of a lie before your leader or ruler;
18 Of an offense before a judge or ruler;
Of lawlessness before the assembly of the people;
19 Of wrongdoing before your partner or friend;
Of theft in the place where you dwell.
20 Be ashamed before the truth of God and His covenant,
And of bad manners at the table;
21 Of contemptuous behavior in receiving and giving;
Of silence before those who greet you;
22 Of looking at a prostitute;
Of rejecting the appeal of a kinsman;
23 Of carrying off someone’s portion or gift,
And of staring at another man’s wife;
24 Of meddling with his maidservant—
And do not come near her bed.
25 Be ashamed of insulting words before friends,
And do not be insulting after making a gift;
26 Of repeating and telling what you hear
And revealing secrets.
27 So be truly modest
And find favor before every man.
1 Do not be ashamed of the following things,
And do not let partiality lead you to sin:
2 Of the Law and covenant of the Most High,
And of a judgment to acquit an ungodly man;
3 Of keeping accounts with a partner or a traveling companion,
And of dividing an inheritance among friends;
4 Of accurate scales and balances,
And the acquisition of much or little;
5 Of profit from business with merchants,
  And of much discipline of children,
And of making the sides of an evil servant bleed.
6 Where there is an evil wife, a seal is good;
And where there are many hands, lock things up.
7 Whatever you deliver, do it by number or weight;
And put in writing everything you give or receive.
8 Do not be ashamed of the instructing of the unwise and foolish,
Or of the extremely old man who passes judgment on the young;
Then you will be truly instructed
And approved before all men.
Fathers and Daughters
9 A daughter keeps her father secretly wakeful,
For worry over her takes away his sleep;
Lest in her youth she passes the time to marry,
And lest in her marriage she be hated;
10 In her virginity lest she be defiled
Or become pregnant in her father’s house;
Having a husband, lest she be unfaithful,
Or though married, lest she be childless.
11 Keep a strict watch over a headstrong daughter,
Lest she make you a laughingstock to your enemies,
A source of gossip in the city
And notorious among the people,
And a disgrace to you before the great multitude.
12 Do not look upon anyone for beauty
And do not sit in the midst of women.
13 For a moth comes out of garments,
And the evil of a woman comes from a woman.
14 The evil of a man is better
Than a woman who does what is good,
Yet brings shame and disgrace.
God’s Glorious Works
15 I shall now remember the works of the Lord,
And by the words of the Lord
I shall describe His works that I see.
16 The sun gives light and looks down on everything,
And its work is full of the Lord’s glory.
17 The Lord did not enable His saints
To describe all His wonders,
Which the Lord Almighty established
That the universe might be established in His glory.
18 He traced out the abyss and the human heart
And understands their craftiness;
For the Most High possesses all knowledge
And sees into the signs of an age.
19 He proclaims what has been and what shall be
And reveals the footstep of hidden things.
20 No thought escapes Him;
Not even one word is hidden from Him.
21 He has adorned the mighty works of His wisdom,
For He is from everlasting to everlasting;
Nothing can be added or taken away,
And He needs no one to be His counselor.
22 How precious are all His works,
And how sparkling to behold.
23 All these things live and endure forever, for every need,
And all are obedient.
24 All things are in pairs, one opposite the other,
  And He made nothing incomplete.
25 One thing strengthens the good of another,
And who can have enough of beholding His glory?

Psalm 77:18–37

18 And they tested God in their hearts
By asking food for their souls;
19 And they slandered God and said,
“Why is God unable to prepare a table in the desert?
20 Since He struck the rock, and waters flowed,
And brooks flooded,
Is He also unable to give us bread
Or to prepare a table for His people?”
21 Therefore, the Lord heard and was enraged,
And fire was kindled in Jacob,
And wrath arose against Israel,
22 Because they did not believe in God,
Nor put their hope in His salvation.
23 And He commanded the clouds above
And opened the doors of heaven;
24 And He rained manna for them to eat
And gave them the bread of heaven;
25 Man ate the bread of angels;
He sent them food in abundance.
26 He took away the south wind from heaven,
And with His power He brought in the southwest wind;
27 He rained flesh on them like dust
And winged birds like the sand of the sea,
28 And they fell in the midst of their camp,
All around their tents;
29 And they ate and were well filled,
And He brought them their own desire;
30 They were not deprived of their desire.
While their food was still in their mouth,
31 The wrath of God rose up against them,
And killed their wealthy ones
And shackled Israel’s chosen ones.
32 In all these things they still sinned
And did not believe in His wonders;
33 And their days ended in folly
And their years with haste.
34 When He killed them, they sought Him out,
And turned back, and rose up early before God;
35 They remembered God was their helper,
And the Most High God their redeemer.
36 But they deceived Him with their mouth
And lied to Him with their tongue,
37 For their heart was not right with Him,
Neither were they faithful to His covenant.

Proverbs 16:11–15

11 The son of a king is in the light of life,
And those acceptable to him are as a cloud of the latter rain.
12 The abodes of wisdom are more to be chosen than gold,
And the abodes of discernment are more to be chosen than silver.
13 The paths of life turn away from evil,
And the ways of righteousness are length of life;
14 He who receives instruction shall be in good things,
And he who heeds rebukes shall become wise;
15 He who guards his own ways shall keep his own soul,
And he who loves his life shall use his mouth sparingly.

Ephesians 3

1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—
2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you,
3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already,
4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),
5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:
  6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,
7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.
Purpose of the Mystery
8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;
10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,
11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.
13 Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
Appreciation of the Mystery
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—
19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

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