Read the Bible | July 7th
Elihu Proclaims God's Majesty
 “At this also my heart trembles
and leaps out of its place.
 Keep listening to the thunder of his voice
and the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
 Under the whole heaven he lets it go,
and his lightning to the corners of the earth.
 After it his voice roars;
he thunders with his majestic voice,
and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard.
 God thunders wondrously with his voice;
he does great things that we cannot comprehend.
 For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’
likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.
 He seals up the hand of every man,
that all men whom he made may know it.
 Then the beasts go into their lairs,
and remain in their dens.
 From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
and cold from the scattering winds.
 By the breath of God ice is given,
and the broad waters are frozen fast.
 He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
the clouds scatter his lightning.
 They turn around and around by his guidance,
to accomplish all that he commands them
on the face of the habitable world.
 Whether for correction or for his land
or for love, he causes it to happen.
 “Hear this, O Job;
stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
 Do you know how God lays his command upon them
and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?
 Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge,
 you whose garments are hot
when the earth is still because of the south wind?
 Can you, like him, spread out the skies,
hard as a cast metal mirror?
 Teach us what we shall say to him;
we cannot draw up our case because of darkness.
 Shall it be told him that I would speak?
Did a man ever wish that he would be swallowed up?
 “And now no one looks on the light
when it is bright in the skies,
when the wind has passed and cleared them.
 Out of the north comes golden splendor;
God is clothed with awesome majesty.
 The Almighty—we cannot find him;
he is great in power;
justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate.
 Therefore men fear him;
he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.” (ESV)
The LORD Answers Job
 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
 Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.
 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
 Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
 On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
 when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
 “Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb,
 when I made clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
 and prescribed limits for it
and set bars and doors,
 and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?
 “Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
and caused the dawn to know its place,
 that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
and the wicked be shaken out of it?
 It is changed like clay under the seal,
and its features stand out like a garment.
 From the wicked their light is withheld,
and their uplifted arm is broken.
 “Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
 Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
 Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
Declare, if you know all this.
 “Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
and where is the place of darkness,
 that you may take it to its territory
and that you may discern the paths to its home?
 You know, for you were born then,
and the number of your days is great!
 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
 which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war?
 What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?
 “Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain
and a way for the thunderbolt,
 to bring rain on a land where no man is,
on the desert in which there is no man,
 to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
and to make the ground sprout with grass?
 “Has the rain a father,
or who has begotten the drops of dew?
 From whose womb did the ice come forth,
and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?
 The waters become hard like stone,
and the face of the deep is frozen.
 “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades
or loose the cords of Orion?
 Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,
or can you guide the Bear with its children?
 Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
Can you establish their rule on the earth?
 “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
that a flood of waters may cover you?
 Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go
and say to you, ‘Here we are’?
 Who has put wisdom in the inward parts
or given understanding to the mind?
 Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
 when the dust runs into a mass
and the clods stick fast together?
 “Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
 when they crouch in their dens
or lie in wait in their thicket?
 Who provides for the raven its prey,
when its young ones cry to God for help,
and wander about for lack of food? (ESV)
The Jerusalem Council
 But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”  And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question.  So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers.  When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.  But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”
 The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter.  And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.  And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us,  and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.  Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?  But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”
 And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.  After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me.  Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name.  And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,
 “‘After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
I will rebuild its ruins,
and I will restore it,
 that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord,
and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
says the Lord, who makes these things  known from of old.’
 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God,  but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood.  For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”
The Council's Letter to Gentile Believers
 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers,  with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings.  Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions,  it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,  men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth.  For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements:  that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”
 So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter.  And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement.  And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words.  And after they had spent some time, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them.  But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.
Paul and Barnabas Separate
 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.”  Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark.  But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work.  And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus,  but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.  And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. (ESV)