“God will not let your tests overtake you. Conversely He will not bless you with more if you cannot maintain what is already in your possession.”~TB
Have you ever noticed a pattern where certain opportunities seemed block for one reason or another? Well, it’s not always an oppositional offense, but rather, unfinished business. If you are experiencing a cork in your situation, check your work. A wise employer will not overload you with new assignments if your old ones are withering away at your desk. So if you’re looking around for your next step in life, make sure you’ve done that God has asked you to do.
Get it Done
Whatever it is that you are tasked to do, do it and do it well. Holding onto one assignment and expecting another to follow before you’ve finished your work is a foolish practice. Don’t waste your time dreaming about the next thing, when today’s work is still unfinished. When your work is done, then you can reap the benefits of a job well-done. In order to do this, step aside from your pride, ask God what needs to be done, and get to it.
What unfinished business is bottlenecking your next assignment?
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1As dead flies cause even a bottle of perfume to stink, so a little foolishness spoils great wisdom and honor.
2A wise person chooses the right road; a fool takes the wrong one.
3You can identify fools just by the way they walk down the street!
4If your boss is angry at you, don’t quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes.
5There is another evil I have seen under the sun. Kings and rulers make a grave mistake
6when they give great authority to foolish people and low positions to people of proven worth.
7I have even seen servants riding horseback like princes—and princes walking like servants!
8When you dig a well, you might fall in. When you demolish an old wall, you could be bitten by a snake.
9When you work in a quarry, stones might fall and crush you. When you chop wood, there is danger with each stroke of your ax.
10Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.
11If a snake bites before you charm it, what’s the use of being a snake charmer?
12Wise words bring approval, but fools are destroyed by their own words.
13Fools base their thoughts on foolish assumptions, so their conclusions will be wicked madness;
14they chatter on and on. No one really knows what is going to happen; no one can predict the future.
15Fools are so exhausted by a little work that they can’t even find their way home.
16What sorrow for the land ruled by a servant, the land whose leaders feast in the morning.
17Happy is the land whose king is a noble leader and whose leaders feast at the proper time to gain strength for their work, not to get drunk.
18Laziness leads to a sagging roof; idleness leads to a leaky house.
19A party gives laughter, wine gives happiness, and money gives everything!
20Never make light of the king, even in your thoughts. And don’t make fun of the powerful, even in your own bedroom. For a little bird might deliver your message and tell them what you said.
“Examine how you spend your work hours because some work isn’t work at all.”~TB
You can stay busy and still be off task, not completing your assignment. This world is ripe for distraction, disruption, and the like, so an undisciplined worker doesn’t need much help in wasting their time. The guise of being busy is a great smokescreen to make you appear to be more productive that you actually are, but the results of your harvest will always tell the truth.
You can’t engage in wasted work and expect a positive outcome come harvest time. Sure, in your mind you worked hard, but all of the “work” did not produce any fruit! If you’re harvest is sparse, ask God on how to change your work ethic so that the next harvest will reap better results. Wasted work is a trap in the mind that keeps you from completing your assignments. Don’t fall for the trap. Work honestly and humbling to avoid wasted work.
Are you working hard or hardly working?
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1A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume. And the day you die is better than the day you are born.
2Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies— so the living should take this to heart.
3Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.
4A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time.
5Better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool.
6A fool’s laughter is quickly gone, like thorns crackling in a fire. This also is meaningless.
7Extortion turns wise people into fools, and bribes corrupt the heart.
8Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.
9Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool.
10Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise.
11Wisdom is even better when you have money. Both are a benefit as you go through life.
12Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life.
13Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked?
14Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life.
15I have seen everything in this meaningless life, including the death of good young people and the long life of wicked people.
16So don’t be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself?
17On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. Don’t be a fool! Why die before your time?
18Pay attention to these instructions, for anyone who fears God will avoid both extremes.
19One wise person is stronger than ten leading citizens of a town!
20Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.
21Don’t eavesdrop on others—you may hear your servant curse you.
22For you know how often you yourself have cursed others.
23I have always tried my best to let wisdom guide my thoughts and actions. I said to myself, “I am determined to be wise.” But it didn’t work.
24Wisdom is always distant and difficult to find.
25I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and to understand the reason for things. I was determined to prove to myself that wickedness is stupid and that foolishness is madness.
26I discovered that a seductive woman is a trap more bitter than death. Her passion is a snare, and her soft hands are chains. Those who are pleasing to God will escape her, but sinners will be caught in her snare.
27“This is my conclusion,” says the Teacher. “I discovered this after looking at the matter from every possible angle.
28Though I have searched repeatedly, I have not found what I was looking for. Only one out of a thousand men is virtuous, but not one woman!
29But I did find this: God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.”
“Don’t get so caught up in waiting to act at the perfect moment, because life is happening right now.”~TB
Be careful with whom you listen to or what you tell yourself because half-truths will have you waiting until it’s too late to experience God’s joy and peace. Society, the opposition, and an undisciplined mind will lull you into a false sense of complacency if you don’t know the Truth. Nothing is perfect and everything won’t always come easy, which is why you must till your own soil in all seasons.
If you obsess over tomorrow and dwell on yesterday, you will miss your opportunity to sow your harvest. Avoiding the present will leave you unprepared for famine, keeping you beholden to corrupt leaders. Friends do not be misled. Work today to secure you tomorrow as empty excuses do no cloth backs, feed bellies, or warm houses. God’s Promise is live right now. Walk with Him to remove the scales from your eyes so that you can experience His Will for your life.
Are you with God right now or are you waiting on tomorrow and complaining about yesterday?
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1I said to myself, “Come on, let’s try pleasure. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless.
2So I said, “Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?”
3After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. And while still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I tried to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world.
4I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards.
5I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees.
6I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves.
7I bought slaves, both men and women, and others were born into my household. I also owned large herds and flocks, more than any of the kings who had lived in Jerusalem before me.
8I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers, both men and women, and had many beautiful concubines. I had everything a man could desire!
9So I became greater than all who had lived in Jerusalem before me, and my wisdom never failed me.
10Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors.
11But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.
12So I decided to compare wisdom with foolishness and madness (for who can do this better than I, the king? ).
13I thought, “Wisdom is better than foolishness, just as light is better than darkness.
14For the wise can see where they are going, but fools walk in the dark.” Yet I saw that the wise and the foolish share the same fate.
15Both will die. So I said to myself, “Since I will end up the same as the fool, what’s the value of all my wisdom? This is all so meaningless!”
16For the wise and the foolish both die. The wise will not be remembered any longer than the fool. In the days to come, both will be forgotten.
17So I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless—like chasing the wind.
18I came to hate all my hard work here on earth, for I must leave to others everything I have earned.
19And who can tell whether my successors will be wise or foolish? Yet they will control everything I have gained by my skill and hard work under the sun. How meaningless!
20So I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work in this world.
21Some people work wisely with knowledge and skill, then must leave the fruit of their efforts to someone who hasn’t worked for it. This, too, is meaningless, a great tragedy.
22So what do people get in this life for all their hard work and anxiety?
23Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief; even at night their minds cannot rest. It is all meaningless.
24So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.
25For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him?
26God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him. But if a sinner becomes wealthy, God takes the wealth away and gives it to those who please him. This, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.
“God promised a peaceful life, not a perfect life, so it’s important to understand the difference.”~TB
When you follow the world too closely, it can lull you into a false sense of how life is “supposed” to go. Society tells you to follow certain practices, go to school, get a job, buy a house, join the HOA, build a family, etc. These rules seem fine because it gives you a sense of “what to do”. However, these superficial guidelines can make the blind feel a false sense of control or security that lies outside of God. Ironically, what this world teaches you is not rooted in Biblical principle, because the only guaranteed thing in life is God and nothing else. Blindly following this “checklist life” will bring you disillusionment and discontent because this path is the exact opposite of what Christ teaches.
The Impossible Quest for Perfection
Yes, it is important to be part of the community. Yes, one must have a job and educate themselves. None of these goals are inherently wrong. That said, life in this world is a journey and not a successive one at that. The world teaches you that life happens in an upward slope. The Bible teaches you that hills, valleys, and plateaus are normal. If you take the world’s guidelines to heart, prepare for a depressing reality because perfection is impossible! At least, for humanity. Just look at Job, Jonah, Joseph, David, and all of the stories in the Bible. Friends, even God’s favorite people in the Word faced trial after trial, setback after setback, before they experienced any kind of success. And, even after they achieved great things, they still faced opposition. So friends, do not strive for perfection, or the picturesque falsehoods of the world. Strive for peace, which can be found in the teachings of the Lord.
Your life does not have to be perfect to experience God’s perfect peace. No, this type of peace comes from a deep and lengthy time with God Himself. Friends, we cannot learn all that Christ has to teach us unless we take the necessary time to spend sitting at His feet. Through God, you learn that life is messy. Through Him, you learn that He controls all. And, if you rely on His wisdom, you will see that He is in the midst of all facets of your life. Know that He is always an umbrella when life and opposition bring inclement weather. Spending time in His presence strengthens your understanding that the world is a broken and misguided place and that you need to possess the lens of Christ in order to see through the falsehoods. So the next time you’re feeling down because life isn’t perfect, ask God to teach you how to sit in perfect peace.
What is stopping you from living in perfect peace?
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1Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.
2When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.
3The man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but if he hangs around with prostitutes, his wealth is wasted.
4A just king gives stability to his nation, but one who demands bribes destroys it.
5To flatter friends is to lay a trap for their feet.
6Evil people are trapped by sin, but the righteous escape, shouting for joy.
7The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all.
8Mockers can get a whole town agitated, but the wise will calm anger.
9If a wise person takes a fool to court, there will be ranting and ridicule but no satisfaction.
10The bloodthirsty hate blameless people, but the upright seek to help them.
11Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.
12If a ruler pays attention to liars, all his advisers will be wicked.
13The poor and the oppressor have this in common— the LORD gives sight to the eyes of both.
14If a king judges the poor fairly, his throne will last forever.
15To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.
16When the wicked are in authority, sin flourishes, but the godly will live to see their downfall.
17Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.
18When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.
19Words alone will not discipline a servant; the words may be understood, but they are not heeded.
20There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.
21A servant pampered from childhood will become a rebel.
22An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin.
23Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.
24If you assist a thief, you only hurt yourself. You are sworn to tell the truth, but you dare not testify.
25Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety.
26Many seek the ruler’s favor, but justice comes from the LORD .
27The righteous despise the unjust; the wicked despise the godly
”All things work as God intended, so till your soil, chill out, and be cool.”~TB
Each day presents new opportunities and challenges. You have a finite amount of resources to till the soil and plant the seeds of your future harvest. The devil’s job is to get you off task and he doesn’t play fair or nice. In those moments, you have two options: be cool and plant Godly seeds, or give in to the chaos and plant seeds of discord. While the opposition will lead you to a poisoned well, you make the choice to drink the poisoned water. No matter which path you choose, the results will show your deeds.
You can only fake your results for so long. Don’t forget that wheat and tares grow together and cannot be distinguished until harvest time, so don’t be fulled by growth. Come harvest time, God will show you whether you’ve been cool or not. Just because you have not yet reaped your harvest— good or bad— does not mean that God is not watching. If you’re cool, He will reward you. If you’re not, well, you reap what you’ve sown. Perhaps if you repent and let God work in you, He’ll hook you up in the next season. So be cool, honor God, and do your work.
Are you being cool yet?
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1Wisdom has built her house; she has carved its seven columns.
2She has prepared a great banquet, mixed the wines, and set the table.
3She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come. She calls out from the heights overlooking the city.
4“Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says,
5“Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed.
6Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment.”
7Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt.
8So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you.
9Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.
10Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.
11Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life.
12If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.
13The woman named Folly is brash. She is ignorant and doesn’t know it.
14She sits in her doorway on the heights overlooking the city.
15She calls out to men going by who are minding their own business.
16“Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says,
17“Stolen water is refreshing; food eaten in secret tastes the best!”
18But little do they know that the dead are there. Her guests are in the depths of the grave.
“Don’t be so quick to fall in love with only the outcome. It will make you hate the process.”~TB
God will provide you with a vision for your destiny here on earth. This is meant to inspire and give you hope to develop yourself and your relationship in Christ. Inspiration, when put in the right context empowers you to move in ways you could never conceive. When you put your faith in Christ and in the vision He gives you, great things are possible. On the other hand, if you basque in the potential of what could be without doing the work to make it happen, you will remain stuck in the ‘what if’ because you failed to do the process.
Before the vision can be achieved, the work needed to complete the job has to be done. Don’t compare your work or your vision to the work and vision of others. You will only see the fruits (or lack thereof) of their labor, but you fail to see what they did (or did not do) to get there. The same understanding can be applied to your relationship with God. It is a 1 on 1 relationship that takes intentional development over time. Friends, spending time with God daily is not for His benefit, it is for yours! Having a talk with God is not an “optional” endeavor, but rather the necessary process of spiritual growth. You would not give a calculus test to a 3rd grader. In the same way, God cannot bestow gifts and glory to those who are not connected to Him. Submit to the process to actualize the outcome.
Whenever you see your brothers and sisters in Christ succeed, be it in life, money, spiritual growth, etc., remember that they too had to go through a process. The outcome can only be attained if you do the work. It’s as simple as that. If you’re trying to save money, limit your unnecessary spending. If you’re trying to learn a new language, study, daily. If you seek the wisdom of God, walk with Him always. Friends, success is not by accident and there are no overnight victories. Some days will be easier than others. Even on the hard days, the process is still there, so get to work! The point is, though salvation is freely given, you must actively and intentionally seek God. No, not just on the hour of church on Sunday, that is supplemental. Fall in love with the process so that you can experience the outcome.
Are you in love with the process or are you in love with avoiding the work?
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1From the depths of despair, O LORD, I call for your help.
2Hear my cry, O Lord. Pay attention to my prayer.
3LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive?
4But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you.
5I am counting on the LORD ; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word.
6I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.
7O Israel, hope in the LORD ; for with the LORD there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows.
8He himself will redeem Israel from every kind of sin.
“God does not honor shoddy workmanship, so do it well and do it right the first time”~TB
Do not expect to pass your tests with half-baked efforts. God isn’t fooled and He knows that you’re capable of quality workmanship. When you seek half-truths to justify your laziness, you fall prey to fellow shoddy workers looking to steal from honest people, claiming their work is up to snuff. Friends, don’t be lazy. If you have God-given talents, work to the best of your ability. When you don’t, you become stuck in a cycle of dishonesty and turbulence, as you cling desperately to the lies you tell yourself to comfort your existence. God will not bless mediocrity. Get to work.
Examine your life regularly. In doing so, you begin to see the patterns of your life. The honest worker can trace the fruits of their labors and will rest peacefully each night knowing they did a job well done. The lazy worker has to toss and turn in unrest, searching for excuse after excuse to justify their pitiful offerings. If your life is someone else’s fault, it’s time to examine your heart, efforts, and relationship with Christ. When you have an honest relationship with the Lord, He will gently reveal the inequities in your life. Do the work and reap the wonderful relationship with our Father in Heaven.
Are you doing a job well done or are the lies you spin well done?
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1Sing a new song to the LORD, for he has done wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory; his holy arm has shown his saving power!
2The LORD has announced his victory and has revealed his righteousness to every nation!
3He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel. The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
4Shout to the LORD, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy!
5Sing your praise to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and melodious song,
6with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn. Make a joyful symphony before the LORD, the King!
7Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the earth and all living things join in.
8Let the rivers clap their hands in glee! Let the hills sing out their songs of joy
9before the LORD, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with fairness.
“Let’s be honest; you want God’s grace but you don’t want the honest work attached to it.”~TB
People aren’t successful because they fail to put in the honest Biblical effort to build a foundational relationship with God. This isn’t a transactional endeavor. God seeks your heart, spirit, and mind, not your wishful prayers. If you honestly seek Him, roll up your sleeves, dust off your Bibles, and get to work.
God has more respect for those who unabashedly reject their inheritance than those who pretend to till the soil. You may fool everyone with your schemes, dreams, and plots to steal what doesn’t belong to you, but God is no slouch. You will be dealt with. Instead, honestly examine your heart and make the honest choice to return home to the Lord.
Are you an honest worker or are you honestly stupid?
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1It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to the Most High.
2It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening,
3accompanied by a ten-stringed instrument, a harp, and the melody of a lyre.
4You thrill me, LORD, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done.
5O LORD, what great works you do! And how deep are your thoughts.
6Only a simpleton would not know, and only a fool would not understand this:
7Though the wicked sprout like weeds and evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.
8But you, O LORD, will be exalted forever.
9Your enemies, LORD, will surely perish; all evildoers will be scattered.
10But you have made me as strong as a wild ox. You have anointed me with the finest oil.
11My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies; my ears have heard the defeat of my wicked opponents.
12But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.
13For they are transplanted to the LORD ’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God.
14Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.
15They will declare, “The LORD is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!”
“Take care to balance your work and rest. Overindulging in one or the other is sure to send you into chaos.”~TB
Every day, work as if God is your employer. That way you will find favor in the Lord. Everyone has worked for a bad employer at some point. But when you’re working for God, He’ll make up the difference. Producing honest and good work is vital in your walk with Christ. Like diligently planting seeds, you honest work produces a relationship with Him that is firm and rooted by the Word. When you’ve done your daily work, then you rest.
This life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, and to progress, we must rest well. While some of us enjoy the work, so much that we overwork, rest is vital so that we can be prepared to work again tomorrow. Friends, take rest as needed, otherwise, your flesh will become unruly, entertaining thoughts and deeds a rested mind knows to ignore. Therefore be disciplined in getting the proper rest so that you can continue the good work that God has asked of you.
When you seek the Lord, produce honest work, and rest as needed, life is quite simple. No, it is not without its challenges, however, in doing the work and resting after the fact, God’s word reigns supreme in your hearts and minds. Follow the Biblical roadmap to balance your affairs. Conversely, when you rest and do not do the work, you fall prey to the modern-day slave owners, who seek to entrap you. Because you have not done your work, you have to rely on someone else to provide for you. Friends, be a servant to God and not to man. Work, rest, and repeat and you will find peace and contentment in the Lord.
Are you working and resting in a balanced manner or are you out of balance in your life?
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1On the holy mountain stands the city founded by the LORD .
2He loves the city of Jerusalem more than any other city in Israel.
3O city of God, what glorious things are said of you! Interlude
4I will count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me— also Philistia and Tyre, and even distant Ethiopia. They have all become citizens of Jerusalem!
5Regarding Jerusalem it will be said, “Everyone enjoys the rights of citizenship there.” And the Most High will personally bless this city.
6When the LORD registers the nations, he will say, “They have all become citizens of Jerusalem.” Interlude
7The people will play flutes and sing, “The source of my life springs from Jerusalem!”
“You have the choice to pass the buck and not develop your talents and relationship with God. Just don’t be upset watching other people pass you by.”~TB
Quit coveting the talents and belongings of your neighbor. You have the same hours and minutes in the day to develop yourself. These things don’t happen overnight. Each day, you make choices to either develop and grow or remain in your stupor. You can choose to get up, read your Bible, and make sound decisions. Friends, hard work and labor are Biblically inspired! What you do with your time is up to you.
You can make excuses for your life, your lack of development, and absentee relationship with God. If you’re creative enough, those excuses will seem valid. They may work on your brothers and sisters, but make no mistake, we are all seen by God for who we truly are. Don’t think your confusion surprises Him.
Are you developing your relationship or are you envying the labor of your neighbor?
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1Sing praises to God, our strength. Sing to the God of Jacob.
2Sing! Beat the tambourine. Play the sweet lyre and the harp.
3Blow the ram’s horn at new moon, and again at full moon to call a festival!
4For this is required by the decrees of Israel; it is a regulation of the God of Jacob.
5He made it a law for Israel when he attacked Egypt to set us free. I heard an unknown voice say,
6“Now I will take the load from your shoulders; I will free your hands from their heavy tasks.
7You cried to me in trouble, and I saved you; I answered out of the thundercloud and tested your faith when there was no water at Meribah. Interlude
8“Listen to me, O my people, while I give you stern warnings. O Israel, if you would only listen to me!
9You must never have a foreign god; you must not bow down before a false god.
10For it was I, the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.
11“But no, my people wouldn’t listen. Israel did not want me around.
12So I let them follow their own stubborn desires, living according to their own ideas.
13Oh, that my people would listen to me! Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths!
14How quickly I would then subdue their enemies! How soon my hands would be upon their foes!
15Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him; they would be doomed forever.
16But I would feed you with the finest wheat. I would satisfy you with wild honey from the rock.”