When God Speaks, It Pays to Listen

1 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,
10 and prescribed limits for it
    and set bars and doors,
11 and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
    and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?

12 “Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
    and caused the dawn to know its place,
13 that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
    and the wicked be shaken out of it?
14 It is changed like clay under the seal,
    and its features stand out like a garment.
15 From the wicked their light is withheld,
    and their uplifted arm is broken.

16 “Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
    or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
    or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
    Declare, if you know all this.– Job 38:1-18 ESV

Job has expressed his desire to stand before God. He has repeatedly begged the Almighty for an audience so that he can receive answers to all his questions, relief from his pain, and the chance to be vindicated.

“O God, grant me these two things,
    and then I will be able to face you.
Remove your heavy hand from me,
    and don’t terrify me with your awesome presence.
Now summon me, and I will answer!
    Or let me speak to you, and you reply.
Tell me, what have I done wrong?
    Show me my rebellion and my sin.” – Job 13:20-23 NLT

“If only someone would listen to me!
    Look, I will sign my name to my defense.
Let the Almighty answer me.
    Let my accuser write out the charges against me. – Job 31:35 NLT

Well, Job gets his wish. After a long and indeterminate delay, God breaks His silence. But if Job was expecting to get a chance to defend himself before God, he was in for a surprise. If he was expecting God to provide answers to all of his questions and absolve him of all guilt, he was going to be sorely disappointed.

The reader has been given an explanation for Job’s losses in the opening chapters of the book, but Job was left in the dark as to the cause of his pain and suffering. He had no idea about the conversations that took place between God and Satan. Job was completely unaware that this entire ordeal had been a test of his own faithfulness. God knew Job was “a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil” (Job 1:8 ESV).

Even after Satan had destroyed all of Job’s flocks and herds and caused the deaths of his ten adult children, “Job did not sin or charge God with wrong” (Job 1:22 ESV). Instead, Job had declared his faith in God.

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” – Job 1:21 ESV

And when Satan appeared before God a second time, God had declared Job to be “a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil” (Job 2:3 ESV). God proudly boasted of Job’s faithfulness in the face of trials, telling Satan, “He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason” (Job 2:3 ESV).

Yet, when God appears before Job, He doesn’t divulge any of this information. Instead, He gives Job a much-needed lesson on His own sovereignty and authority. God has had to listen to all the arrogant claims and theological ramblings of Job and his four friends, now He is going to set the record straight, and He directs His words to Job.

God appears to Job in the form of a whirlwind. The Hebrew word is סַעַר (saʿar) and it can be translated as “tempest, storm, or hurricane.” This visible manifestation of God’s divine presence is called a theophany, and it is meant to allow human beings to see the invisible God. To Job, God appeared in the form of a storm. Moses and the people of Israel had received a similar glimpse of God when He appeared to them on Mount Sinai.

On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and all the people trembled. Moses led them out from the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the LORD had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently. As the blast of the ram’s horn grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God thundered his reply. – Exodus 19:16-19 NLT

This description of God’s presence is meant to illustrate His power and glory. From the midst of the storm, “God thundered His reply.” He didn’t speak with a still, small voice, but He boomed out His words with power and authority. The same was probably true in Job’s encounter with the Lord. And the first words out of God’s mouth were in the form of a question.

“Who is this that questions my wisdom
    with such ignorant words?
Brace yourself like a man,
    because I have some questions for you,
    and you must answer them. – Job 38:2-3 NLT

God had heard enough. Everyone had been quick to share their opinions about Him but no one knew what they were talking about. Even Job had made some fairly condemning statements about God, declaring Him to be distant and even unjust. The longer Job had been forced to endure his pain without any sign of a resolution, the more accusatory he had become. He felt abandoned by God and wasn’t afraid to say so.

“The whole earth is in the hands of the wicked,
    and God blinds the eyes of the judges.
    If he’s not the one who does it, who is?” – Job 9:24 NLT

Job’s despondency had grown so deep that he lost all hope. He was convinced that God had already predetermined his guilt and punishment. Nothing was going to change.

“I know you will not find me innocent, O God.
Whatever happens, I will be found guilty.
    So what’s the use of trying?” – Job 38:28-29 NLT

But God had heard enough of Job’s whining and was ready to pose a few questions of His own. This entire situation had begun as a test of Job’s integrity and faithfulness but it had somehow evolved into a test of God’s character. God was on trial and He begins a well-reasoned defense of His greatness and goodness. He does so by asking a series of rhetorical questions that are meant to disqualify anyone from setting themselves up as His judge, including Job.

God goes back to the literal beginning, asking, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much” (Job 38:4 NLT). The answer is obvious. Job was nowhere to be found when God created the heavens and the earth. Neither was Elihu, Eliphaz, Bildad, or Zophar. None of these men were around at the beginning of all things, and yet they were quick to give their opinions about the One who brought all things into existence.

They could debate and speculate but they had no idea how God formed the earth or how He separated the seas from the dry land. These references to the creation account are meant to emphasize God’s power and authority. He rules over everything, from the wind and waves to the stars and galaxies. He caused the earth to rotate and revolve around the sun so that men might experience day and night as well as the changing of the seasons.

But God isn’t satisfied with stating His divine attributes of power; He wants to know if Job or his friends can replicate any of them.

“Have you ever commanded the morning to appear
    and caused the dawn to rise in the east?
Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth,
    to bring an end to the night’s wickedness? – Job 38:12-13 NLT

“Have you explored the springs from which the seas come?
    Have you explored their depths?
Do you know where the gates of death are located?
    Have you seen the gates of utter gloom?
Do you realize the extent of the earth? – Job 38:16-18 NLT

These questions are meant to expose mankind’s desire for self-deification. Ever since Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit in the garden, man has been on a relentless quest to be his own God. Unwilling to worship and obey the one true God, humanity has sought to “be as God.” That was the promise Satan made to Adam and Eve in the garden when he offered them the fruit that God had declared off limits.

God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” – Genesis 3:5 NLT

Satan offered them the power to be their own gods. By disobeying God, they would be free to set their own rules and live according to their own standards. By rejecting God’s sovereignty they would establish their own autonomy or self-rule. But while autonomy offers the allure of god-like authority, it comes with none of God’s attributes. Men can create but they can’t replicate the power of God. Men are endowed with wisdom but it pales in comparison to the omniscience of God Almighty.

The apostle Paul provided insight into man’s delusion about self-deification and the self-glorification of human wisdom.

Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say,

“He traps the wise
    in the snare of their own cleverness.”

And again,

“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise;
    he knows they are worthless.” – 1 Corinthians 3:18-20 NLT

God wanted Job to comprehend the vast gulf that existed between God and humanity. Men are not His equals or peers. Their understanding of Him is limited and Job’s right to question His will or ways was not only unjustified but unwise. God ends His opening salvo with the command: “Tell me about it if you know!” (Job 38:18 NLT). He isn’t expecting Job to speak up; He’s expecting Job to shut up and listen to what He has to say. God is God and Job is not. The Almighty has had to listen to the ramblings of men, not it was time for them to hear the truth about God from the source of all truth.

English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Nothing Is Too Hard For God

1 And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Three seahs of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes.” And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.” 10 The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” 13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” 15 But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.” Genesis 18:1-15 ESV

This next encounter between God and Abraham took place not long after Abraham had been given a new name from God, as well as instructions to institute the rite of circumcision. Abraham had also received a divine confirmation that Sarah, his wife, would bear him a son, and God had been very specific about the timing.

“I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.” – Genesis 17:21 ESV

When God made this commitment to Abraham, Sarah had been nowhere in sight. And there seems to be no indication that Abraham ever shared this good news with his barren wife. In fact, when Abraham had heard this promise from God, he had laughed to himself in disbelief.

“How could I become a father at the age of 100?” he thought. “And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old? – Genesis 17:17 NLT

But rather than punish Abraham for his doubt and disbelief, God simply restated His intentions for Sarah to give birth to a son, and He even provided a name for this miracle baby: Isaac. Yet, not long after Abraham received God’s promise of an heir, and after he and the male members of his household had healed from their circumcisions, God visited him again.

Abraham was still living in the region of Hebron, by the oaks of Mamre. This was the spot where he had settled after he and his nephew Lot had parted ways (Genesis 13:14-18). On that occasion, Abraham had attempted to settle a dispute between himself and Lot by allowing his nephew to choose any of the land of Canaan for himself. As a result, Lot had chosen the well-watered Jordan Valley. But despite Abraham’s generous offer to Lot, God had assured him that all the land would be his.

“Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession.” – Genesis 13:14-15 NLT

In gratitude, Abraham had built an altar, so that he might call on the name of Yahweh. And this very spot would be where Abraham received yet another divine visit and further confirmation concerning God’s intentions to provide him an heir through Sarah.

This time, God appears to Abraham in the form of a theophany, a visible manifestation of His presence, but in human form. As Abraham sat by the door of his tent, he looked up and saw three men in the distance. Due to the isolated nature of his location, visitors would have been a few and far between. And there must have been something that led Abraham to believe that these men were dignitaries of some kind. It is difficult to assess whether Abraham immediately understood this to be a divine manifestation or whether he assumed these to be three men of importance passing through his land. But either way, Abraham went out of his way to welcome them and offer them food and shelter.

“My lord,” he said, “if it pleases you, stop here for a while. Rest in the shade of this tree while water is brought to wash your feet. And since you’ve honored your servant with this visit, let me prepare some food to refresh you before you continue on your journey.” – Genesis 18:3-5 NLT

What makes this passage so fascinating is the way the conversation is recorded by Moses. It is clear that there are three men. And as Abraham converses with them, it appears as if all three speak in unison. When Abraham offered to provide them with water and food, the text reads, “So they said, ‘Do as you have said’” (Genesis 18:5 ESV). A few verses later, Moses records another question that seems to come from all three men: “They said to him, ‘Where is Sarah your wife’” (Genesis 18:9 ESV). And yet, in the very next verse, Moses records a statement that he attributes to the Lord.

The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” – Genesis 18:9 ESV

It seems that this trio of visitors was made up of the Angel of the Lord and two other angelic beings. There are many who believe this Angel of the Lord was actually a Christophany, a manifestation of the pre-incarnate Christ. But there is no way to prove this with any certainty. But Moses seems to be indicating that all three of these visitors spoke on behalf of God and had full authority to act as His agents. At what point Abraham discerned their divine status is difficult to ascertain.

After greeting his guests and offering them his hospitality, Abraham entered his tent and ordered Sarah to prepare food. Then he instructed one of his servants to slaughter and cook a calf. When the food was ready, Abraham served his guests but did not join them. He treated them with utmost dignity and honor, refusing even to recline at the table with them. But as he stood nearby watching them eat, Abraham was probably a bit surprised when they asked the whereabouts of Sarah. He must have been shocked that these strangers knew his wife’s name. But he simply replied that she was in the tent. At this point, Abraham heard those very familiar words, “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!” (Genesis 18:10 ESV). It was probably at this point that Abraham recognized the divine nature of his visitors. Those were the very same words God had spoken to him just days earlier.

So, why was God making a special point to reiterate this promise yet again? The rest of the verse provides the answer.

Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent. – Genesis 18:10 NLT

Sarah was eavesdropping. Her curiosity had gotten the best of her and she couldn’t resist the temptation to hear what was going on between her husband and these three visiting dignitaries. But what she overheard left her incredulous. She had no idea who these men were, but she found the content of their news to be not only highly improbably but totally impossible. And Moses records why.

Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children. – Genesis 18:11 NLT

It seems apparent that Abraham had not shared with Sarah the previous promise he had received from God. Perhaps he knew her well enough to know that she would not take the news well. For Sarah, who had waited decades to experience the joy of childbirth, any promise that she might finally bear a son would ring hollow and be nothing more than another painful reminder of her helpless and hopeless condition. So, when she heard the words spoken outside the folds of her tent, she mirrored the response of her own husband. She treated this too-good-to-be-true news with disbelief and scorn.

“How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?” – Genesis 18:12 NLT

Sarah was 90-years-old and her body was well beyond the point of being able to conceive a child. Over the years, she and Abraham had faithfully attempted to get pregnant, but with no success. It was painfully clear that she was barren and incapable of ever having a child. That was the reason behind her decision to give her maidservant to Abraham as a surrogate or stand-in. She had hoped that this might be an acceptable workaround to God’s seemingly failed promise to provide Abraham with an heir.

But here was God restating His commitment to do things His way – despite Sarah’s well-reasoned doubts and the seemingly impossible odds that were stacked against her and Abraham. They were old, but God was powerful. The outlook looked grim, but God was great. The prospect of Sarah becoming pregnant appeared impossible, “but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26 ESV). And that is exactly what God communicated to Sarah as she hid behind the folds of her tent and cowered behind fears and doubts of her heart.

Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord.” – Genesis 18:13-14 NLT

Notice that the Lord addressed Abraham and not Sarah. God had overheard her response, but He addressed His question to her husband. It is almost as if God was holding Abraham responsible for his wife’s incredulity and insolence. He had failed to pass on God’s earlier promise and had left his wife struggling with doubt and disbelief. Abraham’s confidence in God’s word had not been strong enough to convince him to tackle his wife’s lingering apprehension and uncertainty.

Like Adam, who stood by and watched his wife succumb to the temptation of the serpent in the garden, Abraham had allowed his wife to wallow in her pity and self-doubt. Rather than encouraging her to trust in the faithfulness of God, he had withheld the promise of God, and her resentment and refusal to believe withered like her womb. Her faith had become as impotent as her body. She had allowed her doubts to turn to disbelief and her disbelief, if left unchecked, would eventually turn to disobedience. And God was holding Abraham, her husband, responsible.

Sarah, still believing that she was hidden from view within the confines of her tent, denied the accusation that she had laughed. She refused to acknowledge her doubt and disbelief. But the all-knowing, all-seeing God refuted her claim and declared, “No, but you did laugh” (Genesis 18:15 ESV). God knew and He understood. He was well aware of Sarah’s physical disability and fully cognizant of the paralyzing disbelief it had produced. Her infertility had produced incredulity. But God wanted her to know that neither her barrenness nor her disbelief would prove too difficult for Him to overcome.

English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

New English Translation (NET)NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.

I Have Come.

10 While the people of Israel were encamped at Gilgal, they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening on the plains of Jericho. 11 And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. 12 And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15 And the commander of the Lord‘s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. Joshua 5:10-15 ESV

Not long after Joshua had instructed the men of Israel to undergo the rite of circumcision, the time came for the nation to keep the Passover celebration God had instituted in Egypt. Those outside of the covenant community of Israel were prohibited by the Mosaic law from taking part in the Passover, so the timing of the circumcision of the Hebrew males was critical. Circumcision was a sign of their covenant relationship with God and made them legally approved to participate in the Passover. So much of what we see in this passage points toward God’s divine time table as He prepares His people for an important transition in their covenant relationship with Him. He is leading a new generation of Israelites because the older, rebellious generation had died off. They have a new commander, in the form of Joshua, because Moses had died in the wilderness. They are in a new place, the land of promise, having miraculously crossed over the Jordan and entered into Canaan. And for the first time in over 40 years, they are celebrating Passover in the land God had promised to give them. He had delivered them from captivity in Egypt, led them across the wilderness, and had now delivered them into the land. It was a new day.

And almost as a sign of that new day, the manna that had sustained them during their 40-plus years of wilderness wandering, went away. It was there one day and gone the next, because it was no longer necessary. God had led them into a land that was filled with everything they would need to feed and sustain themselves. His miraculous provision of daily bread would not be needed. And it’s interesting to recall the circumstances under which God had first given them the manna. It had been early on in the days after their exodus from Egypt and it had occurred in the wilderness at a place called Sin. It had been just two months since they had walked out of Egypt as a free people, having been delivered by the hand of God. Now, they found themselves in Sin, without food and running out of patience with Moses.

And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” – Exodus 16:2-3 ESV

God heard their grumbling and complaining. But rather than punish them, He promised to provide for them.

“I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’” – Exodus 16:12 ESV

Each evening, God provided His people with quail. And each morning, the people woke up to find manna covering the ground. He met their needs. He sustained them all the years they were in the wilderness. But now that they were in the land of promise, there was no longer a need for quail and manna. The land God had given them would now sustain them. And this was in keeping with the promise that God had made to Moses when He called him to be the emancipator of the people of Israel.

“I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.” – Exodus 3:17 ESV

The land would meet their needs, but they would be required to conquer the nations that occupied the land. They were going to have to transform themselves from wanderers to warriors. Under Joshua’s leadership, they were going to have to take over the land that God had given them. And the very first place they were going to conquer was Jericho, which lay just a few miles from Gilgal, where they were camped. As Joshua went to reconnoiter the situation at Jericho, he had an unexpected encounter. He ran across a man who was carrying a sword in his hand. He was obviously a warrior, but Joshua did not recognize him. So, Joshua naturally asked him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And the man responded, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come” (Joshua 5:14 ESV).

This is a pivotal moment in the story. The manna was gone, but the Messiah had come. This encounter was between Joshua, the leader of the people of Israel and Jesus, the Son of God and the commander of the Lord’s armies. This was a theophany, a pre-incarnate appearance by Jesus Himself. And we can tell from the reaction of Joshua, that he understood the significance of the moment and the holiness of the one to whom he was talking. The passage tells us that Joshua “fell on his face to the earth and worshiped.” He recognized that this was no ordinary man, but a vision of God Himself. And the captain or Prince of the Lord’s armies commanded Joshua: “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy” (Joshua 5:14 ESV). These are the same words Moses heard emanating from the burning bush when he had encountered God in the wilderness of Horeb (Exodus 3). Joshua, like Moses, found himself standing in the presence of deity. And the appearance of the Son of God in the form of a warrior was meant to be a reminder that God was going to be with them. They were not alone. Even as they faced the formidable and foreboding task of attempting to take the fortified city of Jericho, God was letting them know that He would be right there with them. 

“I have come.” Those were the words that Joshua heard him say, and those words were meant to provide Joshua with assurance. As the captain of the host stood with sword in hand, Joshua was being given a visual and verbal reminder that the battle was not theirs, but God’s. He would be fighting for them. This was a new day. Their entrance into Canaan was going to bring with it new challenges. Joshua led a people who lacked formal training as soldiers. They had no siege engines or chariots. Their weapons consisted of spears, slings, and bows. They lacked armor. But they had God on their side. And as we will see in the very next chapter, the most fortified city they would face would prove to be no match for the commander of the army of the Lord.

English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

The Message (MSG)  Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson