The Bible – Old Testament
1 My son, when you come to serve the LORD, prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast, undisturbed in time of adversity.
Cling to him, forsake him not; thus will your future be great.
Accept whatever befalls you, in crushing misfortune be patient;
For in fire gold is tested, and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust God and he will help you; make straight your ways and hope in him.
You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy, turn not away lest you fall.
You who fear the LORD, trust him, and your reward will not be lost.
You who fear the LORD, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy.
Study the generations long past and understand; has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed? Has anyone persevered in his fear and been forsaken? has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?
Compassionate and merciful is the LORD; he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble.
2 Woe to craven hearts and drooping hands, to the sinner who treads a double path!
Woe to the faint of heart who trust not, who therefore will have no shelter!
Woe to you who have lost hope! what will you do at the visitation of the LORD?
Those who fear the LORD disobey not his words; those who love him keep his ways.
Those who fear the LORD seek to please him, those who love him are filled with his law.
Those who fear the LORD prepare their hearts and humble themselves before him.
Let us fall into the hands of the LORD and not into the hands of men, For equal to his majesty is the mercy that he shows.
1 [1-11] Serving God is not without its trials (⇒ Sirach 2:1); moreover, it must be done with sincerity, steadfastness and fidelity (⇒ Sirach 2:2-3). Misfortune and humiliation merely purify man and prove his worth (⇒ Sirach 2:4-5). Patience and unwavering trust in God are always rewarded with the benefits of God’s mercy and of lasting joy (⇒ Sirach 2:6-11).
2 [12-17] A warning to those who compromise their religion in time of affliction; they fail in courage and trust and therefore have no security (⇒ Sirach 2:12-14). But those who fear the Lord through obedience, reverence, love and humility find his mercy equal to his majesty (⇒ Sirach 2:15-17).