1. My son, if you draw near to serve the Lord,
Prepare your soul for temptation.+
2. Set your heart right and be steadfast,
And do not strive anxiously in distress.
3. Cleave to Him and do not fall away.
That you may be honoured at the end of your life.
4. Accept whatever is brought upon you,
And in exchange for your humiliation, be patient;
5. Because gold is tested in fire
And acceptable men in the furnace of abasement.
6. Believe in Him, and He will help you;
Make you ways straight and hope in Him.
7. You who fear the Lord, wait for His mercy,
And do not turn aside, lest you fall.
8. You who fear the Lord, believe in Him,
And your reward will not fail.
9. You who fear the Lord, hope for good things
And for everlasting gladness and mercy.
10. Consider the ancient generations and see:
Who believed in the Lord and was put to shame?
Or who stood fast in His fear and was forsaken?
Or who called upon Him and was overlooked?
11. Because the Lord is compassionate and merciful,
He forgives sins and saves in time of affliction.
12. Woe to cowardly hearts and weakened hands,
And to a sinner who walks on two paths!+
13. Woe to a fainting heart, because it does not believe!
Therefore it will not be sheltered.
14. Woe to you who have lost your patient endurance!
What will you do when the Lord visits you?
15. Those who fear the Lord will not disobey His words,
And those who love Him will keep His ways.
16. Those who fear the Lord will seek His approval,
And those who love Him will be filled with the law.
17. Those who fear the Lord will prepare their hearts
And will humble their souls before Him.
18. We will fall into the hands of the Lord
And not into the hands of men;
For as His majesty is, so is His mercy.
+2:1 - One who determines to serve the Lord will be tested and face temptation (see 1Co 10:13). Thus, we prepare our soul for this challenge to our fidelity.
+2:12-14 - Faintheartedness, the loss of endurance, and double-mindedness are forms of unbelief and bring great instability (see Jam 1:8).