A proverb a day to order your public life...

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Proverbs 1
1-6 These are the wise sayings of Solomon,
    David’s son, Israel’s king—
Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right,

    to understand what life means and where it’s going;
A manual for living,

    for learning what’s right and just and fair;
To teach the inexperienced the ropes

    and give our young people a grasp on reality.
There’s something here also for seasoned men and women,

    still a thing or two for the experienced to learn—
Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,

    the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.

Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
    only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.

8-19 Pay close attention, friend, to what your father tells you;
    never forget what you learned at your mother’s knee.
Wear their counsel like flowers in your hair,

    like rings on your fingers.
Dear friend, if bad companions tempt you,

    don’t go along with them.
If they say—“Let’s go out and raise some hell.

    Let’s beat up some old man, mug some old woman.
Let’s pick them clean

    and get them ready for their funerals.
We’ll load up on top-quality loot.

    We’ll haul it home by the truckload.
Join us for the time of your life!

    With us, it’s share and share alike!”—
Oh, friend, don’t give them a second look;

    don’t listen to them for a minute.
They’re racing to a very bad end,

    hurrying to ruin everything they lay hands on.
Nobody robs a bank

    with everyone watching,
Yet that’s what these people are doing—

    they’re doing themselves in.
When you grab all you can get, that’s what happens:

    the more you get, the less you are.

20-21 Lady Wisdom goes out in the street and shouts.
    At the town center she makes her speech.
In the middle of the traffic she takes her stand.

    At the busiest corner she calls out:

22-24 “Simpletons! How long will you wallow in ignorance?
    Cynics! How long will you feed your cynicism?
Idiots! How long will you refuse to learn?

    About face! I can revise your life.
Look, I’m ready to pour out my spirit on you;

    I’m ready to tell you all I know.
As it is, I’ve called, but you’ve turned a deaf ear;

    I’ve reached out to you, but you’ve ignored me.

25-28 “Since you laugh at my counsel
    and make a joke of my advice,
How can I take you seriously?

    I’ll turn the tables and joke about your troubles!
What if the roof falls in,

    and your whole life goes to pieces?
What if catastrophe strikes and there’s nothing

    to show for your life but rubble and ashes?
You’ll need me then. You’ll call for me, but don’t expect
        an answer.

    No matter how hard you look, you won’t find me.

29-33 “Because you hated Knowledge
    and had nothing to do with the Fear-of-God,
Because you wouldn’t take my advice

    and brushed aside all my offers to train you,
Well, you’ve made your bed—now lie in it;

    you wanted your own way—now, how do you like it?
Don’t you see what happens, you simpletons, you idiots?

    Carelessness kills; complacency is murder.
First pay attention to me, and then relax.

    Now you can take it easy—you’re in good hands.”

Psalm 1

Psalm 1

How well God must like you—
    you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon,
    you don’t slink along Dead-End Road,
    you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.

2-3 Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
    you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
    bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
    always in blossom.

4-5 You’re not at all like the wicked,
    who are mere windblown dust—
Without defense in court,
    unfit company for innocent people.

God charts the road you take.
The road they take is Skid Row.

Psalm 2 

1-6 Why the big noise, nations?
Why the mean plots, peoples?
Earth-leaders push for position,
Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks,
The God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers:
“Let’s get free of God!
Cast loose from Messiah!”
Heaven-throned God breaks out laughing.
At first he’s amused at their presumption;
Then he gets good and angry.
Furiously, he shuts them up:
“Don’t you know there’s a King in Zion? A coronation banquet
Is spread for him on the holy summit.”

7-9 Let me tell you what God said next.
He said, “You’re my son,
And today is your birthday.
What do you want? Name it:
Nations as a present? continents as a prize?
You can command them all to dance for you,
Or throw them out with tomorrow’s trash.”

10-12 So, rebel-kings, use your heads;
Upstart-judges, learn your lesson:
Worship God in adoring embrace,
Celebrate in trembling awe. Kiss Messiah!
Your very lives are in danger, you know;
His anger is about to explode,
But if you make a run for God—you won’t regret it!

Psalm 3 

A David Psalm, When He Escaped for His Life from Absalom, His Son

1-2 God! Look! Enemies past counting!
Enemies sprouting like mushrooms,
Mobs of them all around me, roaring their mockery:
“Hah! No help for him from God!”

3-4 But you, God, shield me on all sides;
You ground my feet, you lift my head high;
With all my might I shout up to God,
His answers thunder from the holy mountain.

5-6 I stretch myself out. I sleep.
Then I’m up again—rested, tall and steady,
Fearless before the enemy mobs
Coming at me from all sides.

Up, God! My God, help me!
Slap their faces,
First this cheek, then the other,
Your fist hard in their teeth!

Real help comes from God.
Your blessing clothes your people!

Psalm 4 

A David Psalm

When I call, give me answers. God, take my side!
Once, in a tight place, you gave me room;
Now I’m in trouble again: grace me! hear me!

You rabble—how long do I put up with your scorn?
How long will you lust after lies?
How long will you live crazed by illusion?

Look at this: look
Who got picked by God!
He listens the split second I call to him.

4-5 Complain if you must, but don’t lash out.
Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking.
Build your case before God and wait for his verdict.

6-7 Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say.
“More, more.”
I have God’s more-than-enough,
More joy in one ordinary day

7-8 Than they get in all their shopping sprees.
At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep,
For you, God, have put my life back together.

Psalm 5 

A David Psalm

1-3 Listen, God! Please, pay attention!
Can you make sense of these ramblings,
my groans and cries?
    King-God, I need your help.
Every morning
    you’ll hear me at it again.
Every morning
    I lay out the pieces of my life
    on your altar
    and watch for fire to descend.

4-6 You don’t socialize with Wicked,
    or invite Evil over as your houseguest.
Hot-Air-Boaster collapses in front of you;
    you shake your head over Mischief-Maker.
God destroys Lie-Speaker;
    Blood-Thirsty and Truth-Bender disgust you.

7-8 And here I am, your invited guest—
    it’s incredible!
I enter your house; here I am,
    prostrate in your inner sanctum,
Waiting for directions
    to get me safely through enemy lines.

9-10 Every word they speak is a land mine;
    their lungs breathe out poison gas.
Their throats are gaping graves,
    their tongues slick as mudslides.
Pile on the guilt, God!
    Let their so-called wisdom wreck them.
Kick them out! They’ve had their chance.

11-12 But you’ll welcome us with open arms
    when we run for cover to you.
Let the party last all night!
    Stand guard over our celebration.
You are famous, God, for welcoming God-seekers,
    for decking us out in delight.


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