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

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Proverbs 14

1 Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home;
    Sir Fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick.

An honest life shows respect for God;
    a degenerate life is a slap in his face.

Frivolous talk provokes a derisive smile;
    wise speech evokes nothing but respect.

No cattle, no crops;
    a good harvest requires a strong ox for the plow.

A true witness never lies;
    a false witness makes a business of it.

Cynics look high and low for wisdom—and never find it;
    the open-minded find it right on their doorstep!

Escape quickly from the company of fools;
    they’re a waste of your time, a waste of your words.

The wisdom of the wise keeps life on track;
    the foolishness of fools lands them in the ditch.

The stupid ridicule right and wrong,
    but a moral life is a favored life.

10 The person who shuns the bitter moments of friends
    will be an outsider at their celebrations.

11 Lives of careless wrongdoing are tumbledown shacks;
    holy living builds soaring cathedrals.

12-13 There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough;
    look again—it leads straight to hell.
Sure, those people appear to be having a good time,
    but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.

Sift and Weigh Every Word

14 A mean person gets paid back in meanness,
    a gracious person in grace.

15 The gullible believe anything they’re told;
    the prudent sift and weigh every word.

16 The wise watch their steps and avoid evil;
    fools are headstrong and reckless.

17 The hotheaded do things they’ll later regret;
    the coldhearted get the cold shoulder.

18 Foolish dreamers live in a world of illusion;
    wise realists plant their feet on the ground.

19 Eventually, evil will pay tribute to good;
    the wicked will respect God-loyal people.

20 An unlucky loser is shunned by all,
    but everyone loves a winner.

21 It’s criminal to ignore a neighbor in need,
    but compassion for the poor—what a blessing!

22 Isn’t it obvious that conspirators lose out,
    while the thoughtful win love and trust?

23 Hard work always pays off;
    mere talk puts no bread on the table.

24 The wise accumulate wisdom;
    fools get stupider by the day.

25 Souls are saved by truthful witness
    and betrayed by the spread of lies.

26 The Fear-of-God builds up confidence,
    and makes a world safe for your children.

27 The Fear-of-God is a spring of living water
    so you won’t go off drinking from poisoned wells.

28 The mark of a good leader is loyal followers;
    leadership is nothing without a following.

29 Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding;
    a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity.

30 A sound mind makes for a robust body,
    but runaway emotions corrode the bones.

31 You insult your Maker when you exploit the powerless;
    when you’re kind to the poor, you honor God.

32 The evil of bad people leaves them out in the cold;
    the integrity of good people creates a safe place for living.

33 Lady Wisdom is at home in an understanding heart—
    fools never even get to say hello.

34 God-devotion makes a country strong;
    God-avoidance leaves people weak.

35 Diligent work gets a warm commendation;
    shiftless work earns an angry rebuke.

Psalm 68 

A David Psalm

1-4 Up with God!
    Down with his enemies!
        Adversaries, run for the hills!
Gone like a puff of smoke,

    like a blob of wax in the fire—
        one look at God and the wicked vanish.
When the righteous see God in action

    they’ll laugh, they’ll sing,
        they’ll laugh and sing for joy.
Sing hymns to God;

    all heaven, sing out;
        clear the way for the coming of Cloud-Rider.
Enjoy God,

    cheer when you see him!


Father of orphans,
    champion of widows,
        is God in his holy house.
God makes homes for the homeless,

    leads prisoners to freedom,
        but leaves rebels to rot in hell.


God, when you took the lead with your people,
    when you marched out into the wild,
Earth shook, sky broke out in a sweat;

    God was on the march.
Even Sinai trembled at the sight of God on the move,

    at the sight of Israel’s God.
You pour out rain in buckets, O God;

    thorn and cactus become an oasis
For your people to camp in and enjoy.

    You set them up in business;
    they went from rags to riches.


The Lord gave the word;
    thousands called out the good news:
“Kings of the armies

    are on the run, on the run!”
While housewives, safe and sound back home,

    divide up the plunder,
    the plunder of Canaanite silver and gold.
On that day that Shaddai scattered the kings,

    snow fell on Black Mountain.


You huge mountains, Bashan mountains,
    mighty mountains, dragon mountains.
All you mountains not chosen,

    sulk now, and feel sorry for yourselves,
For this is the mountain God has chosen to live on;

    he’ll rule from this mountain forever.


The chariots of God, twice ten thousand,
    and thousands more besides,
The Lord in the lead, riding down Sinai—

    straight to the Holy Place!
You climbed to the High Place, captives in tow,

    your arms full of booty from rebels,
And now you sit there in state,

    God, sovereign God!


Blessed be the Lord—
    day after day he carries us along.
He’s our Savior, our God, oh yes!

    He’s God-for-us, he’s God-who-saves-us.
Lord God knows all

    death’s ins and outs.
What’s more, he made heads roll,

    split the skulls of the enemy
As he marched out of heaven,

    saying, “I tied up the Dragon in knots,
    put a muzzle on the Deep Blue Sea.”
You can wade through your enemies’ blood,

    and your dogs taste of your enemies from your boots.


See God on parade
    to the sanctuary, my God,
    my King on the march!
Singers out front, the band behind,

    maidens in the middle with castanets.
The whole choir blesses God.

    Like a fountain of praise, Israel blesses God.
Look—little Benjamin’s out

    front and leading
Princes of Judah in their royal robes,

    princes of Zebulon, princes of Naphtali.
Parade your power, O God,

    the power, O God, that made us what we are.
Your temple, High God, is Jerusalem;

    kings bring gifts to you.
Rebuke that old crocodile, Egypt,

    with her herd of wild bulls and calves,
Rapacious in her lust for silver,

    crushing peoples, spoiling for a fight.
Let Egyptian traders bring blue cloth

    and Cush come running to God, her hands outstretched.


Sing, O kings of the earth!
    Sing praises to the Lord!
There he is: Sky-Rider,

    striding the ancient skies.
Listen—he’s calling in thunder,

    rumbling, rolling thunder.
Call out “Bravo!” to God,

    the High God of Israel.
His splendor and strength

    rise huge as thunderheads.


A terrible beauty, O God,
    streams from your sanctuary.
It’s Israel’s strong God! He gives

    power and might to his people!
O you, his people—bless God!

Psalm 69

A David Psalm

God, God, save me!
I’m in over my head,

Quicksand under me, swamp water over me;
I’m going down for the third time.

I’m hoarse from calling for help,
Bleary-eyed from searching the sky for God.

I’ve got more enemies than hairs on my head;
Sneaks and liars are out to knife me in the back.

What I never stole
Must I now give back?

God, you know every sin I’ve committed;
My life’s a wide-open book before you.

Don’t let those who look to you in hope
Be discouraged by what happens to me,
Dear Lord! God of the armies!

Don’t let those out looking for you
Come to a dead end by following me—
Please, dear God of Israel!

Because of you I look like an idiot,
I walk around ashamed to show my face.

My brothers shun me like a bum off the street;
My family treats me like an unwanted guest.

I love you more than I can say.
Because I’m madly in love with you,
They blame me for everything they dislike about you.


When I poured myself out in prayer and fasting,
All it got me was more contempt.


When I put on a sad face,
They treated me like a clown.


Now drunks and gluttons
Make up drinking songs about me.


And me? I pray.
God, it’s time for a break!

God, answer in love!
Answer with your sure salvation!


Rescue me from the swamp,
Don’t let me go under for good,

Pull me out of the clutch of the enemy;
This whirlpool is sucking me down.


Don’t let the swamp be my grave, the Black Hole
Swallow me, its jaws clenched around me.


Now answer me, God, because you love me;
Let me see your great mercy full-face.


Don’t look the other way; your servant can’t take it.
I’m in trouble. Answer right now!


Come close, God; get me out of here.
Rescue me from this deathtrap.


You know how they kick me around—
Pin on me the donkey’s ears, the dunce’s cap.


I’m broken by their taunts,
Flat on my face, reduced to a nothing.

I looked in vain for one friendly face. Not one.
I couldn’t find one shoulder to cry on.


They put poison in my soup,
Vinegar in my drink.


Let their supper be bait in a trap that snaps shut;
May their best friends be trappers who’ll skin them alive.


Make them become blind as bats,
Give them the shakes from morning to night.


Let them know what you think of them,
Blast them with your red-hot anger.


Burn down their houses,
Leave them desolate with nobody at home.


They gossiped about the one you disciplined,
Made up stories about anyone wounded by God.


Pile on the guilt,
Don’t let them off the hook.


Strike their names from the list of the living;
No rock-carved honor for them among the righteous.


I’m hurt and in pain;
Give me space for healing, and mountain air.


Let me shout God’s name with a praising song,
Let me tell his greatness in a prayer of thanks.


For God, this is better than oxen on the altar,
Far better than blue-ribbon bulls.


The poor in spirit see and are glad—
Oh, you God-seekers, take heart!


For God listens to the poor,
He doesn’t walk out on the wretched.


You heavens, praise him; praise him, earth;
Also ocean and all things that swim in it.


For God is out to help Zion,
Rebuilding the wrecked towns of Judah.

Guess who will live there—
The proud owners of the land?


No, the children of his servants will get it,
The lovers of his name will live in it.

Psalm 70

A David Prayer

1-3 God! Please hurry to my rescue!
    God, come quickly to my side!
Those who are out to get me—

    let them fall all over themselves.
Those who relish my downfall—

    send them down a blind alley.
Give them a taste of their own medicine,

    those gossips off clucking their tongues.

Let those on the hunt for you
    sing and celebrate.
Let all who love your saving way

    say over and over, “God is mighty!”

But I’ve lost it. I’m wasted.
    God—quickly, quickly!
Quick to my side, quick to my rescue!

    God, don’t lose a minute.

Psalm 71

1-3 I run for dear life to God,
    I’ll never live to regret it.
Do what you do so well:

    get me out of this mess and up on my feet.
Put your ear to the ground and listen,

    give me space for salvation.
Be a guest room where I can retreat;

    you said your door was always open!
You’re my salvation—my vast, granite fortress.


My God, free me from the grip of Wicked,
    from the clutch of Bad and Bully.
You keep me going when times are tough—

    my bedrock, God, since my childhood.
I’ve hung on you from the day of my birth,

    the day you took me from the cradle;
    I’ll never run out of praise.
Many gasp in alarm when they see me,

    but you take me in stride.


Just as each day brims with your beauty,
    my mouth brims with praise.
But don’t turn me out to pasture when I’m old

    or put me on the shelf when I can’t pull my weight.
My enemies are talking behind my back,

    watching for their chance to knife me.
The gossip is: “God has abandoned him.

    Pounce on him now; no one will help him.”


God, don’t just watch from the sidelines.
    Come on! Run to my side!
My accusers—make them lose face.

    Those out to get me—make them look
Like idiots, while I stretch out, reaching for you,

    and daily add praise to praise.
I’ll write the book on your righteousness,

    talk up your salvation the livelong day,
    never run out of good things to write or say.
I come in the power of the Lord God,

    I post signs marking his right-of-way.


You got me when I was an unformed youth,
    God, and taught me everything I know.
Now I’m telling the world your wonders;

    I’ll keep at it until I’m old and gray.
God, don’t walk off and leave me

    until I get out the news
Of your strong right arm to this world,

    news of your power to the world yet to come,
Your famous and righteous

    ways, O God.
God, you’ve done it all!

    Who is quite like you?
You, who made me stare trouble in the face,

    Turn me around;
Now let me look life in the face.

    I’ve been to the bottom;
Bring me up, streaming with honors;

    turn to me, be tender to me,
And I’ll take up the lute and thank you

    to the tune of your faithfulness, God.
I’ll make music for you on a harp,

    Holy One of Israel.
When I open up in song to you,

    I let out lungsful of praise,
    my rescued life a song.
All day long I’m chanting

    about you and your righteous ways,
While those who tried to do me in

    slink off looking ashamed.

Psalm 72 

A Solomon Psalm

1-8 Give the gift of wise rule to the king, O God,
    the gift of just rule to the crown prince.
May he judge your people rightly,

    be honorable to your meek and lowly.
Let the mountains give exuberant witness;

    shape the hills with the contours of right living.
Please stand up for the poor,

    help the children of the needy,
    come down hard on the cruel tyrants.
Outlast the sun, outlive the moon—

    age after age after age.
Be rainfall on cut grass,

    earth-refreshing rain showers.
Let righteousness burst into blossom

    and peace abound until the moon fades to nothing.
Rule from sea to sea,

    from the River to the Rim.


Foes will fall on their knees before God,
    his enemies lick the dust.
Kings remote and legendary will pay homage,

    kings rich and resplendent will turn over their wealth.
All kings will fall down and worship,

    and godless nations sign up to serve him,
Because he rescues the poor at the first sign of need,

    the destitute who have run out of luck.
He opens a place in his heart for the down-and-out,

    he restores the wretched of the earth.
He frees them from tyranny and torture—

    when they bleed, he bleeds;
    when they die, he dies.


And live! Oh, let him live!
    Deck him out in Sheba gold.
Offer prayers unceasing to him,

    bless him from morning to night.
Fields of golden grain in the land,

    cresting the mountains in wild exuberance,
Cornucopias of praise, praises

    springing from the city like grass from the earth.
May he never be forgotten,

    his fame shine on like sunshine.
May all godless people enter his circle of blessing

    and bless the One who blessed them.


Blessed God, Israel’s God,
    the one and only wonder-working God!
Blessed always his blazing glory!

    All earth brims with his glory.
Yes and Yes and Yes.

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