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

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Proverbs 15

1 A gentle response defuses anger,
    but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.

Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise;
    fools are leaky faucets, dripping nonsense.

God doesn’t miss a thing—
    he’s alert to good and evil alike.

Kind words heal and help;
    cutting words wound and maim.

Moral dropouts won’t listen to their elders;
    welcoming correction is a mark of good sense.

The lives of God-loyal people flourish;
    a misspent life is soon bankrupt.

Perceptive words spread knowledge;
    fools are hollow—there’s nothing to them.

God can’t stand pious poses,
    but he delights in genuine prayers.

A life frittered away disgusts God;
    he loves those who run straight for the finish line.

10 It’s a school of hard knocks for those who leave God’s path,
    a dead-end street for those who hate God’s rules.

11 Even hell holds no secrets from God
    do you think he can’t read human hearts?

Life Ascends to the Heights

12 Know-it-alls don’t like being told what to do;
    they avoid the company of wise men and women.

13 A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face;
    a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day.

14 An intelligent person is always eager to take in more truth;
    fools feed on fast-food fads and fancies.

15 A miserable heart means a miserable life;
    a cheerful heart fills the day with song.

16 A simple life in the Fear-of-God
    is better than a rich life with a ton of headaches.

17 Better a bread crust shared in love
    than a slab of prime rib served in hate.

18 Hot tempers start fights;
    a calm, cool spirit keeps the peace.

19 The path of lazy people is overgrown with briers;
    the diligent walk down a smooth road.

20 Intelligent children make their parents proud;
    lazy students embarrass their parents.

21 The empty-headed treat life as a plaything;
    the perceptive grasp its meaning and make a go of it.

22 Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail;
    take good counsel and watch them succeed.

23 Congenial conversation—what a pleasure!
    The right word at the right time—beautiful!

24 Life ascends to the heights for the thoughtful—
    it’s a clean about-face from descent into hell.

25 God smashes the pretensions of the arrogant;
    he stands with those who have no standing.

26 God can’t stand evil scheming,
    but he puts words of grace and beauty on display.

27 A greedy and grasping person destroys community;
    those who refuse to exploit live and let live.

28 Prayerful answers come from God-loyal people;
    the wicked are sewers of abuse.

29 God keeps his distance from the wicked;
    he closely attends to the prayers of God-loyal people.

30 A twinkle in the eye means joy in the heart,
    and good news makes you feel fit as a fiddle.

31 Listen to good advice if you want to live well,
    an honored guest among wise men and women.

32 An undisciplined, self-willed life is puny;
    an obedient, God-willed life is spacious.

33 Fear-of-God is a school in skilled living—
    first you learn humility, then you experience glory.

Psalm 73 

An Asaph Psalm

1-5 No doubt about it! God is good—
    good to good people, good to the good-hearted.
But I nearly missed it,

    missed seeing his goodness.
I was looking the other way,

    looking up to the people
At the top,

    envying the wicked who have it made,
Who have nothing to worry about,

    not a care in the whole wide world.

6-10 

Pretentious with arrogance,
    they wear the latest fashions in violence,
Pampered and overfed,

    decked out in silk bows of silliness.
They jeer, using words to kill;

    they bully their way with words.
They’re full of hot air,

    loudmouths disturbing the peace.
People actually listen to them—can you believe it?

    Like thirsty puppies, they lap up their words.

11-14 

What’s going on here? Is God out to lunch?
    Nobody’s tending the store.
The wicked get by with everything;

    they have it made, piling up riches.
I’ve been stupid to play by the rules;

    what has it gotten me?
A long run of bad luck, that’s what—

    a slap in the face every time I walk out the door.

15-20 

If I’d have given in and talked like this,
    I would have betrayed your dear children.
Still, when I tried to figure it out,

    all I got was a splitting headache . . .
Until I entered the sanctuary of God.

    Then I saw the whole picture:
The slippery road you’ve put them on,

    with a final crash in a ditch of delusions.
In the blink of an eye, disaster!

    A blind curve in the dark, and—nightmare!
We wake up and rub our eyes. . . . Nothing.

    There’s nothing to them. And there never was.

21-24 

When I was beleaguered and bitter,
    totally consumed by envy,
I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox

    in your very presence.
I’m still in your presence,

    but you’ve taken my hand.
You wisely and tenderly lead me,

    and then you bless me.

25-28 

You’re all I want in heaven!
    You’re all I want on earth!
When my skin sags and my bones get brittle,

    God is rock-firm and faithful.
Look! Those who left you are falling apart!

    Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again.
But I’m in the very presence of God—

    oh, how refreshing it is!
I’ve made Lord God my home.

    God, I’m telling the world what you do!

Psalm 74

An Asaph Psalm

You walked off and left us, and never looked back.
    God, how could you do that?
We’re your very own sheep;

    how can you stomp off in anger?

2-3 

Refresh your memory of us—you bought us a long time ago.
    Your most precious tribe—you paid a good price for us!
    Your very own Mount Zion—you actually lived here once!
Come and visit the site of disaster,

    see how they’ve wrecked the sanctuary.

4-8 

While your people were at worship, your enemies barged in,
    brawling and scrawling graffiti.
They set fire to the porch;

    axes swinging, they chopped up the woodwork,
Beat down the doors with sledgehammers,

    then split them into kindling.
They burned your holy place to the ground,

    violated the place of worship.
They said to themselves, “We’ll wipe them all out,”

    and burned down all the places of worship.

9-17 

There’s not a sign or symbol of God in sight,
    nor anyone to speak in his name,
    no one who knows what’s going on.
How long, God, will barbarians blaspheme,

    enemies curse and get by with it?
Why don’t you do something? How long are you going

    to sit there with your hands folded in your lap?
God is my King from the very start;

    he works salvation in the womb of the earth.
With one blow you split the sea in two,

    you made mincemeat of the dragon Tannin.
You lopped off the heads of Leviathan,

    then served them up in a stew for the animals.
With your finger you opened up springs and creeks,

    and dried up the wild floodwaters.
You own the day, you own the night;

    you put stars and sun in place.
You laid out the four corners of earth,

    shaped the seasons of summer and winter.

18-21 

Mark and remember, God, all the enemy
    taunts, each idiot desecration.
Don’t throw your lambs to the wolves;

    after all we’ve been through, don’t forget us.
Remember your promises;

    the city is in darkness, the countryside violent.
Don’t leave the victims to rot in the street;

    make them a choir that sings your praises.

22-23 

On your feet, O God—
    stand up for yourself!
Do you hear what they’re saying about you,

    all the vile obscenities?
Don’t tune out their malicious filth,

    the brawling invective that never lets up.

Psalm 75

An Asaph Psalm

We thank you, God, we thank you—
    your Name is our favorite word;
    your mighty works are all we talk about.

2-4 

You say, “I’m calling this meeting to order,
    I’m ready to set things right.
When the earth goes topsy-turvy

    And nobody knows which end is up,
I nail it all down,

    I put everything in place again.
I say to the smart alecks, ‘That’s enough,’

    to the bullies, ‘Not so fast.’”

5-6 

Don’t raise your fist against High God.
    Don’t raise your voice against Rock of Ages.
He’s the One from east to west;

    from desert to mountains, he’s the One.

7-8 

God rules: he brings this one down to his knees,
    pulls that one up on her feet.
God has a cup in his hand,

    a bowl of wine, full to the brim.
He draws from it and pours;

    it’s drained to the dregs.
Earth’s wicked ones drink it all,

    drink it down to the last bitter drop!

9-10 

And I’m telling the story of God Eternal,
    singing the praises of Jacob’s God.
The fists of the wicked

    are bloody stumps,
The arms of the righteous

    are lofty green branches.

Psalm 76

An Asaph Psalm

1-3 God is well-known in Judah;
    in Israel, he’s a household name.
He keeps a house in Salem,

    his own suite of rooms in Zion.
That’s where, using arrows for kindling,

    he made a bonfire of weapons of war.

4-6 

Oh, how bright you shine!
    Outshining their huge piles of loot!
The warriors were plundered

    and left there impotent.
And now there’s nothing to them,

    nothing to show for their swagger and threats.
Your sudden roar, God of Jacob,

    knocked the wind out of horse and rider.

7-10 

Fierce you are, and fearsome!
    Who can stand up to your rising anger?
From heaven you thunder judgment;

    earth falls to her knees and holds her breath.
God stands tall and makes things right,

    he saves all the wretched on earth.
Instead of smoldering rage—God-praise!

    All that sputtering rage—now a garland for God!

11-12 

Do for God what you said you’d do—
    he is, after all, your God.
Let everyone in town bring offerings

    to the One Who Watches our every move.
Nobody gets by with anything,

    no one plays fast and loose with him.

Psalm 77

An Asaph Psalm

I yell out to my God, I yell with all my might,
    I yell at the top of my lungs. He listens.

2-6 

I found myself in trouble and went looking for my Lord;
    my life was an open wound that wouldn’t heal.
When friends said, “Everything will turn out all right,”

    I didn’t believe a word they said.
I remember God—and shake my head.

    I bow my head—then wring my hands.
I’m awake all night—not a wink of sleep;

    I can’t even say what’s bothering me.
I go over the days one by one,

    I ponder the years gone by.
I strum my lute all through the night,

    wondering how to get my life together.

7-10 

Will the Lord walk off and leave us for good?
    Will he never smile again?
Is his love worn threadbare?

    Has his salvation promise burned out?
Has God forgotten his manners?

    Has he angrily stalked off and left us?
“Just my luck,” I said. “The High God goes out of business

    just the moment I need him.”

11-12 

Once again I’ll go over what God has done,
    lay out on the table the ancient wonders;
I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished,

    and give a long, loving look at your acts.

13-15 

O God! Your way is holy!
    No god is great like God!
You’re the God who makes things happen;

    you showed everyone what you can do—
You pulled your people out of the worst kind of trouble,

    rescued the children of Jacob and Joseph.

16-19 

Ocean saw you in action, God,
    saw you and trembled with fear;
    Deep Ocean was scared to death.
Clouds belched buckets of rain,

    Sky exploded with thunder,
    your arrows flashing this way and that.
From Whirlwind came your thundering voice,

    Lightning exposed the world,
    Earth reeled and rocked.
You strode right through Ocean,

    walked straight through roaring Ocean,
    but nobody saw you come or go.

20 

Hidden in the hands of Moses and Aaron,
You led your people like a flock of sheep.

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