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

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Proverbs 18

1 Loners who care only for themselves
    spit on the common good.

Fools care nothing for thoughtful discourse;
    all they do is run off at the mouth.

When wickedness arrives, shame’s not far behind;
    contempt for life is contemptible.

Many words rush along like rivers in flood,
    but deep wisdom flows up from artesian springs.

It’s not right to go easy on the guilty,
    or come down hard on the innocent.

The words of a fool start fights;
    do him a favor and gag him.

Fools are undone by their big mouths;
    their souls are crushed by their words.

Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
    do you really want junk like that in your belly?

Slack habits and sloppy work
    are as bad as vandalism.

10 God’s name is a place of protection—
    good people can run there and be safe.

11 The rich think their wealth protects them;
    they imagine themselves safe behind it.

12 Pride first, then the crash,
    but humility is precursor to honor.

13 Answering before listening
    is both stupid and rude.

14 A healthy spirit conquers adversity,
    but what can you do when the spirit is crushed?

15 Wise men and women are always learning,
    always listening for fresh insights.

16 A gift gets attention;
    it buys the attention of eminent people.

17 The first speech in a court case is always convincing—
    until the cross-examination starts!

18 You may have to draw straws
    when faced with a tough decision.

19 Do a favor and win a friend forever;
    nothing can untie that bond.

20 Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach;
    good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest.

21 Words kill, words give life;
    they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.

22 Find a good spouse, you find a good life—
    and even more: the favor of God!

23 The poor speak in soft supplications;
    the rich bark out answers.

24 Friends come and friends go,
    but a true friend sticks by you like family.

Psalm 88 

A Korah Prayer of Heman

1-9 God, you’re my last chance of the day.
    I spend the night on my knees before you.
Put me on your salvation agenda;
    take notes on the trouble I’m in.
I’ve had my fill of trouble;
    I’m camped on the edge of hell.
I’m written off as a lost cause,
    one more statistic, a hopeless case.
Abandoned as already dead,
    one more body in a stack of corpses,
And not so much as a gravestone—
    I’m a black hole in oblivion.
You’ve dropped me into a bottomless pit,
    sunk me in a pitch-black abyss.
I’m battered senseless by your rage,
    relentlessly pounded by your waves of anger.
You turned my friends against me,
    made me horrible to them.
I’m caught in a maze and can’t find my way out,
    blinded by tears of pain and frustration.

9-12 I call to you, God; all day I call.
    I wring my hands, I plead for help.
Are the dead a live audience for your miracles?
    Do ghosts ever join the choirs that praise you?
Does your love make any difference in a graveyard?
    Is your faithful presence noticed in the corridors of hell?
Are your marvelous wonders ever seen in the dark,
    your righteous ways noticed in the Land of No Memory?

13-18 I’m standing my ground, God, shouting for help,
    at my prayers every morning, on my knees each daybreak.
Why, God, do you turn a deaf ear?
    Why do you make yourself scarce?
For as long as I remember I’ve been hurting;
    I’ve taken the worst you can hand out, and I’ve had it.
Your wildfire anger has blazed through my life;
    I’m bleeding, black-and-blue.
You’ve attacked me fiercely from every side,
    raining down blows till I’m nearly dead.
You made lover and neighbor alike dump me;
    the only friend I have left is Darkness.

Psalm 89 

An Ethan Prayer

1-4 Your love, God, is my song, and I’ll sing it!
    I’m forever telling everyone how faithful you are.
I’ll never quit telling the story of your love—
    how you built the cosmos
    and guaranteed everything in it.
Your love has always been our lives’ foundation,
    your fidelity has been the roof over our world.
You once said, “I joined forces with my chosen leader,
    I pledged my word to my servant, David, saying,
‘Everyone descending from you is guaranteed life;
    I’ll make your rule as solid and lasting as rock.’”

5-18 God! Let the cosmos praise your wonderful ways,
    the choir of holy angels sing anthems to your faithful ways!
Search high and low, scan skies and land,
    you’ll find nothing and no one quite like God.
The holy angels are in awe before him;
    he looms immense and august over everyone around him.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who is like you,
    powerful and faithful from every angle?
You put the arrogant ocean in its place
    and calm its waves when they turn unruly.
You gave that old hag Egypt the back of your hand,
    you brushed off your enemies with a flick of your wrist.
You own the cosmos—you made everything in it,
    everything from atom to archangel.
You positioned the North and South Poles;
    the mountains Tabor and Hermon sing duets to you.
With your well-muscled arm and your grip of steel—
    nobody trifles with you!
The Right and Justice are the roots of your rule;
    Love and Truth are its fruits.
Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise,
    who shout on parade in the bright presence of God.
Delighted, they dance all day long; they know
    who you are, what you do—they can’t keep it quiet!
Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us—
    you’ve been so good to us! We’re walking on air!
All we are and have we owe to God,
    Holy God of Israel, our King!

19-37 A long time ago you spoke in a vision,
    you spoke to your faithful beloved:
“I’ve crowned a hero,
    I chose the best I could find;
I found David, my servant,
    poured holy oil on his head,
And I’ll keep my hand steadily on him,
    yes, I’ll stick with him through thick and thin.
No enemy will get the best of him,
    no scoundrel will do him in.
I’ll weed out all who oppose him,
    I’ll clean out all who hate him.
I’m with him for good and I’ll love him forever;
    I’ve set him on high—he’s riding high!
I’ve put Ocean in his one hand, River in the other;
    he’ll call out, ‘Oh, my Father—my God, my Rock of Salvation!’
Yes, I’m setting him apart as the First of the royal line,
    High King over all of earth’s kings.
I’ll preserve him eternally in my love,
    I’ll faithfully do all I so solemnly promised.
I’ll guarantee his family tree
    and underwrite his rule.
If his children refuse to do what I tell them,
    if they refuse to walk in the way I show them,
If they spit on the directions I give them
    and tear up the rules I post for them—
I’ll rub their faces in the dirt of their rebellion
    and make them face the music.
But I’ll never throw them out,
    never abandon or disown them.
Do you think I’d withdraw my holy promise?
    or take back words I’d already spoken?
I’ve given my word, my whole and holy word;
    do you think I would lie to David?
His family tree is here for good,
    his sovereignty as sure as the sun,
Dependable as the phases of the moon,
    inescapable as weather.”

38-51 But God, you did walk off and leave us,
    you lost your temper with the one you anointed.
You tore up the promise you made to your servant,
    you stomped his crown in the mud.
You blasted his home to kingdom come,
    reduced his city to a pile of rubble
Picked clean by wayfaring strangers,
    a joke to all the neighbors.
You declared a holiday for all his enemies,
    and they’re celebrating for all they’re worth.
Angry, you opposed him in battle,
    refused to fight on his side;
You robbed him of his splendor, humiliated this warrior,
    ground his kingly honor in the dirt.
You took the best years of his life
    and left him an impotent, ruined husk.
How long do we put up with this, God?
    Are you gone for good? Will you hold this grudge forever?
Remember my sorrow and how short life is.
    Did you create men and women for nothing but this?
We’ll see death soon enough. Everyone does.
    And there’s no back door out of hell.
So where is the love you’re so famous for, Lord?
    What happened to your promise to David?
Take a good look at your servant, dear Lord;
    I’m the butt of the jokes of all nations,
The taunting jokes of your enemies, God,
    as they dog the steps of your dear anointed.

52 Blessed be God forever and always!
Yes. Oh, yes.

Psalm 90 

A Prayer of Moses, Man of God

 1-2 God, it seems you’ve been our home forever;

    long before the mountains were born,
Long before you brought earth itself to birth,
    from “once upon a time” to “kingdom come”—you are God.

3-11 So don’t return us to mud, saying,
    “Back to where you came from!”
Patience! You’ve got all the time in the world—whether
    a thousand years or a day, it’s all the same to you.
Are we no more to you than a wispy dream,
    no more than a blade of grass
That springs up gloriously with the rising sun
    and is cut down without a second thought?
Your anger is far and away too much for us;
    we’re at the end of our rope.
You keep track of all our sins; every misdeed
    since we were children is entered in your books.
All we can remember is that frown on your face.
    Is that all we’re ever going to get?
We live for seventy years or so
    (with luck we might make it to eighty),
And what do we have to show for it? Trouble.
    Toil and trouble and a marker in the graveyard.
Who can make sense of such rage,
    such anger against the very ones who fear you?

12-17 Oh! Teach us to live well!
    Teach us to live wisely and well!
Come back, God—how long do we have to wait?—
    and treat your servants with kindness for a change.
Surprise us with love at daybreak;
    then we’ll skip and dance all the day long.
Make up for the bad times with some good times;
    we’ve seen enough evil to last a lifetime.
Let your servants see what you’re best at—
    the ways you rule and bless your children.
And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us,
    confirming the work that we do.
    Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

Psalm 91 

1-13 You who sit down in the High God’s presence,
    spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
    I trust in you and I’m safe!”
That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
    shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
    under them you’re perfectly safe;
    his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
    not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
    not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
    drop like flies right and left,
    no harm will even graze you.
You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
    watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God’s your refuge,
    the High God your very own home,
Evil can’t get close to you,
    harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels
    to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
    their job is to keep you from falling.
You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
    and kick young lions and serpents from the path.

14-16 “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
    “I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
    if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
    I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
    give you a long drink of salvation!”

Psalm 92 

A Sabbath Song

92 1-3 What a beautiful thing, God, to give thanks,
    to sing an anthem to you, the High God!
To announce your love each daybreak,
    sing your faithful presence all through the night,
Accompanied by dulcimer and harp,
    the full-bodied music of strings.

4-9 You made me so happy, God
    I saw your work and I shouted for joy.
How magnificent your work, God!
    How profound your thoughts!
Dullards never notice what you do;
    fools never do get it.
When the wicked popped up like weeds
    and all the evil men and women took over,
You mowed them down,
    finished them off once and for all.
You, God, are High and Eternal.
    Look at your enemies, God!
Look at your enemies—ruined!
    Scattered to the winds, all those hirelings of evil!

10-14 But you’ve made me strong as a charging bison,
    you’ve honored me with a festive parade.
The sight of my critics going down is still fresh,
    the rout of my malicious detractors.
My ears are filled with the sounds of promise:
    “Good people will prosper like palm trees,
Grow tall like Lebanon cedars;
    transplanted to God’s courtyard,
They’ll grow tall in the presence of God,
    lithe and green, virile still in old age.”

15 Such witnesses to upright God!
    My Mountain, my huge, holy Mountain!

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