A proverb a day to order your public life...
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1-5 Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you;
collect my counsels and guard them with your life.
Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom;
set your heart on a life of Understanding.
That’s right—if you make Insight your priority,
and won’t take no for an answer,
Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold,
like an adventurer on a treasure hunt,
Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours;
you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God.
6-8 And here’s why: God gives out Wisdom free,
is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding.
He’s a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well,
a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere.
He keeps his eye on all who live honestly,
and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones.
9-15 So now you can pick out what’s true and fair,
find all the good trails!
Lady Wisdom will be your close friend,
and Brother Knowledge your pleasant companion.
Good Sense will scout ahead for danger,
Insight will keep an eye out for you.
They’ll keep you from making wrong turns,
or following the bad directions
Of those who are lost themselves
and can’t tell a trail from a tumbleweed,
These losers who make a game of evil
and throw parties to celebrate perversity,
Traveling paths that go nowhere,
wandering in a maze of detours and dead ends.
16-19 Wise friends will rescue you from the Temptress—
that smooth-talking Seductress
Who’s faithless to the husband she married years ago,
never gave a second thought to her promises before God.
Her whole way of life is doomed;
every step she takes brings her closer to hell.
No one who joins her company ever comes back,
ever sets foot on the path to real living.
20-22 So—join the company of good men and women,
keep your feet on the tried-and-true paths.
It’s the men who walk straight who will settle this land,
the women with integrity who will last here.
The corrupt will lose their lives;
the dishonest will be gone for good.
A David Psalm
1-2 Please, God, no more yelling,
no more trips to the woodshed.
Treat me nice for a change;
I’m so starved for affection.
2-3 Can’t you see I’m black-and-blue,
beat up badly in bones and soul?
God, how long will it take
for you to let up?
4-5 Break in, God, and break up this fight;
if you love me at all, get me out of here.
I’m no good to you dead, am I?
I can’t sing in your choir if I’m buried in some tomb!
6-7 I’m tired of all this—so tired. My bed
has been floating forty days and nights
On the flood of my tears.
My mattress is soaked, soggy with tears.
The sockets of my eyes are black holes;
nearly blind, I squint and grope.
8-9 Get out of here, you Devil’s crew:
at last God has heard my sobs.
My requests have all been granted,
my prayers are answered.
10 Cowards, my enemies disappear.
Disgraced, they turn tail and run.
A David Psalm
1-2 God! God! I am running to you for dear life;
the chase is wild.
If they catch me, I’m finished:
ripped to shreds by foes fierce as lions,
dragged into the forest and left
unlooked for, unremembered.
3-5 God, if I’ve done what they say—
betrayed my friends,
ripped off my enemies—
If my hands are really that dirty,
let them get me, walk all over me,
leave me flat on my face in the dirt.
6-8 Stand up, God; pit your holy fury
against my furious enemies.
Wake up, God. My accusers have packed
the courtroom; it’s judgment time.
Take your place on the bench, reach for your gavel,
throw out the false charges against me.
I’m ready, confident in your verdict:
9-11 Close the book on Evil, God,
but publish your mandate for us.
You get us ready for life:
you probe for our soft spots,
you knock off our rough edges.
And I’m feeling so fit, so safe:
made right, kept right.
God in solemn honor does things right,
but his nerves are sandpapered raw.
11-13 Nobody gets by with anything.
God is already in action—
Sword honed on his whetstone,
bow strung, arrow on the string,
Lethal weapons in hand,
each arrow a flaming missile.
14 Look at that guy!
He had sex with sin,
he’s pregnant with evil.
Oh, look! He’s having
the baby—a Lie-Baby!
15-16 See that man shoveling day after day,
digging, then concealing, his man-trap
down that lonely stretch of road?
Go back and look again—you’ll see him in it headfirst,
legs waving in the breeze.
That’s what happens:
17 I’m thanking God, who makes things right.
I’m singing the fame of heaven-high God.
A David Psalm
1 God, brilliant Lord,
yours is a household name.
2 Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
toddlers shout the songs
That drown out enemy talk,
and silence atheist babble.
3-4 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?
5-8 Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods,
bright with Eden’s dawn light.
You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
repeated to us your Genesis-charge,
Made us lords of sheep and cattle,
even animals out in the wild,
Birds flying and fish swimming,
whales singing in the ocean deeps.
9 God, brilliant Lord,
your name echoes around the world.
A David Psalm
1-2 I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart,
I’m writing the book on your wonders.
I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy;
I’m singing your song, High God.
3-4 The day my enemies turned tail and ran,
they stumbled on you and fell on their faces.
You took over and set everything right;
when I needed you, you were there, taking charge.
5-6 You blow the whistle on godless nations;
you throw dirty players out of the game,
wipe their names right off the roster.
Enemies disappear from the sidelines,
their reputation trashed,
their names erased from the halls of fame.
7-8 God holds the high center,
he sees and sets the world’s mess right.
He decides what is right for us earthlings,
gives people their just deserts.
9-10 God’s a safe-house for the battered,
a sanctuary during bad times.
The moment you arrive, you relax;
you’re never sorry you knocked.
11-12 Sing your songs to Zion-dwelling God,
tell his stories to everyone you meet:
How he tracks down killers
yet keeps his eye on us,
registers every whimper and moan.
13-14 Be kind to me, God;
I’ve been kicked around long enough.
Once you’ve pulled me back
from the gates of death,
I’ll write the book on Hallelujahs;
on the corner of Main and First
I’ll hold a street meeting;
I’ll be the song leader; we’ll fill the air
with salvation songs.
15-16 They’re trapped, those godless countries,
in the very snares they set,
Their feet all tangled
in the net they spread.
They have no excuse;
the way God works is well-known.
The cunning machinery made by the wicked
has maimed their own hands.
17-20 The wicked bought a one-way
ticket to hell.
No longer will the poor be nameless—
no more humiliation for the humble.
Up, God! Aren’t you fed up with their empty strutting?
Expose these grand pretensions!
Shake them up, God!
Show them how silly they look.
1-2 God, are you avoiding me?
Where are you when I need you?
Full of hot air, the wicked
are hot on the trail of the poor.
Trip them up, tangle them up
in their fine-tuned plots.
3-4 The wicked are windbags,
the swindlers have foul breath.
The wicked snub God,
their noses stuck high in the air.
Their graffiti are scrawled on the walls:
“Catch us if you can!” “God is dead.”
5-6 They care nothing for what you think;
if you get in their way, they blow you off.
They live (they think) a charmed life:
“We can’t go wrong. This is our lucky year!”
7-8 They carry a mouthful of hexes,
their tongues spit venom like adders.
They hide behind ordinary people,
then pounce on their victims.
9 They mark the luckless,
then wait like a hunter in a blind;
When the poor wretch wanders too close,
they stab him in the back.
10-11 The hapless fool is kicked to the ground,
the unlucky victim is brutally axed.
He thinks God has dumped him,
he’s sure that God is indifferent to his plight.
12-13 Time to get up, God—get moving.
The luckless think they’re Godforsaken.
They wonder why the wicked scorn God
and get away with it,
Why the wicked are so cocksure
they’ll never come up for audit.
14 But you know all about it—
the contempt, the abuse.
I dare to believe that the luckless
will get lucky someday in you.
You won’t let them down:
orphans won’t be orphans forever.
15-16 Break the wicked right arms,
break all the evil left arms.
Search and destroy
every sign of crime.
God’s grace and order wins;
17-18 The victim’s faint pulse picks up;
the hearts of the hopeless pump red blood
as you put your ear to their lips.
Orphans get parents,
the homeless get homes.
The reign of terror is over,
the rule of the gang lords is ended.
The Message Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson