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

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Proverbs 22

A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich;
    a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank.

The rich and the poor shake hands as equals—
    God made them both!

A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks;
    a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered.

The payoff for meekness and Fear-of-God
    is plenty and honor and a satisfying life.

The perverse travel a dangerous road, potholed and mud-slick;
    if you know what’s good for you, stay clear of it.

Point your kids in the right direction—
    when they’re old they won’t be lost.

The poor are always ruled over by the rich,
    so don’t borrow and put yourself under their power.

Whoever sows sin reaps weeds,
    and bullying anger sputters into nothing.

Generous hands are blessed hands
    because they give bread to the poor.

10 Kick out the troublemakers and things will quiet down;
    you need a break from bickering and griping!

11 God loves the pure-hearted and well-spoken;
    good leaders also delight in their friendship.

12 God guards knowledge with a passion,
    but he’ll have nothing to do with deception.

13 The loafer says, “There’s a lion on the loose!
    If I go out I’ll be eaten alive!”

14 The mouth of a whore is a bottomless pit;
    you’ll fall in that pit if you’re on the outs with God.

15 Young people are prone to foolishness and fads;
    the cure comes through tough-minded discipline.

16 Exploit the poor or glad-hand the rich—whichever,
    you’ll end up the poorer for it.

The Thirty Precepts of the Sages

Don’t Move Back the Boundary Lines

17-21 Listen carefully to my wisdom;
    take to heart what I can teach you.
You’ll treasure its sweetness deep within;
    you’ll give it bold expression in your speech.
To make sure your foundation is trust in God,
    I’m laying it all out right now just for you.
I’m giving you thirty sterling principles—
    tested guidelines to live by.
Believe me—these are truths that work,
    and will keep you accountable
    to those who sent you.

1

22-23 Don’t walk on the poor just because they’re poor,
    and don’t use your position to crush the weak,
Because God will come to their defense;
    the life you took, he’ll take from you and give back to them.

2

24-25 Don’t hang out with angry people;
    don’t keep company with hotheads.
Bad temper is contagious—
    don’t get infected.

3

26-27 Don’t gamble on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,
    hocking your house against a lucky chance.
The time will come when you have to pay up;
    you’ll be left with nothing but the shirt on your back.

4

28 Don’t stealthily move back the boundary lines
    staked out long ago by your ancestors.

5

29 Observe people who are good at their work—
    skilled workers are always in demand and admired;
    they don’t take a backseat to anyone.

Psalm 108 

A David Prayer

1-2 I’m ready, God, so ready,
    ready from head to toe.
Ready to sing,
    ready to raise a God-song:
“Wake, soul! Wake, lute!
    Wake up, you sleepyhead sun!”

3-6 I’m thanking you, God, out in the streets,
    singing your praises in town and country.
The deeper your love, the higher it goes;
    every cloud’s a flag to your faithfulness.
Soar high in the skies, O God!
    Cover the whole earth with your glory!
And for the sake of the one you love so much,
    reach down and help me—answer me!

7-9 That’s when God spoke in holy splendor:
    “Brimming over with joy,
I make a present of Shechem,
    I hand out Succoth Valley as a gift.
Gilead’s in my pocket,
    to say nothing of Manasseh.
Ephraim’s my hard hat,
    Judah my hammer.
Moab’s a scrub bucket—
    I mop the floor with Moab,
Spit on Edom,
    rain fireworks all over Philistia.”

10-11 Who will take me to the thick of the fight?
    Who’ll show me the road to Edom?
You aren’t giving up on us, are you, God?
    refusing to go out with our troops?

12-13 Give us help for the hard task;
    human help is worthless.
In God we’ll do our very best;
    he’ll flatten the opposition for good.

Psalm 109 

A David Prayer

1-5 My God, don’t turn a deaf ear to my hallelujah prayer.
    Liars are pouring out invective on me;
Their lying tongues are like a pack of dogs out to get me,
    barking their hate, nipping my heels—and for no reason!
I loved them and now they slander me—yes, me!—
    and treat my prayer like a crime;
They return my good with evil,
    they return my love with hate.

6-20 Send the Evil One to accuse my accusing judge;
    dispatch Satan to prosecute him.
When he’s judged, let the verdict be “Guilty,”
    and when he prays, let his prayer turn to sin.
Give him a short life,
    and give his job to somebody else.
Make orphans of his children,
    dress his wife in widow’s weeds;
Turn his children into begging street urchins,
    evicted from their homes—homeless.
May the bank foreclose and wipe him out,
    and strangers, like vultures, pick him clean.
May there be no one around to help him out,
    no one willing to give his orphans a break.
Chop down his family tree
    so that nobody even remembers his name.
But erect a memorial to the sin of his father,
    and make sure his mother’s name is there, too—
Their sins recorded forever before God,
    but they themselves sunk in oblivion.
That’s all he deserves since he was never once kind,
    hounded the afflicted and heartbroken to their graves.
Since he loved cursing so much,
    let curses rain down;
Since he had no taste for blessing,
    let blessings flee far from him.
He dressed up in curses like a fine suit of clothes;
    he drank curses, took his baths in curses.
So give him a gift—a costume of curses;
    he can wear curses every day of the week!
That’s what they’ll get, those out to get me—
    an avalanche of just deserts from God.

21-25 Oh, God, my Lord, step in;
    work a miracle for me—you can do it!
Get me out of here—your love is so great!—
    I’m at the end of my rope, my life in ruins.
I’m fading away to nothing, passing away,
    my youth gone, old before my time.
I’m weak from hunger and can hardly stand up,
    my body a rack of skin and bones.
I’m a joke in poor taste to those who see me;
    they take one look and shake their heads.

26-29 Help me, oh help me, God, my God,
    save me through your wonderful love;
Then they’ll know that your hand is in this,
    that you, God, have been at work.
Let them curse all they want;
    you do the blessing.
Let them be jeered by the crowd when they stand up,
    followed by cheers for me, your servant.
Dress my accusers in clothes dirty with shame,
    discarded and humiliating old ragbag clothes.

30-31 My mouth’s full of great praise for God,
    I’m singing his hallelujahs surrounded by crowds,
For he’s always at hand to take the side of the needy,
    to rescue a life from the unjust judge.

Psalm 110 

A David Prayer

1-3 The word of God to my Lord:
    “Sit alongside me here on my throne
    until I make your enemies a stool for your feet.”
You were forged a strong scepter by God of Zion;
    now rule, though surrounded by enemies!
Your people will freely join you, resplendent in holy armor
    on the great day of your conquest,
Join you at the fresh break of day,
    join you with all the vigor of youth.

4-7 God gave his word and he won’t take it back:
    you’re the permanent priest, the Melchizedek priest.
The Lord stands true at your side,
    crushing kings in his terrible wrath,
Bringing judgment on the nations,
    handing out convictions wholesale,
    crushing opposition across the wide earth.
The King-Maker put his King on the throne;
    the True King rules with head held high!

Psalm 111 

1-10 Hallelujah!
I give thanks to God with everything I’ve got—
Wherever good people gather, and in the congregation.
God’s works are so great, worth
A lifetime of study—endless enjoyment!
Splendor and beauty mark his craft;
His generosity never gives out.
His miracles are his memorial—
This God of Grace, this God of Love.
He gave food to those who fear him,
He remembered to keep his ancient promise.
He proved to his people that he could do what he said:
Hand them the nations on a platter—a gift!
He manufactures truth and justice;
All his products are guaranteed to last—
Never out-of-date, never obsolete, rust-proof.
All that he makes and does is honest and true:
He paid the ransom for his people,
He ordered his Covenant kept forever.
He’s so personal and holy, worthy of our respect.
The good life begins in the fear of God
Do that and you’ll know the blessing of God.
His Hallelujah lasts forever!

Psalm 112 

1-10 Hallelujah!
Blessed man, blessed woman, who fear God,
Who cherish and relish his commandments,
Their children robust on the earth,
And the homes of the upright—how blessed!
Their houses brim with wealth
And a generosity that never runs dry.
Sunrise breaks through the darkness for good people—
God’s grace and mercy and justice!
The good person is generous and lends lavishly;
No shuffling or stumbling around for this one,
But a sterling and solid and lasting reputation.
Unfazed by rumor and gossip,
Heart ready, trusting in God,
Spirit firm, unperturbed,
Ever blessed, relaxed among enemies,
They lavish gifts on the poor—
A generosity that goes on, and on, and on.
An honored life! A beautiful life!
Someone wicked takes one look and rages,
Blusters away but ends up speechless.
There’s nothing to the dreams of the wicked. Nothing.

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