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

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Proverbs 28

1 The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off
    even when no one’s after them;
Honest people are relaxed and confident,
    bold as lions.

    When the country is in chaos,
    everybody has a plan to fix it—
But it takes a leader of real understanding
    to straighten things out.

The wicked who oppress the poor
are like a hailstorm that beats down the harvest.

If you desert God’s law, you’re free to embrace depravity;
if you love God’s law, you fight for it tooth and nail.

Justice makes no sense to the evilminded;
those who seek God know it inside and out.

It’s better to be poor and direct
    than rich and crooked.

Practice God’s law—get a reputation for wisdom;
    hang out with a loose crowd—embarrass your family.

Get as rich as you want
    through cheating and extortion,
But eventually some friend of the poor
    is going to give it all back to them.

God has no use for the prayers
    of the people who won’t listen to him.

10 Lead good people down a wrong path
    and you’ll come to a bad end;
    do good and you’ll be rewarded for it.

11 The rich think they know it all,
    but the poor can see right through them.

12 When good people are promoted, everything is great,
    but when the bad are in charge, watch out!

13 You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it;
    you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.

14 A tenderhearted person lives a blessed life;
    a hardhearted person lives a hard life.

15 Lions roar and bears charge—
    and the wicked lord it over the poor.

16 Among leaders who lack insight, abuse abounds,
    but for one who hates corruption, the future is bright.

17 A murderer haunted by guilt
    is doomed—there’s no helping him.

18 Walk straight—live well and be saved;
    a devious life is a doomed life.

Doing Great Harm in Seemingly Harmless Ways

19 Work your garden—you’ll end up with plenty of food;
    play and party—you’ll end up with an empty plate.

20 Committed and persistent work pays off;
    get-rich-quick schemes are ripoffs.

21 Playing favorites is always a bad thing;
    you can do great harm in seemingly harmless ways.

22 A miser in a hurry to get rich
    doesn’t know that he’ll end up broke.

23 In the end, serious reprimand is appreciated
    far more than bootlicking flattery.

24 Anyone who robs father and mother
    and says, “So, what’s wrong with that?”
    is worse than a pirate.

25 A grasping person stirs up trouble,
    but trust in God brings a sense of well-being.

26 If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure;
    real survivors learn wisdom from others.

27 Be generous to the poor—you’ll never go hungry;
    shut your eyes to their needs, and run a gauntlet of curses.

28 When corruption takes over, good people go underground,
    but when the crooks are thrown out, it’s safe to come out.

Psalm 137 

1-3 Alongside Babylon’s rivers
    we sat on the banks; we cried and cried,
    remembering the good old days in Zion.
Alongside the quaking aspens
    we stacked our unplayed harps;
That’s where our captors demanded songs,
    sarcastic and mocking:
    “Sing us a happy Zion song!”

4-6 Oh, how could we ever sing God’s song
    in this wasteland?
If I ever forget you, Jerusalem,
    let my fingers wither and fall off like leaves.
Let my tongue swell and turn black
    if I fail to remember you,
If I fail, O dear Jerusalem,
    to honor you as my greatest.

7-9 God, remember those Edomites,
    and remember the ruin of Jerusalem,
That day they yelled out,
    “Wreck it, smash it to bits!”
And you, Babylonians—ravagers!
    A reward to whoever gets back at you
    for all you’ve done to us;
Yes, a reward to the one who grabs your babies
    and smashes their heads on the rocks!

Psalm 138

A David Psalm

1-3 Thank you! Everything in me says “Thank you!”
    Angels listen as I sing my thanks.
I kneel in worship facing your holy temple
    and say it again: “Thank you!”
Thank you for your love,
    thank you for your faithfulness;
Most holy is your name,
    most holy is your Word.
The moment I called out, you stepped in;
    you made my life large with strength.

4-6 When they hear what you have to say, God,
    all earth’s kings will say “Thank you.”
They’ll sing of what you’ve done:
    “How great the glory of God!”
And here’s why: God, high above, sees far below;
    no matter the distance, he knows everything about us.

7-8 When I walk into the thick of trouble,
    keep me alive in the angry turmoil.
With one hand
    strike my foes,
With your other hand
    save me.
Finish what you started in me, God.
    Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now.

Psalm 139 

A David Psalm

1-6 God, investigate my life;
    get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you;
    even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
    I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
    before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
    then up ahead and you’re there, too—
    your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
    I can’t take it all in!

7-12 Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
    to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
    If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
    to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
    you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
    At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
    night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day.

17-22 Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!
    God, I’ll never comprehend them!
I couldn’t even begin to count them—
    any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!
    And please, God, do away with wickedness for good!
And you murderers—out of here!—
    all the men and women who belittle you, God,
    infatuated with cheap god-imitations.
See how I hate those who hate you, God,
    see how I loathe all this godless arrogance;
I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred.
    Your enemies are my enemies!

23-24 Investigate my life, O God,
    find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
    get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
    then guide me on the road to eternal life.

Psalm 140 

A David Psalm

1-5 God, get me out of here, away from this evil;
    protect me from these vicious people.
All they do is think up new ways to be bad;
    they spend their days plotting war games.
They practice the sharp rhetoric of hate and hurt,
    speak venomous words that maim and kill.
God, keep me out of the clutch of these wicked ones,
    protect me from these vicious people;
Stuffed with self-importance, they plot ways to trip me up,
    determined to bring me down.
These crooks invent traps to catch me
    and do their best to incriminate me.

6-8 I prayed, “God, you’re my God!
    Listen, God! Mercy!
God, my Lord, Strong Savior,
    protect me when the fighting breaks out!
Don’t let the wicked have their way, God,
    don’t give them an inch!”

9-11 These troublemakers all around me—
    let them drown in their own verbal poison.
Let God pile hellfire on them,
    let him bury them alive in crevasses!
These loudmouths—
    don’t let them be taken seriously;
These savages—
    let the Devil hunt them down!

12-13 I know that you, God, are on the side of victims,
    that you care for the rights of the poor.
And I know that the righteous personally thank you,
    that good people are secure in your presence.

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