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

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Proverbs 29

1 For people who hate discipline
    and only get more stubborn,
There’ll come a day when life tumbles in and they break,
    but by then it’ll be too late to help them.

When good people run things, everyone is glad,
    but when the ruler is bad, everyone groans.

If you love wisdom, you’ll delight your parents,
    but you’ll destroy their trust if you run with whores.

A leader of good judgment gives stability;
    an exploiting leader leaves a trail of waste.

A flattering neighbor is up to no good;
    he’s probably planning to take advantage of you.

Evil people fall into their own traps;
    good people run the other way, glad to escape.

The good-hearted understand what it’s like to be poor;
    the hardhearted haven’t the faintest idea.

A gang of cynics can upset a whole city;
    a group of sages can calm everyone down.

A sage trying to work things out with a fool
    gets only scorn and sarcasm for his trouble.

10 Murderers hate honest people;
    moral folks encourage them.

11 A fool lets it all hang out;
    a sage quietly mulls it over.

12 When a leader listens to malicious gossip,
    all the workers get infected with evil.

13 The poor and their abusers have at least something in common:
    they can both see—their sight, God’s gift!

14 Leadership gains authority and respect
    when the voiceless poor are treated fairly.

15 Wise discipline imparts wisdom;
    spoiled adolescents embarrass their parents.

16 When degenerates take charge, crime runs wild,
    but the righteous will eventually observe their collapse.

17 Discipline your children; you’ll be glad you did—
    they’ll turn out delightful to live with.

18 If people can’t see what God is doing,
    they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
    they are most blessed.

19 It takes more than talk to keep workers in line;
    mere words go in one ear and out the other.

20 Observe the people who always talk before they think—
    even simpletons are better off than they are.

21 If you let people treat you like a doormat,
    you’ll be quite forgotten in the end.

22 Angry people stir up a lot of discord;
    the intemperate stir up trouble.

23 Pride lands you flat on your face;
    humility prepares you for honors.

24 Befriend an outlaw
    and become an enemy to yourself.
When the victims cry out,
    you’ll be included in their curses
    if you’re a coward to their cause in court.

25 The fear of human opinion disables;
    trusting in God protects you from that.

26 Everyone tries to get help from the leader,
    but only God will give us justice.

27 Good people can’t stand the sight of deliberate evil;
    the wicked can’t stand the sight of well-chosen goodness.

Psalm 141 

A David Psalm

1-2 God, come close. Come quickly!
    Open your ears—it’s my voice you’re hearing!
Treat my prayer as sweet incense rising;
    my raised hands are my evening prayers.

3-7 Post a guard at my mouth, God,
    set a watch at the door of my lips.
Don’t let me so much as dream of evil
    or thoughtlessly fall into bad company.
And these people who only do wrong—
    don’t let them lure me with their sweet talk!
May the Just One set me straight,
    may the Kind One correct me,
Don’t let sin anoint my head.
    I’m praying hard against their evil ways!
Oh, let their leaders be pushed off a high rock cliff;
    make them face the music.
Like a rock pulverized by a maul,
    let their bones be scattered at the gates of hell.

8-10 But God, dear Lord,
    I only have eyes for you.
Since I’ve run for dear life to you,
    take good care of me.
Protect me from their evil scheming,
    from all their demonic subterfuge.
Let the wicked fall flat on their faces,
    while I walk off without a scratch.

Psalm 142 

A David Prayer—When He Was in the Cave

1-2 I cry out loudly to God,
    loudly I plead with God for mercy.
I spill out all my complaints before him,
    and spell out my troubles in detail:

3-7 “As I sink in despair, my spirit ebbing away,
    you know how I’m feeling,
Know the danger I’m in,
    the traps hidden in my path.
Look right, look left—
    there’s not a soul who cares what happens!
I’m up against it, with no exit—
    bereft, left alone.
I cry out, God, call out:
    ‘You’re my last chance, my only hope for life!’
Oh listen, please listen;
    I’ve never been this low.
Rescue me from those who are hunting me down;
    I’m no match for them.
Get me out of this dungeon
    so I can thank you in public.
Your people will form a circle around me
    and you’ll bring me showers of blessing!”

Psalm 143 

A David Psalm

1-2 Listen to this prayer of mine, God;
    pay attention to what I’m asking.
Answer me—you’re famous for your answers!
    Do what’s right for me.
But don’t, please don’t, haul me into court;
    not a person alive would be acquitted there.

3-6 The enemy hunted me down;
    he kicked me and stomped me within an inch of my life.
He put me in a black hole,
    buried me like a corpse in that dungeon.
I sat there in despair, my spirit draining away,
    my heart heavy, like lead.
I remembered the old days,
    went over all you’ve done, pondered the ways you’ve worked,
Stretched out my hands to you,
    as thirsty for you as a desert thirsty for rain.

7-10 Hurry with your answer, God!
    I’m nearly at the end of my rope.
Don’t turn away; don’t ignore me!
    That would be certain death.
If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice,
    I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you.
Point out the road I must travel;
    I’m all ears, all eyes before you.
Save me from my enemies, God
    you’re my only hope!
Teach me how to live to please you,
    because you’re my God.
Lead me by your blessed Spirit
    into cleared and level pastureland.

11-12 Keep up your reputation, God—give me life!
    In your justice, get me out of this trouble!
In your great love, vanquish my enemies;
    make a clean sweep of those who harass me.
And why? Because I’m your servant.

Psalm 144 

A David Psalm

1-2 Blessed be God, my mountain,
    who trains me to fight fair and well.
He’s the bedrock on which I stand,
    the castle in which I live,
    my rescuing knight,
The high crag where I run for dear life,
    while he lays my enemies low.

3-4 I wonder why you care, God
    why do you bother with us at all?
All we are is a puff of air;
    we’re like shadows in a campfire.

5-8 Step down out of heaven, God;
    ignite volcanoes in the hearts of the mountains.
Hurl your lightnings in every direction;
    shoot your arrows this way and that.
Reach all the way from sky to sea:
    pull me out of the ocean of hate,
    out of the grip of those barbarians
Who lie through their teeth,
    who shake your hand
    then knife you in the back.

9-10 O God, let me sing a new song to you,
    let me play it on a twelve-string guitar—
A song to the God who saved the king,
    the God who rescued David, his servant.

11 Rescue me from the enemy sword,
    release me from the grip of those barbarians
Who lie through their teeth,
    who shake your hand
    then knife you in the back.

12-14 Make our sons in their prime
    like sturdy oak trees,
Our daughters as shapely and bright
    as fields of wildflowers.
Fill our barns with great harvest,
    fill our fields with huge flocks;
Protect us from invasion and exile—
    eliminate the crime in our streets.

15 How blessed the people who have all this!
How blessed the people who have God for God!

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