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

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Proverbs 30

1-2 The skeptic swore, “There is no God!
    No God!—I can do anything I want!
I’m more animal than human;
    so-called human intelligence escapes me.

3-4 “I flunked ‘wisdom.’
    I see no evidence of a holy God.
Has anyone ever seen Anyone
    climb into Heaven and take charge?
    grab the winds and control them?
    gather the rains in his bucket?
    stake out the ends of the earth?
Just tell me his name, tell me the names of his sons.
    Come on now—tell me!”

5-6 The believer replied, “Every promise of God proves true;
    he protects everyone who runs to him for help.
So don’t second-guess him;
    he might take you to task and show up your lies.”

7-9 And then he prayed, “God, I’m asking for two things
    before I die; don’t refuse me—
Banish lies from my lips
    and liars from my presence.
Give me enough food to live on,
    neither too much nor too little.
If I’m too full, I might get independent,
    saying, ‘God? Who needs him?’
If I’m poor, I might steal
    and dishonor the name of my God.”

10 Don’t blow the whistle on your fellow workers
    behind their backs;
They’ll accuse you of being underhanded,
    and then you’ll be the guilty one!

11 Don’t curse your father
    or fail to bless your mother.

12 Don’t imagine yourself to be quite presentable
    when you haven’t had a bath in weeks.

13 Don’t be stuck-up
    and think you’re better than everyone else.

14 Don’t be greedy,
    merciless and cruel as wolves,
Tearing into the poor and feasting on them,
    shredding the needy to pieces only to discard them.

15-16 A leech has twin daughters
    named “Gimme” and “Gimme more.”

Four Insatiables

Three things are never satisfied,
    no, there are four that never say, “That’s enough, thank you!”—

hell,
a barren womb,
a parched land,
a forest fire.

17 An eye that disdains a father
    and despises a mother—
that eye will be plucked out by wild vultures
    and consumed by young eagles.

Four Mysteries

18-19 Three things amaze me,
    no, four things I’ll never understand—

how an eagle flies so high in the sky,
how a snake glides over a rock,
how a ship navigates the ocean,
why adolescents act the way they do.

20 Here’s how a prostitute operates:
    she has sex with her client,
Takes a bath,
    then asks, “Who’s next?”

Four Intolerables

21-23 Three things are too much for even the earth to bear,
    yes, four things shake its foundations—

when the janitor becomes the boss,
when a fool gets rich,
when a whore is voted “woman of the year,”
when a “girlfriend” replaces a faithful wife.

Four Small Wonders

24-28 There are four small creatures,
    wisest of the wise they are—

ants—frail as they are,
    get plenty of food in for the winter;
marmots—vulnerable as they are,
    manage to arrange for rock-solid homes;
locusts—leaderless insects,
    yet they strip the field like an army regiment;
lizards—easy enough to catch,
    but they sneak past vigilant palace guards.

Four Dignitaries

29-31 There are three solemn dignitaries,
    four that are impressive in their bearing—

a lion, king of the beasts, deferring to none;
a rooster, proud and strutting;
a billy goat;
a head of state in stately procession.

32-33 If you’re dumb enough to call attention to yourself
    by offending people and making rude gestures,
Don’t be surprised if someone bloodies your nose.
    Churned milk turns into butter;
    riled emotions turn into fist fights.

Psalm 145 

David’s Praise

I lift you high in praise, my God, O my King!
    and I’ll bless your name into eternity.

I’ll bless you every day,
    and keep it up from now to eternity.

God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough.
    There are no boundaries to his greatness.

Generation after generation stands in awe of your work;
    each one tells stories of your mighty acts.

Your beauty and splendor have everyone talking;
    I compose songs on your wonders.

Your marvelous doings are headline news;
    I could write a book full of the details of your greatness.

The fame of your goodness spreads across the country;
    your righteousness is on everyone’s lips.

God is all mercy and grace—
    not quick to anger, is rich in love.

God is good to one and all;
    everything he does is suffused with grace.

10-11 Creation and creatures applaud you, God;
    your holy people bless you.

They talk about the glories of your rule,
    they exclaim over your splendor,

12 Letting the world know of your power for good,
    the lavish splendor of your kingdom.

13 Your kingdom is a kingdom eternal;
    you never get voted out of office.

God always does what he says,
    and is gracious in everything he does.

14 God gives a hand to those down on their luck,
    gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.

15 All eyes are on you, expectant;
    you give them their meals on time.

16 Generous to a fault,
    you lavish your favor on all creatures.

17 Everything God does is right—
    the trademark on all his works is love.

18 God’s there, listening for all who pray,
    for all who pray and mean it.

19 He does what’s best for those who fear him—
    hears them call out, and saves them.

20 God sticks by all who love him,
    but it’s all over for those who don’t.

21 My mouth is filled with God’s praise.
    Let everything living bless him,
    bless his holy name from now to eternity!

Psalm 146 

1-2 Hallelujah!
    O my soul, praise God!
All my life long I’ll praise God,
    singing songs to my God as long as I live.

3-9 Don’t put your life in the hands of experts
    who know nothing of life, of salvation life.
Mere humans don’t have what it takes;
    when they die, their projects die with them.
Instead, get help from the God of Jacob,
    put your hope in God and know real blessing!
God made sky and soil,
    sea and all the fish in it.
He always does what he says—
    he defends the wronged,
    he feeds the hungry.
God frees prisoners—
    he gives sight to the blind,
    he lifts up the fallen.
God loves good people, protects strangers,
    takes the side of orphans and widows,
    but makes short work of the wicked.

10 God’s in charge—always.
    Zion’s God is God for good!
    Hallelujah!

Psalm 147 

Hallelujah!
It’s a good thing to sing praise to our God;
    praise is beautiful, praise is fitting.

2-6 God’s the one who rebuilds Jerusalem,
    who regathers Israel’s scattered exiles.
He heals the heartbroken
    and bandages their wounds.
He counts the stars
    and assigns each a name.
Our Lord is great, with limitless strength;
    we’ll never comprehend what he knows and does.
God puts the fallen on their feet again
    and pushes the wicked into the ditch.

7-11 Sing to God a thanksgiving hymn,
    play music on your instruments to God,
Who fills the sky with clouds,
    preparing rain for the earth,
Then turning the mountains green with grass,
    feeding both cattle and crows.
He’s not impressed with horsepower;
    the size of our muscles means little to him.
Those who fear God get God’s attention;
    they can depend on his strength.

12-18 Jerusalem, worship God!
    Zion, praise your God!
He made your city secure,
    he blessed your children among you.
He keeps the peace at your borders,
    he puts the best bread on your tables.
He launches his promises earthward—
    how swift and sure they come!
He spreads snow like a white fleece,
    he scatters frost like ashes,
He broadcasts hail like birdseed—
    who can survive his winter?
Then he gives the command and it all melts;
    he breathes on winter—suddenly it’s spring!

19-20 He speaks the same way to Jacob,
    speaks words that work to Israel.
He never did this to the other nations;
    they never heard such commands.
Hallelujah!

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