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Proverbs 7

1-5 Dear friend, do what I tell you;
    treasure my careful instructions.
Do what I say and you’ll live well.
    My teaching is as precious as your eyesight—guard it!
Write it out on the back of your hands;
    etch it on the chambers of your heart.
Talk to Wisdom as to a sister.
    Treat Insight as your companion.
They’ll be with you to fend off the Temptress—
    that smooth-talking, honey-tongued Seductress.

6-12 As I stood at the window of my house
    looking out through the shutters,
Watching the mindless crowd stroll by,
    I spotted a young man without any sense
Arriving at the corner of the street where she lived,
    then turning up the path to her house.
It was dusk, the evening coming on,
    the darkness thickening into night.
Just then, a woman met him—
    she’d been lying in wait for him, dressed to seduce him.
Brazen and brash she was,
    restless and roaming, never at home,
Walking the streets, loitering in the mall,
    hanging out at every corner in town.

13-20 She threw her arms around him and kissed him,
    boldly took his arm and said,
“I’ve got all the makings for a feast—
    today I made my offerings, my vows are all paid,
So now I’ve come to find you,
    hoping to catch sight of your face—and here you are!
I’ve spread fresh, clean sheets on my bed,
    colorful imported linens.
My bed is aromatic with spices
    and exotic fragrances.
Come, let’s make love all night,
    spend the night in ecstatic lovemaking!
My husband’s not home; he’s away on business,
    and he won’t be back for a month.”

21-23 Soon she has him eating out of her hand,
    bewitched by her honeyed speech.
Before you know it, he’s trotting behind her,
    like a calf led to the butcher shop,
Like a stag lured into ambush
    and then shot with an arrow,
Like a bird flying into a net
    not knowing that its flying life is over.

24-27 So, friends, listen to me,
    take these words of mine most seriously.
Don’t fool around with a woman like that;
    don’t even stroll through her neighborhood.
Countless victims come under her spell;
    she’s the death of many a poor man.
She runs a halfway house to hell,
    fits you out with a shroud and a coffin.

Psalm 31

A David Psalm

1-2 I run to you, God; I run for dear life.
    Don’t let me down!
    Take me seriously this time!
Get down on my level and listen,

    and please—no procrastination!
Your granite cave a hiding place,

    your high cliff aerie a place of safety.

3-5 

You’re my cave to hide in,
    my cliff to climb.
Be my safe leader,

    be my true mountain guide.
Free me from hidden traps;

    I want to hide in you.
I’ve put my life in your hands.

    You won’t drop me,
    you’ll never let me down.

6-13 

I hate all this silly religion,
    but you, God, I trust.
I’m leaping and singing in the circle of your love;

    you saw my pain,
    you disarmed my tormentors,
You didn’t leave me in their clutches

    but gave me room to breathe.
Be kind to me, God—

    I’m in deep, deep trouble again.
I’ve cried my eyes out;

    I feel hollow inside.
My life leaks away, groan by groan;

    my years fade out in sighs.
My troubles have worn me out,

    turned my bones to powder.
To my enemies I’m a monster;

    I’m ridiculed by the neighbors.
My friends are horrified;

    they cross the street to avoid me.
They want to blot me from memory,

    forget me like a corpse in a grave,
    discard me like a broken dish in the trash.
The street-talk gossip has me

    “criminally insane”!
Behind locked doors they plot

    how to ruin me for good.

14-18 

Desperate, I throw myself on you:
    you are my God!
Hour by hour I place my days in your hand,

    safe from the hands out to get me.
Warm me, your servant, with a smile;

    save me because you love me.
Don’t embarrass me by not showing up;

    I’ve given you plenty of notice.
Embarrass the wicked, stand them up,

    leave them stupidly shaking their heads
    as they drift down to hell.
Gag those loudmouthed liars

    who heckle me, your follower,
    with jeers and catcalls.

19-22 

What a stack of blessing you have piled up
    for those who worship you,
Ready and waiting for all who run to you

    to escape an unkind world.
You hide them safely away

    from the opposition.
As you slam the door on those oily, mocking faces,

    you silence the poisonous gossip.
Blessed God!

    His love is the wonder of the world.
Trapped by a siege, I panicked.

    “Out of sight, out of mind,” I said.
But you heard me say it,

    you heard and listened.

23 

Love God, all you saints;
    God takes care of all who stay close to him,
But he pays back in full

    those arrogant enough to go it alone.

24 

Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up.
    Expect God to get here soon.

Psalm 32

A David Psalm

Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—
    you get a fresh start,
    your slate’s wiped clean.

Count yourself lucky—
    God holds nothing against you
    and you’re holding nothing back from him.

When I kept it all inside,
    my bones turned to powder,
    my words became daylong groans.

The pressure never let up;
    all the juices of my life dried up.

Then I let it all out;
    I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.”

Suddenly the pressure was gone—
    my guilt dissolved,
    my sin disappeared.

These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray;
    when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts
    we’ll be on high ground, untouched.

God’s my island hideaway,
    keeps danger far from the shore,
    throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.

Let me give you some good advice;
    I’m looking you in the eye
    and giving it to you straight:

“Don’t be ornery like a horse or mule
    that needs bit and bridle
    to stay on track.”

10 

God-defiers are always in trouble;
    God-affirmers find themselves loved
    every time they turn around.

11 

Celebrate God.
    Sing together—everyone!
    All you honest hearts, raise the roof!

Psalm 33 

1-3 Good people, cheer God!
    Right-living people sound best when praising.
Use guitars to reinforce your Hallelujahs!

    Play his praise on a grand piano!
Invent your own new song to him;

    give him a trumpet fanfare.

4-5 

For God’s Word is solid to the core;
    everything he makes is sound inside and out.
He loves it when everything fits,

    when his world is in plumb-line true.
Earth is drenched

    in God’s affectionate satisfaction.

6-7 

The skies were made by God’s command;
    he breathed the word and the stars popped out.
He scooped Sea into his jug,

    put Ocean in his keg.

8-9 

Earth-creatures, bow before God;
    world-dwellers—down on your knees!
Here’s why: he spoke and there it was,

    in place the moment he said so.

10-12 

God takes the wind out of Babel pretense,
    he shoots down the world’s power-schemes.
God’s plan for the world stands up,

    all his designs are made to last.
Blessed is the country with God for God;

    blessed are the people he’s put in his will.

13-15 

From high in the skies God looks around,
    he sees all Adam’s brood.
From where he sits

    he overlooks all us earth-dwellers.
He has shaped each person in turn;

    now he watches everything we do.

16-17 

No king succeeds with a big army alone,
    no warrior wins by brute strength.
Horsepower is not the answer;

    no one gets by on muscle alone.

18-19 

Watch this: God’s eye is on those who respect him,
    the ones who are looking for his love.
He’s ready to come to their rescue in bad times;

    in lean times he keeps body and soul together.

20-22 

We’re depending on God;
    he’s everything we need.
What’s more, our hearts brim with joy

    since we’ve taken for our own his holy name.
Love us, God, with all you’ve got—

    that’s what we’re depending on.

Psalm 34

A David Psalm, When He Outwitted Abimelech and Got Away

I bless God every chance I get;
my lungs expand with his praise.

I live and breathe God;
if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy:

Join me in spreading the news;
together let’s get the word out.

God met me more than halfway,
he freed me from my anxious fears.

Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
Never hide your feelings from him.

When I was desperate, I called out,
and God got me out of a tight spot.

God’s angel sets up a circle
of protection around us while we pray.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.

Worship God if you want the best;
worship opens doors to all his goodness.

10 

Young lions on the prowl get hungry,
but God-seekers are full of God.

11 

Come, children, listen closely;
I’ll give you a lesson in God worship.

12 

Who out there has a lust for life?
Can’t wait each day to come upon beauty?

13 

Guard your tongue from profanity,
and no more lying through your teeth.

14 

Turn your back on sin; do something good.
Embrace peace—don’t let it get away!

15 

God keeps an eye on his friends,
his ears pick up every moan and groan.

16 

God won’t put up with rebels;
he’ll cull them from the pack.

17 

Is anyone crying for help? God is listening,
ready to rescue you.

18 

If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.

19 

Disciples so often get into trouble;
still, God is there every time.

20 

He’s your bodyguard, shielding every bone;
not even a finger gets broken.

21 

The wicked commit slow suicide;
they waste their lives hating the good.

22 

God pays for each slave’s freedom;
no one who runs to him loses out.

Psalm 35 

A David Psalm

1-3 Harass these hecklers, God,
    punch these bullies in the nose.
Grab a weapon, anything at hand;

    stand up for me!
Get ready to throw the spear, aim the javelin,

    at the people who are out to get me.
Reassure me; let me hear you say,

    “I’ll save you.”

4-8 

When those thugs try to knife me in the back,
    make them look foolish.
Frustrate all those

    who are plotting my downfall.
Make them like cinders in a high wind,

    with God’s angel working the bellows.
Make their road lightless and mud-slick,

    with God’s angel on their tails.
Out of sheer cussedness they set a trap to catch me;

    for no good reason they dug a ditch to stop me.
Surprise them with your ambush—

    catch them in the very trap they set,
    the disaster they planned for me.

9-10 

But let me run loose and free,
    celebrating God’s great work,
Every bone in my body laughing, singing, “God,

    there’s no one like you.
You put the down-and-out on their feet

    and protect the unprotected from bullies!”

11-12 

Hostile accusers appear out of nowhere,
    they stand up and badger me.
They pay me back misery for mercy,

    leaving my soul empty.

13-14 

When they were sick, I dressed in black;
    instead of eating, I prayed.
My prayers were like lead in my gut,

    like I’d lost my best friend, my brother.
I paced, distraught as a motherless child,

    hunched and heavyhearted.

15-16 

But when I was down
    they threw a party!
All the nameless riffraff of the town came

    chanting insults about me.
Like barbarians desecrating a shrine,

    they destroyed my reputation.

17-18 

God, how long are you going
    to stand there doing nothing?
Save me from their brutalities;

    everything I’ve got is being thrown to the lions.
I will give you full credit

    when everyone gathers for worship;
When the people turn out in force

    I will say my Hallelujahs.

19-21 

Don’t let these liars, my enemies,
    have a party at my expense,
Those who hate me for no reason,

    winking and rolling their eyes.
No good is going to come

    from that crowd;
They spend all their time cooking up gossip

    against those who mind their own business.
They open their mouths

    in ugly grins,
Mocking, “Ha-ha, ha-ha, thought you’d get away with it?

    We’ve caught you hands down!”

22 

Don’t you see what they’re doing, God?
    You’re not going to let them
Get by with it, are you? Not going to walk off

    without doing something, are you?

23-26 

Please get up—wake up! Tend to my case.
    My God, my Lord—my life is on the line.
Do what you think is right, God, my God,

    but don’t make me pay for their good time.
Don’t let them say to themselves,

    “Ha-ha, we got what we wanted.”
Don’t let them say,

    “We’ve chewed him up and spit him out.”
Let those who are being hilarious

    at my expense
Be made to look ridiculous.

    Make them wear donkey’s ears;
Pin them with the donkey’s tail,

    who made themselves so high and mighty!

27-28 

But those who want
    the best for me,
Let them have the last word—a glad shout!—

    and say, over and over and over,
“God is great—everything works

    together for good for his servant.”
I’ll tell the world how great and good you are,

    I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.

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