37 1-2 Don’t bother your head with braggarts
or wish you could succeed like the wicked.
In no time they’ll shrivel like grass clippings
and wilt like cut flowers in the sun.
3-4 Get insurance with God and do a good deed,
settle down and stick to your last.
Keep company with God,
get in on the best.
5-6 Open up before God, keep nothing back;
he’ll do whatever needs to be done:
He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day
and stamp you with approval at high noon.
7 Quiet down before God,
be prayerful before him.
Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder,
who elbow their way to the top.
8-9 Bridle your anger, trash your wrath,
cool your pipes—it only makes things worse.
Before long the crooks will be bankrupt;
God-investors will soon own the store.
10-11 Before you know it, the wicked will have had it;
you’ll stare at his once famous place and—nothing!
Down-to-earth people will move in and take over,
relishing a huge bonanza.
12-13 Bad guys have it in for the good guys,
obsessed with doing them in.
But God isn’t losing any sleep; to him
they’re a joke with no punch line.
14-15 Bullies brandish their swords,
pull back on their bows with a flourish.
They’re out to beat up on the harmless,
or mug that nice man out walking his dog.
A banana peel lands them flat on their faces—
slapstick figures in a moral circus.
16-17 Less is more and more is less.
One righteous will outclass fifty wicked,
For the wicked are moral weaklings
but the righteous are God-strong.
18-19 God keeps track of the decent folk;
what they do won’t soon be forgotten.
In hard times, they’ll hold their heads high;
when the shelves are bare, they’ll be full.
20 God-despisers have had it;
God’s enemies are finished—
Stripped bare like vineyards at harvest time,
vanished like smoke in thin air.
21-22 Wicked borrows and never returns;
Righteous gives and gives.
Generous gets it all in the end;
Stingy is cut off at the pass.
23-24 Stalwart walks in step with God;
his path blazed by God, he’s happy.
If he stumbles, he’s not down for long;
God has a grip on his hand.
25-26 I once was young, now I’m a graybeard—
not once have I seen an abandoned believer,
or his kids out roaming the streets.
Every day he’s out giving and lending,
his children making him proud.
27-28 Turn your back on evil,
work for the good and don’t quit.
God loves this kind of thing,
never turns away from his friends.
28-29 Live this way and you’ve got it made,
but bad eggs will be tossed out.
The good get planted on good land
and put down healthy roots.
30-31 Righteous chews on wisdom like a dog on a bone,
rolls virtue around on his tongue.
His heart pumps God’s Word like blood through his veins;
his feet are as sure as a cat’s.
32-33 Wicked sets a watch for Righteous,
he’s out for the kill.
God, alert, is also on watch—
Wicked won’t hurt a hair of his head.
34 Wait passionately for God,
don’t leave the path.
He’ll give you your place in the sun
while you watch the wicked lose it.
35-36 I saw Wicked bloated like a toad,
croaking pretentious nonsense.
The next time I looked there was nothing—
a punctured bladder, vapid and limp.
37-38 Keep your eye on the healthy soul,
scrutinize the straight life;
There’s a future
in strenuous wholeness.
But the willful will soon be discarded;
insolent souls are on a dead-end street.
39-40 The spacious, free life is from God,
it’s also protected and safe.
God-strengthened, we’re delivered from evil—
when we run to him, he saves us.