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Proverbs 13The Message (MSG)

Walk with the Wise

13 Intelligent children listen to their parents;
    foolish children do their own thing.

The good acquire a taste for helpful conversation;
    bullies push and shove their way through life.

Careful words make for a careful life;
    careless talk may ruin everything.

Indolence wants it all and gets nothing;
    the energetic have something to show for their lives.

A good person hates false talk;
    a bad person wallows in gibberish.

A God-loyal life keeps you on track;
    sin dumps the wicked in the ditch.

A pretentious, showy life is an empty life;
    a plain and simple life is a full life.

The rich can be sued for everything they have,
    but the poor are free of such threats.

The lives of good people are brightly lit streets;
    the lives of the wicked are dark alleys.

10 Arrogant know-it-alls stir up discord,
    but wise men and women listen to each other’s counsel.

11 Easy come, easy go,
    but steady diligence pays off.

12 Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick,
    but a sudden good break can turn life around.

13 Ignore the Word and suffer;
    honor God’s commands and grow rich.

14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
    so, no more drinking from death-tainted wells!

15 Sound thinking makes for gracious living,
    but liars walk a rough road.

16 A commonsense person lives good sense;
    fools litter the country with silliness.

17 Irresponsible talk makes a real mess of things,
    but a reliable reporter is a healing presence.

18 Refuse discipline and end up homeless;
    embrace correction and live an honored life.

19 Souls who follow their hearts thrive;
    fools bent on evil despise matters of soul.

20 Become wise by walking with the wise;
    hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.

21 Disaster entraps sinners,
    but God-loyal people get a good life.

22 A good life gets passed on to the grandchildren;
    ill-gotten wealth ends up with good people.

23 Banks foreclose on the farms of the poor,
    or else the poor lose their shirts to crooked lawyers.

24 A refusal to correct is a refusal to love;
    love your children by disciplining them.

25 An appetite for good brings much satisfaction,
    but the belly of the wicked always wants more.

The Message (MSG)

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

Proverbs 14The Message (MSG)

A Way That Leads to Hell

14 Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home;
    Sir Fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick.

An honest life shows respect for God;
    a degenerate life is a slap in his face.

Frivolous talk provokes a derisive smile;
    wise speech evokes nothing but respect.

No cattle, no crops;
    a good harvest requires a strong ox for the plow.

A true witness never lies;
    a false witness makes a business of it.

Cynics look high and low for wisdom—and never find it;
    the open-minded find it right on their doorstep!

Escape quickly from the company of fools;
    they’re a waste of your time, a waste of your words.

The wisdom of the wise keeps life on track;
    the foolishness of fools lands them in the ditch.

The stupid ridicule right and wrong,
    but a moral life is a favored life.

10 The person who shuns the bitter moments of friends
    will be an outsider at their celebrations.

11 Lives of careless wrongdoing are tumbledown shacks;
    holy living builds soaring cathedrals.

12-13 There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough;
    look again—it leads straight to hell.
Sure, those people appear to be having a good time,
    but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.

Sift and Weigh Every Word

14 A mean person gets paid back in meanness,
    a gracious person in grace.

15 The gullible believe anything they’re told;
    the prudent sift and weigh every word.

16 The wise watch their steps and avoid evil;
    fools are headstrong and reckless.

17 The hotheaded do things they’ll later regret;
    the coldhearted get the cold shoulder.

18 Foolish dreamers live in a world of illusion;
    wise realists plant their feet on the ground.

19 Eventually, evil will pay tribute to good;
    the wicked will respect God-loyal people.

20 An unlucky loser is shunned by all,
    but everyone loves a winner.

21 It’s criminal to ignore a neighbor in need,
    but compassion for the poor—what a blessing!

22 Isn’t it obvious that conspirators lose out,
    while the thoughtful win love and trust?

23 Hard work always pays off;
    mere talk puts no bread on the table.

24 The wise accumulate wisdom;
    fools get stupider by the day.

25 Souls are saved by truthful witness
    and betrayed by the spread of lies.

26 The Fear-of-God builds up confidence,
    and makes a world safe for your children.

27 The Fear-of-God is a spring of living water
    so you won’t go off drinking from poisoned wells.

28 The mark of a good leader is loyal followers;
    leadership is nothing without a following.

29 Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding;
    a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity.

30 A sound mind makes for a robust body,
    but runaway emotions corrode the bones.

31 You insult your Maker when you exploit the powerless;
    when you’re kind to the poor, you honor God.

32 The evil of bad people leaves them out in the cold;
    the integrity of good people creates a safe place for living.

33 Lady Wisdom is at home in an understanding heart—
    fools never even get to say hello.

34 God-devotion makes a country strong;
    God-avoidance leaves people weak.

35 Diligent work gets a warm commendation;
    shiftless work earns an angry rebuke.

The Message (MSG)

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

Proverbs 15The Message (MSG)

God Doesn’t Miss a Thing

15 A gentle response defuses anger,
    but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.

Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise;
    fools are leaky faucets, dripping nonsense.

God doesn’t miss a thing—
    he’s alert to good and evil alike.

Kind words heal and help;
    cutting words wound and maim.

Moral dropouts won’t listen to their elders;
    welcoming correction is a mark of good sense.

The lives of God-loyal people flourish;
    a misspent life is soon bankrupt.

Perceptive words spread knowledge;
    fools are hollow—there’s nothing to them.

God can’t stand pious poses,
    but he delights in genuine prayers.

A life frittered away disgusts God;
    he loves those who run straight for the finish line.

10 It’s a school of hard knocks for those who leave God’s path,
    a dead-end street for those who hate God’s rules.

11 Even hell holds no secrets from God
    do you think he can’t read human hearts?

Life Ascends to the Heights

12 Know-it-alls don’t like being told what to do;
    they avoid the company of wise men and women.

13 A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face;
    a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day.

14 An intelligent person is always eager to take in more truth;
    fools feed on fast-food fads and fancies.

15 A miserable heart means a miserable life;
    a cheerful heart fills the day with song.

16 A simple life in the Fear-of-God
    is better than a rich life with a ton of headaches.

17 Better a bread crust shared in love
    than a slab of prime rib served in hate.

18 Hot tempers start fights;
    a calm, cool spirit keeps the peace.

19 The path of lazy people is overgrown with briers;
    the diligent walk down a smooth road.

20 Intelligent children make their parents proud;
    lazy students embarrass their parents.

21 The empty-headed treat life as a plaything;
    the perceptive grasp its meaning and make a go of it.

22 Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail;
    take good counsel and watch them succeed.

23 Congenial conversation—what a pleasure!
    The right word at the right time—beautiful!

24 Life ascends to the heights for the thoughtful—
    it’s a clean about-face from descent into hell.

25 God smashes the pretensions of the arrogant;
    he stands with those who have no standing.

26 God can’t stand evil scheming,
    but he puts words of grace and beauty on display.

27 A greedy and grasping person destroys community;
    those who refuse to exploit live and let live.

28 Prayerful answers come from God-loyal people;
    the wicked are sewers of abuse.

29 God keeps his distance from the wicked;
    he closely attends to the prayers of God-loyal people.

30 A twinkle in the eye means joy in the heart,
    and good news makes you feel fit as a fiddle.

31 Listen to good advice if you want to live well,
    an honored guest among wise men and women.

32 An undisciplined, self-willed life is puny;
    an obedient, God-willed life is spacious.

33 Fear-of-God is a school in skilled living—
    first you learn humility, then you experience glory.

The Message (MSG)

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

Romans 11The Message (MSG)

The Loyal Minority

11 1-2 Does this mean, then, that God is so fed up with Israel that he’ll have nothing more to do with them? Hardly. Remember that I, the one writing these things, am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham out of the tribe of Benjamin. You can’t get much more Semitic than that! So we’re not talking about repudiation. God has been too long involved with Israel, has too much invested, to simply wash his hands of them.

2-6 Do you remember that time Elijah was agonizing over this same Israel and cried out in prayer?

God, they murdered your prophets,
They trashed your altars;
I’m the only one left and now they’re after me!

And do you remember God’s answer?

I still have seven thousand who haven’t quit,
Seven thousand who are loyal to the finish.

It’s the same today. There’s a fiercely loyal minority still—not many, perhaps, but probably more than you think. They’re holding on, not because of what they think they’re going to get out of it, but because they’re convinced of God’s grace and purpose in choosing them. If they were only thinking of their own immediate self-interest, they would have left long ago.

7-10 And then what happened? Well, when Israel tried to be right with God on her own, pursuing her own self-interest, she didn’t succeed. The chosen ones of God were those who let God pursue his interest in them, and as a result received his stamp of legitimacy. The “self-interest Israel” became thick-skinned toward God. Moses and Isaiah both commented on this:

Fed up with their quarrelsome, self-centered ways,
    God blurred their eyes and dulled their ears,
Shut them in on themselves in a hall of mirrors,
    and they’re there to this day.

David was upset about the same thing:

I hope they get sick eating self-serving meals,
    break a leg walking their self-serving ways.
I hope they go blind staring in their mirrors,
    get ulcers from playing at god.

Pruning and Grafting Branches

11-12 The next question is, “Are they down for the count? Are they out of this for good?” And the answer is a clear-cut No. Ironically when they walked out, they left the door open and the outsiders walked in. But the next thing you know, the Jews were starting to wonder if perhaps they had walked out on a good thing. Now, if their leaving triggered this worldwide coming of non-Jewish outsiders to God’s kingdom, just imagine the effect of their coming back! What a homecoming!

13-15 But I don’t want to go on about them. It’s you, the outsiders, that I’m concerned with now. Because my personal assignment is focused on the so-called outsiders, I make as much of this as I can when I’m among my Israelite kin, the so-called insiders, hoping they’ll realize what they’re missing and want to get in on what God is doing. If their falling out initiated this worldwide coming together, their recovery is going to set off something even better: mass homecoming! If the first thing the Jews did, even though it was wrong for them, turned out for your good, just think what’s going to happen when they get it right!

16-18 Behind and underneath all this there is a holy, God-planted, God-tended root. If the primary root of the tree is holy, there’s bound to be some holy fruit. Some of the tree’s branches were pruned and you wild olive shoots were grafted in. Yet the fact that you are now fed by that rich and holy root gives you no cause to crow over the pruned branches. Remember, you aren’t feeding the root; the root is feeding you.

19-20 It’s certainly possible to say, “Other branches were pruned so that I could be grafted in!” Well and good. But they were pruned because they were deadwood, no longer connected by belief and commitment to the root. The only reason you’re on the tree is because your graft “took” when you believed, and because you’re connected to that belief-nurturing root. So don’t get cocky and strut your branch. Be humbly mindful of the root that keeps you lithe and green.

21-22 If God didn’t think twice about taking pruning shears to the natural branches, why would he hesitate over you? He wouldn’t give it a second thought. Make sure you stay alert to these qualities of gentle kindness and ruthless severity that exist side by side in God—ruthless with the deadwood, gentle with the grafted shoot. But don’t presume on this gentleness. The moment you become deadwood, you’re out of there.

23-24 And don’t get to feeling superior to those pruned branches down on the ground. If they don’t persist in remaining deadwood, they could very well get grafted back in. God can do that. He can perform miracle grafts. Why, if he could graft you—branches cut from a tree out in the wild—into an orchard tree, he certainly isn’t going to have any trouble grafting branches back into the tree they grew from in the first place. Just be glad you’re in the tree, and hope for the best for the others.

A Complete Israel

25-29 I want to lay all this out on the table as clearly as I can, friends. This is complicated. It would be easy to misinterpret what’s going on and arrogantly assume that you’re royalty and they’re just rabble, out on their ears for good. But that’s not it at all. This hardness on the part of insider Israel toward God is temporary. Its effect is to open things up to all the outsiders so that we end up with a full house. Before it’s all over, there will be a complete Israel. As it is written,

A champion will stride down from the mountain of Zion;
    he’ll clean house in Jacob.
And this is my commitment to my people:
    removal of their sins.

From your point of view as you hear and embrace the good news of the Message, it looks like the Jews are God’s enemies. But looked at from the long-range perspective of God’s overall purpose, they remain God’s oldest friends. God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded.

30-32 There was a time not so long ago when you were on the outs with God. But then the Jews slammed the door on him and things opened up for you. Now they are on the outs. But with the door held wide open for you, they have a way back in. In one way or another, God makes sure that we all experience what it means to be outside so that he can personally open the door and welcome us back in.

33-36 Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out.

Is there anyone around who can explain God?
Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do?
Anyone who has done him such a huge favor
    that God has to ask his advice?
Everything comes from him;
Everything happens through him;
Everything ends up in him.
Always glory! Always praise!
    Yes. Yes. Yes.

The Message (MSG)

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

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