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Proverbs 25The Message (MSG)

Further Wise Sayings of Solomon

The Right Word at the Right Time

25 There are also these proverbs of Solomon,
    collected by scribes of Hezekiah, king of Judah.

God delights in concealing things;
    scientists delight in discovering things.

Like the horizons for breadth and the ocean for depth,
    the understanding of a good leader is broad and deep.

4-5 Remove impurities from the silver
    and the silversmith can craft a fine chalice;
Remove the wicked from leadership
    and authority will be credible and God-honoring.

6-7 Don’t work yourself into the spotlight;
    don’t push your way into the place of prominence.
It’s better to be promoted to a place of honor
    than face humiliation by being demoted.

Don’t jump to conclusions—there may be
    a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.

9-10 In the heat of an argument,
    don’t betray confidences;
Word is sure to get around,
    and no one will trust you.

11-12 The right word at the right time
    is like a custom-made piece of jewelry,
And a wise friend’s timely reprimand
    is like a gold ring slipped on your finger.

13 Reliable friends who do what they say
    are like cool drinks in sweltering heat—refreshing!

14 Like billowing clouds that bring no rain
    is the person who talks big but never produces.

15 Patient persistence pierces through indifference;
    gentle speech breaks down rigid defenses.

A Person Without Self-Control

16-17 When you’re given a box of candy, don’t gulp it all down;
    eat too much chocolate and you’ll make yourself sick;
And when you find a friend, don’t outwear your welcome;
    show up at all hours and he’ll soon get fed up.

18 Anyone who tells lies against the neighbors
    in court or on the street is a loose cannon.

19 Trusting a double-crosser when you’re in trouble
    is like biting down on an abscessed tooth.

20 Singing light songs to the heavyhearted
    is like pouring salt in their wounds.

21-22 If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch;
    if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink.
Your generosity will surprise him with goodness,
    and God will look after you.

23 A north wind brings stormy weather,
    and a gossipy tongue stormy looks.

24 Better to live alone in a tumbledown shack
    than share a mansion with a nagging spouse.

25 Like a cool drink of water when you’re worn out and weary
    is a letter from a long-lost friend.

26 A good person who gives in to a bad person
    is a muddied spring, a polluted well.

27 It’s not smart to stuff yourself with sweets,
    nor is glory piled on glory good for you.

28 A person without self-control
    is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out.

The Message (MSG)

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

Proverbs 26The Message (MSG)

Fools Recycle Silliness

26 We no more give honors to fools
    than pray for snow in summer or rain during harvest.

You have as little to fear from an undeserved curse
    as from the dart of a wren or the swoop of a swallow.

A whip for the racehorse, a tiller for the sailboat—
and a stick for the back of fools!

Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool;
you’ll only look foolish yourself.

Answer a fool in simple terms
so he doesn’t get a swelled head.

You’re only asking for trouble
when you send a message by a fool.

A proverb quoted by fools
is limp as a wet noodle.

Putting a fool in a place of honor
is like setting a mud brick on a marble column.

To ask a moron to quote a proverb
is like putting a scalpel in the hands of a drunk.

10 Hire a fool or a drunk
and you shoot yourself in the foot.

11 As a dog eats its own vomit,
    so fools recycle silliness.

12 See that man who thinks he’s so smart?
    You can expect far more from a fool than from him.

13 Loafers say, “It’s dangerous out there!
    Tigers are prowling the streets!”
    and then pull the covers back over their heads.

14 Just as a door turns on its hinges,
    so a lazybones turns back over in bed.

15 A shiftless sluggard puts his fork in the pie,
    but is too lazy to lift it to his mouth.

Like Glaze on Cracked Pottery

16 Dreamers fantasize their self-importance;
    they think they are smarter
    than a whole college faculty.

17 You grab a mad dog by the ears
    when you butt into a quarrel that’s none of your business.

18-19 People who shrug off deliberate deceptions,
    saying, “I didn’t mean it, I was only joking,”
Are worse than careless campers
    who walk away from smoldering campfires.

20 When you run out of wood, the fire goes out;
    when the gossip ends, the quarrel dies down.

21 A quarrelsome person in a dispute
    is like kerosene thrown on a fire.

22 Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
    do you want junk like that in your belly?

23 Smooth talk from an evil heart
    is like glaze on cracked pottery.

24-26 Your enemy shakes hands and greets you like an old friend,
    all the while conniving against you.
When he speaks warmly to you, don’t believe him for a minute;
    he’s just waiting for the chance to rip you off.
No matter how cunningly he conceals his malice,
    eventually his evil will be exposed in public.

27 Malice backfires;
    spite boomerangs.

28 Liars hate their victims;
    flatterers sabotage trust.

The Message (MSG)

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

Proverbs 27The Message (MSG)

You Don’t Know Tomorrow

27 Don’t brashly announce what you’re going to do tomorrow;
    you don’t know the first thing about tomorrow.

Don’t call attention to yourself;
    let others do that for you.

Carrying a log across your shoulders
    while you’re hefting a boulder with your arms
Is nothing compared to the burden
    of putting up with a fool.

We’re blasted by anger and swamped by rage,
    but who can survive jealousy?

A spoken reprimand is better
    than approval that’s never expressed.

The wounds from a lover are worth it;
    kisses from an enemy do you in.

When you’ve stuffed yourself, you refuse dessert;
    when you’re starved, you could eat a horse.

People who won’t settle down, wandering hither and yon,
    are like restless birds, flitting to and fro.

Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight,
    a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.

10 Don’t leave your friends or your parents’ friends
    and run home to your family when things get rough;
Better a nearby friend
    than a distant family.

11 Become wise, dear child, and make me happy;
    then nothing the world throws my way will upset me.

12 A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks;
    a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered.

13 Hold tight to collateral on any loan to a stranger;
    be wary of accepting what a transient has pawned.

14 If you wake your friend in the early morning
    by shouting “Rise and shine!”
It will sound to him
    more like a curse than a blessing.

15-16 A nagging spouse is like
    the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet;
You can’t turn it off,
    and you can’t get away from it.

Your Face Mirrors Your Heart

17 You use steel to sharpen steel,
    and one friend sharpens another.

18 If you care for your orchard, you’ll enjoy its fruit;
if you honor your boss, you’ll be honored.

19 Just as water mirrors your face,
so your face mirrors your heart.

20 Hell has a voracious appetite,
and lust just never quits.

21     The purity of silver and gold is tested
    by putting them in the fire;
The purity of human hearts is tested
    by giving them a little fame.

22 Pound on a fool all you like—
you can’t pound out foolishness.

23-27     Know your sheep by name;
    carefully attend to your flocks;
(Don’t take them for granted;
    possessions don’t last forever, you know.)
And then, when the crops are in
    and the harvest is stored in the barns,
You can knit sweaters from lambs’ wool,
    and sell your goats for a profit;
There will be plenty of milk and meat
    to last your family through the winter.

The Message (MSG)

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

Romans 15The Message (MSG)

15 1-2 Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”

3-6 That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!

7-13 So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it! Jesus, staying true to God’s purposes, reached out in a special way to the Jewish insiders so that the old ancestral promises would come true for them. As a result, the non-Jewish outsiders have been able to experience mercy and to show appreciation to God. Just think of all the Scriptures that will come true in what we do! For instance:

Then I’ll join outsiders in a hymn-sing;
I’ll sing to your name!

And this one:

Outsiders and insiders, rejoice together!

And again:

People of all nations, celebrate God!
All colors and races, give hearty praise!

And Isaiah’s word:

There’s the root of our ancestor Jesse,
    breaking through the earth and growing tree tall,
Tall enough for everyone everywhere to see and take hope!

Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!

14-16 Personally, I’ve been completely satisfied with who you are and what you are doing. You seem to me to be well-motivated and well-instructed, quite capable of guiding and advising one another. So, my dear friends, don’t take my rather bold and blunt language as criticism. It’s not criticism. I’m simply underlining how very much I need your help in carrying out this highly focused assignment God gave me, this priestly and gospel work of serving the spiritual needs of the non-Jewish outsiders so they can be presented as an acceptable offering to God, made whole and holy by God’s Holy Spirit.

17-21 Looking back over what has been accomplished and what I have observed, I must say I am most pleased—in the context of Jesus, I’d even say proud, but only in that context. I have no interest in giving you a chatty account of my adventures, only the wondrously powerful and transformingly present words and deeds of Christ in me that triggered a believing response among the outsiders. In such ways I have trailblazed a preaching of the Message of Jesus all the way from Jerusalem far into northwestern Greece. This has all been pioneer work, bringing the Message only into those places where Jesus was not yet known and worshiped. My text has been,

Those who were never told of him—
    they’ll see him!
Those who’ve never heard of him—
    they’ll get the message!

22-24 And that’s why it has taken me so long to finally get around to coming to you. But now that there is no more pioneering work to be done in these parts, and since I have looked forward to seeing you for many years, I’m planning my visit. I’m headed for Spain, and expect to stop off on the way to enjoy a good visit with you, and eventually have you send me off with God’s blessing.

25-29 First, though, I’m going to Jerusalem to deliver a relief offering to the followers of Jesus there. The Greeks—all the way from the Macedonians in the north to the Achaians in the south—decided they wanted to take up a collection for the poor among the believers in Jerusalem. They were happy to do this, but it was also their duty. Seeing that they got in on all the spiritual gifts that flowed out of the Jerusalem community so generously, it is only right that they do what they can to relieve their poverty. As soon as I have done this—personally handed over this “fruit basket”—I’m off to Spain, with a stopover with you in Rome. My hope is that my visit with you is going to be one of Christ’s more extravagant blessings.

30-33 I have one request, dear friends: Pray for me. Pray strenuously with and for me—to God the Father, through the power of our Master Jesus, through the love of the Spirit—that I will be delivered from the lions’ den of unbelievers in Judea. Pray also that my relief offering to the Jerusalem believers will be accepted in the spirit in which it is given. Then, God willing, I’ll be on my way to you with a light and eager heart, looking forward to being refreshed by your company. God’s peace be with all of you. Oh, yes!

The Message (MSG)

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

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