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Proverbs 28The Message (MSG)

If You Desert God’s Law

28 The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off
    even when no one’s after them;
Honest people are relaxed and confident,
    bold as lions.

    When the country is in chaos,
    everybody has a plan to fix it—
But it takes a leader of real understanding
    to straighten things out.

The wicked who oppress the poor
are like a hailstorm that beats down the harvest.

If you desert God’s law, you’re free to embrace depravity;
if you love God’s law, you fight for it tooth and nail.

Justice makes no sense to the evilminded;
those who seek God know it inside and out.

It’s better to be poor and direct
    than rich and crooked.

Practice God’s law—get a reputation for wisdom;
    hang out with a loose crowd—embarrass your family.

Get as rich as you want
    through cheating and extortion,
But eventually some friend of the poor
    is going to give it all back to them.

God has no use for the prayers
    of the people who won’t listen to him.

10 Lead good people down a wrong path
    and you’ll come to a bad end;
    do good and you’ll be rewarded for it.

11 The rich think they know it all,
    but the poor can see right through them.

12 When good people are promoted, everything is great,
    but when the bad are in charge, watch out!

13 You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it;
    you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.

14 A tenderhearted person lives a blessed life;
    a hardhearted person lives a hard life.

15 Lions roar and bears charge—
    and the wicked lord it over the poor.

16 Among leaders who lack insight, abuse abounds,
    but for one who hates corruption, the future is bright.

17 A murderer haunted by guilt
    is doomed—there’s no helping him.

18 Walk straight—live well and be saved;
    a devious life is a doomed life.

Doing Great Harm in Seemingly Harmless Ways

19 Work your garden—you’ll end up with plenty of food;
    play and party—you’ll end up with an empty plate.

20 Committed and persistent work pays off;
    get-rich-quick schemes are ripoffs.

21 Playing favorites is always a bad thing;
    you can do great harm in seemingly harmless ways.

22 A miser in a hurry to get rich
    doesn’t know that he’ll end up broke.

23 In the end, serious reprimand is appreciated
    far more than bootlicking flattery.

24 Anyone who robs father and mother
    and says, “So, what’s wrong with that?”
    is worse than a pirate.

25 A grasping person stirs up trouble,
    but trust in God brings a sense of well-being.

26 If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure;
    real survivors learn wisdom from others.

27 Be generous to the poor—you’ll never go hungry;
    shut your eyes to their needs, and run a gauntlet of curses.

28 When corruption takes over, good people go underground,
    but when the crooks are thrown out, it’s safe to come out.

The Message (MSG)

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

Proverbs 29The Message (MSG)

If People Can’t See What God Is Doing

29 For people who hate discipline
    and only get more stubborn,
There’ll come a day when life tumbles in and they break,
    but by then it’ll be too late to help them.

When good people run things, everyone is glad,
    but when the ruler is bad, everyone groans.

If you love wisdom, you’ll delight your parents,
    but you’ll destroy their trust if you run with whores.

A leader of good judgment gives stability;
    an exploiting leader leaves a trail of waste.

A flattering neighbor is up to no good;
    he’s probably planning to take advantage of you.

Evil people fall into their own traps;
    good people run the other way, glad to escape.

The good-hearted understand what it’s like to be poor;
    the hardhearted haven’t the faintest idea.

A gang of cynics can upset a whole city;
    a group of sages can calm everyone down.

A sage trying to work things out with a fool
    gets only scorn and sarcasm for his trouble.

10 Murderers hate honest people;
    moral folks encourage them.

11 A fool lets it all hang out;
    a sage quietly mulls it over.

12 When a leader listens to malicious gossip,
    all the workers get infected with evil.

13 The poor and their abusers have at least something in common:
    they can both see—their sight, God’s gift!

14 Leadership gains authority and respect
    when the voiceless poor are treated fairly.

15 Wise discipline imparts wisdom;
    spoiled adolescents embarrass their parents.

16 When degenerates take charge, crime runs wild,
    but the righteous will eventually observe their collapse.

17 Discipline your children; you’ll be glad you did—
    they’ll turn out delightful to live with.

18 If people can’t see what God is doing,
    they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
    they are most blessed.

19 It takes more than talk to keep workers in line;
    mere words go in one ear and out the other.

20 Observe the people who always talk before they think—
    even simpletons are better off than they are.

21 If you let people treat you like a doormat,
    you’ll be quite forgotten in the end.

22 Angry people stir up a lot of discord;
    the intemperate stir up trouble.

23 Pride lands you flat on your face;
    humility prepares you for honors.

24 Befriend an outlaw
    and become an enemy to yourself.
When the victims cry out,
    you’ll be included in their curses
    if you’re a coward to their cause in court.

25 The fear of human opinion disables;
    trusting in God protects you from that.

26 Everyone tries to get help from the leader,
    but only God will give us justice.

27 Good people can’t stand the sight of deliberate evil;
    the wicked can’t stand the sight of well-chosen goodness.

The Message (MSG)

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

Psalm 60The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm, When He Fought Against Aram-naharaim and Aram-zobah and Joab Killed Twelve Thousand Edomites at the Valley of Salt

60 1-2 God! you walked off and left us,
    kicked our defenses to bits
And stalked off angry.
    Come back. Oh please, come back!

You shook earth to the foundations,
    ripped open huge crevasses.
Heal the breaks! Everything’s
    coming apart at the seams.

3-5 You made your people look doom in the face,
    then gave us cheap wine to drown our troubles.
Then you planted a flag to rally your people,
    an unfurled flag to look to for courage.
Now do something quickly, answer right now,
    so the one you love best is saved.

6-8 That’s when God spoke in holy splendor,
    “Bursting with joy,
I make a present of Shechem,
    I hand out Succoth Valley as a gift.
Gilead’s in my pocket,
    to say nothing of Manasseh.
Ephraim’s my hard hat,
    Judah my hammer;
Moab’s a scrub bucket,
    I mop the floor with Moab,
Spit on Edom,
    rain fireworks all over Philistia.”

9-10 Who will take me to the thick of the fight?
    Who’ll show me the road to Edom?
You aren’t giving up on us, are you, God?
    refusing to go out with our troops?

11-12 Give us help for the hard task;
    human help is worthless.
In God we’ll do our very best;
    he’ll flatten the opposition for good.

The Message (MSG)

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

Romans 16The Message (MSG)

16 1-2 Be sure to welcome our friend Phoebe in the way of the Master, with all the generous hospitality we Christians are famous for. I heartily endorse both her and her work. She’s a key representative of the church at Cenchrea. Help her out in whatever she asks. She deserves anything you can do for her. She’s helped many a person, including me.

3-5 Say hello to Priscilla and Aquila, who have worked hand in hand with me in serving Jesus. They once put their lives on the line for me. And I’m not the only one grateful to them. All the non-Jewish gatherings of believers also owe them plenty, to say nothing of the church that meets in their house.

Hello to my dear friend Epenetus. He was the very first follower of Jesus in the province of Asia.

Hello to Mary. What a worker she has turned out to be!

Hello to my cousins Andronicus and Junias. We once shared a jail cell. They were believers in Christ before I was. Both of them are outstanding leaders.

Hello to Ampliatus, my good friend in the family of God.

Hello to Urbanus, our companion in Christ’s work, and my good friend Stachys.

10 Hello to Apelles, a tried-and-true veteran in following Christ.

Hello to the family of Aristobulus.

11 Hello to my cousin Herodion.

Hello to those who belong to the Lord from the family of Narcissus.

12 Hello to Tryphena and Tryphosa—such diligent women in serving the Master.

Hello to Persis, a dear friend and hard worker in Christ.

13 Hello to Rufus—a good choice by the Master!—and his mother. She has also been a dear mother to me.

14 Hello to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and also to all of their families.

15 Hello to Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas—and all the followers of Jesus who live with them.

16 Holy embraces all around! All the churches of Christ send their warmest greetings!

17-18 One final word of counsel, friends. Keep a sharp eye out for those who take bits and pieces of the teaching that you learned and then use them to make trouble. Give these people a wide berth. They have no intention of living for our Master Christ. They’re only in this for what they can get out of it, and aren’t above using pious sweet talk to dupe unsuspecting innocents.

19-20 And so while there has never been any question about your honesty in these matters—I couldn’t be more proud of you!—I want you also to be smart, making sure every “good” thing is the real thing. Don’t be gullible in regard to smooth-talking evil. Stay alert like this, and before you know it the God of peace will come down on Satan with both feet, stomping him into the dirt. Enjoy the best of Jesus!

21 And here are some more greetings from our end. Timothy, my partner in this work, Lucius, and my cousins Jason and Sosipater all said to tell you hello.

22 I, Tertius, who wrote this letter at Paul’s dictation, send you my personal greetings.

23 Gaius, who is host here to both me and the whole church, wants to be remembered to you.

Erastus, the city treasurer, and our good friend Quartus send their greetings.

25-26 All of our praise rises to the One who is strong enough to make you strong, exactly as preached in Jesus Christ, precisely as revealed in the mystery kept secret for so long but now an open book through the prophetic Scriptures. All the nations of the world can now know the truth and be brought into obedient belief, carrying out the orders of God, who got all this started, down to the very last letter.

27 All our praise is focused through Jesus on this incomparably wise God! Yes!

The Message (MSG)

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

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