God Examines Our Motives 21 1Good leadership is a channel of water controlled by God; he directs it to whatever ends he chooses. 2We justify our actions by appearances; God examines our motives. 3Clean living before God and justice with our neighbors mean far more to God than religious performance. 4Arrogance and pride—distinguishing marks in the wicked— are just plain sin. 5Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind. 6Make it to the top by lying and cheating; get paid with smoke and a promotion—to death! 7The wicked get buried alive by their loot because they refuse to use it to help others. 8Mixed motives twist life into tangles; pure motives take you straight down the road. Do Your Best, Prepare for the Worst 9Better to live alone in a tumbledown shack than share a mansion with a nagging spouse. 10Wicked souls love to make trouble; they feel nothing for friends and neighbors. 11Simpletons only learn the hard way, but the wise learn by listening. 12A God–loyal person will see right through the wicked and undo the evil they’ve planned. 13If you stop your ears to the cries of the poor, your cries will go unheard, unanswered. 14A quietly given gift soothes an irritable person; a heartfelt present cools a hot temper. 15Good people celebrate when justice triumphs, but for the workers of evil it’s a bad day. 16Whoever wanders off the straight and narrow ends up in a congregation of ghosts. 17You’re addicted to thrills? What an empty life! The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied. 18What a bad person plots against the good, boomerangs; the plotter gets it in the end. 19Better to live in a tent in the wild than with a cross and petulant spouse. 20Valuables are safe in a wise person’s home; fools put it all out for yard sales. 21Whoever goes hunting for what is right and kind finds life itself—glorious life! 22One sage entered a whole city of armed soldiers— their trusted defenses fell to pieces! 23Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief. 24You know their names—Brash, Impudent, Blasphemer— intemperate hotheads, every one. 25Lazy people finally die of hunger because they won’t get up and go to work. 26Sinners are always wanting what they don’t have; the God–loyal are always giving what they do have. 27Religious performance by the wicked stinks; it’s even worse when they use it to get ahead. 28A lying witness is unconvincing; a person who speaks truth is respected. 29Unscrupulous people fake it a lot; honest people are sure of their steps. 30Nothing clever, nothing conceived, nothing contrived, can get the better of God. 31Do your best, prepare for the worst— then trust God to bring victory.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About