If You Desert God’s Law 28 1The 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. 2When the country is in chaos, everybody has a plan to fix it— But it takes a leader of real understanding to straighten things out. 3The wicked who oppress the poor are like a hailstorm that beats down the harvest. 4If you desert God’s law, you’re free to embrace depravity; if you love God’s law, you fight for it tooth and nail. 5Justice makes no sense to the evilminded; those who seek God know it inside and out. 6It’s better to be poor and direct than rich and crooked. 7Practice God’s law—get a reputation for wisdom; hang out with a loose crowd—embarrass your family. 8Get 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. 9God has no use for the prayers of the people who won’t listen to him. 10Lead good people down a wrong path and you’ll come to a bad end; do good and you’ll be rewarded for it. 11The rich think they know it all, but the poor can see right through them. 12When good people are promoted, everything is great, but when the bad are in charge, watch out! 13You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it; you find mercy by admitting and leaving them. 14A tenderhearted person lives a blessed life; a hardhearted person lives a hard life. 15Lions roar and bears charge— and the wicked lord it over the poor. 16Among leaders who lack insight, abuse abounds, but for one who hates corruption, the future is bright. 17A murderer haunted by guilt is doomed—there’s no helping him. 18Walk straight—live well and be saved; a devious life is a doomed life. Doing Great Harm in Seemingly Harmless Ways 19Work your garden—you’ll end up with plenty of food; play and party—you’ll end up with an empty plate. 20Committed and persistent work pays off; get–rich–quick schemes are ripoffs. 21Playing favorites is always a bad thing; you can do great harm in seemingly harmless ways. 22A miser in a hurry to get rich doesn’t know that he’ll end up broke. 23In the end, serious reprimand is appreciated far more than bootlicking flattery. 24Anyone who robs father and mother and says, “So, what’s wrong with that?” is worse than a pirate. 25A grasping person stirs up trouble, but trust in God brings a sense of well–being. 26If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others. 27Be generous to the poor—you’ll never go hungry; shut your eyes to their needs, and run a gauntlet of curses. 28When corruption takes over, good people go underground, but when the crooks are thrown out, it’s safe to come out.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About