Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Psalm 37 in the Message Bible

I've quoted Psalm 37 a lot this year.

It's one of the passages I believe God has given me to hold on to in 2017.

I also have begun to wonder if it is prophetic for our time.

I could be wrong about that – I guess we'll see how that unfolds, if it does.

Here it is from the translation / paraphrase called The Message...

Psalm 37

1-2 Don’t bother your head with braggarts or wish you could succeed like the wicked.
In no time they’ll shrivel like grass clippings and wilt like cut flowers in the sun.

3-4 Get insurance with God and do a good deed, settle down and stick to your last.

Keep company with God, get in on the best.

5-6 Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done:

He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon.

7 Quiet down before God, be prayerful before him.

Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder, who elbow their way to the top.

8-9 Bridle your anger, trash your wrath, cool your pipes—it only makes things worse.

Before long the crooks will be bankrupt; God-investors will soon own the store.

10-11 Before you know it, the wicked will have had it; you’ll stare at his once famous place and—nothing!

Down-to-earth people will move in and take over, relishing a huge bonanza.

12-13 Bad guys have it in for the good guys, obsessed with doing them in.

But God isn’t losing any sleep; to him they’re a joke with no punch line.

14-15 Bullies brandish their swords, pull back on their bows with a flourish.

They’re out to beat up on the harmless, or mug that nice man out walking his dog.

A banana peel lands them flat on their faces—slapstick figures in a moral circus.

16-17 Less is more and more is less.

    One righteous will outclass fifty wicked,

For the wicked are moral weaklings but the righteous are God-strong.

18-19 God keeps track of the decent folk; what they do won’t soon be forgotten.

In hard times, they’ll hold their heads high; when the shelves are bare, they’ll be full.

20 God-despisers have had it;
God’s enemies are finished—stripped bare like vineyards at harvest time, vanished like smoke in thin air.

21-22 Wicked borrows and never returns;
Righteous gives and gives.

Generous gets it all in the end;

    Stingy is cut off at the pass.

23-24 Stalwart walks in step with God; his path blazed by God, he’s happy.

If he stumbles, he’s not down for long; God has a grip on his hand.

25-26 I once was young, now I’m a graybeard—not once have I seen an abandoned believer, or his kids out roaming the streets.

Every day he’s out giving and lending, his children making him proud.

27-28 Turn your back on evil,
work for the good and don’t quit.

God loves this kind of thing, never turns away from his friends.

28-29 Live this way and you’ve got it made, but bad eggs will be tossed out.

The good get planted on good land and put down healthy roots.

30-31 Righteous chews on wisdom like a dog on a bone, rolls virtue around on his tongue.

His heart pumps God’s Word like blood through his veins; his feet are as sure as a cat’s.

32-33 Wicked sets a watch for Righteous, he’s out for the kill.

God, alert, is also on watch—Wicked won’t hurt a hair of his head.

34 Wait passionately for God,

don’t leave the path.

He’ll give you your place in the sun

    while you watch the wicked lose it.

35-36 I saw Wicked bloated like a toad, croaking pretentious nonsense.

The next time I looked there was nothing—a punctured bladder, vapid and limp.

37-38 Keep your eye on the healthy soul, scrutinize the straight life;

There’s a future in strenuous wholeness.

But the willful will soon be discarded;

    insolent souls are on a dead-end street.

39-40 The spacious, free life is from God,

it’s also protected and safe.

God-strengthened, we’re delivered from evil—when we run to him, he saves us.

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