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Proverbs 24 (The Message)

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1 Don't envy bad people; don't even want to be around them. 2 All they think about is causing a disturbance; all they talk about is making trouble. 3 It takes wisdom to build a house, and understanding to set it on a firm foundation; 4 It takes knowledge to furnish its rooms with fine furniture and beautiful draperies. 5 It's better to be wise than strong; intelligence outranks muscle any day. 6 Strategic planning is the key to warfare; to win, you need a lot of good counsel. 7 Wise conversation is way over the head of fools; in a serious discussion they haven't a clue. 8 The person who's always cooking up some evil soon gets a reputation as prince of rogues. 9 Fools incubate sin; cynics desecrate beauty. Rescue the Perishing 10 If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn't much to you in the first place. 11 Rescue the perishing; don't hesitate to step in and help. 12 If you say, "Hey, that's none of my business," will that get you off the hook? Someone is watching you closely, you know - Someone not impressed with weak excuses. 13 Eat honey, dear child - it's good for you - and delicacies that melt in your mouth. 14 Likewise knowledge, and wisdom for your soul - Get that and your future's secured, your hope is on solid rock. 15 Don't interfere with good people's lives; don't try to get the best of them. 16 No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don't stay down long; Soon they're up on their feet, while the wicked end up flat on their faces. 17 Don't laugh when your enemy falls; don't crow over his collapse. 18 God might see, and become very provoked, and then take pity on his plight. 19 Don't bother your head with braggarts or wish you could succeed like the wicked. 20 Those people have no future at all; they're headed down a dead-end street. 21 Fear God, dear child - respect your leaders; don't be defiant or mutinous. 22 Without warning your life can turn upside-down, and who knows how or when it might happen? 23 It's wrong, very wrong, to go along with injustice. 24 Whoever whitewashes the wicked gets a black mark in the history books, 25 But whoever exposes the wicked will be thanked and rewarded. 26 An honest answer is like a warm hug. 27 First plant your fields; then build your barn. 28 Don't talk about your neighbors behind their backs - no slander or gossip, please. 29 Don't say to anyone, "I'll get back at you for what you did to me. I'll make you pay for what you did!" 30 One day I walked by the field of an old lazybones, and then passed the vineyard of a lout; 31 They were overgrown with weeds, thick with thistles, all the fences broken down. 32 I took a long look and pondered what I saw; the fields preached me a sermon and I listened: 33 "A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy - do you know what comes next? 34 Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, with poverty as your permanent houseguest!"
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