Proverbs 8 (The Message)

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1 Do you hear Lady Wisdom calling? Can you hear Madame Insight raising her voice? 2 She's taken her stand at First and Main, at the busiest intersection. 3 Right in the city square where the traffic is thickest, she shouts, 4 "You - I'm talking to all of you, everyone out here on the streets! 5 Listen, you idiots - learn good sense! You blockheads - shape up! 6 Don't miss a word of this - I'm telling you how to live well, I'm telling you how to live at your best. 7 My mouth chews and savors and relishes truth - I can't stand the taste of evil! 8 You'll only hear true and right words from my mouth; not one syllable will be twisted or skewed. 9 You'll recognize this as true - you with open minds; truth-ready minds will see it at once. 10 Prefer my life-disciplines over chasing after money, and God-knowledge over a lucrative career. 11 For Wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth; nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her. 12 "I am Lady Wisdom, and I live next to Sanity; Knowledge and Discretion live just down the street. 13 The Fear-of-God means hating Evil, whose ways I hate with a passion - pride and arrogance and crooked talk. 14 Good counsel and common sense are my characteristics; I am both Insight and the Virtue to live it out. 15 With my help, leaders rule, and lawmakers legislate fairly; 16 With my help, governors govern, along with all in legitimate authority. 17 I love those who love me; those who look for me find me. 18 Wealth and Glory accompany me - also substantial Honor and a Good Name. 19 My benefits are worth more than a big salary, even a very big salary; the returns on me exceed any imaginable bonus. 20 You can find me on Righteous Road - that's where I walk - at the intersection of Justice Avenue, 21 Handing out life to those who love me, filling their arms with life - armloads of life! 22 "God sovereignly made me - the first, the basic - before he did anything else. 23 I was brought into being a long time ago, well before Earth got its start. 24 I arrived on the scene before Ocean, yes, even before Springs and Rivers and Lakes. 25 Before Mountains were sculpted and Hills took shape, I was already there, newborn; 26 Long before God stretched out Earth's Horizons, and tended to the minute details of Soil and Weather, 27 And set Sky firmly in place, I was there. When he mapped and gave borders to wild Ocean, 28 built the vast vault of Heaven, and installed the fountains that fed Ocean, 29 When he drew a boundary for Sea, posted a sign that said, no trespassing, And then staked out Earth's foundations, 30 I was right there with him, making sure everything fit. Day after day I was there, with my joyful applause, always enjoying his company, 31 Delighted with the world of things and creatures, happily celebrating the human family. 32 "So, my dear friends, listen carefully; those who embrace these my ways are most blessed. 33 Mark a life of discipline and live wisely; don't squander your precious life. 34 Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me, awake and ready for me each morning, alert and responsive as I start my day's work. 35 When you find me, you find life, real life, to say nothing of God's good pleasure. 36 But if you wrong me, you damage your very soul; when you reject me, you're flirting with death."
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