thank you for all that is good,
for our creation and for our humanity,
for the gifts of life and of one another,
for your love which is unbounded and eternal.
for the food before us,
the family and friends beside us
and the love between us.
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.
Eternal Spirit, living God,
in whom we live and move and have our being,
all that we are, have been, and shall be is known to you,
to the very secret of our hearts
and all that rises to trouble us.
Living flame burn into us,
cleansing wind, blow through us,
fountain of water, well up within us,
that we may love and praise in deed and in truth.