Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 154

Psalms 36–39, Proverbs 15–16

Bible text(s)

Human Wickedness

1Sin speaks to the wicked deep in their hearts;

they reject God and have no reverence for him.

2Because they think so highly of themselves,

they think that God will not discover their sin and condemn it.

3Their speech is wicked and full of lies;

they no longer do what is wise and good.

4They make evil plans as they lie in bed;

nothing they do is good,

and they never reject anything evil.

The Goodness of God

5LORD, your constant love reaches the heavens;

your faithfulness extends to the skies.

6Your righteousness is towering like the mountains;

your justice is like the depths of the sea.

People and animals are in your care.

7How precious, O God, is your constant love!

We find protection under the shadow of your wings.

8We feast on the abundant food you provide;

you let us drink from the river of your goodness.

9You are the source of all life,

and because of your light we see the light.

10Continue to love those who know you

and to do good to those who are righteous.

11Do not let proud people attack me

or the wicked make me run away.

12See where evil people have fallen.

There they lie, unable to rise.

The Destiny of the Wicked and of the Good

1Don't be worried on account of the wicked;

don't be jealous of those who do wrong.

2They will soon disappear like grass that dries up;

they will die like plants that wither.

3Trust in the LORD and do good;

live in the land and be safe.

4Seek your happiness in the LORD,

and he will give you your heart's desire.

5Give yourself to the LORD;

trust in him, and he will help you;

6he will make your righteousness shine like the noonday sun.

7Be patient and wait for the LORD to act;

don't be worried about those who prosper

or those who succeed in their evil plans.

8Don't give in to worry or anger;

it only leads to trouble.

9Those who trust in the LORD will possess the land,

but the wicked will be driven out.

10Soon the wicked will disappear;

you may look for them, but you won't find them;

11the humble will possess the land

and enjoy prosperity and peace.

12The wicked plot against good people

and glare at them with hate.

13But the Lord laughs at wicked people,

because he knows they will soon be destroyed.

14The wicked draw their swords and bend their bows

to kill the poor and needy,

to slaughter those who do what is right;

15but they will be killed by their own swords,

and their bows will be smashed.

16The little that a good person owns

is worth more than the wealth of all the wicked,

17because the LORD will take away the strength of the wicked,

but protect those who are good.

18The LORD takes care of those who obey him,

and the land will be theirs for ever.

19They will not suffer when times are bad;

they will have enough in time of famine.

20But the wicked will die;

the enemies of the LORD will vanish like wild flowers;

they will disappear like smoke.

21The wicked borrow and never pay back,

but good people are generous with their gifts.

22Those who are blessed by the LORD will possess the land,

but those who are cursed by him will be driven out.

23The LORD guides people in the way they should go

and protects those who please him.

24If they fall, they will not stay down,

because the LORD will help them up.

25I am old now; I have lived a long time,

but I have never seen good people abandoned by the LORD

or their children begging for food.

26At all times they give freely and lend to others,

and their children are a blessing.

27Turn away from evil and do good,

and your descendants will always live in the land;

28for the LORD loves what is right

and does not abandon his faithful people.

He protects them for ever,

but the descendants of the wicked will be driven out.

29The righteous will possess the land

and live in it for ever.

30The words of good people are wise,

and they are always fair.

31They keep the law of their God in their hearts

and never depart from it.

32Wicked people watch good people

and try to kill them;

33but the LORD will not abandon them to their enemy's power

or let them be condemned when they are on trial.

34Put your hope in the LORD and obey his commands;

he will honour you by giving you the land,

and you will see the wicked driven out.

35I once knew a wicked and ruthless person;

he towered over everyone like a cedar of Lebanon;

36but later I passed by, and he wasn't there;

I looked for him, but couldn't find him.

37Notice good people, observe the righteous;

peaceful people have descendants,

38but sinners are completely destroyed,

and their descendants are wiped out.

39The LORD saves the righteous

and protects them in times of trouble.

40He helps them and rescues them;

he saves them from the wicked,

because they go to him for protection.

The Prayer of a Sufferer

1O LORD, don't punish me in your anger!

2You have wounded me with your arrows;

you have struck me down.

3Because of your anger, I am in great pain;

my whole body is diseased because of my sins.

4I am drowning in the flood of my sins;

they are a burden too heavy to bear.

5Because I have been foolish,

my sores stink and rot.

6I am bowed down, I am crushed;

I mourn all day long.

7I am burning with fever

and I am near to death.

8I am worn out and utterly crushed;

my heart is troubled, and I groan with pain.

9O Lord, you know what I long for;

you hear all my groans.

10My heart is pounding, my strength is gone,

and my eyes have lost their brightness.

11My friends and neighbours will not come near me,

because of my sores;

even my family keeps away from me.

12Those who want to kill me lay traps for me,

and those who want to hurt me threaten to ruin me;

they never stop plotting against me.

13I am like the deaf and cannot hear,

like the dumb and cannot speak.

14I am like those who do not answer,

because they cannot hear.

15But I trust in you, O LORD;

and you, O Lord my God, will answer me.

16Don't let my enemies gloat over my distress;

don't let them boast about my downfall!

17I am about to fall

and am in constant pain.

18I confess my sins;

they fill me with anxiety.

19My enemies are healthy and strong;

there are many who hate me for no reason.

20Those who pay back evil for good

are against me because I try to do right.

21Do not abandon me, O LORD;

do not stay away, my God!

22Help me now, O Lord my saviour!

The Confession of a Sufferer

1I said, “I will be careful what I do

and will not let my tongue make me sin;

I will not say anything

while evil people are near.”

2I kept quiet, not saying a word,

not even about anything good!

But my suffering only grew worse,

3and I was overcome with anxiety.

The more I thought, the more troubled I became;

I could not keep from asking:

4LORD, how long will I live?

When will I die?

Tell me how soon my life will end.”

5How short you have made my life!

In your sight my lifetime seems nothing.

Indeed every living being is no more than a puff of wind,

6no more than a shadow.

All they do is for nothing;

they gather wealth, but don't know who will get it.

7What, then, can I hope for, Lord?

I put my hope in you.

8Save me from all my sins,

and don't let fools laugh at me.

9I will keep quiet, I will not say a word,

for you are the one who made me suffer like this.

10Don't punish me any more!

I am about to die from your blows.

11You punish our sins by your rebukes,

and like a moth you destroy what we love.

Indeed we are no more than a puff of wind!

12Hear my prayer, LORD,

and listen to my cry;

come to my aid when I weep.

Like all my ancestors

I am only your guest for a little while.

13Leave me alone so that I may have some happiness

before I go away and am no more.

1A gentle answer quietens anger, but a harsh one stirs it up.

2When wise people speak, they make knowledge attractive, but stupid people spout nonsense.

3The LORD sees what happens everywhere; he is watching us, whether we do good or evil.

4Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit.

5It is foolish to ignore what your father taught you; it is wise to accept his correction.

6Righteous people keep their wealth, but the wicked lose theirs when hard times come.

7Knowledge is spread by people who are wise, not by fools.

8The LORD is pleased when good people pray, but hates the sacrifices that the wicked bring him.

9The LORD hates the ways of evil people, but loves those who do what is right.

10If you do what is wrong, you will be severely punished; you will die if you do not let yourself be corrected.

11Not even the world of the dead can keep the LORD from knowing what is there; how then can people hide their thoughts from God?

12Conceited people do not like to be corrected; they never ask for advice from those who are wiser.

13When people are happy, they smile, but when they are sad, they look depressed.

14Intelligent people want to learn, but stupid people are satisfied with ignorance.

15The life of the poor is a constant struggle, but happy people always enjoy life.

16Better to be poor and fear the LORD than to be rich and in trouble.

17Better to eat vegetables with people you love than to eat the finest meat where there is hate.

18Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace.

19If you are lazy, you will meet difficulty everywhere, but if you are honest, you will have no trouble.

20Wise children make their fathers happy. Only fools despise their mothers.

21Stupid people are happy with their foolishness, but the wise will do what is right.

22Get all the advice you can, and you will succeed; without it you will fail.

23What a joy it is to find just the right word for the right occasion!

24Wise people walk the road that leads upwards to life, not the road that leads downwards to death.

25The LORD will destroy the homes of arrogant men, but he will protect a widow's property.

26The LORD hates evil thoughts, but he is pleased with friendly words.

27If you try to make a profit dishonestly, you will get your family into trouble. Don't take bribes and you will live longer.

28Good people think before they answer. Evil people have a quick reply, but it causes trouble.

29When good people pray, the LORD listens, but he ignores those who are evil.

30Smiling faces make you happy, and good news makes you feel better.

31If you pay attention when you are corrected, you are wise.

32If you refuse to learn, you are hurting yourself. If you accept correction, you will become wiser.

33Reverence for the LORD is an education in itself. You must be humble before you can ever receive honours.

Proverbs 15GNBOpen in Bible reader

1We may make our plans, but God has the last word.

2You may think everything you do is right, but the LORD judges your motives.

3Ask the LORD to bless your plans, and you will be successful in carrying them out.

4Everything the LORD has made has its destiny; and the destiny of the wicked is destruction.

5The LORD hates everyone who is arrogant; he will never let them escape punishment.

6Be loyal and faithful, and God will forgive your sin. Obey the LORD and nothing evil will happen to you.

7When you please the LORD, you can make your enemies into friends.

8It is better to have a little, honestly earned, than to have a large income gained dishonestly.

9You may make your plans, but God directs your actions.

10The king speaks with divine authority; his decisions are always right.

11The LORD wants weights and measures to be honest and every sale to be fair.

12Kings cannot tolerate evil, because justice is what makes a government strong.

13A king wants to hear the truth and will favour those who speak it.

14A wise person will try to keep the king happy; if the king becomes angry, someone may die.

15The king's favour is like the clouds that bring rain in the springtime — life is there.

16It is better — much better — to have wisdom and knowledge than gold and silver.

17Those who are good travel a road that avoids evil; so watch where you are going — it may save your life.

18Pride leads to destruction, and arrogance to downfall.

19It is better to be humble and stay poor than to be one of the arrogant and get a share of their loot.

20Pay attention to what you are taught, and you will be successful; trust in the LORD and you will be happy.

21A wise, mature person is known for his understanding. The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is.

22Wisdom is a fountain of life to the wise, but trying to educate stupid people is a waste of time.

23Intelligent people think before they speak; what they say is then more persuasive.

24Kind words are like honey — sweet to the taste and good for your health.

25What you think is the right road may lead to death.

26A labourer's appetite makes him work harder, because he wants to satisfy his hunger.

27Evil people look for ways to harm others; even their words burn with evil.

28Gossip is spread by wicked people; they stir up trouble and break up friendships.

29Violent people deceive their friends and lead them to disaster.

30Watch out for people who grin and wink at you; they have thought of something evil.

31Long life is the reward of the righteous; grey hair is a glorious crown.

32It is better to be patient than powerful. It is better to win control over yourself than over whole cities.

33People cast lots to learn God's will, but God himself determines the answer.

Proverbs 16GNBOpen in Bible reader
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