The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 19:11-20. A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression. The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion, But his favor is like dew on the grass. A foolish son is destruction to his father, And the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping. House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the Lord. Laziness casts into a deep sleep, And an idle man will suffer hunger. He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, But he who is careless of conduct will die. One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, And He will repay him for his good deed. Discipline your son while there is hope, And do not desire his death. A man of great anger will bear the penalty, For if you rescue him, you will only have to do it again. Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days.
Last week we read of one who hastens his steps, and errs as a result. Today, we shall consider what the opposite side of the pendulum swing looks like: the lazy, idle man, who winds up hungry in the end. Laziness casts into a deep sleep, And an idle man will suffer hunger.
Matthew Henry has this to say of the lazy, idle man:
See here the evil of a sluggish slothful disposition. 1. It stupefies men, and makes them senseless, and mindless of their own affairs, as they were cast into a deep sleep, dreaming much, but doing nothing. Slothful people doze away their time, bury their talents, live a useless life, and are the unprofitable burdens of the earth; for any service they do when they are awake they might as well be always asleep. Even their souls are idle and lulled asleep, their rational powers chilled and frozen. 2. It impoverishes men and brings them to want. Those that will not labour cannot expect to eat, but must suffer hunger: An idle soul, one that is idle in the affairs of his soul, that takes no care or pains to work out his salvation, shall perish for want of that which is necessary to the life and happiness of the soul.
The Word of God says plainly in Genesis that by the sweat of our faces we shall eat bread, the implication being that sustenance comes to a man through hard work, toiling, and striving. Laziness leads to a life void of purpose, with hunger following in tow. If a man does not work, he does not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
Another Proverb tells us:
"Go to the ant, O sluggard,Observe her ways and be wise, Which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, Prepares her food in the summer And gathers her provision in the harvest. How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest”—Your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man" (Proverbs 6:6-11).
Ants work endlessly, tirelessly, each in their proper place, performing the task for which they were designed. Worker ants have one goal in mind: to stay in their lane and work. In the ant world, this tireless working ensures sustenance for the entire ant colony. No workers, no food, no life.
This principle seen in the ordering of nature decreed by God is also plainly evident in the affairs of men. An unwillingness to work leads surely to poverty and hunger.
So how should we work?
Whatever we do in word or deed, we do it all in the name of the Lord (Colossians 3:17), knowing that unless the LORD builds the house, those who build labor in vain (Psalm 127:1).
In regards to our souls, and the nourishment of them, the Word of God has much to teach us about work should we not wish to hunger. For instance we are told in the book of James that "faith without works is dead". In Matthew 7 we are instructed to "strive to enter through the straight gate", that gate which leads to eternal life. Isaiah 55 warns us that there is bread which we buy with our wages which does not satisfy, and are encouraged to buy the bread which does satisfy.
So as we work and strive, our labor should be of a kind which issues from a heart of faith. Faith in Jesus, that He is your Savior and Lord. Faith in God for His care and provision. Faith that all things are working together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purposes. Faith that can say though the fig tree shall not blossom, yet I will praise the Lord (Habakkuk 3:17). This labor of ours should be for that bread which once eaten, leaves us eternally satisfied.
"Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform?Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst (John 6:26-35)."
Brothers and sisters, if you are lazy, sluggardly, or toiling foolishly after that which will never satisfy, the text today implores us to repent, or go hungry. God in His grace has blessed each one of us with gifts, talents, time, and resources. As we utilize them, are we doing so faithfully? Are we sitting idle as life tick tocks away, squandering the blessings of God? Are we using our talents and time, toiling after that which will never satisfy?
If you are able, please kneel and let us repent of both our lazy, idle ways, and our vain, unprofitable toiling.
Our default position in life is oftentimes to flee to comfort and ease, being satisfied with less than Your best for us, because striving to enter through the straight gate is hard work.
Far too often, if laziness is not our pitfall, chasing after the wind is. Rather than laboring for a house built by You, we vainly build upon sinking sand, and find ourselves always wanting though our toil is great.
Please forgive us Father, for not trusting in Your provision, that manna come down from Heaven, Your Son Jesus. Please forgive us when we labor for that which does not satisfy, rather than working the work of God, which is simply to believe.
In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.
Please stand and listen to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:7
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 07/12/2020 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie.)