PROVERB PRACTICALS  

 

Proverbs 6:9-11,  How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

When we read the scriptures there may be an attempt by us, captive to our old nature, to apply the message or the lesson of the scriptures to others.

We picture, not ourselves in the passage, but our heart turns our mind to applying the scriptures to others.

Oh how this applies to John, or to Mary or to Joe, but to me, NO WAY does this apply!

It is natural to want to do this, so that we are not accountable for the light given.

We do not want to be held accountable so we make it hard to make the application to ourselves.

Nor do we want to realize that change may required of us.

Regardless of what we may say we all obstruct change in our lives.

We like to keep on keeping on in the path that we are on and do not like to be pushed or prodded to another path.

It has taken a long time to make this rut comfortable and I will not easily be disrupted from it.

Did you get up the same time this morning?

Did you or did you not read and study your Bible and pray?

Did you take your shower or bath with the same washing pattern you always use?

Did you put your clothes on in the same order and routine that you have long established?

Did you eat the same breakfast that you always eat?

Did you come to Sunday School on the same route you always come?

Did you park in the same parking place in which you always park?

Are you sitting in the same pew that you always sit in?

Will you attend the same number of services this week that you always attend?

How we cling to order and routine!

We generally fight making new decisions.

And we do not have to make decisions if we live by order and routine.

And it is good to have established routines and ways.

But when order and routine conflict with obedience to the Word of God then that order and routine must be disturbed and changed.

The Word of God is meant to be a stirring up of our order and routine.

Moses in Deut 32:11 describes an eagle stirring up her nest.

Now an eagle stirs up the nest to decrease the comfortablity factor of the nest.

Learn from this parents when the time comes for you to let your eaglets fly.

That eagle is interested in getting her young out of the nest so she stirs up the nest and makes the nest a hard and uncomfortable place to be.

Stirring up then is a good thing for it can bring those stirred up to a higher plane.

Do you want your children to stay in the nest or do you want them to get out and do something for God1

The Word of God is good at stirring up.

Peter wrote of this in II Peter 3:1-2,  This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

The Christian life is supposed to be a continual stirring up.

God never changes, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever but that does not apply to you nor to me.

Can you imagine applying that to me, Ludwig Opager, the same yesterday, and today and forever!

My wife does not believe that, she stirs me up every day hoping for a change.

And neither does God believe that who has begun a good work in me and will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

That is Godís promise of His efforts toward change in my life until I breathe my last breath.

That good work in me is a work that brings change in my life, that brings the fruit of the Spirit which is change in my life.

God is not satisfied with me and intends to bring about change.

God in His word describes a life for his children that is a life of change.

In this life you are always to be in a changing mode, all things are new and God is seeing to it that the new replaces the old.

That requires change.

Paul wrote in II Corinthians 5:17,  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

This "all things are become new" means that all things new are coming into being.

This describes a process that God is using in your life and it includes stirring you up.

That is what preaching is about.

This passage in Proverbs that I have just read is to be a stirring up of our order and routine for this passage applies to all of us in one way or another.

But doesnít this passage apply to sluggards, to those who are slothful, to those who are indolent, to those who lean idly or are slack?

Anyone raise their hand to fitting in this category?

This passage is so easy to apply to others but should it be applied to me?

Can it be applied to me, a hard working fellow, busily engaged in work most of the time.

A fellow who has never been called a sluggard that I know of.

But donít resist the scriptures.

They are meant for you, they are meant for me.

They are meant to cause change in you.

Dr. Bob Jones Sr. said,  Undoubtedly the trouble is with you!

Read the scriptures for yourself, donít read them so you can find others in them.

Examine yourself, not others, whether ye be in the faith.

Every scripture must be rightly divided.

Does it apply to me or to others.

Most of the scriptures will apply to you including this part about sluggards for each one of us is a sluggard in some thing or many things.

None of us, save the Lord Jesus Christ, passes the non-sluggard test.

Examine yourself and you will find a heart compartment or many heart compartments where sluggardness is a comfortable way of life.

Proverbs 6:9-11,  How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

This passage is an "action-reaction" proverb, it is a "cause and effect" proverb, it is a "do this and a what will happen because of doing this" proverb.

The first sentence of this passage is a stirring up sentence.

It is a message of challenge to the sluggard.

It is exhortation clothed in a question?

How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?

I can hear my mother speaking words similar to this.

Get up lazy bones, are you going to sleep your life though?

Now this passage obviously describes a long term condition of not carrying out responsibilities.

It describes what is called a sluggard.

A sluggard is not created overnight.

A sluggard is only developed over a long period of time.

A sluggard has been sleeping for a long time and this is what defines a sluggard.

Notice the little sleep, the little folding of the hands.

This describes a continual repetitive action.

It describes one who intends to do something but first desires to get a little more sleep, just a little more slumber.

Rather than doing what is right the sluggard always has a diversion.

Iíll do it tomorrow.

Manyana, Manyana, Manyana is good enough for me.

Proverbs 6:9-11,  How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

This passage is an "action-reaction" proverb, it is a "cause and effect" proverb, it is a "do this and a what will happen because of doing this" proverb.

The first sentence of this passage is a stirring up question.

Questions are good at stirring up.

This question is a message of challenge to the sluggard.

It is exhortation clothed in a question?

How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?

Which being interpreted is: Sleep does not get the job done.

Productivity is not accomplished while you are asleep.

Donít you realize that you are sleeping your life away?

Donít you see the need for being awake to do the work?

How long are you going to divert yourself to the unimportant instead of doing the important.

Will you continue to sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate?

This is the adage or motto of most of the people of the world.

Most lives are fully occupied with that which has no eternal value.

Everything is immediate, but that ought not to be so for Godís child.

Now this passage describes a long term condition of not carrying out responsibilities.

For a sluggard is not created overnight.

Sluggardly ways are developed over a long period of time.

A sluggard has been sleeping for a long time and this is what defines a sluggard.

Notice the little sleep, the little folding of the hands.

This describes a continual repetitive action.

It describes one who intends to do something but first desires to get a little more sleep, just a little more slumber.

Rather than doing what is right the sluggard always has a diversion.

Sometimes it is sleep, sometimes it is activity in things that bring immediate reward.

But it is a diversion from things that have eternal value.

It is the sacrificing of the permanent on the altar of the immediate.

Iíll do it tomorrow.

I will not struggle today, tomorrow will be a better day for struggle.

That is the condition, the sluggard believes that tomorrow will bring his deliverance but instead of deliverance at the door he finds poverty in all that he neglects.

That is the sure result of putting off that which needs to be done in hopes of doing it tomorrow.

What a delusion that is, and it again verifies that the deceitful heart is in charge.

The deceitful heart convinces that there will be a tomorrow when it has no right to so convince.

That there will be a tomorrow for any of us is Godís province, and not the province of your heart.

We have said that if you identify that which you have good intentions of doing but consistently do not do it you have then opened your heart compartment where sluggard-ness reigns.

For all of us are sluggards in one way or another.

Perhaps you have conversations with yourself in these regards:

Oh, Lord I intend to get my prayer life in order.

Iíve been taught how to pray, how to pray effectively but the doing of it is another thing.

And I would so like to come to the Saturday morning prayer at the church but getting up so early is so hard for me.

You know I do like a little sleep, a little slumber and a little folding of the hands to sleep!

I do like my morning paper and my cup of coffee and a little winding down for the hectic week Iíve faced.

I hope to study the scriptures every day with diligence and with the intention of growing in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I certainly want to be in the house of the Lord every time the doors are open but I just canít seem to put off what I think are other more valuable diversions.

Wouldnít it be nice to give more to the Lordís work but I have so many needs of my own to care for.

I know that those needs are temporal but I have to be comfortable donít I?

I have to look out for myself donít I?

Iíll get my giving in order someday but today Iíve got other things of which to take care.

Every time the visit to the Convalescent Home is mentioned I awake from my sleep and say to myself, Iíll go next time, but I soon nod off from that thought and assume my sleeping position.

I enjoy the choir and I believe I could contribute to it but other things of my own liking get in the way of service in song.

Can anybody blame me for that?

I intend to ask the Pastor where I could be of help.

Perhaps volunteering some time working for the Childrenís Bible Club or responding to the call to prepare the Projector for mailing or even working in the concession stands but I just donít get around to it.

I want to help but other things seem to be more important to me.

Am I really sacrificing the permanent on the altar of the immediate?

And every time I pass the tract table I intend to grab a bunch of tracts.

I intend to pass them out to friends and at restaurants and to talk to folks about the Lord but for some reason as I pass the table Iíve got more important things on my mind.

And then I think about the fruit of the Spirit that is supposed to be evident in my life.

That thought shakes me out of my stupor at least for a while.

Isnít the Holy Spirit to do that by Himself.

Isnít He supposed to give me love and joy and peace and longsuffering and gentleness and goodness and faith and meekness and temperance?

Canít I just sit back in my easy chair and let this happen.

Canít I just sleep and slumber and heíll do the work.

How often we have those kind of thoughts but oh, how we sleep away the opportunities of grace.

The opportunities of grace are always knocking at our heartís door but so often we close our ears to Godís grace.

Godís grace is at the ready.

But Godís grace has to have a receiver, Godís grace is activated by faith.

Godís grace has to be appropriated.

You lifeís clock is ticking away.

Just press your hand to your chest and feel the ticking.

But like all things that tick, there will be a stopping of the ticking.

God gives us a season to work for him, but like all seasons there eventually comes an end to that season.

For you have only one life to offer, you have only one life to give, you have only one life to praise him.

And time is flying, Tempus fugit.

In previous verses in this chapter the sluggard is told to go to the ant and learn from the littlest of creatures.

See the pattern of the ant.

She works hard in the summer so that she can have a harvest.

Without that work, when work can be done, there will not be a harvest.

Work while you are able for there will come a time, it may be early or it may be late, when you cannot work.

We are told that the ant does not have a guide, overseer or ruler but she still works diligently.

How many guides do you have?

You have a God given conscience, you have the Bible, you have your pastor, you have your Sunday School teacher, you may still have your parents.

But how the sluggard hopes that he will reap that which he has not sown.

How he hopes that he will gather where he has not strawed.

These thoughts may be comforting to the sluggard but they are conclusions of a deceitful heart.

They are the lullabies of a deceitful heart which convinces the sluggard that God will overlook the man who does not avail himself of his grace to overcome his sluggardly ways.

The Bible verse that says "For whatsoever a man soweth that shall his also reap." is still in the Bible.

Paul wrote in Eph 5:14-17,  Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

There is key to banishing sluggard-ness.

Understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Arise from the dead and Christ shall give you light.

There is no time to waste for each day of sleep brings a deeper sleep.

Each day of further sleep, each day of staying in the rut of temporal life will make it vastly harder to awake to eternal things.

And that little sleep, that little slumber guarantees the poverty of the soul for the sleeper.

Poverty is on the interstate of life and will eventually get to the sluggardís house.

But it doesnít have to be this way.

God expects you and He expects me to call upon His grace to overcome and to banish the sluggardís ways which always divert you and me from the doing of Godís will.

My grace is sufficient, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

The sluggard always qualifies for this grace for he or she is indeed weak.

But through Godís strength the sluggard can awake to the need to stop sacrificing the permanent on the altar of the immediate.