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Proverbs 24:30-34, I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. 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 is the Lullaby Proverb--Sung to the tune of Brahms Lullaby!
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands, A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands
A mark of wisdom is to learn by word.
Word comes in many forms and here in this passage it came to the one who went by the field of the slothful.
It did not cry out audibly but it cried out nevertheless because a man came by who had an ear attuned to the word of wisdom.
The word of wisdom does not cry out in vain and always finds an ear that will hear.
This ear knew that it is far better to learn wisdom at the cost of other people than at its own expense.
This ear knew that by learning the pitfalls of other men, personal pitfalls would be avoided. This is wisdom!
This ear was at the ready to hear the teaching of wisdom even during a casual walk in the countryside.
This ear was open to wisdom's call because it knew that everything around it provided a useful lesson in living to those who had an ear to hear.
I saw and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.
Just by traveling on a country lane this wise one learned about the one who lived at this place he passed.
He did not engage in an "I'm better than the one who lives here" conversation with himself.
He was not interested in applauding himself as superior to this one that he observed.
He did not assume a holier than thou position.
Wisdom knows that that position does not bring profit.
This wise man was interested in profit to himself and in learning a lesson from all that he observed.
The wise are like that as they survey God's creation and man's use of that creation.
What can I learn as I go along life's road?
What does God wish to teach me by my eye being observant?
Because of this spirit this man knew much and he learned much on his walk through the countryside.
He learned that a man's field, that a man's vineyard, reveals the man.
He discerned much about the man by the condition of the things that God had placed in the man's hands.
He didn't know the man from personal experience but he knew the man by the things over which the man had care.
He saw a field and a vineyard that had grown over with thorns and nettles.
He saw a wall that was broken down.
What he saw in the field, the vineyard and the wall did not happen overnight.
This was not a happening that was caused by a momentary lapse in a man's diligence.
He was not one to judge a man because of a momentary or one time happening.
But he judged the man because what he saw was caused by a pattern of life expressed over a long period of time.
Stones walls don't break down overnight.
Thorns and nettles take time to take over a field and a vineyard.
This wise one who learns from the experiences of others concludes that this fallow farm is occupied by one who is slothful.
Farms do not come to this end by the hand of a diligent man.
Someone built that wall, someone planted that vineyard, someone cleared and sowed that field.
And most likely that person was not the one who had brought it to the condition that this wise man now saw.
What happened to the diligent one who built the wall?
How did the vineyard get to be a vineyard?
Who plowed the field?
Perhaps this man had inherited this farm in an excellent condition when he came upon the scene.
But the wise man calls this man void of understanding.
Did not this slothful man understand that a field and a vineyard need care.
Even a stone wall needs repair from time to time.
Didn't he understand that maintenance on a farm is paramount to success of the farm?
Didn't he understand that God gave daylight as a time of work and not as a time of sleep?
But the slothful are void of understanding.
The slothful are void of knowing the plan of God and God's order of things.
The slothful are void of knowing that God has so engaged thorns and nettles to be teachers of men.
What do they teach but the need to be diligent, the need to be awake and the need to invest work and labor in a field and in a vineyard and in a stone wall.
It took diligence to clear the field and plant the vineyard and to build the wall but the diligence it takes to maintain that field and the vineyard and the wall is far more than the diligence it took to build.
Didn't he understand that maintenance is a noble undertaking?
Maintenance requires a steady plodding continual effort of labor to keep that which is given by God.
Are not God's servant's, the thorns, the nettles, the wind and the rain on the wall also faithful to their calling.
The thorns, the nettles, the wind and the rain provide a similar steady plodding continual effort to cover the field and the vineyard and to break down the wall.
God plans for only the diligent to have victory over the thorns and the nettles.
The slothful never are victorious because thorns and nettles soon overtake them because they just desire a little and that is all they will get.
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep.
That field can wait just a little, that vineyard certainly doesn't need pruning today does it, just a little while and I'll do it?
Who needs a stone wall anyway. Its just a bother!
Just a little longer in the bed, just a few more winks and then I'll do it.
Let me fold my hands because its oh so comfortable.
But the wise man considered it well.
He saw the result of that procrastination, that putting off.
He looked at what that brought into the life of this man.
He saw the result of those little desires, those little competitions, by observing the field and the vineyard and the wall.
Those things didn't happen overnight but they most certainly happened and they brought poverty with them.
Poverty came with the same certainty that brings a traveler to his destination by him continually putting one foot in front of the other.
Want came to the slothful as an armed man would appear to one being robbed.
He looks in the cupboard and sees no food and wonders why God doesn't provide.
Being void of understanding he is surprised that all this is happening to him.
He looks at his barren fields and his barren vineyard and his broken stone wall and curses God for his lack of blessing on his life.
Not facing the fact that no doubt the trouble is with him.
He is slothful and his sloth has brought him to this place. but being void of understanding he seeks yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
Tomorrow I'll do something about that field, that vineyard, that............Yawn, Yawn, Yawn!
Tomorrow I'll break up that fallow ground, tomorrow I'll prune that vineyard so the fruit will come, tomorrow I'll build that wall of separation so that God the husbandman will bless.
Tomorrow after a little more sleep, a little more slumber, just a little more folding of the hands to sleep!