Wednesday, March 09, 2016

He That Is Slothful - Proverbs 18:9

He That Is Slothful
Proverbs 18:9

“He that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.” – Proverbs 18:9 (12:27).
The word slothful means a person who is “known to be slack.” It refers to a lazy person (15:19).  It speaks of being lazy or slack, even to release in some contexts, maybe being idle, or perhaps not so much laying around, but not as energetic and thorough in the pursuit of tasks.  It seems like we could take this word in either of two fashions:
It could be speaking of the way in which one pursues a certain needful task (or tasks) that prevents completion in an efficient manner.
Or it be speaking of a habitual manner of conduct where the above idea is the manner in which one conducts oneself in an ongoing manner.
We should also note that the form of the word is a participle which views the verbs as an active idea.  The subject is “being” slothful with the sloth in progress as we are reading or seeing the action.
I think it’s clear that laziness destroys by wiping out what could have been accomplished, losing both time and opportunity.  We do have to note that the language of the verse does seem to indicate that such sloth is the habit of the life of the one in view.  The word is used again in just a chapter or so:
19  The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns,
But the way of the upright is a highway. (Proverbs 15:19)
Obviously this speaks of the results of failing to be diligent and energetic in the pursuit of one’s work.  It is actually quite expressive in describing the result of such slothfulness.  That is at least one of points of the verse.  If we are slothful we will  not reap the results of the labor as we ought to have (and in many cases really want to) reaped.  We do see the results of our work or what is needful, because we did not put the attention or effect into the pursuit of the goal.
It is interesting that verses 9-12 speak of the way things are brought about in life.  Verse 10 & 11 describes two kinds of things that people look to for security (the Lord and riches).  Verse 9 & 12, on the other hand speak of two things that bring about one’s destruction (laziness and pride).  The first by failing to get or gain, the other by as much as casting away what has been gained.  If we look at this section together these proverbs imply that riches can give a false sense of security that leads to laziness, pride, and a downfall, but that humility and the fear of God exalt people.  This is surely what led many prior cultures to keep in their minds the danger of riches and their negative effect on the lifestyle and thinking of men.
The work in question may be one’s own work or a commission from another. In either case slothfulness in its performance will be as injurious as waste is. Indolence and extravagance are, so to speak, brothers; there is an affinity between them. Thus (12:27) a man who is so lazy as not to take the trouble to roast that which he took in hunting, or even to leave it to his dogs, is guilty of waste as well as indolence.
And he who through inertness allows his employer’s business to suffer, is as destructive to his interests as if he threw money away.
Likewise, it is interesting to think through what is connected here.
“He that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.” – Proverbs 18:9 (12:27).
Waster (AV) refers to one who lays waste, not who wastes time. Solomon is teaching that he who leaves a work undone is, in reality, virtually next of kin to him who destroys it’.  The idea here is that Laziness is destructive. The lines form a comparison to express that the lazy person and the destructive person are equally detrimental to society. The first is “slack” (miṯrappeh) in his work; the other is called baʿal mašḥîṯ (“possessor [= dealer] in/of destruction”; NIV, “one who destroys”). The link between these two is the term “brother”; It is not literally saying that they are physically related, but it signifies that they belong to the same classification, that they are of similar nature. For example, the one who is slack may look for shortcuts and may make things that fall apart. The destruction he brings may be indirect and slow in coming, but it is just as problematic.
The manna-gatherers who should have lost the early morn through sloth, would have wasted the provision sent for them by God from heaven (Exod. 16:21.)  The Book of Proverbs contrasts two paths, or ways of life: the way of wisdom and the way of folly. The slothful person is foolish, while the diligent, hard-working person is wise.
The backwardness of the Jews to build the Temple in Haggai’s time brought upon them a destructive famine (Hag. 1:2–11). In the parables of the talents and of the unfaithful steward, our Lord teaches that he who hides his talent, who as a “slothful servant” neglects to improve it, will be solemnly called to account equally with him who “wastes his (master’s) goods” (Matt. 25:26; Luke 16:1, 2). In the judgment of the Omniscient One the Church that was “lukewarm,” and hence inactive, was the one that needed “counsel” not to waste her opportunities (Rev. 3:16, 18).
The concept in view here speaks of being loose or undisciplined. The Hebrew term can refer to a bow not strung or equipped with an arrow for action (Ps. 78:57; Hos. 7:16). A similar or related Hebrew root describes a loose tongue or mind as deceitful (Job. 13:7; 27:4; Ps. 32:2; 52:4; Mic. 6:12). The slothful person cannot lead but becomes subjected to another’s rule (Prov. 12:24; cp. 10:4; 19:15). God’s work must not be done in such a spirit (Jer. 48:10). A second Hebrew term refers to that which is difficult, heavy, or hindered and indicates foolish laziness or sluggishness. The tribe of Dan was encouraged to take the new territory and not be slothful or reluctant (Judg. 18:9). The wise, hardworking ant illustrates the opposite of sloth (Prov. 6:6), while the sloth wants only to sleep (Prov. 6:9; cp. 10:26; 13:4; 15:19; 19:24; 20:4; 21:25; 22:13; 24:30; 26:16). The virtuous woman is the opposite of slothful, not having to live with the results of idle slothfulness (Prov. 31:27). Ecclesiastes 10:18 says, “Because of utter laziness, the roof caves in, because of idle hands, the house leaks” (HCSB). Jesus condemned an evil, lazy slave (Matt. 25:26) but praised and rewarded the “good and faithful slave” (Matt. 25:23 HCSB).
Characteristics (Biblically Speaking)
They are lazy and refuse to work - Pr 6:6-8 See also Pr 12:27; 15:19; 19:24; 20:4; 21:25; 24:30-31; 26:15
They love to stay in bed when they should be up and active - Pr 6:9 See also Pr 26:14
They make excuses to avoid work - Pr 22:13 See also Pr 26:13
Their desires are not met - Pr 13:4 See also Pr 20:4; 21:25-26
Their laziness leads to poverty - Pr 6:10-11 See also Pr 10:4-5; 12:24; 18:9; 19:15; 20:13; 24:33-34; - Ecc 4:5; 10:18
Their attitude is irritating to others - Pr 10:26
They are conceited - Pr 26:16
Gospel usage.
The noun ‘sloth’ is not found; the adj. ‘slothful’ (ὀκνηρός) occurs once only (Mt 25:26).
26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.
The wicked, slothful, and unprofitable servant is silhouetted once, for all men and time. The words, ‘Thou wicked and slothful (or lazy) servant,’ ‘were in the Gospel well coupled; and the first epithet was grounded on the second, he being therefore wicked, because he had been slothful’ (Barrow). It is the man of one talent, and he who has buried the same, that is guilty of the sin of sloth. That is true psychology. But let every man give heed unto himself. Genius has yielded to this sin as well as mediocrity. Stewardship of five talents has been neglected, and equally in that case the ‘precipitate’ of character has been sloth.
The life of Jesus a rebuke to slothfulness. - The Savior was in all respects a complete opposite to ‘the slothful servant.’ The zeal of the Lord ate Him up (Jn. 2:17). Early and late He wearied not in well doing, but accomplished what was given Him to do. ‘Our great example, the life of our blessed Lord Himself, what was it but one continual exercise of labor? His mind did ever stand bent in careful attention, studying to do good. His body was ever moving in wearisome travel to the same Divine intent’ (From Martyn Barrow). His practice stimulates to diligence; His preaching warns to avoid sloth. The Apostle Paul was built on the same model. When he bids men be ‘not slothful in business’ (Ro 12:11 AV), these are the words of a man who was in labors most abundant (2 Co 11:23).
There is a literal sense in which these words prove themselves true to demonstration. I have only to compare the dwellings of the slothful and of the thriftless together, and the bareness of both betrays that slothfulness leads to the same end as extravagance, The one folds his arms, the other opens his hand too much. Though God give the prey to the hunter (Gen. 27:20), He will not save him from the consequences, if he wastes what is given. The farmer who neglects his land, is liable to be overrun with weeds and vermin, and to learn by bitter experience how expensive a luxury self-indulgence is. The tradesman who exchanges a lazy assistant for a wasteful one, will find little difference in his losses at the year’s end. So true is it that “time is money.” Yea, of every known prodigality, that of time is the worst. An idle man, equally with a spendthrift, is a burden and eyesore to his kindred, and his own enemy. And if this be true literally as regards this world, so also spiritually as regards the next. There is little to choose between one who squanders his religious privileges and one who neglects them. The barren formalist and the lifeless self-pleaser are alike dead to God.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


2 At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time.” 3 So Joshua made flint knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.(Joshua 5:2-3)

God commanded Joshua to see that this was done to all males under 40. These were sons of the generation who died in the wilderness, survivors (cf. vv. 6, 7) from the new generation God spared in Num. 13, 14. This surgical sign of a faith commitment to the Abrahamic Covenant (see Gen. 17:9–14) had been ignored during the wilderness trek. Now God wanted it reinstated, so the Israelites would start out right in the Land they were possessing.

This was not a re-circumcision of individuals (which would be impossible), but the second occasion of doing this as a nation. This implies that as a nation it had been done before leaving Egypt (Josh. 5:4), but those born in the wilderness were uncircumcised ( Josh. 5:5). This also implies that there were many ways that the law was not kept during the wilderness wanderings.

This circumcision was necessary because the generation that came out of Egypt had fallen under God’s judgment. In His grace God was raising up a new generation for Himself (v. 7). Physical circumcision had its spiritual counterpart in circumcised hearts (Deut. 10:16; 30:6)

When God reaffirmed his covenant with Abraham, promising him the land of Canaan, he warned him that anyone who was not circumcised would be violating the covenant (Gen 17:7–14). Consequently, Israel could not claim the covenant land until the sign of the covenant had been restored. Here is another parallel between Moses and Joshua: When called to lead the covenant people out of Egypt, Moses had to restore the the covenant of circumcision in his own family (Exod 4:24–26). In the instructions God gave Moses for the Passover meal, no uncircumcised males were allowed to participate (cf. Exod 12:48–49). Circumcision may have been a puberty rite in some nations, but for Israel it marked one’s entrance into the covenant community. In Hebrew this verse is redundant; it says, “Circumcise the Israelites again, a second time.” There is no record that Joshua conducted any mass circumcision prior to this, nor was anyone to be circumcised over again. Joshua was reinstituting circumcision after it had been neglected during the forty years in the desert.

It is interesting that not even Joshua had circumcised his children while in the desert:
7 Then Joshua circumcised their sons whom He raised up in their place; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way. (Joshua 5:7)

This was a reproach to him in God's eyes:
9 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day. (Joshua 5:9)

That reproach was removed by the act of circumcision that renewed the Abrahamic Covenant and affirmed God's commitment and faithfulness to His people and Joshua's place in His plan.

This is borne out by the reaffirmation made at the end of the chapter by the appearance of the Angel of the Lord:

13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “ Are You for us or for our adversaries?” (Joshua 5:13)

This man proved to be one of the Persons of the Trinity who was personally leading Israel from Egypt. From all outward appearances Joshua thought He was a man. He stood like a man, looked like a man, held a sword like a man, spoke with an audible voice like a man, and Joshua approached Him like a man.

Five proofs that He was God, not a man: 

  1. He claimed to be Captain of the host of the Lord. Joshua knew God was the Captain of Israel. He had promised to go before them and lead them into Canaan, and had done so for forty years ( Ex. 3:8 , 12 , 17-22 ; 6:1-8 ; 10:2-6 ; 23:20-33 ; 33:1-3 ; Josh. 1:2-9 ; 3:7-8 ; Acts 7:31-37 ).
  2. Joshua worshipped Him, and such reverence belongs only to God. If He had been only a messenger of God, He would not have permitted worship (cp. Rev. 19:9-10 ; 22:8-10 ).
  3. Joshua called Him "Lord" (Hebrew: 'Adon (H136 h136 ) sovereign; lord; master; owner).
  4. Joshua recognized himself as His servant.
  5. The same thing was said to Joshua that was said to Moses. Only God could make such a demand (cp. Josh. 5:15 with Ex. 3:1-8 ).

Monday, January 30, 2012

Eliphaz & Presuppositions

17 “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects;
Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.
18 For He bruises, but He binds up;
He wounds, but His hands make whole.
19 He shall deliver you in six troubles,
Yes, in seven no evil shall touch you. (Job 5:17-19)

It is not so much the content of Eliphaz's advice that is the problem for us. But rather, it is the perspective, the "worldview" from which it is offered that is defective. From his point of view, man is on a give and take relationship with God. He must earn his keep. All that man does God watches and either He rewards or chastens, given the merit of those actions. I'm sure that Eliphaz saw some room in Gods scheme for mercy and grace, but his basic perception of God's interaction with man was one of give and take, one on a "works" basis.

This is an all together natural perception for men. Since the fall, and the effects that the fall wrought in man, our twisted thinking has caused us to have a faulty perception of how we are to interact with God. In our pride , our arrogance, we believe that we can seize authority from Him and do things ourselves. That even extends past salvation into the Christian life. We see ourselves on a "do" or "not do" basis with God. If we "do", then we get blessed. If we "fail to do", then at best we simply fail to be blessed; & at worst we receive God's chastening & judgment.

This is not just a minor thinking issue. This is a fundamental perception issue that affects and forms all of Eliphaz's thinking and understanding. It causes him to be wrong and how he see's Job's interaction with the affairs that are going on in his life. It causes him to charge Job with evil that he didn't not commit. It causes him to draw conclusions that are untrue and forced those conclusions upon poor innocent Job. It causes him not only to fail to minister to Job, but to do the opposite in his responsibility to minister, to drive Job down and have a negative impact on him and his great time of need.

All of this because of presuppositions that he was unwilling to shake. You and I must take great care to examine our own presuppositions. We must examine them in light of what the Scripture has to say. Fortunately for us we hold the Bible in our hands. That is a privilege neither Job nor Eliphaz had.

It is a blessing and privilege that you and I must take advantage of because it is a privilege that God did not give us for no reason. We do not have the Scripture simply to hold, or to read, or for our information. It is here to mold and to shape our lives and to change our thinking and the our perception of what is real what is true. We do not approach the structure knowing what is true ahead of time. We approach the scripture seeking truth allowing it to teach us what is true.

Eliphaz, of course, was a great disadvantage as he did not hold the Word of God in his hand as you and I do. Let's see to it that you and I don't make the same mistakes that he did.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ten Blessings in Romans 5

  1. Justification ( Rom. 5:1 , 9 )
  2. Peace with God ( Rom. 5:1 )
  3. Access by faith into grace ( Rom. 5:2 )
  4. Standing in grace ( Rom. 5:2 )
  5. Joy in God ( Rom. 5:2-3 , 11 )
  6. Grace in tribulations ( Rom. 5:3-5 )
  7. Love of God in the heart ( Rom. 5:5 )
  8. The Holy Spirit ( Rom. 5:5 )
  9. Salvation from wrath ( Rom. 5:9-10 )
  10. Reconciliation by blood ( Rom. 5:10-11 )

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Enoch & Heaven

The Hebrew word means "initiated" or "dedicated." Enoch was the only one mentioned as being godly in Seth's line except Noah (cp. Gen. 6:9 ; 7:1 ).

  • He was a prophet ( Jude 1 ), and was translated by faith ( Rom. 10:17 ; Heb. 11:5 ).
  • His experience parallels that of Elijah ( 2Ki. 2 ).

Both were taken to heaven bodily without dying; both were prophets of judgment; both fought idolatry and apostasy; both knew the time and purpose of their "translation" (transporting) ( 2 ; Heb. 11:5 ).

  • Couldn't they fulfill Zech. 4:11-14 ; Mal. 4:4-6 ; and Rev. 11:3-11 ?
  • Heaven is a material place with food and Mal. 4:4-6 ; and Rev. 11:3-11 ?

Heaven is a material place with food and inhabited cities ( Ex. 24:11 ; Ps. 78:25 ; Lk. 22:16 , 18 , 30 ; Heb. 11:10 , 13-16 ; 13:14 ; Jn. 6:31 ; 14:1-3 ; Rev. 2:7 , 17 ; 4:4-6 ; 5:3-13 ; 7:17 ; 12:12 ; 13:6 ; 18:20 ; 19:1-10 ; 22:2 ).

  • Couldn't two prophets live in heaven all these millennia?
  • Paul and John went to heaven ( 2Cor. 12:1-7 ; Rev. 4:1 ).
  • All resurrected saints will eventually live there until they return with Christ to set up His kingdom ( 1Th. 4:14-17 ; 1Cor. 15:51-58 ; Rev. 7:9-17 ; 19 ).

Friday, January 27, 2012

What Did Matthew Mean By "Blessed" in Matthew 5?

     “Makarios”, Translated "blessed" here in Matthew 5:1–10, in Greek means “fortunate” or “happy” and is derived from the root "mak", which means “lengthy.” Perhaps the Greeks saw blessedness as related to the idea of “length of life”—a long life was a blessed one.
Makarios was frequently used in Greek literature, the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Old Testament), and the New Testament to describe the kind of happiness that comes from receiving divine favor. Consequently, the word can also be rendered “favored.” In the New Testament it is usually a divine passive; this means that people are blessed by God. The Lord God is the One who is blessing or favoring the person.
     The most well-known “blessings” are described in the Beatitudes, wherein we see the various kinds of blessings God gives to those who are worthy of these graces. The Beatitudes are written in two different forms: one in Matthew 5:3–12 and the other in Luke 6:20–23. The pronouncement of the blessings in Luke is done immediately after the selection of the twelve disciples (Luke 6:12–16). Yet, the sermon is addressed to the crowd generally and speaks of the advent of God’s kingdom. Luke balances four blessings with four woes—changing from the present tense to the future tense—to heighten the contrast of the impending reversal of social conditions.
     In Matthew’s account, the kingdom has already begun, indicated by the use of the present tense. These Beatitudes are addressed to the disciples particularly and are not a general proclamation. They are more concerned with the interior life of the disciple—to activate here and now the kind of life Jesus communicates in those who follow Him. The eight Beatitudes reflect on the traits of those who belong to that kingdom and who therefore reflect Christ’s own life. Read, for example, this passage in Matthew 5:1-10...
     The people and situations described may seem bad by our human standards. Yet, because of God’s presence in our lives, we are actually blessed by God through these trying situations.

From the Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Firm Opinions

3 Surely you have instructed many, And you have strengthened weak hands. 4 Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, And you have strengthened the feeble knees; 5 But now it comes upon you, and you are weary; It touches you, and you are troubled.(Job 4:3-5)

A common modern concept is that in order for one to be reasonable one must not hold any opinion firmly. All three of Job's counselors take this opinion and have this perspective in one form or another. The idea that is fundamental, that forms the bedrock of their opinion of Job, is that one who has done well will be rewarded by God. Similarly, if there is "punishment" in your life, that is, if evil exists in your life, it is there because God is punishing you for some reason or another. They see Job's assertion that he is innocent, and that he has done nothing to deserve the evil that is present in his life, as a failure to confess that evil. The problem that they pursued with Job is not so much that he had done evil and deserved chastening, (they, as all men, recognized that everyone commits sin; at times very grievous sin) but that he refused to confess that sin before God. What they were talking him to task for was what they saw as a continual hardness and refusal to repent and admit his sin in light of what they believed was a continual and obvious call for repentance from God.

But throughout the book, Job holds firmly to his conviction that no wickedness on his part prompted the suffering that he underwent. Of course, being privy to the conversations in heaven between Satan and God, we know this to be so. In fact, we know that the exact opposite is the case! The suffering that Job bore, he bore, not because he was wicked or because of any ungodliness; but rather precise because he was a godly man and God wish to hold him up as an example for all to see and consider! Job's failing was that he held this conviction too tenaciously. He held it to the point of charging God with evil, exalting himself over his Maker. And so we see, at the end of the book, God call him to account for that failing but none other.

This refusal to take sure stand is a common failing in many men; but particularly, it seems, in modern man. The Scripture says that we are, at root level, pleasers of other men. We desire to be at peace with them, rather than in conflict with them. Surely there are those around that and enjoy the "Art of war", liking conflict and basking in the glory of overcoming others. But by and large, men simply want to get along with other men and they will get what's needful to accomplish that end.

In the modern church, modern theologians seem to think that it is an evil thing to hold firm opinions. Sadly, this position seems to apply to doctrine as well. It has come to be that we are not allowed to believe anything for certain anymore either. The flip side of this is that anyone is allowed to believe anything and everything has become acceptable within the context of the church these days. Anyone can believe anything these days and still be a Christian. It is astonishing simply to flip the TV channels around these days and hear what the different preachers are saying about who Jesus is, where (and when!) He came from, and what he paid (or did not pay) for on the cross.

Whatever our position, we're not allowed to hold it firmly, we must allow for other positions. The only position were allowed to hold firmly and grasp with all our might is that no one is allowed to have any position for sure.

The root problem here is a disrespect for the Word of God coupled with too high a respect for the reasoning capability of the mind of man and his ability to interpret that which goes on around him.

As has been man's problem all along, our pride has seized control of how we think of ourselves and now, sadly, of how we think of our ability to interact with our God. At the fall man lost his ability to understand and communicate with his Maker. Man has labored under that disability from that point onward. The problem has been that he has had an increasing denial on that inability ever since.