Sunday, August 16, 2009

Proverbs 26: 13-23

13The sluggard says, "There is a lion in the road!
A lion is in the open square!"
14As the door turns on its hinges,
So does the sluggard on his bed.
15The sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
He is weary of bringing it to his mouth again.
16The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
Than seven men who can give a discreet answer.
17Like one who takes a dog by the ears
Is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him.
18Like a madman who throws
Firebrands, arrows and death,
19So is the man who deceives his neighbor,
And says, "Was I not joking?"
20For lack of wood the fire goes out,
And where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.
21Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,
So is a contentious man to kindle strife.
22The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels,
And they go down into the innermost parts of the body.
23Like an earthen vessel overlaid with silver dross
Are burning lips and a wicked heart.


Today's Thought Question:
  1. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why?

The sluggard says, "There is a lion in the road!
A lion is in the open square!"
As the door turns on its hinges,
So does the sluggard on his bed.
The sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
He is weary of bringing it to his mouth again.
The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
Than seven men who can give a discreet answer. (13-16)


The irresistible picture of the sluggard as only Solomon could paint for us! Although our modern definition of 'sluggard' refers to one who is habitually lazy, older definitions suggest one who is idle or slothful. 'Idle' covers everything from inactivity to vain pursuits to lack of reasoning. 'Slothful' contains the word sloth, which is an animal that hangs upside-down and doesn't move much. 'Sluggard', of course, contains the word slug, which is a garden pest of an animal with no shell or backbone. YIKES!



We are revisiting some of these proverbs again. (Verses 13 and 15 have been covered in earlier passages). The sluggard picks up the label "wise in his eyes," which suggests he is on a very bad road. (Seven, being that perfect number of the Bible, yet the sluggard feels he can take them all on with his "wisdom.")

I'm pulling out Verse 14 especially: "As the door turns on its hinges, so does the sluggard on his bed." It would be one thing if the sluggard had anxiety, and was tossing and turning backwards and forwards. But that's not implied here. [Doors don't get anxious!] No, this is the one who chooses to stay in bed and exhibits the normal adjusting of one's body position to accommodate for more sleep.

It did get me thinking about what a door does, though, and perhaps there are times when I'm not far from being a door myself. There are some days, some issues, that have me swinging from one direction to another. I'm not talking about physical traveling. There are plenty of back-and-forth trips made in the car on a given day with or without children in tow. I'm talking about the need to make decisions about things, or to take action on decisions that have been made. The should I?/shouldn't I? debates in my head become all-consuming.

The result is a spinning of one's wheels, which amounts to nothing! You know that slug with no backbone? That's pretty much what I look like when I can't step out and do what is necessary--either in my head or in my actions. What does that say of my being in touch with Wisdom?

That may not sound like laziness, but that's why I think expanding on the definition of sluggard is important. Not using wisdom or getting the wisdom that I need to do what I need to do is the beginning of laziness. It would not be long before dropping issues altogether becomes easier than facing issues. Inaction becomes easier than responding. Next thing you know, I won't be able to bring my spoon up to my face!

There's a reason the Proverbs 31 woman does not eat the bread of idleness! (31:27)

"Having seen the slothful man in fear of his work, here we find him in love with his ease. Bodily ease is the sad occasion of many spiritual diseases. He does not care to get forward with his business.... The world and the flesh are hinges on which they are hung; and though they move in a course of outward services, yet they are not the nearer to heaven."
--Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible



Photo: http://www.marietta.edu/~biol/biomes/images/temprain/slug_4823.jpg

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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 26: 24-28 (of the transcribed proverbs of Solomon)
  1. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why?

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Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation, specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB). I will quote other sources if used in a post.
I also use Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (with notes from the King James Version).

4 comments:

T. Anne said...

Thanks for your commentary I enjoyed it.

Kelly Combs said...

19 So is the man who deceives his neighbor,And says, "Was I not joking?"

This makes me think of the person who makes sarcastic off-handed remarks that hurt feelings, and then when called to the table for it says "I was just joking!" I was raised in such a household and only in the past few years have I come to realize the pain sarcasm can bring.

22 "The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels,And they go down into the innermost parts of the body." -- A repeat of verse 18:8. Worthy to repeat.

Sue J. said...

Yeah...don't choke on those morsels.

The sarcasm write-up was really well done. I'm continually trying to hear the words that I speak. I need to say them in my head before they actually come out. Of course, seeing them in my heart would be the best place to start :-)

Carmen said...

Loved your comments, and Kelly's too. I love the way the Bible puts things sometimes. Dainty morsels. So true!