consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest —
and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man."
- Proverbs 6:6-11
The Curse of Laziness
In Proverbs 6 wisdom directly connects poverty and scarcity with the sleep, slumber and resting of the sluggard.
Wisdom advises men to model themselves after the ant whose drive to work is not motivated by an overseer and whose need to prepare for winter is not neglected during the pleasant summer and fall season. Instead, the ant works without supervision and prepares without distraction.
The references to poverty coming on the sluggard “like a thief” and “like an armed man” might better be translated (according to Albright and noted by Garrett) as “homeless vagabond” and “beggar.” This is because the Hebrew word translated “thief” means a man who “walks about,” which seems more like a homeless man than a thief. The Hebrew word translated by the NIV as “an armed man” includes the Hebrew word meaning “beg.” It is easier to justify the translation of “beggar” here instead of “man of a shield,” or “armed man.” The idea is that poverty is like a homeless man who has nowhere to go. And, scarcity is like a beggar who can never be given enough since his only source of provision is continual begging. Homelessness and begging are the destiny of the sluggard who will not diligently work hard.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off
everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles (euperistatos).
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
There are the things in the believer’s life that hinders their progress, but there is also “the sin that euperistatos.” Although it is difficult to define, euperistatos seems to refer to “surrounding.” And, this “surrounding” is done is done actively and skillfully. Hebrews 12:1 then is talking about things that hinder and the sin that actively encircles us with skill and a strategy to interfere with our spiritual growth and production.
(Details of the calf-god found in this rampart 1, 2, 3, 4.)
Someone to Quote
- Galyn Wiemers
Something to Ponder
Here’s a Fact
- Ecclesiastes 2:13
New International Version (NIV)
15 Then the Lord said to me: “Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people. Send them away from my presence! Let them go! 2 And if they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says:
“‘Those destined for death, to death; those for the sword, to the sword; those for starvation, to starvation; those for captivity, to captivity.’
3 “I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” declares the Lord, “the sword to kill and the dogs to drag away and the birds and the wild animals to devour and destroy. 4 I will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem.
“Who will have pity on you, Jerusalem? Who will mourn for you? Who will stop to ask how you are?
You have rejected me,” declares the Lord. “You keep on backsliding. So I will reach out and destroy you; I am tired of holding back.
I will winnow them with a winnowing fork at the city gates of the land. I will bring bereavement and destruction on my people, for they have not changed their ways.
I will make their widows more numerous than the sand of the sea. At midday I will bring a destroyer against the mothers of their young men; suddenly I will bring down on them anguish and terror.
The mother of seven will grow faint and breathe her last. Her sun will set while it is still day; she will be disgraced and humiliated. I will put the survivors to the sword before their enemies,” declares the Lord.
Alas, my mother, that you gave me birth, a man with whom the whole land strives and contends! I have neither lent nor borrowed, yet everyone curses me.
11 The Lord said,
“Surely I will deliver you for a good purpose; surely I will make your enemies plead with you in times of disaster and times of distress.
“Can a man break iron— iron from the north—or bronze?
“Your wealth and your treasures I will give as plunder, without charge, because of all your sins throughout your country.
I will enslave you to your enemies in a land you do not know, for my anger will kindle a fire that will burn against you.”
Lord, you understand; remember me and care for me. Avenge me on my persecutors. You are long-suffering—do not take me away; think of how I suffer reproach for your sake.
When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.
I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them; I sat alone because your hand was on me and you had filled me with indignation.
Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable? You are to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails.
19 Therefore this is what the Lord says:
“If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them.
I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you,” declares the Lord.
“I will save you from the hands of the wicked and deliver you from the grasp of the cruel.”
New International Version (NIV)
A psalm of Asaph.
God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the “gods”:
“How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
“The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
“I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’
But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.”
Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.
A song. A psalm of Asaph.
O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God.
See how your enemies growl, how your foes rear their heads.
With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish.
“Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”
With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you—
the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the Hagrites,
Byblos, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre.
Even Assyria has joined them to reinforce Lot’s descendants.
Do to them as you did to Midian, as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,
who perished at Endor and became like dung on the ground.
Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
who said, “Let us take possession of the pasturelands of God.”
Make them like tumbleweed, my God, like chaff before the wind.
As fire consumes the forest or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,
so pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your storm.
Cover their faces with shame, Lord, so that they will seek your name.
May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace.
Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord— that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.