Let’s look at this verse beyond just comparing a sluggard to a hard-working individual. Rather, I’d like you to apply this verse to your work for the Lord. Do you feel your life is full of steady, earnest and energetic efforts in fulfilling the Lord’s plan and purpose in your life? Or do you feel your spiritual life is dominated mainly by apathy,and idleness? Lazy hands and for that matter, lazy hearts, cause us to squander the gifts God has so graciously given us. But diligent hands not only brings spiritual wealth, but an abundance of peace and joy to the worker.
There’s nothing more uncomfortable than the conviction of the Lord as He shines the light of truth onto our sinful lives. Conscience-stricken, we nervously look for a way to escape the situation and the guilty feelings that are overwhelming us. Humans don’t like feeling convicted…instead, we’d rather hear lovely, benign platitudes and feel-good stories that don’t offend. Over history, mankind has fabricated falsehoods in their minds…lying, deceiving fables and myths that go against the teachings of the Bible…but help to make them feel less guilty about their own forbidden and unrighteous desires. These fables and myths gloss-over doctrinal truth…rejecting the Gospel and deceiving the listener.
Verbal histories from our elderly family members give us insight into just where we come from. Those precious stories are filled with important events, human struggles, and surprising accounts of things we had no prior knowledge of. Within those verbal histories, we hear bits of wisdom, sage advice, personal warnings, and lots of humor. With our own ears we listen as important information is given to us about the past. But have you ever thought about how important it is to give a “verbal history” to your children or grandchildren about God’s influence in your life? A once I was… but now I am… testimony showing the Lord’s redemptive power over sin in your life is more important than any other story you could share with them.
The Apostle Paul was encouraging Timothy to stand up for himself as a Pastor, even though he was considered young for the position. Paul admonished him to behave in such an exemplary way, with integrity and confidence, that no one within the Church would question his assignment. Timothy was to lead by example…his way of life on constant display for others to imitate and follow. I would then challenge all of you who are also considered “young”…don’t think being youthful is an excuse to not set a good example. Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t influence others for Christ while modeling God’s love to the world.
This verse is referred to as the “Shema,” which is how the first word in the Hebrew text is pronounced. This word means “to heed, listen, and obey.” Moses stressed the priority of belief in only one God as the people encountered countless foreign gods around them. And the next verse showed them, and us, the way to perpetuate and foster this belief of only one God, for it states in verse 5, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” It tells us in proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” To know God is to love Him, and the more we love Him, the more we desire to listen and obey Him.
As we look at this verse, we’re reminded in Isaiah 40:14, “Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten Him, and who taught Him the right way? Who was it that taught Him knowledge or showed Him the path of understanding?” The short answer is no one! Only God Himself is the source of all truth. He is the origin of all reality as we know it…from Him alone is the beginning of all trustworthiness we can place our faith in. No one has ever instructed the Lord in how to run the universe, or make good decisions. He’s never asked for advice or counsel in a difficult situation. For from the beginning of time God has been the God of truth, exercising justice and rule over all.
Left on our own, the human thought process is very self-centered. We’re always looking out for ourselves, our comfort, and well-being before thinking of others. This self-indulgent reasoning though separates us from God’s love. But where we were once an enemy of God, we can now be reconciled to Him through the death of His Son Jesus. (Romans 5:10) Once we were foes of God, but now we’re friends…once we were alienated, but now united by His Son, Jesus.