Proverbs 6:6-11 “Diligence”

Pastor Joshua Hall; Faith Presbyterian Church of Quincy, IL; May 28, 2020.


Good Morning, Brothers and Sister!

Today we continue our series of devotionals on the themes from the book of Proverbs by examining the theme of diligence.

Like the other themes we are examining in this series, this theme is found throughout the book of Proverbs. I won’t take the time to examine all that the Proverbs say about it, or we would be here all day, but I do recommend that you take the time to thoughtfully read through the book of Proverbs and consider memorizing specific verses which reveal to you where you are not living according to the wisdom of God. I have done this before on several occasions to great benefit. 

If you have your Bible, follow along with me as I read Proverbs 6:6-11 from the English Standard Version’s translation of the Bible and consider this teaching on diligence.

Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.

Let us pray…

Ants and robbers have a lot to teach us! If we are to gain wisdom, we must have the humility to learn from everyone and everything. King Solomon learned from ants and robbers, and he wants us to learn from them too. 

This proverb rebukes the lazy, the sluggard, the one who goes through life as fast as molasses runs through a sieve or a sloth moves through the forest. This sluggard needs a task master to accomplish anything, having no will power or discipline. So Solomon points him to the ant. Ants are hard and sacrificial workers. An ant can carry ten times its weight. Ants work together to build enormous homes, working diligently throughout the day, every day, for the good of the colony. And while there is a queen ant who mothers all the ants in the colony, she has no time to give orders to the sometimes hundreds of thousands of ants in her colony. The ants build warehouses and gather food for the winter of their own accord. 

But the sluggard wakes up in early spring and puts off tilling the land or planting a crop. The sluggard gets up at the last minute and has no time to prepare for the day before heading off to work or school. The sluggard cannot find the time to pray or read the Bible, or cook breakfast, or fix the roof, for the sluggard has a habit of putting off until tomorrow whatever can be done today out of sheer laziness. The sluggard sleeps late, play lots video games for hours a week and makes TV a greater priority than marriage and family. The sluggard is lazy, undisciplined, and lacks any sense of diligence.

But the ant cares for her family. She works hard to make sure that needs are met. She always has extra in case of an emergency.

King Solomon then changes illustrations. He urges the sluggard to become diligent by arguing that poverty will come upon the lazy like an armed robber. We are powerless against an armed robber who catches us off guard and unarmed. When given the choice between living and losing our possessions or dying and losing our possessions, we would nearly all simply hand over our belongings to an armed thief. The sluggard is equally powerless when winter comes, when facing a sudden financial emergency, when a child leaves home in bitterness never to return or a spouse files for divorce because the sluggard has put off the relationship for so long that it is now broken beyond repair.

Simply put, the sluggard values rest above all else, and lives a selfish life. He or she subjects others to his or her needs. And in the end, the sluggard find him or herself penniless, hungry, and alone. 

But the wise is diligent to invest, to work hard at the things which are important in life: taking care of our families, spending time with our spouse and kids, working hard at our jobs to pay the bills, and taking care of our health so we will have many years to serve the Lord. The most important thing of all, however, is not our families, but our relationship with the Lord. We must be diligent and not slothful in our relationship with the Lord. We must take time to pray and read the Bible. We must take time to attend corporate worship. We must take time to memorize scripture. For those who neglect their relationship with the Lord in this life will find spiritual poverty affects them both in this life and the next!

Let us pray…

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