From the Proverbs we read,

  • “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise . . . How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep — So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:6, 9-11 – NKJV)

The Proverb is directed at the,

  • “. . . sluggard”

The question to us then is naturally asked: “What is a “sluggard?” Once we understand the meaning of this word we are then able to proceed on with grasping the counsel that is given in regards to such a person.

 The Hebrew word used in our text is atsel. Quite simply it means, “slothful” (Strong). The word finds it’s origin in the Hebrew word, atsal, which means, “to be indolent or slack” (Strong). Our English word defines “sluggard” as, “a person who is habitually inactive or lazy.” Dr. John MacArthur writes of this particular word as follows; “a lazy person who lacks self-control.” He goes on to say, “Folly sends a lazy person to learn from an ant.” (Note some other Proverbs: 10:4, 26; 12:24; 13:4; 15:19; 19:15; 20:4; 26:14-16)

So the “sluggard” is “a lazy person.” And the counsel to him is to,

  • “Go to the ant . . . consider her ways”

And if anyone has ever taken the time to “consider . . . the ant,” we know don’t we that ants are very industrious, very active. We may wonder if they ever find time to sleep!

And so, the question posed to the “sluggard,” after giving counsel to “consider . . . the ant,” is, as directed by the Holy Spirit, the Author of Scripture,

  • “How long will you slumber?”

How long are you going to lay around and be inactive? Be assured the Scripture says to the “lazy person,” the “sluggard,” to the “slothful,”

  • “So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler . . .” 

Note this counsel of the Proverbs to “the sluggard,”

  • “The soul of a lazy (same word translated “sluggard” in our main text) man desires, and has nothing” (Proverbs 13:4 – NKJV)

And the “lazy man,” in his excessive “slumber” is easy prey for the,

  • “. . . prowler”

The thief comes upon the “sluggard” in his “slumber” and because he is such easy prey, he,

  • “has nothing”

Be warned! Especially in this day in which you and I live, a day with a fervent desire for leisure. Get up and get to work! For it is so easy to find oneself being not like the “ant” but rather like the “sluggard,” like the “lazy man.”

As I read this Proverb I am of the mind to set a guard on myself and answer the question: “What is a sluggard?” by saying, “I don’t want to be one!” How about you?

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