Feb 2 2023
Go to the Ant You Sluggard (Proverbs 6:6–11, 24:30–34, 26:13–16)
Proverbs 6:6 says, "Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise." Read or listen to this chapter from Work and Rest God's Way to see the wisdom in God's Word about the dangers of laziness.
Table of contentsThe Sluggard’s Sobering ExampleLearning from AntsOversleeping—The Sluggard’s Great TemptationPhysical Consequences to OversleepingPoverty—The Sluggard’s PaymentAre Sluggards Funny?The Lazy Man’s Strength Is ExcusesThe Lazy Man’s Payment Is StarvationThe Lazy Man's SelfishnessThe Lazy Man’s PrideA Better Motivation
The Sluggard’s Sobering Example
God’s Word provides the conviction that can help Christians resist laziness. Commit the verses in this chapter (or at least their locations in the Bible) to memory. The next time you’re tempted to remain on the couch when there’s work to do, or sleep in later than you should, review these passages.
The sluggard is characterized by inactivity and doesn’t take responsibility for himself. He can work but refuses to do so. He lacks the drive, personal responsibility, and common sense to provide for his needs.
The sluggard is not a Christian who occasionally gives in to the temptation to be lazy. Instead, he is habitually lazy, and his life serves as evidence that he is unregenerate. He is mentioned fourteen times in Proverbs, and each instance condemns his behavior and warns of the consequences. There is nothing good said about him. Since he is dead in his sins, his laziness can’t be corrected by mere information, even biblical information. He needs the transformation of regeneration to repent and change.
Proverbs is the book of wisdom, filled with practical teaching for daily living. Since Jesus “became for us wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30), all proverbs point to Him. In John 8:23, He said, “I am from above.” James 3:17 says, “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” Jesus is the embodiment of the wisdom from above, and only in looking to Him in the Proverbs can the sluggard’s life be remedied. As preacher and theologian, Charles Bridges, wrote:
But with all care to preserve a soundly-disciplined interpretation, we must not forget, that the Book of Proverbs is a part of the volume entitled—“The word of Christ” (Colossians 3:16). And so accurately does the title describe the Book, that the study of it brings the whole substance of the volume before us. It furnishes indeed the stimulating motive to search the Old Testament Scripture [which testifies of Christ] (John 5:39)—the true key that opens the Divine Treasure-house—“If we do not see the golden thread through all the Bible, marking out Christ, we read the Scripture without the Key.”
Charles Bridges, An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs, (BiblioBazaar, May 20, 2009), 7.
Learning from Ants
A proverb is a short saying that expresses a general truth for practical living. There are so many proverbs dealing with laziness it would take up too much room to cover all of them. We’ll consider the three main passages (Proverbs 6:6–11, 24:30–34, 26:13–16) with other verses integrated.
Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest (Proverbs 6:6–8).
The book of Proverbs is written as a wise father speaking to his son: “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother” (Proverbs 1:8, see also Proverbs 1:10, 1:15, 2:1, 3:1, 3:11, 3:21, 4:10, 4:20, 5:1, 5:20, 6:1, 6:3, 6:20, 7:1, 19:27, 23:15, 23:19, 23:26, 24:13, 24:21, 27:11, and 31:2.). He tells his son to learn from the ant’s example. She’s a humble, industrious creature that works without anyone watching over her. We, too, should work without having someone standing over our shoulders. If you’re a parent,