Scripture reading for July 9th: Proverbs 18-21
When we lived in Washington State near Olympia for six years, we experienced slugs for the first time. After a rain, which was almost daily during the 8 month rainy season, the slugs came out. They left slimy trails as they inched along and if you picked them up, you felt slimy too! I wonder if the sluggard in the Bible was named after that slow and slimy animal!
The Bible talks more about the sin of laziness than that of drunkenness! Proverbs 19:15 says that laziness and sleeping go together and the combination brings hunger and poverty. This lazy man is called a “sluggard” in Proverbs 19:24. The “sluggard” was so lazy that he could not feed himself. He put his fork in the dish but was too lazy to bring the food to his mouth! The sluggard was always craving but never satisfied because he refused to work. In Proverbs 23:13 the sluggard shouted “there’s a lion outside” or “I will be murdered in the streets.” His excuses to keep from leaving his bed!
One of my personal favorites is from Proverbs 24:30-34. In the field of the sluggard, thorns are growing everywhere. The sluggard does not work to keep the weeds out, and the curse of thorns devours his harvest leaving him poor and hungry!
A mocker is someone who makes fun of God’s Word and chooses to do things their own way. Mockers deserve flogging because they lead others astray. (Proverbs 19:25, 29) Mockers are often involved in drinking and mock when they are drunk with wine or beer. (Proverbs 20:1) Proverbs 21:24 names the proud and arrogant man “mocker”. God’s Word says to drive out the mocker to remove strife, quarrels and insults! (Proverbs 22:10)
Meddling in the affairs of others is foolish. Proverbs 20:19 warns against gossip and meddling as a source of trouble. (Proverbs 21:23) We are to seldom set our foot in our neighbor’s house because too much of us brings hatred and strife! (Proverbs 25:17) If you want trouble, meddle in a quarrel that is not your own! It will be like taking a dog by it’s ears! (Proverbs 26:17)
Sluggards, mockers and meddlers are warned against in the wisdom of God! Evaluate your own life and take appropriate action before it’s too late! These warnings about poverty, beatings, and taking a Doberman Pincer by the ears should get our attention!
Scripture reading for August 7th: Jeremiah 11-15
Object lessons employ the principle that a ‘picture is worth a thousand words’. God has always given object lessons through His prophets. Some of these are pretty graphic. In today’s reading God instructs Jeremiah to go and buy a linen belt and put it around his waist. This belt was a type of underwear that Jeremiah would wear close to his body in the most intimate place. He was to wear it for a period of time but not wash it in water. (Jeremiah 13:1) Can you just imagine body sweat and the dust of the daily walk on the roads of that day causing the white linen underwear to soil?
The next thing God instructed Jeremiah to do was to take the underwear and hide it in a crevice of a rock. After many days he was to go and retrieve it. (Jeremiah 13:3-6) There were no surprises; the linen belt was ruined and completely useless. What was this object lesson meant to teach God’s people?
God said that His people were like the white linen underwear. He wanted to keep them close to Him in intimacy and as a special treasure. They refused to listen and instead were filled with stubborn pride and rebellion. The went after other gods and worshiped them and became useless, just like the linen undergarment. They were supposed to be God’s people for ‘renown, praise and honor’, but fell far short of their calling. (Jeremiah 13:11)
God’s Word contains another statement similar to this in the New Testament book of 1st Peter. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praise of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1st Peter 2:9-10) Another version uses the term “peculiar people”. This term speaks of a special treasure–pocket change that God can use for His special purposes. We belong to God and must choose to stay close to Him. Intimacy requires purity! He won’t wear “dirty underwear”!