December 25: Laziness and Lions
Jeremiah 49:1–39; Romans 11:25–12:8; Proverbs 26:12–28
When we consider ourselves wise, we’re in danger of losing perspective on the truth and making others feel small. The Proverbs often discuss this problem, remarking, “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Prov 26:12). This foolishness doesn’t just appear when we elevate ourselves or fail to consider others; it also shows up when we fail to consider our own needs.
When we’re lazy or do less than we can, we’re actually sinning—we’re ignoring what God meant us to be and thus holding back His plan, not just our own productivity. One of the Proverbs says, “A lazy person says ‘A lion is in the road! A lion among the streets!’ … A lazy person buries his hands in the dish; he is too tired to return it to his mouth. A lazy person is wiser in his eyes than seven who answer discreetly” (Prov 26:13, 15–16). The Bible’s condemnation of laziness makes sense for hyperbolic situations like lions showing up or someone being too lazy to eat, but it is even more practical when applied to regular situations.
If you consider many of the problems in our world—hunger, water, sanitation, or medical issues—it becomes clear that laziness and funds are often the obstacles preventing us from resolving them. If we stopped ignoring the lions and considering ourselves so wise, we would be able to help many people in need. We would also stop hurting those around us with our arrogance.
God wants to intercede in our world. He wants to use us to do so—we just have to step up.
What type of laziness are you excusing?
JOHN D. BARRY
Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- Unto the children of Ammon thus saith the Lord, Hath Israel no sons? nor hath he none heir? Why then hath their king possessed Gad? and his people dwelt in his cities? Therefore behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will cause a noise of war to be heard in the Rabbah of the Ammonites, and it shall be a desolate heap, and her daughters shall be burnt with fire: then shall Israel possess those that possessed him, saith the Lord. Howl, O Heshbon, as Ai is wasted: cry ye daughters of Rabbah: gird you with sackcloth: mourn and run to and fro by the hedges: for their king shall go into captivity; and his Priests, and his Princes likewise. Wherefore gloriest thou in the valleys? thy valley floweth away, O rebellious daughter: she trusted in her treasuries, saying, Who shall come unto me? Behold, I will bring a fear upon thee, saith the Lord God of hosts, of all those that be about thee, and ye shall be scattered every man right forth, and none shall gather him that fleeth. And afterward I will bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon. To Edom thus saith the Lord of hosts, Is wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from their children? is their wisdom vanished? Flee, ye inhabitants of Dedan (they are turned back, and have consulted to dwell) for I have brought the destruction of Esau upon him, and the time of his visitation. If the grape gatherers come to thee, would they not leave some grapes? if thieves come by night, they will destroy till they have enough. For I have discovered Esau: I have uncovered his secrets, and he shall not be able to hide himself: his seed is wasted, and his brethren and his neighbors, and there shall be none to say, Leave thy fatherless children, and I will preserve them alive, and let thy widows trust in me. For thus saith the Lord, Behold, they whose judgment was not to drink of the cup, have assuredly drunken, and art thou he that shall escape free? Thou shalt not go free, but thou shalt surely drink of it. For I have sworn by myself, saith the Lord, that Bozrah shall be waste, and for a reproach, and a desolation, and a curs,e and all the cities thereof shall be perpetual desolations. I have heard a rumor from the Lord, and an ambassador is sent unto the heathen, saying, Gather you together, and come against her, and rise up to the battle. For lo, I will make thee but small among the heathen, and despised among them. Thy fear, and the pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, and keepest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle. I will bring thee down from thence, saith the Lord. Also Edom shall be desolate: everyone that goeth by it, shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof. As in the overthrow of Sodom and of Gomorrah, and the places thereof near about, saith the Lord: no man shall dwell there, neither shall the son of men remain in it. Behold, he sha come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan unto the strong dwelling place: for I will make Israel to rest, even I will make him to haste away from her, an dwho is a chosen man that I may appoint against her? for who is like me? and who will appoint me the time? and who is the shepherd that will stand before me? Therefore hear the counsel of the Lord that he hath devised against Edom, and his purpose that he hath conceived, against the inhabitants of Teman: surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make their habitations desolate with them. The earth is moved at the noise of their fall, the cry of their voice is heard in the red sea. Behold, he shall come up, and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bosrah, and at that day shall the heart of the strong men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in travail. Unto Damascus he saith, Hamath is confounded and Arpad, for they have heard evil tidings, and they are faint hearted as one on the fearful sea that can not rest: Damascus is discouraged, and turneth herself to flight, and fear hath seized her: anguish and sorrows have taken her as a woman in travail. How is the glorious city not reserved, the city of my joy? Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and a her men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the Lord of hosts. And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, which shall consume the palaces of Ben-Hadad. Unto Kedar, and to the kingdom of Hazor, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babel shall smite, thus saith the Lord, Arise, and go up unto Kedar, and destroy the men of the East. Their tents and their flocks shall they take away: yea, they shall take to themselves their curtains and all their vessels, and their camels, and they shall cry unto them, Fear is on every side. Flee, get you far off (they have consulted to dwell) O ye inhabitants of Hazor, saith the Lord: for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babel hath taken counsel against you, and hath devised a purpose against you. Arise, and get you up unto the wealthy nation that dwelleth without care, saith the Lord, which have neither gates nor bars, but dwell safely. And their camels shall be a bootie, and the multitude of their cattle a spoil, and I will scatter them into all winds, and to the utmost corners, and I will bring their destruction from all the sides thereof, saith the Lord. And Hazor shall be a dwelling for dragons, and desolation forever: therefore shall no man dwell there, nor the sons of men remain in it. The words of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the Prophet, concerning Elam, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, even the chief of their strength. And upon Elam I will bring the four winds from the four corners of heaven, and will scatter them towards all these winds, and there shall be no nation, whither the fugitives of Elam shall not come. For I will cause Elam to be afraid before their enemies, and before them that seek their lives, and will bring upon them a plague, even the indignation of my wrath, saith the Lord, and I will send the sword after them, till I have consumed them. And I will set my throne in Elam, and I will destroy both the king and the princes from thence, saith the Lord: but in the latter days I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 49:1-39)
- For I would not brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this secret (lest ye should be arrogant in yourselves) that partly obstinacy is come to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written, The deliver shall come out of Zion: and shall turn away the ungodliness from Jacob. And this is my covenant to them, When I shall take away their sins. As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers sake. (Romans 11:25-28)
- Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? more hope is a fool than of him. The slothful man saith, A lion is in the way: a lion is in the streets. As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful man upon his bed. The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom, and it grieveth him to put it again to his mouth. The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit, than seven men that can render a reason. He that passeth by and meddleth with the strife that belongeth not unto him, is as one that taketh a dog by his ears. As he that feigneth himself mad, casteth firebrands, arrows, and mortal things. So dealeth the deceitful man with his friend, and saith, Am not I in sport? Without wood the fire is quenched, and without a talebearer strife ceaseth. As the coal maketh burning coals, and wood a fire, so the contentious man is apt to kindle strife. The words of a talebearer are as flatterings, and they go down into the bowels of the belly. As silver dross overlaid upon a potsherd, so are burning lips, and an evil heart. He that hateth, will counterfeit with his lips, but in his heart he layeth up deceit. Though he speak favorably, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. Hatred may be covered by deceit: but the malice thereof shall be discovered in the congregation. He that diggeth a pit shall fall therein, and he that rolleth a stone, it shall return unto him. A false tongue hateth the afflicted, and a flattering mouth causeth ruin. (Proverbs 26:12-28)