The Sluggard Craves

Posted: April 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

During my days at the Moody Bible Institute I was taught many a thing. Most of which dealt with differing ways to study scripture as well as both retain it and help others grow in knowledge of the holy writ. My Greek professor, Dr. Ron Sauer taught and modelled before my peers and I how to study scripture from the original languages, internalize it, and help others learn it. How he did this began with first praying through and over a text, then to study and exegete a text by way of the original languages, usage of a good commentary or commentaries (sometimes he personally uses up to 40 on a given text in one sitting!), only to then prepare a version of an easy to understand devotional which could be used both in a small group/ class setting, or in the event of preaching. I have begun to give what I was taught a shot and thus far it has proved ever fruitful.

So, from time to time I may post a devotional as the one below on a certain verse or passage. It should be noted that not everything on them may be clearly understood nor even written in complete sentences. This is because often times there is simply too much to put on a single sheet of paper, and thus one must summarize the high points of a text which has been studied.

Below is my work on Proverbs 13:4 which speaks to the theme in Proverbs of the “sluggard.” I must confess I know less than half the amount of Hebrew as I do Greek, and hence, I had to get help from a dear brother (Jake) to walk me through the original text. The commentary I used is one any Bible student could use as well. It is Bruce Waltke’s NICOT commentary (New International Commentary of the Old Testament). It is said to be the best available on the book of Proverbs, and although there is a settle amount of Hebrew in the commentary, with the way Waltke is known for writing, any Bible student could work through it just fine without a working knowledge of Hebrew.

Just some good biblical truth to feed the hungry soul.

Proverbs 13:4
מִתְאַוֳּה וָאַיִן נַפְשֹׁו עָצֵל וְנֶפֶשׁ חָרֻצִים תְּדֻשָּׁן
“The sluggard/ slacker craves and grasps nothing (lit. is never filled; has not). The soul of the diligent is made fat (lit. abundantly satisfied).”

“The sluggard craves”מִתְאַוֳּה (mitaveh) עָצֵל (astel)
– the sluggard is one who has wants, but is slack/slow/lazy/slothful in their work (21:17).
– the sluggard is unreliable and procrastinates, making him a constant source of irritation (cf. 10:26; 26:6).
-Biblically, laziness is not a character flaw, but a moral issue: leads to frustration, getting nowhere, and a loss of life (24:34; 6:6-11).
– the sluggard is never satisfied for his cravings are never filled.

“has not”וָאַיִן (va’ayin)
– refers to everything the sluggard aspires to.

“But the soul of the diligent is made fat/ made satisfied”חָרֻצִים תְּדֻשָּׁן וְנֶפֶשׁ (ve’nephesh harustim tedushan)
– figure of speech called antithesis
– denotes contrast to emphasize what the sluggard wants and lacks, the diligent has in abundance.
– Every appetite of the diligent is abundantly satisfied, including his hunger for God (Psa. 42:1-2; 128).

– Application: May we learn from the life of the sluggard that a life of discipline and diligence has its benefits, mainly in the area of being abundantly satisfied in the daily needs of life, especially in one’s hunger for God. A lack of diligence and discipline will result in the opposite – an attitude of discontentment and and want for everything.

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