Summary: Noting carefully the slothful man & his field can teach us how to avoid more than poverty. Learning diligence from the depicted wall & vineyard's condition is not the only lesson offered here for the far greater concern is the condition of a soul whose o
PROVERBS 24: 30-34
[Isaiah 28:24-29; 5:1-6]
We have idleness portrayed before us by the master sage, Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived (1 Kings 3:12). The true to life picture is of negligence and the consequences it brings. To the observant eye, the results of an idle man's life gave the by-passer a lecture on the virtue of diligence. Noting carefully the slothful man and his field can teach us how to avoid more than poverty. Learning diligence from the depicted wall and vineyard's condition is not the only lesson offered here for the far greater concern is the condition of a soul whose owner has neglected to cultivate and tend it.
The most valuable field and vineyard a person possesses is his eternal soul. May we too behold, truly perceive and receive instruction that lead to life (CIM).
I. AN OBSERVED CONDITION NOTED, 30-31.
II. BEHOLDING IS MORE THAN SEEING, 32.
III. INSTRUCTION IS MORE THAN REFLECTION, 33-34.
Before we turn to our text, some BACKGROUND would be beneficial. This is the last proverb in Solomon's original compilation of his Book of Proverbs. Chapter twenty-five verse one reads, "These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah transcribed." Thus this last teaching of Solomon's personally compiled proverbs could be viewed as a summation statement on how Solomon took his God given wisdom and applied it in such a manner that the serious student could use his method. The practical issue of this proverb shows us how to receive the greatest amount of understanding possible from the occurrences we encounter in our day to day lives.
Solomon had the capacity to look deeply into the events of life so that he could apply the results of his understanding to his life and rule, in order that he would have a larger foundation to build on with his increased understanding. As he applied wisdom He gained greater and deeper understanding. If we learn from Solomon we will realize that, what you perceive should alter (change) your life (CIT).
I. AN OBSERVED CONDITION NOTED, 30-31.
The teacher bases the validity of this saying on personal experience as all the "I's" in the first three verses tell us. The feisty sage was continuously looking at life for himself (1:14; 2:3, 13, 24; 3:10, etc.) and pondering his findings, which he then shares with his students or us.
The first point in rhythm with the meter of this proverb is that you should observe life as you go through it in verses 30 and 31. Verse 30 tells us that the pitiful field and vineyard of a lazy person is brought under observation. "I passed by the field of the sluggard, and by the vineyard of the man lacking sense."
The lazy man conceives himself as being as wise or wiser than other men, but, is his feeling correct or is he under strange delusion? If we will just get our heart right before God we can learn to observe and learn from the conditions of life. For lessons stand before the learner if he will just take in what life shows him.
The man here is called a sluggard or lazy [used 14 times in Proverbs] and is also said to lack sense (6:32; 10:13) though I'm sure he would be in hostile disagreement with that assessment. He is called that because of his flagrant neglect of his own interests. Unlike the situations of millions who have not a single square yard of green sod to call their own, this man had a little estate. He had a field and vineyard which he could cultivate to gain his bread. But let us see what advantage he gained from what he possessed.
A threefold evidence of lethargy is detailed in verse 31. "And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles, its surface was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down."
Verse 31 tells us what three things the observer's vision fixed upon- beheld.
1. A field completely overgrown with thistles,
2. The field's surface was covered with nettles (or weeds),
3. And the stone wall was broken down.
The picture is one of abandonment. A man had at one time broken up the virgin soul and with back breaking toil planted a vineyard. And now the field has lost is natural covering which had previously held back the weeds from growing and the soil from erosion. The soil was laid bare to produce a crop and now the land must be continually cared for or be re-sown with a wild grass covering. If it is not, the land will become infested with weeds. Weeds and thistles are signs of dereliction and possibly judgment (Is. 34:13; Hos. 9:6)
The stone wall (Num. 22:24; Ps. 80:12; Is. 5:5) raised by some industrious and trained hand is broken down (11:11) and its fragments crumbling. The owner is too lazy to repair it. [The owner did nothing for the vineyard and the vineyard in turn did nothing for him.] His vineyard is left prey to every invader while the owner neglects his responsibility and indulges himself in irresponsibility or foolishness. Because of his neglect what should produce fruitfulness yields instead thorns and thistles. [Some states have a law that requires land owners to remove thistles because if cows and sheep eat them they can get lodge and kill them.] This blighted vineyard was an unpleasant sight, no longer becoming to the mind's eye. Yet a profound lesson was there, if one would but behold it.