Proverbs 26:14

As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.


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How does a door turn on its hinges? It moves back and forth, but it never goes anywhere! It turns from side to side, but it cannot get loose from its place! It moves back and forth, but it does not leave the doorway! So are lazy people, who will lie in bed, rolling back and forth, but dreading the thought of getting up to go to school or work (Pr 26:13-16).

Here is a wonderful proverb with a great simile to condemn lazy persons that like to sleep too much. A simile is a comparison between two things that is clearly stated by the use of “as” or “like.” As a door turns back and forth, and from side to side, without going anywhere, so are lazy people who stay in bed, though they are through sleeping soundly.

What is the slothful? He is a lazy man that is slow, resentful of action or exertion, sluggish, idle, and indolent. He is named correctly, for there is a mammal in the forests of Central and South America that is called the sloth, which moves very slowly and often stays in the same position for extended periods of time, just like these lazy people in bed.

Solomon wrote to young men, including his son (Pr 1:4,8). He knew by God’s inspiration and observations in life that young men can sleep too much, so he wrote several proverbs against it (Pr 6:6-11; 19:15; 20:13; 23:21; 24:30-34). Too much sleep will bring a man to poverty, so he ridiculed excess sleep by comparing it to a door turning on hinges.

What cures the love of sleep? Starvation (Pr 20:4; II Thes 3:10)! Deprive a young man of food; it will get him to work. His appetite and metabolism are the highest they will ever be! Parents can easily teach sons to get up in the morning, though most parents pamper their slothfulness, thus teaching sons that laziness is acceptable and without painful costs.

Lazy people are headed for poverty, unless they drastically change their habits (Pr 6:11; 19:15; 20:13; 23:21; 24:34). The more a man sleeps, the more he thinks he needs to sleep, his metabolism slows, and he quickly experiences catabolism of muscular strength. The military knows how to turn soft boys into hard men, and it is not by sleeping in! While the first days of getting up early might be painful, good habits can quickly be formed.

There is more to this proverb than just a condemnation of excess sleep. Solomon also condemned the attitude, actions, and character of lazy persons by picking on their sleep habits. A sluggard will do anything but work! He will talk, take a break, pace himself, take a long time eating, get distracted easily, be unnecessarily concerned about details, and do easy things very slowly, lest he be forced to face a task that will take exertion.

Young men today with the benefit of electricity have another problem beyond sleeping, they can get addicted to Xbox, smart phones, computers, television, and other inventions that steal their time and energy even more aggressively than sleep. Using these things late into the night, they are considerably more exhausted in the morning than young men in the past that had little or nothing to do after dark. Young man, be wise and hate anything that keeps you from attacking each day early in the morning with your wits and strength.

If you are slothful spiritually, you will also suffer spiritual poverty just as surely. It is the man who hunts for wisdom as for hidden treasure – intense and persistent efforts – that finds it (Pr 2:4; 18:1). You must hear preaching with great care (Luke 8:18), and you must make diligent efforts to confirm and understand what you hear to be noble (Acts 17:11; I Thes 5:21). Are you able to get up and seek the Lord early to find Him (Pr 8:17)?