The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.
It is good to ridicule lazy men! And Solomon was good at it! Forget what politically correct, seminary-trained, and purpose-driven ladies have to say. In this proverb, the Holy Spirit describes a man so lazy he will not unfold his arms and raise a fork to his mouth to eat. God gave this enjoyable and wise proverb a fraternal twin (Pr 19:24). Do you value the wisdom of God enough to despise sluggards and their foolish slothfulness?
Fold your arms across your chest in the position of rest. Where are your hands? They are hidden against your chest by the opposite arm. Here, along with his pockets, is where a slothful man keeps his hands. Since he will not work hard for food, Solomon ridiculed him as grieving about even the exertion of eating. His hands are motionless, but his lips are in constant motion, justifying himself to any fool who will listen (Pr 26:13-16).
Hard work is godly, necessary, and required. God put Adam in Eden to dress the Garden, even before sin was in the world (Gen 2:15). Of course, after he sinned, work was much more a part of man’s life (Gen 3:17-19,23). Without hard, consistent, and persistent labor, a man will not amount to anything in life (Pr 10:4; 13:4; 19:15). God has commanded that lazy men should be excommunicated and starved (Pr 20:4; II Thess 3:6-14).
God gave you hands for more than rings. Your two sets of five fingers are the most productive tools ever designed on this planet. With desire, effort, and a little training, you can sew on 1 button a minute, assemble 10 simple parts a minute, type 100 words a minute, or sort fruit by size at 1000 pieces a minute. Your hands are amazing. They can wrestle with jackhammers or caress a piano. Give God the glory! Put them to work!
Since your hands are your most valuable tools, Solomon often referred to them. A slack hand will make you poor; a diligent hand will make you rich (Pr 10:4). The hand of the diligent will bear rule (Pr 12:24). The virtuous woman has tireless hands (Pr 31:13,16,19-20,31). And whatever job you have, use your hands with all your might (Eccl 9:10).
Desire kills the lazy man, because his hands refuse to work hard enough to get what he wants (Pr 21:25-26)! Lazy men fold their hands and stay in bed for a few more minutes to their own destruction (Pr 24:33). The fool folds his hands together and ruins his life (Eccl 4:6). And a woman can destroy the family estate by lazy hands (Pr 14:1; Eccl 10:18).
What do you need to do today? Do it now! Diligence in business marks true Christians (Rom 12:11; I Thess 4:11-12). Show your Creator and Father in heaven a godly work ethic today and shame the carnal Christians and worldlings that have idle or lazy hands. It is easy to advance past most workers today by simply keeping the lesson of this proverb.
There is more to your life than obtaining bread for your mouth – you also need to learn and apply God’s words, which are more important than bread (Luke 4:4; Deut 8:3). When did your hands last turn the pages of the Bible, click on your church website to review a sermon, or were lifted up for fervent prayer for your soul. Put them to work, today!