Proverbs 24:34

So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.

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Laziness has a certain result. You cannot avoid it. Just as traveling surely gets you to your destination and an armed man can defeat an unarmed one, poverty will take you down. It is a lie to think that not doing what you should today will not have painful consequences.

You cannot stop poverty, if you do not work hard. It is coming for sure. It is not a matter of if it will come, but rather when it will come. You are going down – this is the judgment of economics and perfect punishment from heaven. Because God knew you might doubt or resent this certain fact, He inspired Solomon to write it twice (Pr 6:11).

Solomon knew a man’s diligence is known by the condition of his business (Pr 24:30-34). If not in tip-top shape, he knew the man slept too much. Since you likely do not have fields or vineyards, measure your income. A quick rule of thumb says an American should make $1.5k – $2k per year of age, reflecting how others value your efforts.

Real Christians work hard (Rom 12:11; I Cor 15:10). They know Adam worked in Eden and Jesus worked diligently (Gen 2:15; Jn 9:4). Diligence helps men get ahead (Pr 22:29; Eccl 9:10), and it identifies virtuous women (Pr 31:10-31). Only such hardworking men and women deserve the honor and riches that come from diligence (Pr 10:4; 12:24).

The opposite trait of laziness marks men and women that should be thrown out of the churches of Jesus Christ after they are deprived of food (II Thes 3:6-15). If you think this is too harsh a judgment, you do not know the Bible or a wise incentive (Pr 20:4; 16:26). Unless you take away comfort and provision, a man has no motive to truly get to work.

In God’s plan for men, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer (Matt 25:29). Socialist minds in an effeminate generation resent it, but they ignore the efforts put forth by the two groups. God rewards the diligent and punishes the slothful. This makes perfect sense to a righteous mind, and you should praise the God of heaven and love His Bible.

Of course, if you sleep in one morning, you cannot see it having any real consequences, but such a choice makes it much easier to sleep in the next day. If you take a day off work because you do not feel very well (unless ill with a doctor’s note), you are likely lazy. Everyone has aches and pains, and many have more than you, yet they work hard!

You should observe that those who are the busiest get the most done and volunteer for more. It is quite amazing! Those who have nothing to do actually do nothing and seldom volunteer. They want those who work all the time not only to feed them but to also do the other projects that come up. The diligent do more, and the slothful do less. Amazing!

How much do you believe God’s word? Here is wisdom. Some parents and governments intend to overthrow this proverb’s rule by supporting lazy children or citizens. It may be called an allowance, welfare, disability, unemployment, or other names. The intent is the same – God and Solomon in the Bible are too hard, so let us tax workers to feed sleepers.

God’s word is true. Poverty will come to leeches that take handouts without desperate needs. Poverty will also come to nations that legislate such handouts, as several nations are now learning. The rule is certain: it will take down sluggards and their governments, unless hard work is encouraged by rewarding the diligent and punishing the lazy.

The lesson of the proverb is the certainty of poverty for those who do not work hard. It is God’s law. Solomon saw it and warned about it several times (Pr 6:6-11; 19:15; 20:13; 24:30-34). Do not deceive yourself by thinking you can get away with taking it easy and working less than others. Repent. Get up. Start working hard right now on a needed thing.

There is another form of poverty far worse than financial – spiritual poverty. It also is the certain result of laziness. You cannot avoid it. Those who skip church services or other spiritual duties because they are tired are pitiful church members. Their value and productivity in the kingdom of heaven amount to little, when they could be worth much.

But another certainty awaits the faithful, who year in and year out seek first the kingdom of God and work diligently to serve Him and others any way they can – they get richer with improving spiritual discernment and greater strength for victorious living (Luke 8:18; 16:10-12; 19:11-27; II Tim 4:7-8). They bear fruit into old age (Ps 92:12-14).