How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
Sleep can be a dangerous thing, if you get too much of it, or if you like it too much. It is especially hazardous for young men, whom Solomon emphasized in writing Proverbs.
When do you get up? How do you get up? The time and manner in which you rise in the morning affects your success or failure in life. Great men get a head start on the day.
They attack every day as an opportunity, rather than dreading it as a punishment. There are other factors also, but love of your bed in the morning will squander your potential.
What a practical book! Those who think the Bible is irrelevant and an old theological dust collector have never read it. Solomon, the wisest and most successful king ever, knew the folly of youth and humanity, so he warned his son and you against loving sleep or sleeping too long (Pr 6:6-11; 10:5; 19:15; 20:13; 21:17; 23:21; 24:30-34).
Young men play hard and sleep hard. Since they have not had the weight of responsibility and burden of producing for a family, they will take every minute they can get under the covers before falling out and stumbling into a day. But they are not the only ones. Some older men think they deserve extra sleep because they have already worked hard in life.
Some women think they can make the day go away by staying in bed under warm covers. Cuddling with blankets helps them procrastinate and fantasize about not working. Instead they have fewer hours, less energy, and more to do when they get up. Young women, who play much of the day in today’s world, cannot imagine why they should ever get up.
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” is credited to Benjamin Franklin, though it was a saying before he was born. Mark Twain, who thought that rising before 9:30 was a terrible evil, ridiculed Ben’s proverb. But God and Solomon had given the inspired rules 3000 years before. An early approach does lead to wisdom (Pr 8:17). And an early approach does lead to wealth (Pr 6:9-11; 20:13; 24:33-34).
Are you tired in the morning? Then go to bed earlier. Sleeping during prime time will not only help you rise in the morning, but it will also save you from the worst that Hollywood offers. Do you not sleep well at night? Then get on a schedule and allow yourself less sleep. All other things being equal, a laboring man will sleep very peacefully (Eccl 5:12).
Is it hard to get up in the morning? Build a habit and routine that is good for you. A strict schedule and routine help most people. Do not use a snooze button on your alarm clock. When it is time to get up, then get up, right then. Immediately take a shower or apply water to your face in some other way. Wake up! Get up! Get dressed! Get going! Life is short, why waste it in bed? You need a sense of time urgency to attack days (Eccl 9:10).
The world has conspired against the wisdom here. Daylight saving time provides more time for playing in the evenings and less sunshine for rising in the mornings. If saving daylight is important, why not save it in the morning by moving the clocks back an hour? Men could get a day’s work done before lunch. But men would much rather play late.
The proverb has a definite limit. Night and sleep are part of God’s plan for men. In fact, He does not want you going without pleasant sleep, thinking that success depends mainly on your efforts (Ps 127:1). He expects you to only apply this proverb within reason, for any efforts beyond that are vain and worthless; He wants you to sleep (Ps 127:2).
Getting up early and not sleeping too long are only part of life. Once you get up, what will you do? God commands you to have a good job and be diligent at it (Rom 12:11; Eph 4:28; I Thess 4:11-12). This is the main intent here so you can follow the example of the industrious ant (Pr 6:6-8). After work you have your other duties – marriage, children, parents, church, finances, house, neighbors, nation, exercise, and so forth.
There is a better reason to rise early. You can seek the Lord and wisdom then. You are sharper (once fully awake!). There are fewer outside or mental distractions. You will be interrupted less. It puts the priority on God and wisdom. It prepares your soul for the day. And it is Scriptural (Ps 5:3; 55:17; 119:147). Reading your Bible, praying, and meditating before anything else is the way to a successful life (Job 23:12; Ps 19:7-11; 119:103,127).