30 December 2021

Proverbs 26:16

A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
    than seven people who answer discreetly.

Oh so true! The sluggard is not lazy because he lacks instruction, but because he will not receive it. And he does not argue that he refuses to be instructed, but that no one understands him. He would be happy to listen to someone who understands him. Of course, by understanding he means accepts his own view of himself. He can receive the same counsel by seven different persons at different times and still not see or agree with them.

This is the catch-22 of helping the sluggard and the fool. They will listen only to those who accept their view of the world and of themselves. Therefore, reasoning has little value. What is required is discipline, of which a number of proverbs have already spoken.

And so the pattern to deal with the sluggard and the fool is to first try reasoning, then move to discipline. Do not frustrate yourself trying to reason over and over. Do not create more trouble by giving him chance after chance to reform himself. Speak the truth in love; give reasoning the first try; then move to consistent discipline. And do not give in until his behavior actually changes. Such an approach to the sluggard is the best hope for him. Until he bears consequences for his actions, he will not change his perspective; and until he changes his perspective, he will not change his behavior.


Psalm 139

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.