[19 November 2012]
By Lori Rodeheaver
Between dozing, I caught bits and pieces of the Steeler game last night and wondered how on earth the people in attendance go to work in the morning. There’s no way I could stay out half the night partying and then be able to wake up and be worth anything the next day.
I began to think of all the laziness that goes on both inside and outside the workplace today in America. Many Americans have truly lost a good work ethic, and even if they have one, their children often certainly don’t.
I began to think about just how valuable it is to be teaching my very interested daughter, Mia, some preliminary things about the Chinese language. Who knows where we’ll be in 20 years, right?
And don’t get me wrong, I am as guilty as any American. We like recreation. We think we deserve it. Let’s face it, we’re spoiled rotten.
Anyway, as I read 1 Samuel 13, I found some interesting consequences of foolishness and laziness when it comes to conflict and work.
Read 1 Samuel 13:15-23.
And Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal. The rest of the people went up after Saul to meet the army; they went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin… So on the day of the battle there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan, but Saul and Jonathan his son had them. ~1 Samuel 13:15a, 22
Saul has just been rejected by God. Because of Saul’s foolishness, the prophet Samuel left him to himself. Samuel pronounces God’s judgement and nothing more. Samuel pronounces God’s judgement and then he leaves.
Those of us who err by continuing to speak when the Truth is clearly rejected would do well to learn from Samuel’s actions here.
Furthermore, God’s people had become dependent on the enemy. They had no smiths among them to forge weapons of any kind. They thought it easier to go to the world and to the ungodly for whatever they needed by way of tools and weapons.
But entrusting ourselves wholly to those who have not our best interests in mind is foolish. Wisdom teaches us that if we’ve a choice between hard work resulting in independence vs. laziness resulting in dependence, we would do well to strive for the former. Idle hands enslave men and bring us to poverty.
Therefore, we find the Israelites remaining in a state of fear and poverty. Because they rebelliously rejected God’s true prophet, they lacked direction and wisdom. Because of their laziness and lack of vigilance, they lacked weapons of war.
And it wasn’t just this sin that led to their sad state. The leader they had rebelliously and disobediently chosen to follow was just as foolish as they were. Not only did he not wait on God’s prophet for the help he so desperately needed, but neither did he gather the weapons from the Ammorites he had previously defeated for his troops. What commander -in-chief would pass up an arsenal full of weapons when his own army had none? There is no excuse for such foolish slothfulness.
So we find that it was not their circumstances that found God’s people in a bad way. It was their sin that had led to their demise. The enemy always dispirits before he disarms. Let us be wise to his schemes. How?
We must listen to God’s Word spoken through his people. We must be vigilant and do the hard and tiring work necessary to win our spiritual battles, including prayer, bible study, and honest fellowship. Even as we are often tempted, we must avoid the lazy, cheep, no-sacrifices-required false gospels so prevalent in our day. We must follow good and godly leaders. Finally, we must never blame the poor spiritual state we find ourselves in on external circumstances. Instead, we must ever-recognize our spiritual poverty as the result of nothing more than our own sin and slothfulness.
Keeping all these things in mind, we must march out to battle in faith, fighting hard, knowing we’ve no earthly advantages, no entitlement to victory, and no reason to receive grace apart from God’s great mercy. Then, God will be glorified through our helplessness and his great salvation. Amen.