“The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing” (Pro. 20:4).
What happens when a person plows in the cold weather? Is he without pain or trouble? If he waits until there is no discomfort in his work, he won’t often work. If we only preach the word at a convenient time, we are not plowing in the cold. We are told to: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2).
Worldly people will force us to conform to their ways unless we are willing to suffer their hatred and scorn to follow Christ and His commands. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2).
Jesus refused to be conformed to the world, but his brothers fell to the temptation! Jesus told them, “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil” (John 7:7).
We must be willing to stand for Jesus even in the cold and even when the world hates us. “And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolk, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls (Luke 21:16-19).
We need to use the spiritual plow in cold weather and well as good weather. We should not be like the sluggard who has nothing when the harvest comes.
1. A slothful man is said to be idle, lazy, sluggish (Prov 15:19; 26:13-15). The Book of Proverbs contrasts two paths, or ways of life: the way of wisdom and the way of folly. The slothful man is foolish, while the diligent, hard-working person is wise. Compare the references for the sluggard with those of the slothful man. How do they compare?
2. What is a sluggard? Describe what a sluggard does (Prov. 6:6-11).
3. Using the same passage, tell how the ant is different?
4. Why might a sluggard use the excuse that there is a lion in the streets (Prov 26:13-16)? How does this compare to a backsliding Christian who says he “has a headache” and therefore cannot come to services?
5. What is it like to send a sluggard to do a job (Prov. 10:26)?
6. Consider Proverbs 13:4 and see how many applications from everyday life you can make to this verse.
7. Explain what is meant by Proverbs 26:16.
8. Why did the people in Joshua’s time not go in to possess the land God said he had given them (Judges 18:9)?
9. What will happen to those who are slothful (Prov. 12:24)?
10. Sometimes it is easy to see a person’s fault, but we may not know how to apply New Testament scripture to teach him to be better. Using the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30), explain the basic problem with the one talent man. Then apply Romans 12:11 and Hebrews 6:12 to show how someone like that might be encouraged to please the Lord.