"The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he
will not even bring it back to his mouth!" (Prov. 19:24 The Message)
This is kind of a different thought, don't you think? Have you ever met anyone who was too lazy to lift the food from their plate to their mouth?
Sometimes scripture can be hard to understand because we tend to take it literally. As I puzzled over this text the other day, it occurred to me that the message was from the spiritual realm, not the physical one.
In the spiritual realm, "food" makes reference to the Word of God. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, as well as the writer of Hebrews, both admonish the people for still being "babes in Christ", still needing "spiritual milk", for they are not yet ready for "solid food". What are they talking about? The writer of Hebrews further explains: "In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." (Heb 5:12-14 NIV)
The spiritual "food" referred to in these passages is God's Word. "Milk" refers to the elementary truths of God's Word, while "sold food" refers to "teaching about righteousness", and the ability to train oneself "to distinguish good from evil".
So what is Solomon trying to tell us when he says that a sluggard is too lazy to lift the food to their mouths? Simply this: As Christians, we have God's Word in front of us, at our disposal. We have our "hand in the dish", so to speak. We have the teaching about righteousness. We have the ability to train ourselves to distinguish good from evil. We have the ability to overcome temptation. We have the ability, at our disposal, to see miracles arise, even in the 21st century! But we don't use it. We are too lazy to "bring it back to [our] mouth"!
Friends, God's Word is: ". . . Living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." (Heb 4:12-13 NIV) God's Word is "the sword of the Spirit" (Eph 6:17 NIV) In sum, God's Word is our offensive weapon, the only offensive weapon mentioned in the Bible!
Why is it then, that after giving our hearts to Christ, many of us continue to struggle with temptation, addictions, bad tempers, and rotten attitudes? We continue to live our lives as we have done for years, and unless we tell them, no one knows we're Christians. But it doesn't have to be so. Instead of stumbling along as the world does, we need to "eat" our "spiritual food". We need to "bring it back to [our] mouths"!
The apostle Paul tell us: "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Cor 10:3-6 NIV )
Instead of succumbing to temptation, let's go into battle! Let's take up our Spiritual weapons. Let's believe the Truth in God's Word and wield this powerful "Sword"!
No one said it would be easy, but we have to remember that if we don't use the powerful weapons God has given us; if we doubt His Word; if we are too lazy to stand in the gap and pray; if we find that giving in is easier than standing firm; then we are no better than the sluggard in Solomon's example! We sit around with our hands in our plates, fingering our spiritual food, but we never take it from the table to our mouths! We never make it a part of ourselves! We miss out on the nutrients and energy that the "food" is meant to give us!
Yes, it will be hard, but it's the only way to get the piece of pie!
Friends, let's follow Paul's advice: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." (Eph 6:10-18 NIV)
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org , with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org .