I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction.
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. (Proverbs 24:30-34)
Lately, Mary and I have been reading through the life of King Solomon. We follow a reading plan which takes us through the Bible in a year, and Solomon’s story lies in the middle of the Old Testament so come June we are confronted with the author of this proverb. To be honest, when you get to the end of his life you wish he’d heeded his own advice!
Solomon started off well - can there be a higher honour than building the very Temple itself - but by the time he died he was offering sacrifices to foreign gods. In 1 Kings 11:3-6 we read:
He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and did not wholly follow the LORD, as David his father had done.
Solomon had failed to tend to his spiritual life, and had ignored some of the direct commands of God. Thorns overgrew his soul, and the broken down wall allowed wild animals in. I am sure Solomon did not one day wake up determined to turn away from God, but rather by stages he slipped away. His attention drifted, and he became less alert.
“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest”.