“The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat,” Proverbs 13:4
All of us have goals and dreams, or at least, we should. All of us “desire” things we would like to see accomplished in our lives. But, desire can only get you so far. There has to be a proactive approach in order for one to see the fulfillment of these aspirations come to pass.
I love the Bible because it gives us so many true to life examples of these valued lessons. For instance, in 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat and his people were getting ready to be attacked. The enemy had come against them and “Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord,” (vs. 4).
I want you to look at this picture Scripture represents. It’s one of great sadness. In verse 13, it describes “All Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.” It’s as if they were saying, “If not for us, Lord; then please remember our wives and children.” Awwww!!!
God’s response was, “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s,” (vs. 15).
“That’s what I’m talking about! We don’t have to fight! Woo-hoo! Let’s go home and watch some TV!”
I’m playing. We all know they didn’t have TV, but what they probably had was a sense of relief that they didn’t need to proactively do anything to win the battle. Time to hit the couch!
While God did declare the battle was His, He has never been the promoter of laziness. Too many people want the victory without ever really doing anything. Too many people want to reach the next level without ever having to walk up the stairs to get there.
It’s too much work! Too many people get in prayer lines and the like; want God to do everything without themselves ever putting a hand to the plow to till something up.
God works in miraculous ways. God is a prayer answering God. Jehoshaphat and his people will find both of these to be true. He’s going to work a miracle and they are going to get a tremendous answer to their prayer. But, God has something that He wants them to do. He said, “To morrow go ye down against them . . . ye shall find them,” (vs. 16).
Then God reiterates, “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle,” (vs. 17).
Then, He proceeded to tell them, “set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you… go out against them…,” (vs. 17).
Hold up! Wait a minute! If the battle belongs to God, I don’t understand why I have to go down there and set myself up like I am sure enough going to fight these people. Huh?
Because God said so. That’s why many of us lose out. We want to sit on the couch instead of getting up and following the instructions He gives. The “sluggard” wants the glory without the work.
In opposite of that, he that is diligent pushes forth to follow through. Sometimes it’s a hard thing to do. These people were put in the terrifying position to get in battle formation before the enemy; in front of people who were ready to annihilate them. Gulp is right!
Yet, they maintained their ground believing God’s promise. Verses 18-22a tell of the people actively praising God. Then, the tables turned on the enemies, (vs. 22b). “Every one helped to destroy another,” (vs. 23), and “none escaped,” (vs. 24).
The result they received was due to their diligence to follow through with the Lord’s instructions. “Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days gathering the spoil, it was so much,” (vs. 25).
You may not have to go fight an enemy but you have a goal to reach that will only come by diligence and obedience to God. I’m not promising you riches, but know this; any time you are diligent to work with God you will see success at the end.
Seek the Lord, He will help you to receive that “expectant end” Jeremiah speaks of, Jeremiah 29:11. Then, we can rejoice like Jehoshaphat because we saw the fruition of hard work pay off.
“The soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”