Proverbs 21:5

Diligence vs. Haste


1. In this proverb, Solomon speaks about a subject often mentioned in this book: the value of diligence and hard work.

2. King Solomon contrasts two different kinds of people: the diligent and those who make haste.

3. He also contrasts the results: riches or poverty.

5a The thoughts of the diligent

1. The diligent.

a. Diligent defined: The word means industrious, diligent, referring to diligent or industrious persons.

b. Solomon has much to say about the diligent in this book.

c. Prov. 6:6-8 – Solomon uses the ant as an example of diligence.

d. Ecc. 9:10 – we are challenged to be diligent in all that we put our hand to do.

2. The thoughts of the diligent.

a. Thoughts defined: Thought; device; plan; purpose.
• Ex. 31:4 – Translated “cunning” (well thought out.)
• Ps. 33:10 – The “counsel” of the wicked. (purposes; plans)
• Esther 8:3 – Haman’s “device” (plan; plot) that he had devised against the Jews.

b. Solomon uses the term in Prov. 21:5 of the plans and purposes of the diligent.

c. Diligent people make plans to accomplish their goals.

d. They prepare to get their responsibilities done.

e. They think about how to perform all their duties.

f. Diligent people are like the ant… who prepares his food for the winter ahead of time.

g. He is diligent, not slothful.

h. He thinks; he plans; he prepares; he rolls up his sleeves and dives into the work to get it done; he doesn’t procrastinate.

3. The results of his diligent planning: “Tend only to plenteousness.”

a. Plenteousness: Pre-eminence; abundance; profit; superiority; advantage; profit; i.e., an abundant accumulation of hard work, so as to have sufficient amount.

b. Diligent planning results in profit… abundance… that which is superior.

c. A diligent person who is diligent in his planning will also be diligent in his DEEDS.
• Prov. 14:23 – In all labour there is profit.” (same word = plenteousness)
• Prov. 10:4 – The hand of the diligent maketh rich. (diligent in deeds)

d. The thoughts of the diligent are as important as the hand of the diligent… but BOTH are necessary.
• Doing without thinking leads nowhere.
• Thinking without doing leads nowhere.
• Both are part of being a diligent person.

4. This principle is especially true in the spiritual realm.

a. Like anything, the Christian life requires diligence in our part.
• We are to LABOR to enter into His REST!

b. Diligence in our walk with God leads to plenteousness.
• It leads to an ABUNDANT life… plenteous in fruit…
• It leads to an eternity plenteous in rewards.

c. The thoughts of the diligent are as important as the hand of the diligent in the spiritual realm too… but BOTH are necessary.
• Doing without thinking leads nowhere. The flesh loves to DO, but acting in the flesh results in spiritual loss ultimately.
• Thinking without doing leads nowhere. Faith without works is dead.
• Both are part of being a diligent person.
• We are to be HEARERS of the Word… and THINKERS of the Word… but we must not forget to be DOERS of the Word too!

5b But of every one that is hasty only to want.

The Thoughts of Those who Make Haste

1. “Every one that is hasty.”

a. Hasty: To press; hasten; hurrying or running without purpose.

b. It was used of the taskmasters in Egypt who expressed urgency upon the Jews to make haste in making their bricks (Ex. 5:13)

c. Solomon uses the term in this proverb to speak of someone who is always in a rush… in a hurry to get things done.

d. But note that HASTE is used as the OPPOSITE of diligence.

e. Normally we think of slothfulness as the opposite of diligence, but here Solomon speaks of being “hasty” as the opposite of diligence.

f. The hasty man hurries to get things done, because he is not diligent enough to do it the right way.
• He cuts corners in his haste.
• He takes the cheap and easy way.
• He is in a hurry, and therefore does not want to bother taking the time to do it right.
• He doesn’t have time to think it through so that he might do the best job he can. He’s in too much of a hurry.

g. He puts everything off until the last minute, and then doesn’t have time to figure out how to do it the right way.
• Therefore, he rushes the through the job, just to get it done… and not to do it well.

h. The hasty man often hastens to be rich… but he likes easy riches… quick money. And that often involves something dishonest or shady.
• His quick road to riches usually leads to poverty instead…

i. Some men are hasty and impetuous.
• They jump right into things without thinking.
• They hastily make commitments they cannot keep.
• They hastily fall for the line of a salesman and buy things they cannot afford.
• They hastily make a decision assuming the grass will be greener on the other side, without even taking the time to look over the fence.
• They hastily make a credit card purchase without thinking about how they will pay for it.
• They are hasty to abandon relationships whenever the relationship is strained, whether with a spouse, a church, a job, a friend… they are hasty to quit…

j. The diligent man does not behave this way.
• The diligent man is slow and steady.
• He does jobs when they need doing.
• The hasty man is like the hare that runs as fast as he can for a little while, and then stops. He quits.
• But the diligent man is slow like the turtle, because he takes the time to do things right along the way.
• It takes longer, but he makes REAL progress.
• The diligent man is a man of industry who perseveres through difficulties and diligently finishes what he sets out to do.

2. Though not stated, it is implied that Solomon is speaking about the THOUGHTS of the hasty here.

a. It is his thoughts (plans and purposes) that are described as hasty.

b. The contrast is between the thoughts of the diligent and the thoughts of the hasty man.

c. But because this man is hasty, he doesn’t put much thought into his doings!
• The hasty man doesn’t bother taking the time to think ahead and plan.
• He doesn’t bother taking the time to read the directions.
• He is in too much of a rush to get it done… so he can head off to hang around on the corner… or go to some fun event…

d. He makes hasty decisions. He jumps hastily into action… without thinking it through. And there is a price to pay.

3. The result: WANT!

a. Want: need; poverty; lack; a scarcity of something vital.

b. The man who is hasty will find himself in great NEED… lacking essential things.

c. It’s much quicker to build a house without bothering to take the time to make a firm foundation… but when a storm comes, you might be lacking shelter!

d. It’s much quicker to do a book report by reading only the cover flap… but you find yourself lacking a good grade.

e. It’s much quicker to just paint over the rotten wood… but you might find yourself in need of replacing the whole wall.

f. The hasty way of the hasty man leads to trouble down the road. Instead of leading to plenteousness, it leads to WANT… lack… that which is insufficient…

g. Prov. 6:11 – To the lazy man he says, “so shall thy poverty come.”

h. Prov. 14:23 – But the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury. (same word) Instead of making plans and getting things done diligently, this man sits around wasting time chatting.

i. Prov.13:4 – The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
• The lazy man WANTS… he desires… but he has nothing.
• He has nothing but unmet needs.
• Solomon says here that it is nobody’s fault but their own.

j. Haste results in a great LACK. Remember the Lord taught that the seed that grew up in haste soon withered up. Some things you cannot rush. It takes time. The hasty man doesn’t want to wait… and that often leads to ruin.

4. And of course, the same is true in the spiritual realm. Haste leads to great spiritual lack… in our walk with Christ.

a. Haste in our time in God’s Word… leads to a superficial knowledge of Christ: His word and His will. That can bring ruin to a life.

b. Haste in our attendance at church (I’m too busy this week).

c. Haste in our attention to details at home. We don’t bother taking the time to deal with problems as they arise. It’s easier and quicker to brush them under the rug.

d. Haste in attention to our kids… our spouse… so that we can have more time for self. That can lead to spiritual ruin.

e. Heb. 12:1-2 – When it comes to running the Christian life, we are not to run with haste, but we are to run with patience… patient endurance…