Proverbs 26:16

The Sluggard’s Estimate of Himself


1. This chapter has a context to it so far.

2. Vs. 1-12 dealt with the fool.

3. Vs. 13-16 dealt with the sluggard.

4. So far we have seen that the sluggard:

a. Vs. 13 – makes excuses for his laziness

b. Vs. 14 – loves his sleep and never gets anywhere

c. Vs. 15 – is so lazy he can’t even feed himself

d. Vs. 16 – is wise in his own conceits

16a The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit…

1. “Wise in one’s own conceit” is a form of pride.

a. Wise in one’s own conceit means to be wise in our own eyes.

b. It speaks of the person who THINKS that he is wise… proud of his wisdom.

c. Such a person may be brilliant or foolish.
• Some brilliant people are humble.
• Others are proud of their intelligence.
• Some ignorant people are proud of what they conceive to be their own brilliance.

d. Being wise in one’s own conceit is pride in one’s perceived brilliance.

e. It was the reason for the fall of Lucifer.
• Ezek. 28:12 – He was created “full of wisdom.” His was genuine wisdom. He was full of wisdom. Evidently he was given more wisdom than the other angels. He exceeded them in beauty, wisdom, and position… all of which were grace gifts from God, and thus, nothing of which to boast.
• Ezek. 28:17b – He corrupted his wisdom. Somehow he became proud and conceited of his gift of wisdom. This pride became his downfall.
• Lucifer believed that he was so beautiful, wise, and exalted, that he didn’t really need God. In fact, he desired to be LIKE God… and perhaps replace God one day.
• Pride has its roots in the original sin of Lucifer.
• Think of that the next time you start feeling superior!

2. This is a problem for the sluggard. But he is not alone. Other groups suffer from the same sort of thing.

a. The rich man (Prov. 18:11, 28)

b. The fool (Prov. 26:5)

3. We are commanded NOT to be wise in our own conceits.

a. Prov. 3:7 – By Solomon: Be not wise in thine own eyes.

b. Rom. 12:16 – By Paul: Be not wise in thine own eyes.

c. Evidently this is sin is widespread and common to man.

d. It can and does affect all of us—hence the command to believers.

e. When a person comes to know Christ and God begins to teach him from the Word, it is possible for that knowledge to go to one’s head.
• After having been completely ignorant of the Bible, to learning so much in a year or so, we begin to think we know it all!
• After having been saved for a year and having read through the Bible, and heard many sermons, we now think we know God’s Word inside and out. That is spiritually dangerous.
• Paul said, a little knowledge puffeth up.
• Then after we have been saved a few more years, we discover to our chagrin, how little we really do know about God’s Word! We discover that we are just scratching the surface of the Scriptures. That is spiritually healthy.
• It is no wonder that Paul commands us: Be not wise in your own conceits!

4. Solomon’s point in this proverb is that the sluggard IS wise in his own conceits.

a. He has ignored the warnings against pride and self-exaltation.

b. He has obviously been blinded by his pride. Pride has a tendency to do that – to block our vision from reality.

c. Prov. 26:12 – There is more hope for a fool than the man who is wise in his own eyes. There is more hope for a fool than for the sluggard!

16b Than seven men that can render a reason.

The sluggard feels he is WISER than seven men

1. Not only does the sluggard believe he is wise in his own eyes. He believes that he is WISER than all others.

2. Seven may be used here to represent ALL. In other words, he feels that he is wiser than everybody else.

3. The sluggard shares this trait with the fool. He too thinks he’s smarter than everyone else.

4. “Seven men who can render a reason.”

a. The word seven ought to be understood in a generic sense – more like several. Others see it as a number that speaks of completeness. (all other men)

b. The term “reason” speaks of discretion, intelligence, good taste, good judgment.

c. Men of good taste, men of good judgment, men of discretion are repulsed by the sluggard. They find his lifestyle disgusting.

d. But the sluggard rejects their assessment. He’s too smart for them… at least in his own eyes.

5. There is an inherent danger in thinking you are smarter and wiser than everyone else: you won’t listen to their advice!

a. It’s bad enough to be ignorant. It is far worse to be ignorant and THINK you are wise.

b. Why listen to those who are not as smart as you are?

c. This is a problem for the sluggard. He thinks he’s smarter than anyone else… so why listen to advice?
• What do they know? Why should I kill myself working like the fools out there.
• For what? I can just milk the system without lifting a finger!
• I know how to get food stamps, disability checks, and I’m so smart I’ve been collecting my dead father’s social security checks for six years without getting caught!

d. And if you try to reason with him, his only reply will be, “I am wiser than seven men who can render a reason!”
• Seven men with “reason” (discretion) might try to give him advice and give him seven good reasons why he should get disciplined and go to work… but the sluggard is too smart for them.

6. The sluggard is described for us in this chapter. It is an evil that affects us all and one which we all need to consciously resist and avoid.

a. We can become sluggish physically.
• Our body is the Temple of God and we are to take care of it.
• Physical exercise benefits us a LOT. Paul says that bodily exercise profiteth little (compared to spiritual things). But on earth, exercise is of great benefit.
• Perhaps the doctor has told us we need to exercise. Sluggishness tells us that it is too hard.
• Resist that sluggishness… and get the physical exercise you need! Don’t think you know more about it than your doctor… or seven doctors!

b. We can become sluggish mentally too.
• We no longer exercise our brains. We don’t want to read… we don’t want to think things through… we would prefer to veg on the couch and mindlessly watch TV or videos.
• TV is ok in its place—but don’t ever stop thinking.
• Mental sluggishness will hinder your effectiveness at work and in every other part of your life.

c. We can also become sluggish spiritually.
• We are to exercise ourselves unto godliness. That is a spiritual exercise.

d. There are lots of ways we can exercise ourselves spiritually.
• Reading the Word is spiritual exercise.
• Praying is spiritual exercise.
• Sharing the gospel is spiritual exercise.
• Studying the Bible is spiritual exercise.
• Memorizing Scripture is a spiritual exercise.
• Meditating is a spiritual exercise.

e. Sluggishness will adversely affect our spiritual life.
• It will affect our time in God’s Word; our time in God’s House; our time with God Himself.
• It will cause us to find excuses why we can’t go to church: there’s a lion in the street!
• When it’s time for Sunday school, we will turn over in bed—like a door on its hinge.
• When it’s time to read the Word, we will be too tired to lift our hand to turn the pages.

f. Exercise in spiritual things includes practicing principles from the Scriptures… putting a passage you read recently into practice…
• If you read recently that we are to be kind one toward another—then go out of your way to exercise kindness. Practice it! Put it work!
• If you read recently that we are to forgive one another, then put that command into practice too. If we think about it and are honest, there are probably some people against whom we have been secretly holding a grudge.
• Exercise yourself unto godliness. Obeying this passage involves self-discipline—or temperance—the fruit of the Spirit.
• We are to exercise ourselves in godliness by going for a walk—walking in the Spirit… and manifesting the fruit of the Spirit… by putting them into practice – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…