Proverbs 6:9-11

How Long Wilt Thou Sleep?


1. In vs. 6-8, Solomon tells his son to consider the ant and learn some lessons.

2. The lessons to be learned from the ant are:
» Self motivated
» They do not work with eye-service
» Diligent and hard working
» Don’t make excuses (too hot!)
» Makes good use of available opportunities to work
» Lays up for the future

3. Now Solomon warns against the dangers of laziness—the opposite of the ant (vs. 9-11)!

9How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?

1. The challenge: how long will you sleep?

a. This is a reasonable question to ask.

b. Over all, Americans are not generally lazy people… quite hard working. In fact, many Americans do not get enough sleep! But, there are always some who would need such a challenge…

c. In other cultures, laziness is a much bigger problem… life is a siesta!

d. Whatever our problem (too much or too little) it is a legitimate and profitable question to ask! Are you sleeping too much? Too little?

2. The lazy man is challenged to THINK about what he is doing with his time.

a. First he was challenged to think about the lifestyle of the ant (vs. 6)

b. Now he is challenged to think about his own lifestyle, and in particular, how HE uses his time… evidently, the ant has a few good lessons to teach him!

c. Perhaps he never really thought about how much of his life he was sleeping away!

d. If he tallied all of his hours in a chart and saw exactly how much time he wasted sleeping and lounging around, perhaps he would make some changes!

3. HOW LONG is a good question! Every once in a while, it might do us all good to chart out what we do with our time…
• How long do we sleep?
• How long do we lie on the couch and vegetate?
• How long do we sit in front of the TV or computer?
• How long do we spend reading the Word? In prayer?
• After making a chart of how our time is spent, we might see some areas that need prioritizing… rearranging…

4. WHEN is a good question too. “When will you arise?”

a. The lazy man is challenged to consider how long he sleeps.

b. Then he is challenged to DO something about it—get up!

c. When? When will you get up? When will you change your bad habits?

d. If we are wasting time, we too should be challenged: when are you going to do something about it? When are you going to change?

e. Arising is the answer to sleeping too much—just get up!

f. Notice how simple God’s answer to this lazy man’s problem is: Arise! Get up! You don’t need a 12 step program to deprogram yourself from old habits… just obey… arise…

5. We are all stewards of our time… our own lives.

a. We all have the same amount of hours in a day and days in a week.

b. However, not all men USE their time properly.

c. Ps. 39:4-5 – make me to know my days… my life is short… make good use of it! Don’t waste precious time!

d. Ps. 90:12 – so teach me to number my days… that I may apply my heart unto wisdom!

e. Eph. 5:16 – Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

f. We are told repeatedly to make GOOD use of our time and not to waste it.

g. In reality, time belongs to God. He has entrusted each one of us with a certain measure of it… and will call us into account one day for HOW we used His time…

h. We are all managers of the 24 hours we have each day.

i. Some men use it wisely. Others bury it… waste it…
• If you are wasting God’s time, the question is “how long?”
• WHEN will you stop? When will you use time for God’s glory?
• Are you a procrastinator?

j. HOW do you manage YOUR time? Are you a good steward?
• Are you spending time in the Word? With your family? Getting the rest your body needs?
• Redeem the time! Buy it up! Use it well!

10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

1. Here the author speaks about the insidious nature of laziness…

a. It is something that creeps up on you… a little sleep here… a little slumber there… and before you know, the day is gone!

b. The question is sent out, “How long wilt thou sleep?” His answer, “Oh, just a little more sleep… just a little more slumber…

c. The answer sounds a bit like a drug addict or an alcoholic. How much do you want? Oh, just a little more… Rockefeller was asked how much money would it take to make him happy. He replied, “Oh, just a little more!”

2. Getting oneself into a lazy lifestyle is a trap… it can creep up on you…

a. 5:22 – this is another example of a man becoming enslaved and bound by his own sin!

11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

1. Solomon warns that laziness is followed by poverty.

a. This doesn’t mean that all poverty is the result of laziness…or that all poor people are poor because they are lazy.

b. But it does mean the lazy man is usually poor! Slothfulness breeds poverty!

c. Prov. 10:4 – a slack hand results in poverty; diligence results in wealth.

d. Prov.14:23 – labor has its rewards, but standing around results in poverty. (You may not get a raise; you may get laid off!)

2. The lazy man shall WANT

a. His poverty drives him crazy too… because he craves after the things (wants things) that the more diligent possess… (21:25-26)

b. There are all kinds of things that others have and he wants… but because he is lazy, he doesn’t have them… he just WANTS them… covets…

c. II Thess. 3:10 – if a man is not willing to work, neither should he eat!
• Giving money to a lazy man is not helping but hurting!
• In fact, poverty, hunger and going without things ought to be a wake up call—it’s time to get a job!

3. An armed man: his poverty comes on him like an armed bandit…

a. This doesn’t mean his goods are stolen…

b. Rather, it means that he will wake up one day and realize that he is poor! He has nothing!

c. It came like a thief in the night!

4. Prov. 18:9 – slothfulness is a great waste…

a. Waste = that which is spoiled; corrupted; like rotten fruit left out too long

b. There are a lot of gifted, talented people who could accomplish great things, but do not because they are too lazy! What a waste!

c. Perhaps one of these men might have discovered the cure for cancer if they were diligent…

d. And think of the waste that takes place in our schools! Young people with such potential to learn and develop their talents… waste it because they are too lazy to do their schoolwork…

e. And think of the things we could accomplish as a church—if only everyone would use their spiritual gifts more diligently!
• We would be witnessing more and leading others to Christ…
• We would be ministering to one another more diligently…
• Think of the talent and gifts that believers here have—in art, music, writing, teaching, working with children, evangelism, etc.
• What a waste when such gifts are not used for the glory of God because of laziness!

5. Ecc. 10:18 – through idleness, a house decays and falls apart! So too the life!

a. This is true of the wooden house we live in…

b. It is also true of our family… if we through laziness neglect our family and spiritual things, our HOME will fall apart too!

c. No one has a right to expect God to supply their needs bail us out when laziness and sloth characterize their life… either in the physical realm or in the spiritual realm!

d. We know already that idleness will ruin our house… our life…

6. In the spiritual realm this principle is true as well.

a. Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; (Rom. 12:11)

b. Phil. 2:12 – WORK out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
• Are we working at it diligently?
• Are we exercising ourselves unto godliness?
• Are we “giving all diligence to add to our faith virtue… knowledge… temperance… patience… godliness… brotherly love…
c. The man who is spiritually lazy will come to spiritual poverty!

d. The man who is too lazy or too tired to read the Word and pray will be spiritually weak… and an easy target for the devil!

e. The man who is too lazy to get up for Sunday school and church will be poor spiritually…now and at the Bema seat!

f. Perhaps we should all ask ourselves the question: How long are we going to sleep spiritually? When are we going to wake up and be diligent about spiritual things?

g. Eph. 5:14 – Awake thou that sleepest and Christ will give thee light!

h. Rom. 13:11-14 – it is time to wake up and get to work for God! The Lord is coming!