As I was reading through chapter 6, the first word that jumped out at me – and in this case it could be scary – was sluggard.
Sluggard is an old word, and one not used very much any more. It can be found six times in the King James Version of Proverbs, with the same word translated as “slothful” eight more times in the same book. Amazingly, it’s also used in most other major translations. However, the NLT translates this word as “lazybones.” Yeah.
It would seem that sometimes old words are hard to replace, except when the old word is too offensive.
When I think of a sluggard, I think of a slimy, fat, slow, disgusting snail without a shell. A naked, slimy, disgusting snail. Are we to think of people that way? Well, if the slime fits…
Sometimes old songs contain old words that are too offensive for our modern sensibilities. One song that comes to mind is an old hymn that means a lot to me, “At the Cross.”
“At the Cross” was written by Isaac Watts (not Chris Tomlin) and published in 1709. The first verse goes like this:
Alas! and did my Savior bleed?
And did my Sov’reign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?
Now, if you search for this old hymn in a modern hymnal what you will most likely find are the last words of this verse changed. It will read, “For sinners such as I?” Do you see the difference? Sinners sounds less offensive than “worm,” doesn’t it?
But here’s the problem: If we have to change the words of song which was written in order to display God’s love and grace in contrast to our unworthiness, all because we want to avoid offending, then maybe we need to reexamine our understanding of salvation and the grace of God. If we can’t see that the chasm between God’s holiness and our righteousness is that of a King and a worm, then maybe we think too highly of ourselves.
Along with the old hymns and old words, here’s an old adage that I believe fits perfectly: “If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck.”
Folks, if you’re fat, slimy, slow, never work, never care, never try, always complain, always blame, and sleep more than you’re awake, you’re probably not an ant (Prov. 6:6-8). Face it, you’re a sluggard.
And folks, if we find ourselves lying, lusting, hating, abusing, neglecting, idolizing, wasting, and being basically rebellious, then we’re not the Sovereign King: we’re worms.
We need to realize what we are before there can be a change.
But praise God, because of Christ, the change is possible!