Excuses, excuses . . . is something that men who have been used of God in my life used to say to me. They would say it when I would try to use an excuse to cover for something that was far more an instance of laziness than a problem that developed. This is something many of us are guilty of - and yet unlike my experience they have not had someone who would call them so openly on it. I will admit that hearing my mentors call me openly on these things hurt at first - but it has been invaluable to me over the years. We all need someone who would be so painfully honest with us. That is what this proverb illustrates by showing the absurdity of the sluggard's excuses for not doing what he should do.
Here the sluggard makes statements that very well could be true. In Israel there are lions that are in the wilderness that surrounds the towns. This was especially the case when the country was far less developed than it is now. But in the day Solomon wrote this, it would not have been too odd to know that a lion was in any of these areas. Yet in saying this - it was not the everyday occurance to have a lion in these areas. And, if there was, a man's job was to get with other real men in the city and address the problem by going and driving the lion away or killing it to protect the people. This is NOT the response of the sluggard to this real or imagined situation.
We are introduced to the one making these claims by hearing that he is a sluggard. That means he disdains work and labor of any kind. He avoids it at all costs - or in this case with all his many stories of danger and trouble. There is a lion in the road - therefore I cannot go on the road to work! Guess I'll just have to stay inside today and be safe (or lazy - which is his normal position). There is a lion in the open square! Therefore I cannot go into the square and see if there is any work for the day. Therefore I cannot go and get food for the family at the market. Therefore I cannot do anything - because it is too dangerous. Oh woe is me - guess I'll have to spend another day inside laying around. Too bad they didn't have xbox 360 or Nintendo back then - becasue he could have beaten every game his wife or mother bought for him as he sat around and was a lazy bum. Sorry if that reference was too close to home - but if the shoe fits (or in this case the controller) wear it.
There are a myriad of excuses that the sluggard will use to avoid work and avoid doing the things he should be doing as a man or woman. God calls us to work - and it was something He commanded BEFORE the Fall! If we are not giving ourselves to valuable work - we are being lazy. I know that sounds harsh - but it is true. Honestly, it only sounds harsh because we've created a whole society that no longer values hard work. We've once again encouraged a welfare state where people wait for work to be given to them - and some don't even look for work, knowing that a bare subsistence living will be given to them by corrupt politicians who have long left the idea of compassion - and now are just creating a class of people who will support them as their power base - at least until the money runs out.
God called us to be working. I don't mean that we should never rest because God desires for us to be balanced in such things. But if we are not working - there is potentially a very big problem. Work is a godly thing - and honestly - it keeps us from a whole host of problems that arise when we are sedentary. Remember this . . . God worked for six days and rested on the seventh. Therefore it is wise for us to mirror the activity of our Father and our God. To do otherwise is to risk becoming a sluggard who seems to always have an excuse why he is not working or doing something useful in society, for his family, and even for himself. Dearest saints - be wise - let go of all the excuses - and WORK!