Concerning Sleep (2) (Rom. 13:11)

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Some sleep the sleep of presumption, like Samson on the knees of Delilah. Samson was in love with a wicked woman who agreed to sell him out to the Philistines (Judg. 16:4-5). She was to discover the source of his strength in order that they might bind and afflict him. Samson played games with her at first by giving her the wrong answer to the source of his strength, but eventually she persuaded him to tell her the real source. The record informs us, “And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to inflict him, and his strength went from him” (Judg. 16:19). Samson was a man who knew all the dangers, but slept anyway. He could always rise to the occasion; he could always go out and “shake himself as at other times,“ (Judges 16:20) or so he thought, and thus he had contempt of the danger.

Many sleep today like that. They know the folly and peril of the neglect of prayer, study, and worship. “I know, I know the truth!” they cry, but they sleep anyway. And while they sleep, there comes inevitably the hour when it is too late, and for them, as for Samson, they are led away to the blinding irons and the mill and the work of an animal until life is ended. Why will people not wake up? Of the five foolish virgins, the record states, “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept” (Matt. 25:5). These virgins, like the folks described in Matthew 7:21f, had not made proper preparation.

Some sleep the sleep of the sluggard. "I went by the field of the sluggard, And by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, The face thereof was covered with nettles, And the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I beheld, and considered well; I saw, and received instruction: Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep; So shall thy poverty come as a robber, And thy want as an armed man” (Prov. 24:30-34). This is a denunciation of slothfulness and a warning against it. This ranks as one of the favorite subjects in Proverbs. This particular reference is the most colorful of all the denunciations of slothfulness. "A little folding of the hands to sleep"! Who could ever forget a line like that?

Far too many have plans. We intend to become a Christian; we intend on being more faithful; we intend to change our lives and make them better; we intend on building stronger homes; we have every intention of doing these things “someday.”  Felix said, “When I have a convenient season”, but that season never came! (Acts 24:25). God, through Isaiah’s pen, tells us, “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near” (Isa. 55:6). If this verse is not warning against the sleep of the sluggard in putting off seeking and calling on the Lord, what is it?  Read Proverbs 1:24-28. In Hebrew 3:7-8, 13, and 15 the writer stresses “today” over and over. Paul also wrote in II Corinthians 6:2, “…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”  I know of nothing the Bible tells us to do “tomorrow.” Jesus also saw the urgency of doing what you can while you can. “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). Consider the urgency; do not sleep the sleep of the sluggard. Obey God NOW before it is too late! (Continued next week.)

Paul M. Wilmoth