Proverbs in 365 Devotions

July 22

Proverbs 12:24 “ The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.”

Self Dicipline

Or Forced Labor

Kenan Ferguson

I believe the diligent man is focused. He knows the task set before him well and pursues it with much thoughtfulness and energy. The Bible promises that the diligent person will lead others in his success. I believe the Bible teaches us that diligence is an honorable character trait. Not only is it valued in our daily labor for food, shelter, and provision for ourselves and our families but has great value in service to God. God has set a task before us in telling others about Jesus. He tells us to go and make disciples. God’s purpose is focused and the task is clear. He will be successful and leads us to join Him.

     The slothful man will experience much the opposite results of the diligent. He will be “put to forced labor.“. That sounds a lot like slavery which does not sound appealing. Slavery brings to mind images of work with little reward and added suffering at the hand of a brutal master.   I have images of working with little energy because of a lack of basic needs and feelings of hopelessness in suffering. The slothful man is forced to labor but does not see value in his labor. Slothful could also be described as lazy. This brings to mind images of the man who cares little for anything and expects others to provide for him. This man is not diligent but enjoys his freedom to rebel against God’s plan. In this freedom, he becomes a slave to hardship and suffering. Little or no success will be found for the slothful man and pain and suffering with no reward will be his lot in life. 


   When we choose God and follow his plan, God puts his character in us. We can experience joy even in suffering. Experiencing suffering while being diligent in the things of God still produces rewards with eternal value, but those who chose to continue a life defined by a “slothful” rebellion will experience continued pain, disappointment, and hopelessness. I am thankful for God who calls me out of my rebellion and offers me a living hope full of eternal reward in Christ who diligently defeated death.