This is my introduction to describe the teachings of Hebrew wisdom on diligence and laziness and how does this correspond with the contrast between wisdom and folly? I first want to give the definition of each of the words that I will be addressing during this essay. Diligence means “the attention and care legally expected or required of a person”. Laziness means “resistant to work or exertion; slow-moving; sluggish”. Wisdom means “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right or lasting; insight:. Folly means “a lack of good sense, understanding, or foresight. Now that we have the definition of the important words that I will be focusing on, lets beginning the discussion of Hebrew wisdom regarding these attributes.
The Book of Proverbs was written mostly by Solomon. Solomon asked God and received the wisdom of The Lord and Solomon teaches us about the importance of diligence and not being lazy. Solomon states in Proverbs 13:4 “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich”. When we continually seek after wisdom it will enable us to not become lazy. If we continue to be diligent we reap the rewards by obtaining the knowledge we need to help us in our daily walk and every aspect of our life. Solomon states in Proverbs 4:13 “Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life”. The Word of God is our foundation to live a diligent life.
The Book of Proverbs emphasizes the fear of the Lord as the key to wisdom and knowledge. His wisdom is available to those of us who trust Him and keep His commandments (Proverbs 2:7-10). The Book of Proverbs gives you the lifestyle to follow, the life of diligence or the life of laziness. The choice is ours to make in what path we will follow. The lazy person is one that does not count up the costs, one that want something for nothing, one that will sleep during the day instead of working (Proverbs 13:4; 24:30). As believers we must understand the importance of being diligent and not lazy. We must apply the knowledge given to us through the Word of God and apply it to our lives so that we will not be as a folly person. Folly is one that is lead by the pleasure of this world.
According to The Essence of the Old Testament “under the sun” indicates an earthly perspective, in other words, a life without God. In Proverbs 14, Solomon describes the difference between wisdom and folly. Solomon states that foolishness destroys his own, willfully avoids fearing the Lord, speaks words that are undependable and immature and the fool has no harvest for lack of spiritual strength. The fool leaves no room for accountability to God. Then in Proverbs 15, Solomon speaks of the wise person. He will build his own, maintain integrity because of the fear of the Lord, he produces a harvest, he tells the truth, he maintains a teach spirit and finds gracious favor from the Lord.
In my conclusion, I will sum up the teaching of the Hebrew wisdom. We have a choice to obtain wisdom and be diligent or be foolish and lazy. Our reward will be greater if we choose to follow God and use the wisdom that God has given us and be diligent in everything that we do for God so that we will not be like the foolish person and head towards destruction due to self indulgence and doing and speaking evil against God. Those that have the wisdom and diligent, need to be careful that they do not rejoice when their enemy falls (Proverbs 24:17). As stated in Ecclesiastes 12:13, Fear God and
keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. Let’s all seek to be like Solomon and ask God for wisdom, daily so that we can do and say those things that are pleasing to our Heavenly Father. Wisdom is meant to be applied, not just studied or memorized (The Essence of the Old Testament).
Edward Hindson and Gary Yates,,The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey, Nashville, 2012 Broadman & Holman Publishers, The Holy Bible, New King James Version, Nashville, 1996 Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition principal copyright 1993