I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;
Your actions and assets reveal your character and wisdom. You cannot deceive anyone. If you are lazy, it shows clearly in various ways. If you are foolish, it is obvious to those around you. Solomon could identify a slothful or ignorant man by his fields. It does not matter what men think or say about themselves; their actions and assets tell the truth.
Solomon, in his effort to train his son and the nation for success, warned against folly and slothfulness. Both are self-destructive traits that will take a man down. In this proverb, he showed his son that he could discern the sleep habits of a man by viewing his field or vineyard (Pr 24:30-34). You cannot hide bad habits in the privacy of your bedroom!
Lazy men and fools think highly of themselves. In fact, arrogance is their ruin (Pr 12:15; 26:12,16). The sluggard believes he works harder than other men, and the fool believes he is wiser than other men. Their self-confidence and self-promotion are deceitful and destructive. They always have excuses as to why they have done so poorly in life. But all you have to do is look at their actions and assets to see their laziness or foolishness.
Solomon saw a field and vineyard overgrown with thorns, covered with nettles, and with its protective wall broken down (Pr 24:31). When he considered the neglected condition of these income-producing assets, he gained valuable insight into the life of the owner (Pr 24:32). The owner loved to sleep in his bed in the morning (Pr 24:33). Solomon knew without any doubts that poverty and pain were coming soon for that man (Pr 24:34).
Most men want to be known as hardworking and wise. They believe these things about themselves, and they are quick to tell others, if there are any doubts (Pr 20:6). But actions speak much louder than words (Pr 20:11). And actions can be verified by the condition and prosperity of your estate (Pr 24:30-34). You cannot hide your faults and failures; they are very visible to those simply observing your assets, friends, relationships, and career.
A diligent man rises to the top (Pr 22:29), gets promoted (Pr 12:24), and becomes rich (Pr 10:4). A man that loves pleasure or spending will be poor (Pr 21:17,20). A man that pursues get-rich-quick schemes will be poor (Pr 28:19,22). A man that loves sleep will be poor (Pr 20:13). A man that talks about business a lot will be poor (Pr 14:23). Those that believe testimonials will be poor (Pr 14:15; 19:2). Optimists will get punished (Pr 22:3).
Gracious persons are praised and have many friends (Pr 11:16; 18:24; 22:11). A strong man does not lose money (Pr 11:16). An odious woman is despised (Pr 21:19; 27:15; 30:21-23). Shameful children prove no training (Pr 29:15,17). A good reputation reflects wise priorities (Pr 22:1). Faithful employees prove wise management (Pr 29:21). A virtuous woman cannot be hid (Pr 12:4), but neither can an obnoxious one (Pr 27:15-16).
Fools defend themselves by saying, “You don’t know my heart,” as if there were something noble in them others cannot see (Pr 10:20). Hah! The heart is easy to know – just look at a person’s actions and results. A diligent and wise man will be rich and successful. A faithful and gracious man will have loving relationships. A fool or sluggard will not get close to these things! He destroys himself by folly (Pr 13:15; 15:19; 22:5).
Fools also defend themselves by saying, “You don’t know the acts of God in my life,” as if circumstances caused their failure. Some use poor parents or race as an excuse, which means little to nothing (Pr 14:35; 17:2). All men face obstacles, but fools and sluggards avoid dealing with them (Pr 20:4; 22:13; 26:13). There is only one Job in the history of the world, in spite of fools and sluggards claiming a repeat of his trials in their lives.
If a man or woman has few friends, it is not the fault of others. It is their fault (Pr 11:16; 18:24). If a man has no estate, it is not the fault of others. It is his fault (Pr 11:16; 21:20). If a man is married to an odious woman, it is not her fault. It is his fault (Pr 11:16,22; 30:21-23; 31:30). Neither fools nor sluggards deceived Solomon. He identified the cause-and-effect of riches or poverty, friends or enemies, success or failure.
Reader, what is your character? It has nothing to do with what you think or say about yourself. That is the most deceitful and stupid measure of all, and others do not believe it (Pr 14:12; 16:25; 21:2; Jer 17:9). Actions speak louder than words, and so do results. You are known by your assets, friends, relationships, and/or career. What would Solomon know about your heart and habits by observing your life? You can change the picture!
Your character and wisdom are known by the cleanliness and orderliness of your house; the neatness and accuracy of your checkbook; the clutter in your drawers, closets, basement, or car trunk; the mechanical repair of your car; your career progression; your bodyweight and fitness; your handshake; what is at the back of the bottom shelf of your refrigerator; your credit rating; the size of your savings account; and other such things.
Your character and wisdom are known by the character of your children; the esteem you receive from others; your number of friends; the happiness and helpfulness of your spouse; your reputation in various circles; the opinions of your parents; the opinions of your children; your demand as a counselor; the respect and thankfulness of neighbors and business associates; the number of requests for leadership roles; and other such things.
Your spiritual condition is also known by your assets and results. Do you bear the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23)? How many souls have been converted through your efforts (Jas 5:19-20)? Do your children fear the Lord (Ps 34:11; Eph 6:4)? Are you able to teach, or are you still crawling with elementary knowledge (Titus 2:3-5; Heb 5:12-14)? Do others see Jesus Christ in you more than last year (Eph 4:13)? Are you glorious in overlooking the faults of others (Pr 19:11)? Or do you complain and fight as habits (Phil 2:14-16)?
A slothful or foolish man in financial matters will be poor. A slothful or foolish man in spiritual matters will be ignorant and fruitless. But both situations can be changed by grabbing something that should be done and doing it and doing it well! Right now! Do not delay another hour. Do something good and productive right now. You can change your life situation by God’s blessing on your diligent and wise efforts. Go for it!