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  • Dr. Stieglitz

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 20:13


"Do not love sleep or you will become poor; open your eyes and you will be satisfied with food"

sleep

This is the Hebrew word shena from the root yasen which means sleep or to be asleep. The Scriptures are clear that sleep is a gift from God. It restores and rejuvenates. God can speak to a person in their sleep. However as here in this proverb we are not to go to excess and love sleep. After a normal amount of time, we are to get up and work and make a positive impact.

As in many good things, a person can try and overdose on the good thing to the point that the good thing becomes a bad thing or an addiction. Solomon points out that the gift of sleep is not to be abused or its power to restore will destroy. It will keep you from achieving the good works that God has prescribed for you to do. Ephesians 2:10

Some have used sleep as an escape; some have used sleep as a dodge; some have used sleep like a drug. Sleep, however, was installed in the human system as a restorative, regenerative, rehabilitative time. Some of the latest studies even suggest that while we are asleep, our minds reorganize information for better recall and understanding.

There is no prescription for the amount of sleep that a person should get in the Scriptures; instead it deals with one's attitude toward it. Do not love it. Realize that you need it and enjoy it, but do not love it.

love

This is the Hebrew word aheb which means love, like, to be in love. One is to love God and thy neighbor. The action of love is to meet needs, pursue, and to please. When we love God, we are to allow Him to meet our needs (He has no needs that we can meet), pursue Him, and please Him. When it comes to things or earthly actions like sleep, we are not to attach such a strong desire to them that we expect or want them to meet our needs. Each of the blessings that God has given us does meet particular needs and they are to be enjoyed, but some try and take a blessing and ask it to meet too many needs. They ask their spouse to be everything for them. They ask sleep to be more than it was designed to be. They want work to meet all their significant and relational needs.

Hence the prohibition: keep the wonder of sleep in its proper boundaries. Do not love it. Don't ask it to meet needs it was not intended to meet. Don't ask work to meet needs it was not intended to meet. Don't ask marriage to meet needs it was not intended to meet.

poor

This is the Hebrew word yaras which means to take possession of, dispossess, seize, to impoverish, to make poor. Solomon is trying to motivate us to realize that there is a direct correlation between overindulging sleep and whether you have abundance or want. The idea of poverty is to have less than you need. Solomon is asking you to look at yourself and say: Do I have less than I need? Maybe the problem is too much sleep and not enough industry.

I am amazed at the number of people in our day and age – especially young people – who want to do nothing but recreate and sleep and still expect money to flow towards them to do what they want. They are appalled that their parents or the society does not want to finance this lifestyle. If one's parents do, then the reality of life will come later – often so late that it is impossible to overcome the habits of laziness.

Parents, do not condemn your children to a life of scraping by; don't allow them to love sleep. There are a number of things that you should do: Make sure that they get to bed at a reasonable hour; get them up in the morning; schedule things that require getting up in the morning. Helping your children with proper sleep habits is important for their whole life.

open your eyes

The Hebrew word for open is paqah. It means to, by an act of your will, physically open. Getting out of bed is at times only an act of the will. Many young people need to realize that they may not want to get out of bed at times, but they still need to get out of bed. They cannot accomplish their goals and the good works God has prepared unless they are up and about.

satisfied

This is the Hebrew word sabea which means to be satisfied and is related to the word soba which means fullness. Solomon is saying that if you get up and begin to be industrious, you will be able to meet your needs adequately – not necessarily your wants but your needs. Don't blame others if the problem is really your getting out of bed at the proper time.

food

This is the Hebrew word lehem which means food, bread, grain. It is the word for the sustenance that is needed to keep us going.

Until tomorrow,

Gil Stieglitz

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