He that tills his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that follows vain persons is void of understanding.
It is no mercy to be freed from the law of labour. Nor is it God that frees a man from that law. Among the opulent there are some who break the law of labour, and some who keep it. They keep it by working in their own province, in that state of life into which it has pleased God to call them. There is brain-toil as well as hand-toil; the wear and tear of the mental energies tend more to shorten life than the ordinary labourer's wear and tear of body. Some kind of labour is enjoined upon all, by a law of God's own framing. There is division of labour, but it is a labour nevertheless. Woe to him who craves an idle life, who would slumber existence away in listless reverie! The truth of the text is forcible, whether taken literally or applied spiritually. A contrast is drawn between the industrious and the loiterer. Solomon uses the words "wise" and "foolish," and their kindred terms, in a deep spiritual sense — moral as well as mental, religious as well as intellectual. The fool is he who acts without reference to the Divine above him, and the everlasting before him. As we dare not let things take their course in our worldly business, so neither in our spiritual. Christianity is meant to hallow life in all its phases — to hallow business, labour, recreation. The Sabbath of the Christian is a life-long Sabbath, an every-day Sabbath. Bishop Taylor reminds us that the "life of every man may be so ordered that it may be a perpetual serving of God — the greatest trouble, and most busy trade, and worldly encumbrances, when they are necessary, or charitable, or profitable, being a-doing God's work. For God provides the good things of the world to serve the needs of nature, by the labours of the ploughman, the skill and pains of the artisan, and the dangers and traffic of the merchant. Idleness is called the sin of Sodom and her daughters, and indeed is the burial of a living man." The text suggests two pictures. In the one we have the persevering husbandman, who loses no time, who works with a good heart, and at last enjoys a noble harvest. In the other we have a slothful spendthrift, who whiles away life's sunshine by basking in it, leaving the evening to care for itself, and heedless of coming night. But it is important to remember that no earthly seed-corn will produce fruit for another world — therefore the seed-corn must be supplied from the heavenly storehouse by the heavenly husbandman — it must be indigenous to the skies, an exotic upon earth. If thou be in earnest for God, He will multiply thy seed sown, and increase the fruits of thy righteousness.
(Francis Jacox, B.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.