Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Soul of the Diligent

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing,
But the soul of the diligent is made fat.
Proverbs 13:4

Huh...a fat soul. The idea of a fat soul sets me pondering. I came across it once before this week. In Proverbs 11:25 God tells us the generous man will prosper. There it is, a note in little tiny type, "prosper" means a fat soul. Then again in Proverbs 28:25 the one who trusts in the Lord will have a fat soul. What would it be to have a fat soul?

At church on Sunday mornings, I stand far away from the doughnut table. I forgo the vanilla sugar in my coffee. I count the miles I walk by two's. I am exercising a great deal of discipline in the hopes of losing five, or even, one pound. Then exploding into this January of discipline is the word diligence. Only this is a diligence required to get fat. A roly-poly soul? Apply diligence. And generosity. And trust.

I looked up the word in the back of my Strong's Concordance. Guess what it means? Fat. This is hardly surprising. It's only used 11 times in the Bible, here are three. Once it appears in Deuteronomy when God says His people will eat, and become satisfied and then prosperous (in the NASB). That "prosperous" is the word fat; it comes after they are fully satisfied. Then, God says, they will forget Me.

Isaiah, who spoke beautiful words of Christ, also laid out a lot of ugliness, the just punishment for a fat people who had forgotten God. Isaiah used the word twice. Once to say the sword of the Lord would be "sated with fat." Once to say that after all the slaughter, the dust would become "greasy with fat." (Isaiah 34:6-7) Don't be fooled by the English. The word translated "fat" here is another word. The fat of a fat soul, is translated "sated" and "greasy." A sword, and the dust, fat with the fat of animals. A fat soul isn't just a little plump, it's more like saying it is obese. Completely, fully, totally, embarrassingly over-fed.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Psalm 23:5

Oh, to be a Hebrew scholar! The word for "fat" is in this verse. Can you guess where? Anointed. God has set a table for us. He has laid a feast. He asks us to come; come and eat. This is not subsistence fare. Mathew Henry calls it "enough for ornament and delight." Psalm 133 tells of oil poured out on the head, dripping down the beard, coming down onto the robes of the High Priest, Aaron. Pour out the oil until it drips to the ground. Fill the cup until it is overflowing. Make my soul fat. This is my prayer to God.

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