26 As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
so are sluggards to those who send them.
27 The fear of the Lord adds length to life,
but the years of the wicked are cut short.
28 The prospect of the righteous is joy,
but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.
Talent and intelligence are beyond our control, but virtue is a product of the choices we make. This makes the sluggard all the more grievous, no matter how much potential he has it is wasted without diligence. Sloth may seem insignificant in the moment (“a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest”), but its cumulative effects can be staggering. Far more of our resources are wasted in apathy than lost to malice, with no regard for the discomfort and tears it inflicts.
“The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short. The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing” The fear of the Lord liberates us from other fears, and protects us from the excessive anxieties of this life. Though there are many things beyond our control, about which we are tempted to worry, “nothing is too hard” for God. The righteous look beyond themselves and find life and joy, even in the direst of circumstances. But the hopes of the wicked, which rest on the shoulders of men, perish along with them.