Today’s Reading: 2 Sam 20:1–21:22, 2 Pet 3:14–18, Ps 146:1–10
Today’s Theme: Procrastination vs Action
Today’s theme will explore the many pitfalls of procrastination, which is putting off what should be done today (delaying or postponing necessary action), and is synonymous with laziness, idleness and sluggishness. On the other hand, we will look at the alternative to procrastination, which is action.
2 Samuel 20:1–21:22
The deadly danger of delay
So Amasa went to summon Judah, but he delayed beyond the set time that had been appointed him. 2 Samuel 20:5 (ESV)
Amasa was given an allocated time to gather the men of Judah into an army, to pursue Sheba. He did not use his time wisely, he foolishly delayed and went beyond the set time.
Procrastination is an enemy to our own lives and to our King’s kingdom. It rots purpose and godly success, like decay.
Amasa in his first task as the head of the army, fails miserably. His procrastination and carelessness led to his untimely death later in verse 10.
Today we need to be alert and have hearts ready to go into action. Do not delay, do not be lazy, do not ‘chill’ – we are at war, get moving. If you stand still, you will die – be active.
As we mediate on the dangers of procrastination, consider the following New Testament passages:
- Delaying the Lord’s call: Matthew 8:21–22 and Luke 9:59–62
- The parable of the five foolish virgins: Matthew 25:2–13
- Excuses!: Luke 14:16–21
- Now is the day for salvation: 2 Corinthians 6:2
Don’t delay, be active for the King today.
But Amasa did not observe the sword that was in Joab’s hand. So Joab struck him with it in the stomach and spilled his entrails to the ground without striking a second blow, and he died. Then Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri. 2 Samuel 20:10 (ESV)
Joab murdered Amasa, but it should not have been so easy, Amasa should have been alert and able to defend himself. His sluggish character betrays him to his quick, violent and untimely death.
In one sense, Amasa dies for committing high treason against king David, which is what his procrastination amounts to.
We must not allow ourselves to become guilty of treason through procrastination, we should love and fear our King, carrying out His will with swiftness.
The bible calls us to be sober and alert, we need to be like an expert solider, in the spirit. Soldiers who are at war will be alert, their senses will be heightened and their reaction will be quick.
Paul warns us in 1 Thessalonians 5:6, “So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.” and in 1 Peter 5:8 we are told “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Be alert, don’t get caught out, do not let the enemy catch you slipping. If he does, he will strike and you will fall, so let us be alert today.
Speak up, do something
Then a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab, ‘Come here, that I may speak to you.’ ” 2 Samuel 20:16 (ESV)
This wise woman saved the entire city by calling out to Joab, reasoning with him and without delay, beheading Sheba and throwing his head over the wall.
This woman was a heroine, she saved an entire city. If she was a lazy procrastinator, she would not have been concerned with the welfare of the city or bothered herself to do something about it.
Don’t keep thinking that someone else will do it, they won’t. It is up to you to make a plan and execute it.
Jesus told us to be bold, open and deliberate about our good works, in Matthew 5:16, “the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
If you see a problem today, be willing to be used by the Lord to solve it or to add to the solution. Get up and say something, get up and do something.
Do good today, do not be a selfish procrastinator. Here is some encouragement from the New Testament: Galatians 6:9, 2 Thessalonians 3:13 and Hebrews 12:3.
Now Joab was in command of all the army of Israel; and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was in command of the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and Adoram was in charge of the forced labor; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder; and Sheva was secretary; and Zadok and Abiathar were priests; and Ira the Jairite was also David’s priest. 2 Samuel 20:23–26 (ESV)
David reorganises his government, putting in place faithful men who are all men of action, with track records of pressing through and getting the job done.
Joab with all his faults, is a leader of men. A man who will lead in battle with courage, quickness and wisdom and so is reinstated as the General of the army.
One of the reasons for procrastination is a lack of organisation. Without adequate organisation in our personal lives or in a team, a task can seem insurmountable.
Jesus has not called any one of us to be the body on our own, we are all members of the body, as we studied yesterday. We need to know our position in the wider body and hold that position in honour to all other members, this is how we will be well organised as a people. 1 Corinthians 12:20
Ask God to guide you by His Spirit, to organise your own life and show you how you can bring better organisation and administration to the ministries you are involved in, which will deal a deathblow to one of procrastination’s favourite hiding places.
Be active but honourable
But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Saul’s son Jonathan, because of the oath of the LORD that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul. 2 Samuel 21:7 (ESV)
David needed to take action in the matter of the Gibeonites. He was not just driven by the need to be active, he was able to show restraint and was honourable towards Jonathan’s son and later orders that the house of Saul be given a good burial.
We need to make sure that in our desire to not procrastinate, that we do not become callous active people. We must be active, but must be led by God the Holy Spirit, living with His fruit showing in our lives and actions. Romans 8:14
Kill the giants
But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid and attacked the Philistine and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him, “You shall no longer go out with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel.” 2 Samuel 21:17 (ESV)
David was saved by Joab’s brother, who killed the Giant for him, and as we read to the end of the chapter, we see Goliath’s four brothers are all killed by David’s faithful, active men.
We need to take action to kill the giants in our lives. As we battle each day, we will face giants, one of the giants is procrastination, so kill it today.
Here are a few things to consider today while slaying the giant of procrastination:*
Procrastination robs you
- Procrastination Robs You of Opportunities for Service
- Procrastination Robs You of the Opportunity to Be Successful
- Procrastination Robs You of the Opportunity for Salvation
Consider the Procrastinator
- Consider the Identity of the Procrastinator
- Consider the Instruction of the Procrastinator
- Consider the Impact on the Procrastinator
- Consider the Intention of the Procrastinator
Procrastination’s Two Big Problems:
- Procrastination Produces a False Sense of Control
- Procrastination Ignores the Uniqueness of Conviction
*adapted from the contents page of David Jeremiah’s ‘Facing the giants in your life’.
2 Peter 3:14–18
Grow in grace and knowledge
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 (ESV)
This is a great summary of the Christian life, we should not be inactive, lazy, lawless or selfish, we should be active members of the body of Christ, growing every day.
This is not theoretical head-knowledge, this is personal and experiential knowledge from the truth of God’s word, which informs our relationship with God.
The gift of God in the truth of the scriptures and the gift of grace, will keep us stable as we grow and will keep us from error. Thank God for the gift of true knowledge and grace today.
Our help is the Lord
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, Psalm 146:5 (ESV)
We don’t need to let fear cause us to procrastinate, we can move forward and take action because the Lord is our help.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on 2 Peter 3