Blog Topic: There is Wisdom Even In the Smallest Creatures
Commentary/ Embellished by Lydia Ford
Proverbs 30: 24-28
This blog post is going to be done in four parts. I want to introduce to you the characters that are portrayed in Proverbs 30:24-28. A wise man by the name of Agur wrote Proverbs 30. He used the smallest of God’s creatures and calls them small but very wise. He tells: “Look at what the Scripture here states: Proverbs 30:24–28: "Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; coneys are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags; locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks; a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings' palaces."
For the purpose this four-part blog, I want to talk about the ant. Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; his Creator has taught him to use whatever strength he has to prepare for the future. Most of us have seen these delicate creatures scampering across our floors, dashing left and right into small crevices in a corner, climbing up trees, scurrying into cracks underneath our front or back porches, climbing up walls in our bedrooms, attics or in the basement of our homes.
Usually, when great intellectuals, like teachers, professors, or CEO’s of major corporations give examples to their clients, employees, or students to emulate, their model is something grand, prolific, highest in quality or rank, dignified or lofty. When they use various models, they model upward. We place before our audiences, students, staff, military men and women those who are trailblazers, those who have blazed a path to glory. With respect to the Bible, we hold up the heroes of the faith mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11. These men and women have not only touched the lives of people who existed in biblical days but have also influenced the course of history. However, Agur, on the other hand, models down. He chooses four creatures that are small, and though he doesn't say it, they're not particularly appealing to the eye. There aren't many people who have pet ants. Not many people take conies/badgers out for a walk on a leash. When you find a locust or a lizard in your home, you usually try to stomp it to death. Yet Agur chooses these simple creatures, small and unattractive, and as he holds them in high esteem. He explains why these small creatures are able to make us wise.
Agur says Learn from the ant. The ant has little strength, yet it stores up its food in the summer. The ant works today for tomorrow. Putting it another way, the ant knows what time it is in life.
There are a lot of one-dimensional people in the world. There are some folks who live in the past. They are the kind of people who take videos and pictures while on vacation, and when they get home, they watch their videos and look at their pictures. What they enjoyed are the pictures and not the journey. All the while they were on vacation, they complained about the heat, having to wait in long lines at the airport, they complain about a dish that wasn’t served hot enough for them to eat at a restaurant. They complained when their wife spent too much money in the jewelry store. They cussed the valet person out when their luggage banged into their rented car. They're the sorts of folks who drive through life looking in a rear view mirror.
Then there are other folks who live in the present. Their Bible verse of choice is: Now is the accepted time. Now is the day to enjoy yourself. Let us eat, drink and be merry. They live for today as though there was no tomorrow. There are other folks who live in the future. Their theme song is borrowed from Annie: "Tomorrow." Or they sing, with Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"—after I get married or after I graduate or after I'm out in ministry or after I retire, then I'll stumble across my bucket of gold, then I will walk into my destiny, then I will find out from God what His plan and purpose is for my life!
Ha Ha, but the ant knows what time it is. Out of the past, it has developed an instinct to prepare itself. The ant works in the summer to prepare for the winter that lies ahead. Earlier in chapter 30, Agur speaks of this Word as a word that cannot be changed; if you attack the Word, it, in turn, will attack you. Throughout the Book of Proverbs, wise teachers speaking to men and women in the formative period of life urging them to know the Word: study it, memorize it, and meditate upon it. They are to do so because that Word will guide them and guard them and protect them in the days to come. Like the ant, they are to take advantage of the summer because winter lies ahead.
You and I can be assured that winter is coming. Your winter may not look like my winter, but we all have a winter coming. Perhaps a cherished loved one, a mother or father dies suddenly, perhaps the husband you have been married to for forty years decides he wants to trade you in for a younger woman, Maybe the child that you have raised and have given everything to decides to gets strung out on prescription drugs, crack or cocaine. Maybe the ministry that you have watched over, prayed over, spent your life’s work in trying to please God and take care of His people, suddenly goes sour. Your people stop paying their tithes and giving offerings and you can no longer keep the doors of the church open. One thing is certain: for all of us, winter's coming.
In this great country that we call the United States of America, certainly, we have discovered the winter of our discontent! Never have we seen such divisiveness in our country. People have lost their civility. We experience on a daily basis the president of the United States belittling the Free Press, calling it “Fake News” over and over again. We hear him talk negatively about the Department of Justice, The FBI, CIA, We hear him belittle, immigrants, women, countries that we use to call our allies and the list goes on and on. In the 21st century, Men and women have shrugged a shoulder and turned a deafening ear towards anything that has to do with loving and serving God. The Millennials scoff at the idea of confessing Jesus Christ as Lord. Many laugh at the idea that there can only be one way to get to God, so they accept every Jack legged preacher, false prophet’s ideas and words regarding how to live a life of ease, assuring them that there is no such thing as heaven, so you might as well live your best life now.
We live in a barren land where broken hearts and broken dreams and broken lives and broken homes are all over the landscape. Like the land of Narnia, this culture is always winter yet never Christmas. Listen if you are smart, you will take into winter the provisions you stored up in the summer. If you've got the wisdom of the ant, you'll take advantage of the time God has afforded you on this earth.
Though the ant has little strength, it uses what strength it has to prepare for the future. I mentioned earlier several places where you usually find ants. But those are the only places you find them. Ants attend your outings, your picnics, but they don't relax. While you're sitting back drinking a long, tall glass of iced tea and lemonade, munching on a hamburger, chomping on a piece of ribs the ants are carrying off the sugar one grain at a time. If you don't watch them, they'll be back for a grain of rice, a piece of that Nacho chip, and some of the crumbs of that pound cake left on your paper plate. They're always at it, working, straining, and carrying the load. And watch this; If they cannot carry the load themselves, the other worker ants are nearby to help them carry that heavy load. Ants know instinctively, that they must use the summer to prepare for the winter that is lying ahead.
As good stewards of all that God has given us and for your own good an mine as well, we must be people of the Word. We must reflect upon the times in which we live in order to understand where God is working. That takes effort. It demands you love God with your strength and with your mind.
I told my congregation that we were going to study the Book of Proverbs during our fast at the beginning of the year. Proverbs is one of those books that you can read through quickly. But very often we do not slow down to study the Book of Proverbs. We don’t take the time to meditate on the meanings of the various concepts Solomon and Agur provide between these sacred pages. You can’t gulp down the words of the Bible like you would do your medication or a handful of vitamins. You take the vitamins because they build you up. They protect you against diseases in the environment. In the long run, they make you strong.
Studying the Bible is hard work. You will never understand this book, and you'll never be able to apply it to life if you're going to be a lazy couch potato. It demands everything you have in the summer of your life because as stated earlier, winter's coming. If you're not prepared, you'll find winter bleak and cold and spiritually dangerous. Agur says if you've got the brains of an ant, you'll know what time it is and you’ll stay “Lit,” as the young people say!