Summary: Each animal represents a contrast which refers to wisdom triumphing over weakness, or lack of worldly significance or strength. We should not think that size means defeat or insignificance. Size does not count nearly as much as wisdom. Within each creatur
PROVERBS 30: 24-28
SMALL BUT SIGNIFICANT
Ants, badgers, locust, and lizards....Sounds like we're on a nature walk - or an advertisement for a new animated movie. Well, we will be letting these animals of God's Creation teach us, and I hope they help our message tonight come alive. Man can draw instruction from the physical world, for God teaches us by His works as well as His word (30:5). He teaches us by His small works as well as His great Universe.
As Agur the writer of Proverbs 30 continues his list of observations, he says there are four seemingly insignificant beings that teach very significant lessons such as wisdom triumphs over physical strength. According to the opening statement in verse 24, "Four things are small on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise."
Each animal represents a contrast which refers to wisdom triumphing over weakness, or lack of worldly significance or strength. We should not think that size means defeat or insignificance. Size does not count nearly as much as wisdom (CIT). Within each creature there is a remarkable ability that can lead to great accomplishment.
Oftentimes we despise the little things upon the earth, but if we look a little deeper at them we might see the hand of God who furnished these little creatures with sufficient means of provision, defense, and safety.
[This lesson is particulary fitting for younger or less gifted students. Its point is that persistent, thoughtful effort will pay off even for those who seem less promising.] May we let each of God's creatures teach us lesson's in life.
I. THE ANT (25)
The first illustration taken from nature is the ant in verse 25. The ants are not a strong people, but they prepare their food in the summer."
One of the small but wise creatures are ants. Ants are exceedingly wise according to Agur. Ants display their wisdom in unwearied industry, prudent foresight, and leaderless teamwork, as they gather their food in the summer (6:6-8). Though so unimpressive and common that hundreds can be crushed by the tread of a foot, yet they wisely prepare way ahead for the coming winter.
We might learn a lesson from them and prepare for retirement, but a better lesson learned would be to prepare here and now for the coming eternity. It would be ill considered not to prepare for retirement now but a far greater thoughtlessness would be in making no provision for the coming eternity. Sitting back in inactivity, as if there was no work for God, for the soul, or for eternity to be done could be unwise preparation for a certain future. "Prepare to meet your God," Amos declared (4:12). Yet so often man ignores the warning concerning eternity. Even a smaller than a pee brain ant knows to prepare for the certain future.
[Ants not only survive, but thrive, due to their industry, foresight and teamwork. One lone ant can't accomplish much. Well, he can move a few crumbs around and dig out a few grains of dirt, but he can't construct a vast underground community by himself. That requires communication and cooperation. But ants are experts at teamwork. And that's another lesson they teach us.
Ants: little on the earth, yet so wise. People: masters of the earth, yet have much to learn from the ants. As Christian workers, are we learning the lesson of working together with our fellow believers to accomplish God's work? Or are we trying to do it all ourselves - risking burn out and failure? God's work done in God's way requires teamwork.]
II. THE BADGER (26)
The weak and defenseless rock-badgers in verse 26 wisely make their house in the rocks. "The shephanim are not mighty people, yet they make their houses in the rocks".
Bible scholars have difficulty identifying the animal this Hebrew word designates. It has been called a coney, a badger and a shephanim or a rock badger (small, shy, furry) or Syrian Hyrax.
The "rock badgers," animals about the size of rabbits but with smaller ears and shorter legs like guinea pigs. They are fast, but they can't maintain their speed. They can be run down quite easily. Thus it is extremely vulnerable to attack from its natural predators. Its enemies include snakes, eagles, buzzards, leopards, lions, dogs and other small beasts of prey such as the mongoose. How does this little fellow manage to survive with so many enemies? This small animal knows where to go when danger threatens.
It makes its home in clefts of the rocks frequently along the side of a steep cliff. Those rugged crags jutting out from the mountains are a perfect hiding place for the badger. If an eagle swoops down and tries to capture him, the little animal is protected by the rock. The eagle would have to tear the mountain apart to get at its prey. When a lion is on the prowl for lunch, the badger often goes undetected by lying close to the rock, because he is the same color as the mountain.