The lizard you may grasp with the hands, Yet it is in kings' palaces. Proverbs 30:28
What is the exceeding wisdom that the lizard has for us? We are told of four animals here - all who demonstrate wisdom by their existance and practics. We come now to the fourth and final animal - the lizard. What does he have to teach us?
First we read that the lizard is not the most intimidating of animals in the world. He can be grasped with the hands. His natural defenses are not very effective. Thus he is able to be caught and grasped with a human hand. The lizard is not given a great deal of weapons at his disposal. The lizard spoken of here is usually the common ones that you seek on the walls in homes. He has no sharp claws or teeth - and the ones mentioned here have no venomous bite or sting to deliver. Yet we are told that he is in the palaces of the king.
The lesson for us is an interesting one. Though we may feel weak and defenseless, we can still be in high places. The lizard teaches us though that if we are to be in such places, we will need to be humble and come in such a way as is fitting for our situation. If the lizard were to come to the king's palace and seek to knock down the door - he would be a fool. If he decided to battle his way into his presence with his great strength - he would be deluding himself. If he decided he would come showing his comeliness and beauty - he would be blind to the fact that he is a lizard. The lizard uses none of these tactics. Instead he is humble and comes quietly. He remains on the wall and chooses not to be boisterous and draw attention to himself. Because this is how he comes - he can be in the presence of the king.
The lizard teaches us that great strength can be had in something as inauspicious as humility. God says that He opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. There is something about a humble man that can disarm even a king. Therefore if we want to be received and come even to a king's palace - we need to learn humility. With the humble comes great favor. Jesus told us that when we come to a banquet we should not seek the place of honor - and take a seat next to our host. That would be coming in pride and arrogance - stating that we are viewed highly in our own mind. The warning was that when our host comes, he would see us in such a proud position and completely overlook us. When he would see someone far more humble taking a seat beneath himself - the host would invite him to sit where we are. At that point we would be humiliated and have to go to the very last seat in the sight of all those present. Instead we should adopt the attitude of the lizard. Jesus said that we should take the lowest place at the table. Then when our host sees us taking such a humble place, he would request for us a better seat - and we would be honored before all at the banquet. This is where our Lord told us that God opposes the proud, but honors the humble.
Exceedingly wise is the lizard, who embraces humility. Wise indeed he is to come quietly and without fanfare. Thus he is in king's palaces. Wise also is the man who in life chooses to humble himself, not just to be exalted, but who truly sees himself humbly. We are counselled to humble ourselves in the presence of the Lord, and he will exalt you (James 4:10
). So be wise - be like a lizard - humble yourself - and be blessed by the Lord.
The shephanim are not mighty people, Yet they make their houses in the rocks; Proverbs 30:26
The shaphanim is the second animal from which we are to learn in this passage. First of all we need to identify just what a "shephanim" is. They are not rabbits as some first thought. They are the rock hyrax - or hyrax syriacus. They are very weak and defenseless little creatures. The book of Leviticus lists them among he unclean animals. They have long hair, a short little tail, and round ears. These little animals are for the most part defenseless. They cannot burrow into the ground for safety and they have precious little about them that strikes fear into any predator. What they do for safety is that they hind in and among the rocks to find a place they can be safe.
The point of this reference to one of the most helpless of animals is not to point to his great power - because he has none - but rather to point to his wisdom. He is considered exceedingly wise for taking refuge in the rocks. The point is to show that he is weak - unable to defend himself - with many natual predators - yet he finds safety in the rocks. What a great picture for us as men. The little rock hyrax does have a message of wisdom for us weak men as well. We are weak and unclean in the sight of God. Man boasts great strength, yet his boasts before a holy God are empty and meaningless. He is utterly helpless before God - and due to his sin and rebellion - he faces a fate worse than death in the judgment. Yet, just as the little rock hyrax finds refuge, safety, and help in the rock - so we as men should find a similar "exceeding wisdom" in running to the Rock as well. Our rock though is not a physical inanimate object laying on the ground. Our Rock is Jesus Christ, the Rock of ages. David knew of Him when he asked Jehovah to "lead me to the rock that is higher than I." (Psalm 61:2
) He is the Rock Moses came to and struck from which came abundant rivers of water that gave drink to a thirsty and dry people. He is the "cleft of the rock" in which the Lord hid Moses as all His glory passed by, so that Moses would not be consumed." He is the Rock upon which we should build so that our house may stand in times of difficulty - of rain, flood, and storm. He is the Rock upon which God will build His church so that the very gates of hell will not prevail against it.
The little rock hyrax has a message for us. We are defenseless, without hope of deliverance in our own strength, and facing certain death. We need to run to the Rock of ages - the Rock of our salvation - the Rock of refuge - Who is Jesus Christ. There is no other place of true safety for us. Let us come unto Him then, Who is our safety and our hope. Let us come to Him and find not just strength - but ultimate safety from every enemy - and from the judgment that will come.
Four things are small on the earth, But they are exceedingly wise: the ants are not a strong people, But they prepare their food in the summer; Proverbs 30:24-25
Here is a section in Proverbs that urges us to look at the glory of God in nature - as well as the lessons that He wants to teach us from what He has made in the animal kingdom. God has the writer call our attention to four animals that are small, yet exceedingly wise. Therefore our job is to look at these animals and glean what we can from their habits and their actions. This is also a kind of shot at the "bigger is always better" mentality that exists in our world. The saying should be "wiser is better." Since that is true in almost every situation, why don't we apply ourselves to learning from the ants, shapharim, locusts, and lizard for a few days.
We are first called to look at ants. This is kind of funny, because among the boys that I hung out with as a child, we all looked at ants. We were amazed at them as they worked hard - and as they marched on in their single line to and from a food source until they had gathered every last bit of it and taken it to their home. This is what we are called to see from the ant their wisdom in preparing food when it is a season to do so - and preparing it for a time when there will be no sowing and reaping because winter has come and the growing cycle is dormant.
We are reminded of a previous proverb in chatper 6:6-8 telling us to go to the ant and learn from her ways so that we will not be sluggards - so that we will not be lazy and undisciplined in providing for our families. The wisdom of the ant is that he prepares when he can for a time when he will need what he has prepared. This makes the ant exceedingly wise.
In this life we need to be wise in preparing for the future as best we can. That meant for me getting life insurance to put my wife's heart at ease in the event I die before her. That meant learning to manage our finances, paying off debt, and then seeking to stay out of debt. It meant living within our means - and when possible and within the will of God - working hard at additional things to provide additional funds for things like our children's education and paying off our home early. Please understand that the example of the ant is that he works HARD when he can to provide. That is the other exceedingly wise thing we should learn - that it is godly to work HARD to provide for your family. This also should remind us of this responsiblity in spiritual things as well. Are we "working hard" spiritually for our families - growing in the Lord, studying the Scriptures, praying, being a godly example? Your children need to see this EARLY in our lives - because there will come a day when they will decide which direction they are going in life. Know this, they will far more follow our example that they will what we've told them to do - especially when these two things did not match up in our lives.
I want to relate a passage I read from J. Vernon McGee on the ant. He wrote about the emperor Hadrian, who was a wicked ruler in the Roman empire. It was related that he said the following when he was dying,
"No more crown for this head, no more beauty for these eyes, no more music for these ears, and no morefood for this stomach of mine. But my soul, oh, my soul, what is to become of you?"
The reason I share this is because wisdom prepares now for something that you cannot prepare for in the future after it has come. The Word of God lets us know in Hebrews 9:27
that after we die physically there will be a judgment. Jesus informs us in the gospels that we will be judged for every idle word that we speak. Romans informs us that if we want to live by the Law, we will be judged by it - and that no one is ever made righteous by the Law. Instead they are made painfully aware of their heart of rebellion and their sin. So the question for us is also this. Have we made preparation for the future by drawing near to God and running to His remedy for our souls in the gospel of Jesus Christ? There is no other way for men to be made right with God. There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. There is no other way, truth, of life - except Jesus Christ - and He is the only way to come to the Father except through Him. To delay in this is foolishness of the ultimate kind. Be exceedingly wise like the ant - and while it is a time to work - work hard. While it is a time to grow spiritually - apply yourself wholly to this task. Finally, while it is the day of salvation - repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer And
gathers her provision in the harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8
Ants are good teachers for us when it comes to avoiding laziness and a lack of discipline in our lives. The father here uses ants to teach his son a lesson about avoiding the sin of laziness.
Having told his son to go to the ant and observe her ways - he says that wisdom is with these little creatures. Their great wisdom is how they work hard without having to be supervised. They have no chief, officer, or ruler watching over all that they do - making them work. The ant knows that there is a time when gathering won't be possible - so he works hard when he can. He also knows to store things up - to prepare for the times when there will be no food.
The lessons for us are numerous. First, we need to have a self-driven work ethic. This is an ability to work hard - even when no one is looking. It means that when we know what to do - we do it. We don't need someone looking over our shoulders - or standing over us making sure that we work hard. We are motivated from within to do that. When I talk to the businessmen in my congregation my heart aches for them. They say that it is so difficult to find people who want to work. They tell me that most of the people they interview have great expectations for what they will be paid and how they will be treated - but almost no work ethic to do what they should do. What is even more sad to me is that they tell me that this is the case whether they are non-christians or christians. That is an indictment that we should not have laid at the feet of the church. We should have a work ethic driven by a desire to honor God.
The second lesson is also important for us to grasp. We need to be wise in how we deal with our money - setting aside funds for times when things are lean. History warns us that these time will come. Over and over again there have been lean times for humanity. The wise who store up for those times are ready, while those who simply spend all that they get - are unprepared for such times. I am not saying that we should be like the foolish farmer who stored up an abundance - and was not rich toward God. But I am saying that just like there are those examples, there are also others where God wanted His people to be wise in setting aside things for a lean time. Joseph was such an example - and his wisdom in setting aside the blessings of God - kept an entire region of the world from starvation and devastation.
A wise man knows the value of hard work - and of frugality. Both are character traits that God encourages us to embrace. Even though such things are mocked by the world around us, we should continue to speak in praise of them - and more importantly practice them to our future preparation and blessing.
By His knowledge the deeps were broken up And the skies drip with dew. Proverbs 3:20
What does God breaking up the deeps and having the sky drip with dew have to do with walking in wisdom? These comments from Proverbs 3:20
are a part of two verses that speak of God creating the world. But they are also a larger part of an argument from the writer of Proverbs as to why we should look to God for His wisdom. His argument is that if God can do these marvelous things through the creation - then we should know that He is more than able to meet any need that we wil ever face.
We read first here that by God's knowledge the deeps were broken up. The only other place a phrase like this makes sense is in Genesis 7:11
where we read that during the flood the fountains of the great deep bursted open. Later in Genesis 8:w we read that these "foundtains of the deep" were closed. The only other time in Scripture the "deep" is mentioned in this way is as a description of Israel walking through the Red Sea during the Exodus. It was by the wisdom of God that the Lord broke open these places where water was stored in the oceans. Some wonder where all the water came from that caused the earth to flood during the time of Noah - and evidently it came from rain and from huge undergroud reservoirs of water that were released when these deeps were broken up. Today, we are just beginning to be able to do deep-water drilling in the oceans. but the thought of going to the deepest parts of the oceans - and releasing huge reservoirs of water are beyond us still. But God, by His knowledge, broke them up and released all that water.
God then turns from the massive in the realms of water, to the very small. It is also by God's wisdom that the skys drip dew. The dew is a fascinating thing to understand. This process happens each night as cold meets hot in the atmosphere - and the result is the condensation of water into dew. We can predict when dew will happen - but the wisdom that produced the process whereby dew happens is astounding. It would take generating the entire atmosphere and weather systems that function like clockwork around our globe. When you consider for a moment that God has dew forming pretty much 24 hours a day - every day we live - you begin to see the magnitude of having dew drip from the skies.
What God is trying to get us to grasp is that He is incredibly smart - actually infinitely smart - really, He is the originator of all knowledge of all things - there is nothing He did not know, nor is there anything that He will ever NOT know. Therefore, we would be wise if we turned to the God Who can break open the deeps, as well as cause the skies to drip with dew. If Almighty God can do these things by His wisdom, do you not think He can handle whatever problem we are currently trying to solve without it?
My son, eat honey, for it is good, Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste; Know that
wisdom is thus for your soul; If you find it,
then there will be a future, And your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 24:13-14
Here we have it on biblical authority - eat honey! There is an interesting study that comes with seeing the benefits of honey and then comparing those to the benefits of wisdom to our souls. Let's take a look at them today and gain wisdom by learning a little more about honey and wisdom.
Solomon tells us here that we should eat honey for it is good. Anyone who has tasted honey knows that it tastes good - but Solomon is saying more than this. He says that honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. There are sugars in honey that make it a wonderful source of sweetness. Note though that Solomon is telling us to eat honey from the comb - natural, not processed. Then we are told that just like honey is good for us an sweet to our taste - so also wisdom is for our soul. We are reminded that when we find wisdom, there will be a future. The word used here is "acharith" which means, "a latter end." What the word says to us is that when we get wisdom - there is a good end to things. If we live our lives with wisdom - our lives will have a desired end - one that is blessed and good. We are also told that when we partake of wisdom - our hope will not be cut off. Wisdom yields a lasting hope. Wise living is living for eternal things. Living for this world may seem great at first - but in the end it is bitter. We have things now - we have pleasures now - but they are all cut off by death. Ecclesiastes also reminds us that we may be able to enjoy the things of the world when we are young - but when we are old those same things will not satisfy. The older we get - the less we enjoy things due to the aging of our bodies. So to live for the foolishness of this world - is to live for a hope that is cut off more and more every year. In the end - when the "acharith" comes - it is cut off altogether. Wisdom will protect us from living for a hope that will be cut off.
But how does honey factor into all this? There are several ways that honey is helpful and healthy for our bodies. The first is the way that honey gives us sugars. Refined sugar is digested in a way that elevates our sugar levels in our blood stream - making it easier to become diabetic. Honey has actually been pre-digested by the bees - and is digested in a way that gives us the energy we need - without an elevation in our blood sugar levels. In other words, honey gives us what we need - but does so without also giving us the negative. Wisdom is the same way. There are those who desire to be smart and educated - but their education lacks God's wisdom and understanding. When this happens a person has a tendency to become very smart, but also very arrogant. They get the blessing of knowledge and education - but do so without getting humility and submission to God. This makes their education dangerous in that they trust a man-centered wisdom - that due to the sin nature in man - rejects the moral wisdom of God. In the end, their learning tends to corrupt them for they reject God's revelation and view education, knowledge, and wisdom to be purely a human endeavor. God's wisdom is different. Like the honey - it offers the good in a way that is not harmful. God's wisdom educates us - but with a view to submission to God. The more we learn, the more we embrace humility. We see that wisdom comes from God. The Lord does not bypass true learning and education - it is just submitted to God's moral law and is used to bring glory to Him. Because the God-centered worldview is radically different from the humanistic worldview - the learned gained in each system will lead to drastically different conclusions about life.
A second benefit of honey is that it is filled with antioxidants that help us to fight disease. We have learned over the years that antioxidants help us fight free radicals - a type of chemical compound in our bodies that weakens them and makes them more succeptible to disease and even cancer. Honey helps fight these free radicals and keep them from harming us. Wisdom is like honey in this regard. Left to ourselves we will make choices that are harmful to us. The fall of man into sin has guaranteed that. According to Romans 1
and Ehpesians 4 - our understanding is darkened due to sin. We will inevitably choose to make a god of our choosing rather than honor the God who made heaven and earth. Wisdom from God counters this tendecy in sinful man - pointing us to God as the source of wisdom and understanding - rather than turning to our own ungodly wisdom instead. Wisdom that we gain from God's Word is like a divine antioxidant that will counter our tendency to turn to ourselves and the world for wisdom. Whereas the world tells us that we are free to make our own sexual choices - even if that involves sex outside of marriage - God's wisdom tells us that sexual intercourse outside of marriage is wrong and harmful to us. God's wisdom has been vindicated as study after study shows us that abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in it keeps us from all kinds of disease that runs rampant in the sexually promiscuous population. Like a divine antioxidant, the Word protects us from the free radicals of our sinful nature and the world system around us.
Another benefit of honey is that is it a wonderful antibacterial and antibiotic. I learned from a local honey grower in our town that honey is wonderful to use in fighting infection - especially among burn victims. In China honey is used to keep burn victims from getting infections. Their success rate in keeping burn victims from getting infections puts ours to shame in America. Wisdom is just like honey in this regard. It is a divine remedy to keep us from being infected with the world's thought - and thus from the world's maladies. God's wisdom tells us that in relationships we should be selfless and patient. The world tends to be all about themselves in relationships. That is why there are so many broken relationships in the world. Marriages are protected from selfishness infections when God's wisdom prevails. Families are protected from self-centered outbreaks when we apply a healthy dose of God's wisdom to the inevitable difficulties and problems that we will face in this world.
These are just a couple of the ways that honey and wisdom are good for us body and soul. When we choose to have a daily diet that includes these things, we will be blessed. As we read earlier - this will provide us with a desired end and a hope that will not be cut off. We will find ourselves energized with God's power - as well as protected from the infections of the world in our minds, hearts, and spirits. So eat up dear saints! Eat honey - do so wisely, but partake of it. Take a healthy daily dose of wisdom from God's Word as well. You will find that when you do this - there will be blessings that will last far beyond a moment - or even a day. You will be given blessings that will last a lifetime.
Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, Proverbs 6:6
The sluggard is commanded to go look at an insect. But this particular insect, the ant, has much to teach him. The ant is a remarkable creature who exercises foresight, industry, and economy in what it does. The sluggard has none of these things. The word sluggard simply means a lazy, useless one. The interesting thing is what this laziness is associated with in Scripture. It is associated with moral failure - with getting nothing out of life - with tardiness - and with arrogance and pride.
God tells the sluggard to go observe the ant, to see what the ant does. The ways of the ant are what are to be viewed - and that takes us back to her industry, her hard work, her discipline to get things done at the proper time. The sluggard is told that if he would emulate the ant - he would become wise.
It would be easy for us to look at the sluggard and judge him. But before we are too hasty we might want to take a look at ourselves and see if there are any similarities. The current state of Christianity too often mirrors the sluggard. As a society we have more free time than just about any other society before us - and yet our ignorance of the Scritpures is astounding. Things like television, movies, and a thousand other pursuits dominate our lives while the work of the kingdom often languishes for workers. We approach children's and youth sports with an almost religious fervor - as well as any other activity that we can do for our children. Yet when it comes to our children being taught the things of the Lord - we yet languish again. For all our free time it is interesting to note that one of the most oft heard complaints I experience is that our families and individuals struggle with the pace and hectic nature of their lives.
Maybe we too can learn a great deal from the ant and her ways? Maybe we should observe her and learn - and become wise?