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.