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.