24On this earth four things
are small but very wise:
25ants, who seem to be feeble,
but store up food
all summer long;
26badgers, who seem to be weak,
but live among the rocks;
27locusts, who have no king,
but march like an army;
28lizards, which can be caught
in your hand,
but sneak into palaces.
Contemporary English Version. Copyright © 1995 British & Foreign Bible Society. Used by permission.
Wisdom, or using knowledge to make good decisions, is a highly desirable trait. When God asked King Solomon what he wanted, Solomon chose wisdom. The book of Proverbs is linked to Solomon, and helps the reader to gain wisdom.
There are four animals within God’s creation that, though they seem small and insignificant, are full of wisdom. The writer of Proverbs contrasts the apparent weaknesses of each animal with an example of their wisdom.
Ants are weak, but they wisely think about their future, knowing that strength cannot overcome poor planning.
Rock badgers (or Syrian coneys) are weak, but they wisely make a home in the shelter of the rocks, knowing that strength does not equal security.
Locusts have no leader, but they wisely work together, knowing that the power of a king is no match for a united people.
Lizards are slow and vulnerable, but they wisely do what must be done, knowing that taking risks is a necessity of life.
The lessons on wisdom work from the simplest to the most challenging. Preparing for the future is a lesson that most everyone understands; taking the right kinds of risks is a lesson that most of us struggle with.
In fact, what each of these creatures lack are the same things that we all want: We want to be strong, we want to be powerful, we want to follow a strong leader who will protect us, and we don’t want to be vulnerable. Our desire for physical strength and protection is a natural response to living in a broken world in rebellion from God. Yet, we learn from these animals that wisdom comes from future-planning, a solid foundation, and teamwork, and that appropriate vulnerability surpass mere physical strength. May God grant us the wisdom to thrive in this world.
Father God, you abundantly provide grace, wisdom, and the gift of righteousness. Please teach me your ways and instruct me according to your wisdom and understanding. Lead me to make wise choices so I might demonstrate your righteousness. In Jesus’ majestic name, Amen.