Gleanings from the proverbs: Lessons from little things on earth!


Proverbs 30:24: “Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise”.

You can learn much from little things on earth. The Wiseman Solomon teaches us wisdom through observations of sets of things in nature. He now lists four very small things, and he points out that much wisdom can be learned from each of them. Be attentive, dear friend.

Men consider these four creatures – ants, rabbits, locusts, and spiders – insignificant, stupid, and beneath their respect. They spend much more time and effort trying to destroy these creatures than they do observing and learning the wisdom their Creator gave them. It is humbling for man to find wisdom in them that he has not consistently acquired himself! My dear reader, the Creator is teaching us a general lesson of humility!

The instincts of these small creatures are generally superior to our higher world of reason and intelligence. Who is full of foresight as the ant? Secure as the rabbit? Cooperative as the locust? And diligent as the spider? The Creator puts us in our place. Without Him we are fools. In the habits of these four animals is wisdom that can teach, correct, and rebuke any person. But our business schools still speculate on the causes of success! I wish there were modules based on small animals or even the words of Solomon.

How perceptive and discerning are you? Are you impressed by size, beauty, sound, and show? Or do you look for wisdom and conduct, foresight and diligence, and other traits of much greater value than appearance? Wisdom is the principal thing, and it will serve you well to see the wisdom these small, ugly, silent, and reticent creatures have.

God is glorious in all His works, even the small ones. God brags to Job of his largest creatures, leviathon (large sea monster or creature ) and behemoth (a mythological beast – the name has come to be used for any extremely large or powerful entity). (Job 40:15; 41:11); but here we can also see His majesty in small things. Do you look close enough to see that His whole creation declares His glory? Do you get as much pleasure from the hummingbird as the elephant?

Nature contains lessons of wisdom that have been lost in our “enlightened” world. For example, our brother Paul appeals to the natural rules of hair (I Cor 11:14-1). Long hair on a man is disgusting, but long hair on a woman is glorious. Ignoring the perverts of our generation, these rules have been observed by most enlightened men from the creation of the world. It does not matter what the hippies or designers say, the rule is as true as gravity! Long hair on a man is the same as a man wearing a laced nightgown!

Paul also appeals to the universal condemnation of sodomy inherent in our nature (Rom 1:26-27). God’s word plainly condemns this abomination, but so does nature. Most men have despised it since creation. Modest understanding of anatomy, biology, hygiene, health, character, sexual attraction, and human society create disgust of this perversion.

Solomon seeks to teach four lessons of wisdom in four consecutive proverbs, identifying unique characteristics of four very small things. They are the ant (Pr 25), the cony/rabbit (Pr 26), the locust (Pr 27), and the spider (Pr 28). Fretting over precisely which species Solomon intends with each of these creatures misses the lessons. The lessons are foresight and savings (Pr 25), secure defence (Pr 26), cooperation in societies (Pr 27), and persistent diligence (Pr 28).

Let us be careful not to despise the poor and weak of this world when we meet them, for God has chosen them rich in faith and heirs of His kingdom (James 2:5; I Cor 1:26-29). And when we need wisdom, let us go to the God of wisdom, Who is able to endow even these small things with great amounts of it. Surely He can answer your need (James 1:5)!

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