By Zachary Grimm
“There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; the conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; the locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; the spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.” — Proverbs 30:24-28
Here in our text, Agur sets forth a simile: four creatures whose habits reflect the life of a Christian. Each of these four animals proclaim principles that should characterize each individual. This is why the text says, “They are exceeding wise.”
Solomon said, in Proverbs 6:6, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” Jesus said, “Behold the fowls of the air” (Matthew 6:26), and, “Consider the lilies of the field” (vs. 28). As we study Scriptures, we can see many things that can be learned from nature.
There is an interesting expression found in the middle of verse 24: “which are little upon the earth.” Although these animals aren’t what we would consider great, the Bible says they are “exceeding wise.”
This is interesting because of what is found in verse 13, which says, “There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.” It is as though God is showing us that we really don’t know as much as we think we know. Many people think they are wise, yet God says, “Consider these four little creatures, and they will give you wisdom.”
Now, let us consider each of these wise creatures, and see if we can learn some principles from their lives.
Even though the ant is capable of lifting twenty times its own body weight, Agur says that they are a “people not strong.” What does he mean by this? I believe he is referring to verse 24: “which are little upon the earth.” Comparatively speaking, they are very strong creatures; but in actuality, they are not much. How much effort does it take to smash an ant? No effort at all. We can easily kill them accidentally. Nevertheless, the Bible says there is much we can and should learn from this tiny part of God’s creation.
We, too, are lacking in strength. Without the Lord, we can do nothing. Jesus said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). Let’s abide in Him.
“Yet they prepare their meat in the summer.” From this, I believe we learn to be prepared. There is nothing like being prepared. I cannot tolerate procrastination. I hate it. God hates it. To be unprepared is to show our own laziness and unconcern.
There is an old story of a king and his clown or “jester” who sometimes said very foolish things. One day the jester had said something so foolish that the king, handing him a staff, said to him, “Take this, and keep it till you find a bigger fool than yourself.”
Some years later, the king lay on his deathbed. His courtiers were called: his family and his servants also stood round his bedside. The king, addressing them, said, “I am about to leave you. I am going on a very long journey and I shall not return again to this place: so I have called you all to say goodbye.”
Then, his jester stepped forward, and, addressing the king, said, “Your Majesty, may I ask a question? When you have journeyed abroad visiting your people or paying diplomatic visits to other courts, your heralds and servants have always gone before you, making preparations for you. May I ask what preparations your Majesty has made for this long journey that he is about to take?”
“Alas!” replied the king, “I have made no preparations.”
“Then,” said the jester, “Take this staff with you, for now I have found a bigger fool than myself.”
Hebrews 3:15 says, “While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” People put everything off until the very last minute, but many times it is too late. May we learn from the ant, and prepare for the things ahead.
Another principle that can be learned from the ant is a four-letter word that most people don’t like: WORK. Ants are hard workers. Have you ever seen an ant taking it easy? I don’t think so! That’s not even in their vocabulary. Ants are hard workers.
Proverbs 6:6-8 says, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” We must learn from the ant to be good workers.
The apostle Paul had something to say about this: “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Having a good work ethic is part of being a godly Christian.
To my understanding, the coney is basically the same as a hyrax. The hyrax is of the rodent family, looks similar to a guinea pig, and is about the same size as a rabbit.
In verse 26, Agur tells us that the conies are a “feeble folk.” This word “feeble” comes from two Hebrew words. The first word is lôh (lo) which means not or no. The second word is ‘âtsûwm (aw-tsoom’) which means powerful or numerous. So we come to the conclusion that “feeble” means “not powerful.” They are very weak and vulnerable animals. They have no strength of their own to defend themselves against attacks.
We are no different. Without the Lord’s strength, we would utterly fail. Listen to what Isaiah said, “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31).
When we are filled with pride (as so many of us are), we tend to think we can serve God in our own power. However, the wise man said, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). The wise Christian will realize that without God, we are nothing. Just as soon as we begin to lift ourselves up, Satan sends some wickedness our direction, and we fall. We need to learn to stay humble and seek refuge in the Lord.
The wisdom of the coney is in its place of refuge. When a dangerous predator attacks, it quickly runs to hide in its home—the rocks.
When evil presents us with a seemingly insurmountable attack, we must seek for refuge. When Satan throws his fiery darts at us, we must run to our place of safety—the Rock of Ages.
Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood, from Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure, save from wrath and make me pure.
— Augustus Toplady
Yes, indeed, Jesus is our Rock to which we can flee when faced with danger.
The locust is basically the same thing as a grasshopper. Agur tells us that they “have no king” (vs. 27). Bees have what we call a queen. So do ants. But grasshoppers have no such thing. However, they do not go about in a diversified manner; they have unity.
Our King is in Heaven at this very moment interceding for us. We have no earthly king who rules over the church. We do have a pastor, but he is not to be a lord over the flock of God. Therefore, it is expedient that we have unity. Without it, we won’t get much accomplished.
In order for the grasshoppers (or locusts) to have unity, they must give up their own selfish ambitions. They must come together for a common goal. One grasshopper cannot say, “I think I’ll go over here and do this.” No, he must cooperate with the other grasshoppers.
The Bible says they go about “all of them by bands.” There is much that can be learned from this statement.
First, notice that it says “all of them.” Not some of them. Not a majority. All of them. Someone said, “All means all, and that’s all all means.” If our church decides to come together for a specific goal, and one church member decides to do it some other way, it won’t work. Unity requires participation from all.
Over and over again, in the Acts of the apostles, we see that they were all of one accord (Acts 1:14; 2:1, 46; 4:24; 5:12; 8:6; 15:25). Paul said, “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Philippians 2:1-2).
Secondly, it says they go forth “by bands.” The word “bands” means to disperse into ranks. What I believe this is saying is that we must be humble enough to let others take a more prominent position than us. If one grasshopper was to become upset and throw a pity party, what would become of the band? Unity requires humility. We need to join together for the cause of Christ.
Notice, also, they go forth. Grasshoppers don’t stay long in one place. There are other places to be. There is more food to be eaten.
Joshua 13:1 says, “Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the Lord said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.” Our work on earth is not over until the Lord calls us home. And until that time comes, we should be busy about serving God.
I don’t know about you, but spiders are definitely not on my list of favorite creatures! With eight legs, four eyes, and two really big fangs—they’re just a little bit creepy. But, the Bible describes them here in a very positive way.
“The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces” (vs. 28). Have you ever noticed that spiders are every where? Essentially, there seems to be no place that a spider can’t go. Whether it’s in the deepest rain forest or the driest desert, the spider can be found. It may be a run-down apartment building or Buckingham Palace; where ever you go, spiders are doing their business. And by the way, most of the time they aren’t wanted. Some people give much effort in eradicating spider webs from their houses (which is a good idea).
There are places in this world where Christians are not welcome. Should this discourage us? I think not, for what saith the Scriptures? “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37). We can have the victory through our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
If someone were to attempt to remove a spider web from a corner of their house, they would find that it is not a one time deal; after the web has been removed, if left alone, the spider will build another web in the same place. Spiders don’t give up, and neither should we.
We shouldn’t give up when we fail. Proverbs 24:16 says, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” If we fall, we must get up. To stay down would give Satan the victory, but to arise from our failure gives the glory to God.
Also, we shouldn’t give up in our efforts to reach this lost world for Christ. Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).
The apostles went all over this globe preaching the Gospel and they received much persecution because of it. But they didn’t give up, for we read in Colossians 1:23, “…be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister…”
If we would take the principles from these creatures and apply them to our lives, it would cause us to live closer to the Lord. God didn’t just create animals; He created them with a purpose, and one of those purposes is to teach us to live godly lives. Much wisdom can be drawn from these little creatures. How sad that so few actually take the time to study them. “There be four things which are…exceeding wise.”
Story from Ministry127.com