Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: (Proverbs 30:24 NIV)
There are some who subscribe to the ethos that size matters. The thinking is that the bigger the better. Thankfully the wisdom seen in Proverbs suggests otherwise.
The sayings in Agur in chapter 30 are, as with a lot of the proverbs, deep and profound saying worthy of contemplation beyond the surface. What he says about the extremely wise small creatures in verses 25-27 brings out thoughts when I consider them.
- Ants storing food in the summer (vs 25). Small though they may be, these ants ensure that they make the most of the season to store. Something about the power of the collective in ensuring and safeguarding the future by actions in the present. Making the most of the light and the warmth in preparation for times of cold and darkness.
- Rock badgers making homes in the crags (vs 26) The imagery here is of small beasts not seemingly able to do much. Yet there is strength in numbers as they are able to make the most of their surroundings and the capacity they have together to create places to live wherever they find themselves. The strength is not about size, but about joint purpose in establishing stability.
- Locusts moving in ranks (vs 27) The remarkable aspect of the locusts here is how they can make movements in an orderly way without a king or a set leader. It’s certainly remarkable in mentalities that are so dependent on hierarchical models. Yet in the same way that creatures can establish dwellings and store for the summer, the capacity is there for people to organise themselves and make progress because they understand the importance of their part in the whole, not just as individual without needing to be under a pyramid structure.
- Lizard in kings’ palaces (vs 28) What springs to my mind reading this is how something like a lizard can find itself in the right place at the right time. That right place being in the top echelons of influence despite its size and the fact that it can be held, it still finds itself up there where decisions are made, where wealth is at its peak where security is at its tightest where everything is at its best because its fitting for royalty. Right there amidst it all is the creature who has found himself there to make the most of its surroundings, small though it may be.
Even these thoughts touch the surface of the depths of truth to be found in appreciating the big things to learn from the small.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden