Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 30:24
Four things are small on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise:
The ants are not a strong people, but they prepare their food in the summer;
The shephanim are not mighty people, yet they make their houses in the rocks;
The locusts have no king, yet all of them go out in ranks;
The lizard you may grasp with the hands yet it is in the kings palaces.
four things are small on the earth but they are exceedingly wise
This proverb declares that wisdom is not only shown by the large, complex, or impressive. Remember that the goal of the proverb is to produce wise men and women. Not every person will be a king or leader of a huge organization. Many will be just ordinary people. But that ordinary, hidden, and not-hardly-noticed-by-the-people-around person does not mean they cannot have a huge impact. This proverb gives types of impact that are exceedingly wise for those who are not noticed by their culture.
The small and disadvantaged can overcome that disadvantage through certain activities. The writer is going to point out those subtle ways to make yourself much more powerful:
First, plan ahead. The ant prepares his food well ahead of time and anticipates difficulties and realizes the pressures of today may not be the needs of next year or ten years from now. Some people will look like they are getting ahead because they will always be getting noticed. They will be getting all the press and yet when the day of reckoning arrives, they will have nothing while those who slowly, systematically, and wisely did their work and planned ahead will come out ahead. This is true in school with reports, projects, and tests. This is true in financial management with savings, coupons, and retirement. This is true with promotions with anticipated needs of a project, doing the small things at the right time, and plugging away. This is true of relationships with building strong relationships around your life through sacrifice and patience. In every area of life it is the ant type of wisdom that succeeds. This is the wisdom that looks down the road five, ten, twenty-five years and says, “What will I need at that point and what am I doing about gaining it right now?” One of the phrases I use is: What are you doing in ten years that you will need in the next ten years of your life?
Second, protect yourself. The coney (shephanim) has no natural protection but lives among the rocks, so it has protection. This type of creature is still somewhat of a mystery, so it makes it hard to do an accurate exposition of this proverb. But the idea is clear that this creature makes its home among the rocks and is very hard to capture and kill because of the protection it builds around it. The creature was not mighty or powerful or well protected naturally like the tortoise or lion, but it made wise choices and it was not killed by the natural direction of life. This goal of wisdom is to look at what will destroy other people and protect you against that even though you do not have natural protection against that. Some would see this applying to the type of house you live in, where it is located, and its relative safety. While this is probably true, it also can apply to all aspects of destruction and protection. What is it that really destroys a person in this culture and how can I build protection into my life against it that I do not naturally have? Now remember that this creature adds rocks to his lifestyle so as not to be captured and eaten. He picks a place to live that protects him. There are other places to live, but they do not afford the protection that the rocks do. He limits his arena to that which will protect himself so that the natural enemies that he has will not win. What are the natural destroyers and enemies of humanity? Spiritual destroyers? Mental destroyers? Emotional destroyers? Physical destroyers?
Third, organize yourself. The locust is able to accomplish much because it works with other locusts. One individual locust could not do much, but many working together can devastate a crop.
Fourth, be in the right place. The places of power and influence. The lizard is able to be where things are clean, powerful, and easy.