This devotional series examines a verse or two from a chapter of Proverbs each day of January 2017.
Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer; the rock badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the cliffs; the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank; the lizard you can take in your hands, yet it is in kings’ palaces. ~Proverbs 30:24-28
In this penultimate chapter of the Proverbs, we are introduced to the words of Agur, a man we know nothing about but who had wisdom fit to share in this collection. His sayings are typically longer, more paragraphs than sentences. In the proverb above, he speaks of how power and might doesn’t necessarily equate to wisdom.
Drawing from nature, Agur mentions four creatures: the ant, rock badger, locust, and lizard. Two things unite the members of this list. First, they are not large or powerful creatures. Yet second, they do things that we would be wise to imitate or that are difficult for us to do. The ants store plenty of food for cold winters. The rock badgers live where enemies would have a difficult time plundering. The locusts find strength in numbers and togetherness. The lizard is able to find its way into palaces.
This mixture of wisdom and a lack of strength that Agur describes should not surprise us. The main theme of Proverbs and one of the main themes of scripture is that wisdom comes from God, not our own abilities and efforts. Paul even went so far in 1 Corinthians 1 to say that God’s wisdom, which is far greater than man’s, is on display through the cross of Jesus.
On the cross, the Savior-King hung, bled, and died. On the surface, it would seem that strength defeated wisdom, until one sees what Jesus accomplished in our Salvation and then further sees that the grave could not long hold the Son of God.
Because God is the power behind true wisdom, physical strength is unnecessary to do wise things. So, even if we choose to seek strength and power, let us do so by keeping it in proper perspective. Let us hold the things of wisdom higher and seek them first.