Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
Short version: the secret to both natural and supernatural strength and wisdom for both here and hereafter is syncing with the Source.
Today’s inspiration–and resolution–is drawn from Proverbs 30: 24-28 which is an exceptionally good passage to remember if you, like many in such a time as this, are feeling small and unimportant, literally or figuratively–or if some would like to CONVINCE you of same.
For by all appearances we–like the literal “small things” God has created that are often barely noticed–might seem unimportant and powerless, too, but appearances should not always be trusted.
The Proverbs excerpt below provides good examples of what I mean; the analogies almost preach for themselves.
THE WISDOM IN PROVERBS 30:24-28
24 There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:
Each of these–ants, conies (badger-like animals), locusts, and spiders–might seem “little” (qatan: small, young, unimportant) in a big world full of big trouble, but, well, consider:
25 The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;
Though obviously small and delicate, ants get ‘r done before the snow falls, and as a group of mechanical and aerospace engineers, interested in nature’s amazing designs for adaptation to their own inventions, discovered, these bitty bugs can haul up to 5000 times their own weight.
26 The conies [rock badgers] are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks [crevices];
Though also considered weak, cronies, aka hyrax’s, sociable and adapatable little ceatures, can hop, skip, and jump soon after birth over rocky terrain from sea level to 14,000 feet above in part because the rubbery soles of their feet are specially designed for their habit.
27 The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;
Though considered leaderless, locusts are strength in numbers personified. They can organize in a swarm when triggered by whatever triggers locusts–which starts with the following:
This swarming behaviour is triggered by high rainfall. When there’s plenty of lush vegetation for the wingless nymphs (called ‘hoppers’) to feast on, their numbers swell, and the insects are no longer able to avoid each other. The sight, smell and touch of other locusts causes a flood of serotonin in their brains, which in turn causes genes that control their gregarious phase to switch on, and ‘solitary’ genes to switch off. The result is a Jekyll-to-Hyde transformation. The gregarious nymphs form into large bands, before taking to the air once they reach their winged, adult stage. As they swarm, any solitary locusts they meet swiftly join the throng.Why locusts evolved to swarm in the first place is still not fully understood, but a 2008 study suggested that it’s because swarms close the gaps between separate patches of locusts, and this makes it harder for predators to move among them and pick the insects off. (source: https://www.sciencefocus.com/nature/why-do-locusts-swarm/)
In short, what seems to trigger locust swarms are rain, hunger, attracting “others of like-instinct,” so to speak, AND protection in numbers against predators who pick off the loners. (No social distancing in their tight, powerful communities that can clean up hundreds of acres–and just for lunch.)
28 The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.
Though considered all of the above–small, weak, and leaderless–spiders are also studied by engineers as well as by artists, fabric manufacturers, medical researchers, and the military all of whom study and use the spider’s “silk,” or web-making material, for many and varied human purposes. (source).
Not bad at all for a little bitty thing crawling around throne rooms, forests, and sometimes right over there on the wall of my humble home (eeew).
So, again, you can’t always judge a creature by its appearance.
Nor, to close the analogy, ought we to judge God’s people–or ourselves–though also regarded as small, weak, and inconsequential to some because, well, more below on our spiritual endowment–and strength.
But first, a side note.
A Side Note: I think God takes more than a little pleasure in such of His small creations. Though seemingly unimportant, at least in the estimation of man who often regards himself as the strongest, most powerful, and best-looking creature, God’s mighty minis are not only ubiquitous but also possess strength and skill even the smartest among us have yet to fully figure out. And you might even say that, by how easy it is for big guys to regard such little guys as more aggravating than accomplished, we obviously have a LOT to learn about, and from, the small things. See also Job 12:7-10:
7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:
8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this?
10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
But here’s my point today, that is, my additional New Year’s resolution for what looks to be another challenging year–which brings me back around to how it’s so easy for us to think and feel that we, too, are weak and inconsequential, but, like our tiny co-inhabiters on terra firma, we, too are specially designed, both literally and figuratively, to get ‘r done. Consider:
- we can carry much more weight than our own no matter what dark, cold winter looms ahead,
- we can adapt to even the most difficult terrain and hide “in the rocks” if need be,
- we know how to “swarm together” for nurture and protection, and
- we are also everywhere going about our business and perhaps even most effectively because we may be little regarded. If you think about it, that enables us each to be a kind of “stealth operation”. Reminds me of another Scripture:
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. (1 Corinthians 1:25)
To the Corinthians verse above and for an additional example of a kind of “stealth operation” in a different context: the people were expecting their Messiah Who, they thought, would come in worldy strength and glory to conquer their enemies once and for all, but He entered the scene as a squalling baby born in an animal manger to eventually conquer the enemy of all people for all time–and for eternity.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL THE WISDOM AT MAN’S DISPOSAL!
We have another dimension from which to gain the kind of wisdom that not only aids us in surviving and thriving here but also helps us as we make our way along that “narrow path” that leads to the hereafter
It is our connection with the Source of all wisdom.
What I am referencing is God’s Holy Spirit–the most potent gift of all arranged for us by Jesus just before He ascended back to the throne room. Here is what He promised His followers then, the same gift that applies to everyone since who puts their faith in Him as Savior and Lord (emphasis added):
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26)
In this, we alone of all God’s creatures are unique.
But God does not force this gift on us because of another gift unique to us: free will.*
Thus, not only do we possess natural instincts and abilities through which we can glean wisdom to help us in our natural habitat, we also possess supernatual wisdom, if we yield to it, to discern and to thrive in our unseen habitat, so to speak (how and why to sync up to that wisdom, below).
And all of these gifts, skills, and abilities, as put in Romans 8:28, “work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose,” so that, as put in 3 John 1:2, “(we) mayest prosper and be in health, even as (our souls) prospereth.”
Even in such times as this.
Because, as God put it through the prophet Jeremiah: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (29:11).
And He will guide us from here to there, through field and forest, humble home and honored palace, smooth and rocky places.
But how does one sync up with this kind of wisdom and strength?
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (Matthew 7:7)
If you haven’t considered this already, here’s an introduction to when, why, and how…
Choose well–for 2022 and beyond.
And be encouraged!
There is much more to be gleaned about the “little things” of God’s design, strength, and wisdom from whence all creatures draw (or may choose to draw) their own.
Here is another take on the subject by Pastor Keith Malcomson of Limerick City Church, Ireland, from his teaching on 12/30/21 featuring the same verses. He offers additional applications–and reminders–to guide us in the days ahead.
And additional encouragement!