Life at times can get very complicated as we experience all kinds of setbacks, relationships can be complex, decision making can be a challenge and we find many voices telling us to do this or that or choose this or that which can lead to confusion. Against this backdrop the book of Proverbs holds out clear directives as to how we should conduct our lives. God through His word desires to be that clear voice of reason, of purpose and of good judgement, so that we can manoeuvre our lives skilfully. A wise person is not one who is necessarily smart, has dazzling talents, charismatic personality, is eloquent but is one who humbly draws on God’s wisdom to navigate life well, who despite challenges and limitations knows how to act and to respond right. Pro 30:24-29 gives us some insight as to how we can navigate life effectively as we study four obscure little creatures and see how they do life. They have disadvantages, they are small, and weak in comparison with other creatures yet live lives with exceptional wisdom. They don’t cower away because of their limitations, they are skilful & resourceful. Likewise God desires that we too live productive & resourceful lives despite our limitations.Ants - FORESIGHT (v 25)
Ants are of little strength yet they store up their food in the summer.
They demonstrate foresight, think ahead & prepare well. They read times & seasons well. We too need to develop foresight in our lives. Learn to plan & equip ourselves for our life’s journey. This can happen as we acquire wisdom through our own limited personal experience and the subsequent consequences. (E.g. running into a wall and breaking our bones). A better way is to observe someone else who has made mistakes and acquire wisdom for life through their experience.
God has given us raw unedited accounts of men and women, young and old who have gone before us and made all the mistakes you and I could make and suffered the consequences, and who have gone before us and made the right decisions and were the better for it. As we observe and learn from them, they become our friends in our life’s journey, they become our tutors so that we can have wisdom of the ages deposited into us. We certainly don’t know what spiritual trap doors or landmines lie ahead however God has provided navigational wisdom for us to move in life through his word. We have examples of people who made all kinds of mistakes, those who extricated themselves skilfully from temptation and others who handled relationships both rightly and wrongly. Their lives still speak to us today but only if we engage with them with our hearts and not just our minds. As we read them let emotions be stirred.Rom 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us so that through endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. Written for us so that we don’t have to run into walls, break our noses and waste precious time nursing it afterwards.
We have only one life to live and God desires we honour him. The maximum number of productive years is established by God (Ps 90). Keep your life purpose in focus. Whenever and wherever we embrace priorities that exclude loving God and serving Him we become short-sighted. Assess your life, assess where you are heading. Constantly ask yourself what’s taking up your mental and emotional space. What’s consuming your life? How are you living your life in light of eternity? Equip yourself with the word of God, pray consistently, strengthen your spirit, when you encounter winter seasons you can pull on what you have stored in your spirit which will give you courage to keep going. Chinese proverb – dig your well before you are thirsty. Put something in your life beforehand. It will set you up to move through life with divine strength and grace.Coney or Rock-badgers – SECURITY (v 26)
Coneys have little power yet they make their home in the rocks.
A rock-badger is a defenceless creature but it has mastered the art of knowing where its security lies, hides in the rocks, otherwise it will make a great dinner for the lion or the eagle. It has the wisdom to know that it’s no match for the larger and stronger animals. It recognises its weak disposition and positions itself in the rocks.Ps 95:1 describes Jesus as the Rock of our Salvation.
He is the one we are to build our lives upon. In every human heart, there is a cry for stability, security, a cry to rely on someone, something that they can trust. Christ is the only true foundation we can build our lives upon.Ps 18:1-2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
We can experience God’s protecting power in our life when life deals us the unexpected, and our faith plunges to an all time low, when doubts & confusion set in. Let him shepherd your soul, let Him protect you from elements that threaten to rock your inner world. Let Him weave his stabilising strength into you, become sure-footed in Him. Whatever we face in our every day life, recognise our vulnerability and look to God’s keeping power. He is our SAFE Place.Locusts – COOPERATE (v27) They have no king but yet they march in ranks.
Locusts on their own can’t cause as much harm as when they band together, they cooperate together. They know by instinct their strength lies in numbers. They take territory in numbers, not as individuals. What about us? We need to transition from a solitary life/independent spirit to one where we get involved in other people’s lives and vice-versa. The purposes of God unfold as we get involved in each other’s lives.
As Christ-followers, our strength lies in community, keeping together, engaging together. This is expressed as we serve in teams, as we are part of a LifeGroup, in our celebration meetings. As a church when we unite around a common kingdom goal/purpose, like reaching out to our community, we will have a huge impact. Jesus said a kingdom divided against itself will not stand. When we unite around the essentials of our faith, we can advance the gospel. Acts 2, as they united around their faith, God added to them daily. Together we can be a voice. Together we can exercise spiritual authority over powers of darkness through our all church prayer. Together there is effectiveness, a pulling in the same direction. Same applies to our homes, marriages, raising kids; a home that’s divided will not stand either. Unite around what’s essential, pick your battles, don’t tear each other down over petty things, cooperate towards a common goal of keeping your marriage strong, raising your kids to honour God.Lizard – BOLD (v28) A lizard can be caught with your hand and yet is found in king’s palaces.
Lizards are completely defenceless; despite the lack of their protective quality they consistently gain access into a variety of places because they are bold. They adapt to whatever situation, atmosphere, and place they are in. As followers of Christ we must learn to be bold in our God. We are all uniquely positioned in different places, different environments for a divine purpose. We can see our place as insignificant or just self-serving furthering our own ambition or see it as a place of purpose to sow something of kingdom value, to look for opportunities to represent Christ. Esther was positioned for a divine purpose and she was bold and saved an entire nation from annihilation.
Be bold like the lizard. Don’t be inflexible, don’t become unshapeable, keep instep with the happenings of our day ask God for wisdom to engage with people at every point. Allow the Holy Spirit to keep ‘flex‘ in our soul. At times God may desire to break into our existing concepts and put in some new ideas, be versatile. Be bold to try new places, new atmospheres and work with Spirit.Conclusion
4 little creatures that do life so resourcefully despite their challenges and limitations. Let’s learn to apply these principles to our lives so that we too can navigate our lives well as we develop foresight, think ahead and prepare like the ants. As we build our lives upon Christ the rock. As we learn to overcome our differences and cooperate with each other. As we recognise our place in life and boldly represent Christ. We can certainly live A Cut Above Life !Sample Discussion Questions
- What limitations or challenges are you facing today?
- Which one of these four creatures’ resourcefulness can help you meet that challenge?
- How can you develop foresight?
- How can you represent Christ where you are positioned today?