The Wisdom of the Small

the wisdom of the small
The 28th chapter of Job contains an amazing passage about wisdom. It refers to this wisdom as a hidden wisdom. A wisdom that can only be found in God, a wisdom that “overturneth the mountains by the roots.

This wisdom  is very different from worldly wisdom; the wisdom that runs the world and its systems. Job 28 refers to it as the wisdom that is hid from the eyes of all living and kept close from the fowls of the air.

Throughout Job 28, the writer continuously asks where this wisdom can be found and in verse 23 gives the answer; God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof.

What is Wisdom?

Let’s take a quick look at the meaning of Wisdom. Wisdom can be defined as corresponding action based on acquired knowledge. In other words, it is the correct application of knowledge. Wisdom for example would mean correctly putting into practice the knowledge acquired from this message.

Knowledge alone is not enough. Until knowledge is applied to the issues of life appropriately, it can’t be termed as wisdom. The book of Proverbs is a great bank of wisdom. Let’s look at one of the things the Bible says about wisdom.

There be four things which are little upon the earth, but are exceeding wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; the conies are but a feeble folk, yet they make their houses in the rocks; the locust have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; the spider taketh hold with her hands and is in kings palaces. – Proverbs 30: 24-28

This passage speaks of four little things that are weak yet very wise. Let’s consider each of them and how wisdom can be gleamed from them for our daily lives.

The wisdom of Small things

1. The Wisdom of the Ant: Every person has perhaps at one time or the other observed and wondered about the life of Ants. In Proverbs, the Bible appropriately calls them weak but then mentions the attribute that makes them so wise;

…they prepare their meat in the summer. – Proverbs 30:25

Its easy to overlook this statement about ants but we must realize that it is the source of their continued existence. Ants are always busy; in a productive way. They invest their time and energy into gathering food for their colony in preparation for seasons when food will be hard to find.

We may not have to be as busy as ants but we can learn a valuable lesson from them; to prepare for the forseable future. In Proverbs 22:8, the bible refers to this trait as being prudent.

A prudent man forseeth the evil and hideth himself: but the simple pass on and are punished. – Proverbs 22:8

This is the wisdom of the ant: to foresee a shortage or evil or the future in general and prepare for it.

2. The Wisdom of Conies: In Biblical times, a Cony was the word used to refer to Rabbits. Just like the ant, rabbits are also are weak. The bible however calls them wise because

they make their houses in the rocks – Proverbs 30:26

Understanding their weaknesses, they place their security in something other than themselves. As a result of this, they can live with the security of rocks and earth around them; well out of the reach of larger, stronger, more dangerous animals. In Psalm 127:1, the scriptures say something to this effect:

Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Notice that the scripture doesn’t say they won’t be able to build the house. It says they labor in vain that build it. This means we can build houses, empires and businesses without the God’s involvement; but the end result will be without meaning.

Proverbs 18:10 also tells us that the name of the Lord is a strong tower that the righteous run into to be safe. Thus, we can learn from the wisdom of the conies or rabbits by realizing that we should not rely on our own strength or ability but in God and His ability working through us. As long as we involve Him in what we do, it will produce results that will affect generations to come.

3. The Wisdom of the Locust: Locusts are known for the devastation that they bring. These tiny insects are no larger than a few inches yet, they have crashed the economy of nations. They do not do this because of their individual size but through their collective force. Locust move together in swarms of millions and yet they have no ruler or leader. Combined with their ferocious eating patterns, they are able to strip a luscious grassland of everything green in a short time.

The wisdom to be learnt from them is that there is mighty power in Unity. Only together are they a plague of nature. The Bible makes reference to our need for others in Proverbs 15:

Without counsel, purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors, they are established. – Proverbs 15:22

It is wisdom for us to seek counsel concerning how to achieve our goals because they will not come to pass without relevant information from reliable sources. The wisdom of the locust can also be applied to organizations or teams. When there is unity of purpose and direction, anything can be achieved.

4. The Wisdom of the Spider: A lot of people dislike these eight legged insects because of their creepy nature and can easily be dismissed as irrelevant in one’s quest for wisdom. However, the spider web is the strongest naturally produced material. It is extremely light but has tremendous tensile strength. Research has been conducted on how to apply its unique properties to the production of bullet proof vests and other kinds of armor. The spider is also known for its inborn skill and patience in knitting its intricate web.

The wisdom of the Spider is that of diligence and hard work. The scriptures below emphasize this principle:

Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings and not before mean men.” – Proverbs 22:29

Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honored. – Proverbs 27:18

He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough. – Proverbs 28:19

The scriptures say the spider

…taketh hold with her hands and is in kings palaces. – Proverbs 30:28

There is wisdom in diligence!

Making use of the Wisdom of the Small

History clearly shows us time and again how empires and nations have been built based on these principles and also how they have crumbled by a lack of it. We should realize that wisdom is not in the acquisition of knowledge but in taking appropriate actions based on the knowledge you have.

It’s not our strength or lack of it that determines if we succeed but the principles we put into action; just ask these small creatures.

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