The Ant: A Small Thing Worth Watching

“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6)

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19)

Proverbs is the book of the Bible that brings things down to ground level. And we cannot get much closer to the ground than the ant. Observe her ways, we are told.

The basics of life are put down for us in these chapters of wisdom. Read this quick review of the other poetic books of Scripture:

Job speaks to us in our pain.

The Psalms help us frame our emotions — sorrow and joy, victory and failure, distress and delight.

Ecclesiastes lets us express our doubts and questions.

And Song of Solomon gives the wild and wonderful words about love and passion from every angle.

Proverbs is book that serves to guide us in what to do. A diligent pursuit of wisdom that begins with the fear of the Lord improves the probability of a life that counts, a life that makes a difference.

Please be advised — do not read Proverbs without keeping in mind the lessons of Job and Ecclesiastes. Yes, faithful, wise, hardworking people who know how to keep their mouths shut are successful more often than not.

Still, bad things do happen to good people — see Job and Jeremiah and Jesus, of course, the one and only Perfect Man who was marked for death on the Cross. The race is not always to the swift, and the football team that dominates time of possession doesn’t always score enough points to win the game.

The Mother’s Touch

The Proverbs’ down-to-earth words — go to the ant — are just what we need. They are from God, given to a king for his sons. Solomon got these from Heaven, wrote them down, and organized them for his boys as they grew up in the privileged halls of the palace of Israel.

These descendants of the royal family had responsibility before the nation. Solomon, early on in his reign anyway, was much aware of the greatness of the people the Lord had given him to govern when he succeeded King David.

The mother’s way and the ant’s way go together. Listen to mom and observe the ant and you won’t wind up all full of self. Click To Tweet

This boy’s assent to the throne was the culmination of a repentance and redemption story. Solomon’s mother was Bathsheba — the woman David took in adultery and the one whose husband the king sent to his death on a furious warfront.

Solomon loved his mom and this is evident in that his Proverbs have only good things to say of mothers. A mother’s teaching should be like a chain about your neck the king instructed his sons (see Proverbs 1:8-9).

I view that chain not as a necklace for show but as something like a leash for eager and hungry dogs, which is what young men can be. The lessons in the home should turn us away from the froward, crooked paths of temptation.

The mother’s way and the ant’s way go together. Listen to mom and observe the ant and you won’t wind up all full of self. You will not fall into having the “proud look” as described in Proverbs 6:16.

Pride Goes Before Any Fall

The haughty and arrogant eye is No. 1 on the list of what God counts as abominations. The list of seven deadly ways starts with pride because it is what fuels all the other stuff. James, the most Proverbs-like book in the New Testament, says that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

With a proud look, I can justify any lie, any twisting of the truth to gain an advantage. A deceitful tongue can lead to hands that shed innocent blood and a mind full of wicked imaginations. Pride makes me want to run to mischief, tell tall tales and give false testimonies, and divide households.

Go to the ant. Don’t be lazy. Concentrate. Look away from yourself and pay attention.

An ant seeks out a crumb of bread and will do all she can to get it back home, back to the colony that is hidden away beneath the surface. These creatures are small but do not despise them. They possess strength, more strength than their appearance indicates. God gifted the ant with this, as well as the ability to scale walls and creep across ceilings.

The ant gathers food for her household in the same way that virtuous mother and wife of Proverbs 31 does. That chapter highlights the qualities of a wise, discerning, devoted, kind, and loving woman.

Who can find such a woman? Go to the ant and observe.

High looks and a lust for bright, shiny things keep us from seeing what really supports the weight of who we are. Jesus concluded the Sermon on the Mount by commending those who pay attention to foundational stuff, to the pillars of truth, to the Rock that keeps our houses from collapsing in the midst of the storms of life. “Whosoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man who built his house upon a Rock” (see Matthew 7:24).

Despise Not Small Things

Appreciate the beauty of the ant and her place in the Creation of the Lord. Imagine yourself as one of these little ones.

Consider and recognize the strength that God supplies by His Spirit and Truth. He calls us to yoke up with Him and thereby find the way that makes our burdens light. He, too, shall supply to us the very will to choose to do of His good pleasure. (See Matthew 11:30 and Philippians 2:13.)

Do we really know what we are made of, naturally speaking? Go to the ant and see. We are but dust, and our Father knows this.

Little is so much when we realize that God is in it. A widow came to make her offering at the Temple. She brought all that she had to her name. It added up to two mites — just a couple of dimes perhaps. She threw those coins into the fountain of God.

Read about it and see how Jesus rejoiced over her act of faith. “And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on” (Mark 12:43-44).

We may be small. We may not have much. But the Lord thinks on us.

For more about small things such as the ant, check out “Small Rooms, Small Beginnings, Big Blessings” from a service with Thomas Schaller and Peter Westera. pastors at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore.






Steve Andrulonis
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