Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sneaking past palace guards

24-28 There are four small creatures, wisest of the wise they are—
      ants—frail as they are, get plenty of food in for the winter;
      marmots—vulnerable as they are, manage to arrange for rock-solid homes;
      locusts—leaderless insects, yet they strip the field like an army regiment;
      lizards—easy enough to catch, but they sneak past vigilant palace guards.
(Proverbs 30:24-28 The Message)

We have looked at the ant before, but I think there might be some opportunity to explore these other creatures to see what lessons we might glean from them. Scripture calls them the wisest of the wise - I guess that is in animal life - so, we will likely be able to see some characteristics that we might want to emulate in our own.

The ant, of course, is cited as wise because of its careful planning and diligence to task.  They are busy doing what it is they were designed to do - they "clean up" the surface of the land and do so in a very specific, well-ordered manner.  Their life is one of order.  We can all benefit from a little "order" in our lives - it goes a long way in combating the chaos around us!

The marmot is a new one for me, so here is what I found out.  Marmots are little "squirrels" that we generally refer to as ground squirrels.  They differ from the prairie dogs in that they are mountain dwellers.  That was interesting to me as the mountainous areas in which they reside are rich in food sources - by dwelling in the right place, they are assured of ample food supply.  The same is true for us - by dwelling in the presence of Christ, we will never be without the spiritual nourishment we so desperately need.  The rocks provide shelter from their natural predators, but those same rocks can be hard ground in which to create burrows!  Although they face the "rocks" of resistance, they are able to move them aside and create very safe dwellings for themselves.  Small creatures in stature are able to move "mountains"!  What does that say for those of us in Christ?

Locusts are interesting insects.  They are really grasshoppers that are in the "swarming" phase - able to take on huge "projects" that seemingly are astronomical in comparison to their size!  Locusts can absolutely wipe out a crop in just a short period of time when they are in the "swarming" phase.  They have an ability to travel short distances in swarms.  Do you know why they "swarm"?  It is because they sense and overcrowding of other locusts - so they move on to where they will find more nourishment.  As one locust touches the hind legs of another, a hormone known as serotonin is released.  The more the legs get "brushed", the more the hormone is released.  That stimulates the swarming response.  Hmmmm....I wonder if that is like it is when one Christian catches hold of what the Spirit is saying to the church and then "touches" another with that message, and another, and another?  Could it be that God is asking us to be "stimulating" each other to growth?  In the swarming phase, the locusts are growing tremendously and they are multiplying without measure!

Lizards are near and dear to my heart here in the Valley of the Sun.  I love to watch them do their "push ups" on the block wall late in the day when the sun is beating down on them.  They are basking in the heat of the day and enjoying each and every ray.  They are "stealth" creatures.  You can see them one moment, and then just like that, they are gone!  They also have a natural camouflage to their environment - kind of like their own personal suit of armor.  Some are brownish, others grey, and still others are almost translucent.  That acts as a natural defense for them.  Yet, the most awesome defense is being able to "let go" of their tail when a predator is trying to attach them.  That tail "twitches" like mad, totally detached from their body, drawing the attention of their attacker just long enough to get away into the safety of shelter.  So, not only have they learned how to move into areas where they might be more vulnerable, but they have a defense against being "totally" vulnerable - they are not without a way of escape!

Isn't that what God provides for his children?  A way of escape!  We are never without that way of escape as long as we are wearing the "armor" God!  That is why Paul emphasized the importance of not "leaving off" any part of our armor each and every day!  It is actually our protection in a world that looks for our vulnerability!

So, just a few lessons from the critters this morning!  Hope you might find something in these thoughts that you can "chew on" today!

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