I have always loved this passage. It empowers women, yet we can feel treasured all at the same time. I remember the first time I read it. I wasn’t feeling particularly glamorous or smart. My energy was low, and I doubted every move I made. I was recovering from a broken marriage, and the scars of abuse were still raging red. I felt as if God’s message here was for just for me. It was encouraging. It was a healing moment. Could I ever be that woman?
I hope you haven’t gone through something horrific like that, and whether you are a woman or man, these verses should speak to you. There is such beauty in the images that come to mind. The style of writing and depth of meaning seem totally out of character with what we have been reading in the rest of the book of Proverbs. Yet this is wisdom, pure gold. That much is the same. How are you relating to yourself or to the women in your life?
This is good advice from a loving mother to her son, the king. She wants for him to succeed, and her message is meant to help him. Even though we’re not kings, we can glean some wisdom from this as well. Verse 8 spoke to my core, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.” There are so many less fortunate people in this world, but my thoughts also go to the children whose voice is often muffled and overlooked.
We shouldn’t just focus on serving the rich and successful. Everyone
deserves justice. God’s mercy is extended to all. Why do we think we should handle
things differently? Think about this — who is depending on you?
It would be easy to have the misconception that to be wise we
need to be big and powerful. Solomon was king after all. God granted him all
kinds of wisdom to share. But today’s verses 24-25 remind us we can learn a lot
from the smallest of God’s creations. “There are four things on earth
that are small but unusually wise: Ants—they aren’t strong, but they store up
food all summer.” The reading goes on to also list Hyraxes (like a
robust guinea pig), Locusts, and Lizards. Great examples, but I’m going to
focus in on the ants because I have some personal experience with those.
This list is comprised of what some would consider pests.
How often have we tried to get rid of them, be disgusted by them, or maybe even
feared them? When we really study these creatures, we are humbled. God made
these small little beasts with built in wisdom that can really surprise us. If
God can give them such wisdom, think what he has done for us?
Look around your little corner of the world today. Don’t
just glance, really look. What do you see? You see God’s intricate creation
that he loves. Is there anything that stops you in your tracks? Maybe an exquisite
sunrise (or sunset for those of us who don’t see the sunrise anymore),
flowering trees, your pet’s adoring gaze, children laughing. Beauty and
blessing are all around us.
In our text today, there are 3, no 4, things that have struck
our writer with awe. In verses 18 and 19 we read, “There are three things
that amaze me—no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides
through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the
ocean, how a man loves a woman.” It’s beyond our ability to truly grasp
the mysteries here. How do we respond to God’s design in his creation? We can
simply sit back, humbled and admire God’s wisdom, remembering we, too, are part
of this creation.
There are so many messages bombarding us these days. It used
to be there was the newspaper, the evening news, and a magazine or two. With
the internet and social media, it seems we can’t escape someone trying to tell
us something every second of the day. We hear these days about “fake” news. We
know we can’t “believe everything we read.” So, what can we do? There is freedom
when you can unplug and just be still in God’s presence. You can hear so much more.
Today in my stillness, I can hear the wind rustling in the
trees, birds chirping, car horns in the distance, a dog barking (not mine), and
a rooster cock-a-doodle-doing (they do that here in Mexico it seems at every
hour of the day)! In my quiet time, I have God’s word. As verse 5 and 6 says, “Every
word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. Do
not add to his words, or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.” I
don’t need to worry about fake news. I can trust God and his word.