1My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have struck hands in pledge for another,
2if you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth,
3then do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands: Go and humble yourself; press your plea with your neighbor!
4Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids.
5Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.
6Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!
7It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,
8yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
9How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?
10A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—
12A scoundrel and villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth,
13who winks with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers,
14who plots evil with deceit in his heart—he always stirs up dissension.
15Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant; he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.
16There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:
17haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
18a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
20My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
21Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck.
22When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.
23For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life,
24keeping you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife.
25Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes,
26for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life.
27Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?
28Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?
29So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished.
30Men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving.
31Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house.
32But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself.
33Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away;
34for jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
35He will not accept any compensation; he will refuse the bribe, however great it is.
Lessons from the Ant
So, when Chris told me about his Proverbs collaboration idea, I was excited and….nervous. Yes. Nervous. The first thought that came to my mind was like, God, how are people going to respond to what I have to say? Will people respond? I seriously was having a Moses at the burning bush moment. But, then, God reminded me that this is so much bigger than me. So, just do it. So, here it is:
I love the book of Proverbs; it has so many practical life applications. As I was reading through Proverbs 6 (NIV) over the weekend, I asked God to make it clear, what He wanted me to write about. Firstly, go read the entire chapter. There’s just so much good stuff in there. With that being said, I want to focus on verses 6-11.
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man.[a]
Now, before I go on. Check this video out:
How crazy is that?! I thought that video was just wicked cool, and at the same time, it shows how hard the ants work. You would never think such tiny and may I add annoying creatures are capable of such great feats. According to Wikipedia (Yes, I did search Wikipedia), “ant societies have division of labor, communication between individuals, and an ability to solve complex problems.”
Did you know that ants hibernate in the winter? You’re probably wondering how they can go through the entire winter without any food. Well, it’s because they load up on food in the autumn, which helps them stand those trying winters. See, the ants are not lazy. They realize that they have to put work in so that they can survive. They are smart creatures that know how to use their time wisely.
Why all this talk about the ant? Well, because I believe that we can learn so much from them. I know that time management is not one of my strong suits. It’s an area that I’ve improved in, but still have a long ways to go. Time management may not be an issue for you. You probably budget your time, and have a routine that you stick to you. Well, that’s great.
Yet, I believe that this passage has greater implications. How about your time when it comes to God? I’ll be honest with you, this an area of my life that I’ve definitely taken for granted. There have been times where I rush through a portion of Scripture just to check it of my “to-do list.” It’s not something I’m proud of, but I do believe it’s something that most of us can relate to.
The thing is, like the ants need food to survive, so do we. Yes, we need food in the physical sense. But, the Word is our spiritual food. It sustains us. Spending time with God, being in His presence, and soaking up the Word are all necessities in the Christian walk. Like the ants need to be smart and store food in order to last those grueling winters, we need that spiritual food so that we can withstand the storms that come our way.
I know that when God, just becomes part of a checklist in my life, I respond to situations much differently than when I continually seek Him first. I need Matthew 6:33 to be continually true in my life.
So, let me hear your thoughts. Are you guilty of placing God in the backseat? Are you an ant lover or hater (do you squish them or let them go)? Did you love “A Bug’s Life” or “Antz”?
Jonathan is work in progress. A twenty something year old living each day in this crazy journey of life to please Him. You can follow him on Twitter @ineffableGod. He also has a blog you can check out “Ineffable God” http://www.ineffableGod.com